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.
On July 18, 2015, about a month into his long-shot campaign for president, Donald Trump famously attacked John McCain. “He’s not a war hero,” he said. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Campaigning in Iowa that summer, Trump mocked Jeb Bush for being “low-energy.” In February 2016, Trump said Bush’s brother, the forty-third president, had lied in order to invade Iraq. When Mitt Romney attacked Trump the following month, Trump responded by calling the 2012 Republican nominee a “choke artist.” On his path to the 2016 GOP nomination and then the presidency, Donald Trump positioned himself at odds with the leadership of the party he sought to command.