CNN informs me there are “at least” 22 Democrats thinking of running for president in 2020. So who among them had the best 2017? Below is my list, in descending order, of the strongest members of the emerging 2020 Democratic field, along with some thoughts on their political fortunes. Spoiler alert: It’s not a pretty sight.
Not only is President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy there one of the boldest moves of his presidency. It is one of the boldest moves any U.S. president has made since the beginning of the Oslo “peace process” in 1993. That process collapsed at Camp David in 2000 when Yasir Arafat rejected President Clinton’s offer of a Palestinian state. And the process has been moribund ever since, despite multiple attempts to restart it.
On November 13, a 24-year-old North Korean soldier, known only by his surname Oh, commandeered a jeep and sped toward the De-Militarized Zone that for 64 years has separated his communist homeland from the democratic capitalist south.
As he approached the border, the young man abandoned the vehicle and scrambled on foot toward the line of control. North Korean soldiers began firing on him. He was hit five or six times before collapsing onto South Korean ground. Transported to a hospital in Suwon, near Seoul, doctors performed emergency surgery.
Oh risked everything to live in freedom. He has joined the ranks of other defectors, refugees, and exiles that fled oppression for the chance of a life free of tyrannical control. From the Berlin Wall, to Vietnamese and Cuban boat people, to the DMZ, the prisoners of communism run in only one direction: toward liberty and self-government, toward the bounty of the marketplace and the possibilities of representative democracy.
The year since Donald Trump was elected president has not been without accomplishment. The investiture of Justice Neil Gorsuch and several lower-court judges, the successful campaign against ISIS, the rollback of intrusive government regulations, the approval of the Keystone and Dakota XL pipelines, the precipitous reduction in illegal border crossings, the decertification of Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, withdrawal from UNESCO, and the ongoing boom of record employment and stock market prices cannot be denied. But those Trump supporters who assumed his election would inaugurate an era of economic nationalism and a rewriting of the rules of the liberal international order have been disappointed so far. The paradox of Trump is that this most idiosyncratic of men has proven to be a rather conventional Republican president.
On Thursday, Politico published two helpful reminders of the Democrats’ existence. Both stories reinforced the idea that, despite the ongoing tumult in the Republican Party, it is actually the Democratic Party that has been most disrupted by the realignment of American politics along class lines. Not that the Democrats, or Washingtonians in general, seem aware of this fact.
While visiting Hillsdale College this week, I was unexpectedly bequeathed a gift. When I arrived at the house where I am staying I discovered on the buffet table in the kitchen a small collection of books on military history, grand strategy, and World War II. Among them was the bound galley of Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars, published Tuesday by Basic Books. Having heard advance praise for the book, I picked up the hefty galley. I have not put it down since.
For years, reporters were content to obscure their ideological dogmas and partisan objectives behind the pretense of objectivity and detachment. Though the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN practiced combat journalism against conservatives and Republicans, they did so while aspiring to professional standards of facticity and fairness, and applying, every now and then, scrutiny to liberals and Democrats worthy of investigation.
Roy Moore’s insurgent victory over incumbent Senator Luther Strange in Monday’s Alabama Republican primary has been hyped. Not least by Moore’s nation-state populist supporters online who see the defeat of the preferred candidate of Mitch McConnell and President Trump as a harbinger. Yet there are several reasons a Moore victory should not be a surprise.