Matthew Continetti

The Next Populist Revolt

Column: The combustible politics of a coronavirus ‘dark winter’

Italian police officers clash with protesters during a protest against the government restriction measures to curb the spread of COVID-19For the past half decade, Europe has acted as a preview of coming attractions in American politics. The reaction to the confluence of immigration and terrorism on the continent foreshadowed the direction the Republican Party would take under Donald Trump. The surprise victory of “Leave” in the Brexit referendum hinted at Trump’s unexpected elevation to the presidency. The terrible images from coronavirus-stricken Italy last March offered a glimpse into New York City’s future. This week, when Italian authorities reimposed curfews, restrictions on business, and bans on communal gatherings, violent protests broke out in Turin, Milan, and Naples. Consider it a taste of the next populist revolt.

Twelve Days That Will Shake the World

Column: What Trump's debate win means for the 2020 campaign

Donald Trump And Joe Biden Participate In Final Debate Before Presidential ElectionPresident Trump needed a strong debate performance to have any hope of slowing Joe Biden's momentum in the closing days of the 2020 campaign. And a strong debate performance is what he delivered. Trump didn't interrupt Biden or moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News. There was considerably less shouting than at the first debate. You could actually understand what was going on. And Trump was on message. He contrasted his record, policies, and outsider persona with Biden's. He argued for coping with the pandemic while re-opening the economy and resuming in-person schooling. Perhaps most important, he defined Biden as a typical politician who is all talk and no action. And he seized on Biden's unforced error toward the end of the debate, when the former vice president admitted that he wants to "transition" from an economy fueled by oil and gas.

The Scalia Family

Column: The lasting influence of the legendary Supreme Court justice

scalia acb“Enough to field a baseball team.” That was the late justice Antonin Scalia’s response when asked how many children he had. And he and his wife Maureen’s nine children have themselves parented, as of this week, 40 grandchildren. How big is the Scalia family? So big that, at the moment, it would not be allowed to hold an in-person gathering in the justice’s home state of New Jersey.

Whatever Happened to Immigration?

Column: The issue driving the populist revolt has disappeared in 2020

Mike Pence And Kamala Harris Take Part In Vice Presidential DebateIt is a sign of the times that immigration has not been mentioned in three hours of debate between the presidential tickets. A review of the transcripts of both the presidential and vice-presidential encounters finds no questions asked nor answers proffered about an issue that until only recently defined much of our politics and distinguished our two parties. Needless to say, both moderators wanted to know where the candidates stand on climate change, which routinely drifts toward the bottom of any list of public priorities.

Who Wins an Unwatchable Debate?

Not the audience.

Donald Trump And Joe Biden Participate In First Presidential DebateOver coffee this morning I read a fascinating interview with Martin Gurri, the former CIA analyst who first noticed the seismic impact of social media on world politics. The author of The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, Gurri studies the fracturing of discourse and the frantic attempts of elites to reassert control over public life. "We are in the first stages of a gigantic transformation from the industrial mode of information and communication to something that doesn't even have a name yet," Gurri said. "It's an extinction event for the narratives. The ideal of representative democracy is in trouble, for example, and the institutions around that ideal will have to be reformed if they wish to retain any sort of legitimacy."

What’s Really at Stake in 2020

Column: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court, and the future of American democracy

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck SchumerThe death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has clarified what is at stake in the 2020 election. It is not, as some believe, democracy itself. Nor is it, as others assume, our continued existence as a nation. Democracy will survive Donald Trump, and the United States of America will outlast Joe Biden. The question that 2020 will help to answer is what sort of democracy, and what sort of nation, America will be as it prepares to enter the second quarter of the 21st century.

How Trump Changed the World

Column: By defying conventional wisdom on the Middle East and China, he reshaped both political parties

President Trump Hosts Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony On White House South LawnOn Sept. 16 the editorial board of the New York Times did the impossible. It said something nice about President Trump. “The normalization of relations between Israel and two Arab states, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, is on the face of it, a good and beneficial development,” the editors wrote. They even went so far as to say that “The Trump administration deserves credit for brokering it.” I had to read that sentence twice to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Perhaps the world really is ending.

The Dialectic of Woke

Column: Why politically correct institutions cave to Communist China

Last week a few sharp-eyed members of the audience for Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan noticed something ugly in the credits. The film’s producers thanked, among others, the publicity department of the “CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee” as well as the “Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security.” These are the same political and disciplinary institutions that oppress China’s Uighur minority. Disney cooperated with them without batting an eye.

A Trump In Full

Donald TrumpPresident Trump accepted the Republican nomination Thursday night with his family flanking him on a dais constructed atop the South Lawn of the White House. His speech hit all the marks of Trump-ism. He said Joe Biden was inept and a vehicle for the socialist left, described how he's fulfilled the MAGA agenda, and reasserted his opposition to political correctness. "We are not a nation of timid spirits," he said. "We are a nation of fierce, proud, and independent patriots."

Pence’s Moment

Mike PenceThe third night of the convention belonged to Vice President Mike Pence. The former governor of Indiana has spent four years in the shadow of President Trump, and Wednesday evening's address was an opportunity for him to make the case for a second term directly to the viewing public. Out of all the talks this week, Pence's most closely resembled one you might have heard at a pre-coronavirus convention. He touted the administration's record from an outdoor stage at Fort McHenry, and before a live audience that was eager to applaud. The scene couldn't have been more different from the empty hall where Kamala Harris spoke last week.