Notes from realignment: A solid Republican district becomes the site of a Democratic resurgence. In the first round of a special election a thirty-something unknown outperforms Hillary Clinton’s 2016 margin. A runoff looms, but the lesson to draw from this result is clear. Lawyers, doctors, managers, educators, accountants, and financial advisers—the professional class of the well off and well schooled is furious at Donald Trump. He embodies everything they loathe. He inherited a fortune (though he turned it into something more), he loves the “poorly educated” (though he graduated from Penn’s Wharton School), he denounces the metropolitan economy of global capital and free trade and open borders (though he’s a lifelong New Yorker whose most influential advisers are Goldman Sachs alumni), his manner is coarse and his language vulgar (though his large family seems devoted to him).
The late terrorist Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) was famous for saying one thing to American media and the opposite to Palestinian audiences. To U.S. presidents and chief diplomatic correspondents he would profess his desire for peace and for a two-state solution, while to Arabs and Muslims he would impugn Jews, hint at Israel’s abolition, and incite and pay for anti-Semitic violence. His problem was that, like most liars, he was eventually found out. President George W. Bush saw through Arafat’s skein of deception and disengaged from the self-defeating “peace process” that he had manipulated to his advantage for decades. By the time of Arafat’s death, it was clear that any practical improvement in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship would have to bypass the Palestinian autocrat. He just couldn’t be trusted.
President Trump and his advisers ought to study the collapse of the American Health Care Act. It’s a case study in how Beltway institutions—the so-called Swamp Trump pledged to drain—can herd a president and his party toward unpopular legislation and political defeat.
Begin with this question: Why the rush to repeal and replace Obamacare? Yes, repealing the law has been a Republican priority since 2010. But Democrats had spent decades laying the groundwork for universal health care before finding themselves in control of the government in 2009.
There really was a liberal media bubble, Nate Silver reports, and the only thing wrong with his assertion is that it’s in the past tense. The lack of diversity among journalistic ranks—even the sort of racial and sexual diversity championed every day in the pages of the Washington Post and New York Times—makes it easy for consensus to form and harden into unshakable groupthink. The media is a crowd without wisdom. There is within it hardly any diversity of opinion, independence of mind is mocked and ostracized, and reporters increasingly are twenty- and thirty-year-olds living in either New York City or Washington, D.C. They are addicted to Twitter, where they try to out-snark each other and determine who can affect the best pose of knowingness.
The Islamic Caliphate announced in 2014 by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, is approaching the end of its short and terrible life. Iraqi forces, supported by Americans, have reclaimed the eastern half of Mosul and are retaking the western one. Kurdish militias in Syria, also backed by the United States, are homing in on the ISIS capital of Raqqa. Word came this week that a contingent of Marines has been deployed in Syria to position heavy artillery for the fight ahead. “We expect that within a few weeks there will be a siege of the city,” a militia spokesman tells Reuters.
Decades of intellectual and political activity preceded the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. William F. Buckley Jr. founded National Review in 1955. A little less than a decade later, National Review publisher William Rusher helped orchestrate Barry Goldwater’s presidential nomination. The following year, 1965, Buckley ran for mayor of New York City and Irving Kristol, then still a member of the anti-Communist left, founded The Public Interest. The year after that, Reagan was elected governor of California. The 1970s saw the proliferation of the single-issue interest groups that comprised the New Right. The first Conservative Political Action Conference was held in 1973. In 1977, a year after losing the Republican nomination to incumbent Gerald Ford, Reagan addressed the conference.