Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

NeverSanders?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Almost everything the Democratic Left said about Donald Trump causing a Republican Party implosion proved untrue—and yet is proving true this year of the Democrats.

Trump’s agenda, for the most part, was Reaganesque, with a few important exceptions—closing the border and enforcing immigration law, getting tough with China’s unfair trade policies, restoring assembly and manufacturing jobs to the hollowed-out interior, avoiding optional wars abroad, and trying to drain the proverbial federal swamp of its careerist bureaucrats and revolving-door apparatchiks.

Those wrinkles from the Republican agenda, in fact, were consistent with traditional conservative values, and thus even among establishment and mainstream Republicans still polled well enough. That reality later was empowered by Trump’s effort to keep his campaign promises, by an economy at near-record employment, and by foreign policy recalibrations that are starting to win grudging, if unspoken, bipartisan support on China, given news coverage of the Hong Kong crackdown, the reeducation camps, the coronavirus debacle, and the Orwellian surveillance state apparat.

Even before Trump’s governance, the NeverTrump Right was emasculated, largely because its pundits and politicians could offer no alternative party agenda superior to Trump’s. Moreover, they had spent much of their lives advocating most of the very policies Trump was advancing, and increasingly was getting results. Nor before or after the election could they ever convince Republicans that Trump’s crassness and uncouth tweets were quite unlike the White House crudity of past presidents (e.g., Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton) rather than in part attributable to the Internet/social media age and the new tabloid media.

All those facts explain why Trump in 2016 received nearly 90 percent of the Republican vote, at par with, or better than, previous Republican nominees. Polling suggests that in 2020 Trump will do as well with Republican voters, or even better than four years ago. Certainly, the current NeverTrumpers, for all the “character is king” lectures, remain inert, and without influence. Again, they have never squared the circle of opposing the implementation of agendas they spent their careers promoting.

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China’s Government Is Like Something out of 1984

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The Chinese Communist government increasingly poses an existential threat not just to its own 1.4 billion citizens but to the world at large.

China is currently in a dangerously chaotic state. And why not, when a premodern authoritarian society leaps wildly into the brave new world of high-tech science in a single generation?

The Chinese technological revolution is overseen by an Orwellian dictatorship. Predictably, the Chinese Communist Party has not developed the social, political, or cultural infrastructure to ensure that its sophisticated industrial and biological research does not go rogue and become destructive to itself and to the billions of people who are on the importing end of Chinese products and protocols.

Central Party officials run the government, military, media, and universities collectively in a manner reminiscent of the science-fiction Borg organism of Star Trek, which was a horde of robot-like entities all under the control of a central mind.

Thirty years ago, American pundits began gushing over China’s sudden leap from horse-drawn power to solar, wind, and nuclear energy. The Chinese Communist government wowed Westerners. It created from nothing high-speed rail, solar farms, shiny new airports, and gleaming new high-density apartment buildings.

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The Farming Wit and Wisdom of Mike Bloomberg

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Here is what Democratic candidate for president Michael Bloomberg said in 2016 at Oxford, in what he apparently offered up as an ad hoc history of labor, agriculture, and industry, leading up to his own sophisticated era, as reported in the New York Post:

“I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,” Bloomberg told the audience at the Distinguished Speakers Series at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School. “It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.”

The former three-term New York City mayor also addressed workers’ skills during the Industrial Revolution.

“You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs. At one point, 98 percent of the world worked in agriculture, today it’s 2 percent in the United States,” Bloomberg said.

He then pointed out the difference between the economy then and today’s information economy.

“It’s built around replacing people with technology, and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze, and that is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter”…

Both President Trump and Bloomberg’s Democratic rivals jumped on him for obvious reasons. And here is what Bloomberg’s campaign staff offered the public in Bloomberg’s defense:

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Reaching Peak Progressivism

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

In 2020 we have finally hit peak progressivism. The adjective “peak”—apex or summit— is often used to describe something that has reached its maximum extent but thereafter will insidiously decline—like supposed U.S. domestic oil production in 2000 when more oil was purportedly taken out of, rather than still in the ground. While the idea of peak oil in the days before fracking and horizontal drilling proved vastly premature, we likely are witnessing something like “peak progressivism” today.

