I didn’t vote for Donald Trump as President. I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, either. The night of the election I was persuaded she was likely to win. As the night progressed and the indications became clear that she would lose to Donald Trump, my feelings about the outcome were pleasant, not because I expected him to be a good President but because of relief that what I expected out of a Hillary Clinton administration would not come to pass.
My low expectations of a Trump administration, based on what I know of his stated policy preferences, have had the result that I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. For me two things stand out. The first is the priority the administration has placed on reducing federal government micromanagement and regulation of personal life in the United States. It seems to me that’s contributed to improvement in the economy, which is also nice. The second is his approach to foreign affairs. He seems more restrained than George Bush when it comes to direct engagement in regional conflicts, and he seems less embarrassed to promote U.S. interests than Barack Obama.
How to hold together what I know about the person and what I’ve observed about the President has been a bit of a conundrum for me along with many traditionally conservative people. This essay by Charles Kesler in the Claremont Review of Books has been helpful to that end. It’s long, but I recommend it enthusiastically if you’re feeling the tension between the person and the policies of the President.
Andrew McCarthy summarizes the scandal of opening an counterintelligence investigation on a Presidential campaign. The yawns that will come from the political Left when the reports are released will be very revealing.
In the exchange below with Bethany Mandel, Harwood is right, obviously, based on literal use of language, but it’s the old problem of taking the President’s words literally instead of seriously.
Unfortunately for Mr. Harwood and his ideological allies in their current fight with President Trump, most citizens recognize that in this particular instance the President was simply using the common vernacular to express his response to a serious problem, a vernacular that is uncontroversial for all but a very limited few, who seem to be congregated in academia and the press.
This is why, barring some extremely dramatic event, Donald Trump will win in 2020.
Victor Davis Hanson reviews a book on Trump written by Conrad Black. In it he includes this paragraph, which is something I’ve increasingly noted.
Black instinctively captures the essence of the Trump paradox: How did someone supposedly so crude, so mercantile, and so insensitive display a sensitivity to the forgotten people that was lost both on his Republican competitors and Hillary Clinton? Certainly, no one on stage at any of the debates worried much about 40 percent of the country written off as John McCain’s “crazies,” Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” and Barack Obama’s “clingers,” who were judged wanting for not capitalizing on the bicoastal dividends of American-led globalism.
President Trump’s comments and demeanor in many of his public appearances and speeches often include references, commendations, and approvals to the sorts of things loved and appreciated by the swath of the citizenry that is increasingly unfamiliar to the erstwhile arbiters of taste who live on the coasts. He appears to genuinely appreciate the denizens of “flyover country” in a way not common in Washington, D.C., over the past 30 years. If the Left doesn’t find a way to promote their policies in a way that can include that sort of appreciation, I don’t see how they can defeat Trump in 2020.
The consensus among many opponents of President Trump is that he is deeply racist. For them I wonder if there could be any set of persuasive contrary factual grounds for altering that conclusion. It probably doesn’t matter.
What would seem to matter to non-Caucasian citizens of the United States would be the actual affects of the policies of the Trump administration on their lives. Granted, correlation does not mean causation, but again, there are meaningfully significant warrants connecting current economic conditions with federal policy changes over the past two years.
Steve Cortes suggests that the current state of employment in the Hispanic community is something to consider when evaluating the President’s policy agenda. Is President Trump a racist? There are meaningful facts in evidence for both an affirmative and a negative conclusion to that question. How ironic does it seem that a President many deride as a racist is presiding over a shift in the economy of the United States that is resulting in significant benefits to people of color?
Jason Whitlock reflects on the significance of Kanye West’s recent tweets regarding thinking for oneself, love, and President Trump. One key significance he finds is the potential for African-Americans to increase their influence on American political policy by becoming less tied to the Democrats as a party.
Here are a couple of key quotes (but read the whole thing):
“Since King’s death, liberalism has increasingly become our religion and the Democratic Party our church. The rewards for our allegiance are at best disappointing”
“No other ethnic group is chained to a single political ideology.”
“Black people have no reason to fear political free agency.”
Columns like this are a reason leftists are very troubled by the discussion Kanye West has sparked.
Accusations against the former Attorney General of New York, Eric Schneiderman, concerning sexual abuse have exploded in the news. There are too many angles to contemplate them all. Feminism and #MeToo litigation, male feminist allies and their sincerity, the consequences of the sexual revolution – I suspect there could be a lot of words written about the meaning of Mr. Schneiderman, the contradictions of his public and private personae, and what combination of factors needs to be addressed to prevent these sorts of things.
I don’t know anything about Mr. Schneiderman besides what has been reported in the news. He’s been divorced and has dated several women. He’s assumed the role of taking on powerful interests in the legal arena, using his own personal power as an Attorney General to do so. One can’t help but wonder how the experience of power in one’s professional life builds assumptions about the exercise of power in personal interaction, and there’s not much more personal that erotic expression in a relationship.
I’m not suggesting it’s impossible for a powerful man to conduct himself well sexually; for every Bill Clinton and Donald Trump there’s a George Bush and a Barack Obama. Still, for me it seems the intersection of power and sex would be a significant issue to consider in our current circumstances.
It’s always helpful to remember when encountering those who are very interested in expanding awareness of certain issues, whether the issues be racial, economic, political, or some other category, that intense awareness of and exposure to one particular issue or set of issues inevitably leads to diminished awareness of other issues that might be equally relevant.
Stephen L. Carter draws our attention to this dynamic with his column drawing attention to the way an intense focus on LGBT rights has led to denigration of Christianity by many on the Progressive Left, who I’m sure would portray themselves as “woke” in matters of gender and race, when their denigration of Christianity turns out to be a denigration of the beliefs and values of millions of women and people of color around the globe.
His gracious reaction to an unnamed Progressive leader’s wish that Christianity would disappear is fabulous: “I would like to believe he was simply too uninformed to realize that he was wishing for a whiter world.”
The racist reaction to Kanye West by many who hate Donald Trump has been something to behold. It’s very illuminating about the intersection of race, politics, and power.