By that I mean the hard-left takeover of the Democratic Party and the accompanying progressive agenda now have reached an extreme—beyond which will only result in the steady erosion of radical ideology altogether.

The French Revolution hit “peak” coerced egalitarianism with the Jacobin takeover and so-called Reign of Terror. After all, when you begin guillotining fellow travelers on charges they are counterrevolutionaries and begin worshiping a new atheist secular power “Reason,” institutionalized as Robespierre’s “Cult of the Supreme Being,” you have mostly reached the limits of political radicalism and are into the territory of the nihilistic, if not the maniacal and absurd—with a rendezvous with Napoleon on the horizon.

From 2009 through 2016, Barack Obama recalibrated the Democratic Party’s liberalism into progressive radicalism. He opened the border and all but dismantled existing immigration law. Sanctuary cities sprang up with impunity. Executive orders bypassed the Congress. The Iran Deal ignored the Senate’s treaty-making responsibilities. Obama sought to nationalize healthcare. The concept of “diversity” replaced affirmative action, by redefining racial oppression as distinct from historical grievance and economic disparity and instead lumping together 30 percent of the population as nonwhite, and thus antithetical to the new buzz construct of “white privilege.” Fast and Furious, the surveillance of the Associated Press reporters, Benghazi, the weaponization of the IRS, and the use of CIA, FBI, and DOJ to seed the spurious Steele dossier were all written off as proof of the “most scandal free” administration in memory.

But today Obamaism has been figuratively guillotined by the New Jacobins. It is found guilty of crimes of insufficient revolutionary zeal, as well as compromises with the U.S. Constitution and capitalism.

Once considered a crank socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is now leads in many Democratic primary polls. Arriving with him at this moment in our politics is peak progressivism.

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The Democrats’ February Blues

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

All political parties and candidates have bad days. But the new progressive Democratic Party had four of its worst days in recent memory in a single week in February.

On February 3, the Iowa caucuses imploded for the first time in their history. The new app-driven counting melted down, discrediting the very idea of caucusing in general.

The winner — Pete Buttigieg by two delegates over Bernie Sanders — was not known for days. The mess was ironic in at a number of ways.

The Democrats are the party of the Silicon Valley. They pride themselves on being on the cutting edge of youthful computer culture. But the inability to count simple votes was a bitter reminder that they understand the cyberworld no better than their Republican opponents.

Voters might remember the 2013 meltdown of the Obamacare website, the abject failure of Hillary Clinton’s supposedly sophisticated 2016 campaign analytics, and the incompetence of supposedly tech-driven 2016 polling.

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Limbaugh: A Genius at Radio

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Genius is often defined in myriad ways. One trusted criterion is the ability to do something extraordinary in a field where others could not — and doing something that perhaps will never be done again by anyone else.

By that measure, Rush Limbaugh certainly is the genius of talk radio, a genre in which he not merely excelled but that he also singlehandedly reinvented as something entirely different — and entirely more powerful and instrumental in American life — from what was imaginable pre-Limbaugh.

Even stranger still, his ascendance coincided with the presumed nadir of radio itself. It was supposedly a has-been, one-dimensional medium, long overshadowed by television. Even in the late 1980s, radio was about to be sentenced as obsolete in the ascendant cyber age of what would become Internet blogs, podcasts, streaming, and smartphone television.

Stranger still, Limbaugh has prospered through two generations and picked up millions of listeners who were not born when he first went national and who had no idea of why or how he had become a national presence.

He certainly did not capture new listeners by adjusting to the times. While tastes changed and the issues often metamorphosed, he did not. He remained conservative, commonsensical, and skeptical of Washington and those in it, as if he knew all the predictable thousand faces of the timeless progressive project, whose various manifestations reappear to mask a single ancient and predictable essence: the desire of a self-appointed group of elites to expand government in order to regiment the lives of ordinary people, allegedly to achieve greater mandated equality and social justice but more often to satisfy their own narcissistic will to power. It was Limbaugh who most prominently warned that lax immigration enforcement would soon lead to open calls for open borders, that worry about “global warming” would transform into calls to ban the internal combustion engine, and that the logical end of federal takeover of health care would be Medicare for All.

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The Once and Future Scandal

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Now that the four-and-a-half-month-long Ukraine impeachment bookend to the 22-month Mueller charade is over, it clearly accomplished nothing other than substantially raising the polls of both Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The public was reminded that Representative Gerald Nadler (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are every bit as childish, peevish, and absurd as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

So, we are now back to the existential issue of the entire Trump phenomenon: to what degree did the Hillary Clinton campaign collude with high-ranking Obama officials, and the top echelons of the FBI, CIA, and the national intelligence apparatus, to surveil, defame, and hope to derail Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign by unlawful means?

Who in the federal government then continued Clinton’s efforts after the 2016 election to disrupt and indeed attempt to destroy the Trump transition and presidency?

Eventually, someone will sort out whether that post-election effort on the part of federal officials to abort the Trump presidency, abetted by the media and #TheResistance, was a simple follow-up to the Clinton-DNC-Perkins Coe-Fusion GPS collusion against candidate Trump—or a sick preemptive attempt of the administrative state to smear Trump as a “Russian asset” because of their worries about the exposure of their own prior criminality and Trump’s iconoclastic agenda.

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Is Trump’s Unorthodoxy Becoming Orthodox?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

When candidate Donald Trump campaigned on calling China to account for its trade piracy, observers thought he was either crazy or dangerous.

Conventional Washington wisdom had assumed that an ascendant Beijing was almost preordained to world hegemony. Trump’s tariffs and polarization of China were considered about the worst thing an American president could do.

The accepted bipartisan strategy was to accommodate, not oppose, China’s growing power. The hope was that its newfound wealth and global influence would liberalize the ruling Communist government.

Four years later, only a naif believes that. Instead, there is an emerging consensus that China’s cutthroat violations of international norms were long ago overdue for an accounting.

China’s re-education camps, its Orwellian internal surveillance, its crackdown on Hong Kong democracy activists, and its secrecy about the deadly coronavirus outbreak have all convinced the world that China has now become a dangerous international outlier.

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Why Was The Steele Dossier Not Dismissed As A Fake?

Please read the following article by my colleague Paul Gregory in Defining Ideas

A cursory examination of the Steele Dossier should have convinced the CIA or the FBI that it was fake news. Any residual doubt would have vanished after learning that its author, Christopher Steele, was an opposition researcher paid by the Democrats to dig up dirt on Trump. That our most sophisticated government officials acted as if the Dossier were legitimate leads to only one conclusion. They were a knowing and willing  part of the Democratic and media smear of a presidential contender, and then president, that paralyzed U.S. politics for three years.

We now know that the Steele Dossier is bogus. Inspector General Michael Horowitz drove the final stake through its heart. He found that the Dossier was compiled from hearsay and third-hand gossip from two low-level sources and that they denied the testimony attributed to them. The only “verified” information that Horowitz found was available from public sources.

Let’s review the story of the Steele Dossier and ask whether clear-thinking unbiased persons in media or government would have taken the charges in the Dossier so seriously as to use it as the roadmap to Russian government officials’ purported alliance with Trump employees and campaign aides to help his election.

The widespread use of the term “roadmap” is telling. It suggests, yes, there  must be something to the charge that Trump colluded with an enemy power. We’ll find proof if we follow the clues that Steele has given us.

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Sebastian Gorka Radio: How President Trump broke the Left. Victor Davis Hanson with Sebastian Gorka

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