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Category Archives: Political Culture

Politics, Not Personalities, Will Likely Determine the Presidential Election

The candidates may be unconventional, but their political agendas fall along a conventional divide.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

At first glance, 2016 sizes up as no other election year in American history.

For more than 30 years, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been high-profile and controversial celebrities. Both have been plagued by scandals and are viewed negatively by millions of voters. Clinton is facing possible federal indictment; Trump is being sued over Trump University.

If elected, Clinton would be first female president in U.S. history. If Trump prevails, he would be the first president to assume office without having held a political or cabinet office or a high military rank.

Yet the race still could prove more conventional than unorthodox.

Trump is considered uniquely crude. But take some of our most iconic political figures and one can find comparable extremist rhetoric.

As California governor, Ronald Reagan once said of University of California at Berkeley protesters, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.” When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst and forced her family to distribute food to the poor, Reagan quipped, “It’s just too bad we can’t have an epidemic of botulism.”

Barack Obama has scoffed this his own grandmother was a “typical white person,” called on his supporters to “get in their face” of his opponents, invoked a variation of the phrase “bring a gun to a knife fight” in an attempt to fire up supporters during his first presidential campaign, and compared his own bad bowling to the supposed competition level of the Special Olympics.
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Class, Trump, and the Election

If the ‘high IQs’ of the establishment have let America down, where is a voter to turn?

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

 

Donald Trump seems to have offended almost every possible identity group. But the New York billionaire still also seems to appeal to the working classes (in part no doubt precisely because he has offended so many special-interest factions; in part because he was seen in the primaries as an outsider using his own money; in part because he seems a crude man of action who dislikes most of those of whom Middle America is tired). At this point, his best hope in November, to the extent such a hope exists, rests on turning 2016 into a referendum on class and a collective national interest that transcends race and gender — and on emphasizing the sad fact that America works now mostly for an elite, best epitomized by Clinton, Inc.

We should not underestimate the opportunities for approaching traditional issues from radically different perspectives. The National Rifle Association is running the most effective ads in its history, hitting elites who wish to curtail gun ownership on the part of those who are not afforded the security blankets of the wealthy. Why should not an inner-city resident wish to buy a legal weapon, when armed security guards patrol America’s far safer gated communities? For most of the Clintons’ adult lives, they have been accompanied by men and women with concealed weapons to ensure their safety — on the premise that firearms, not mace, not Tasers, not knives or clubs, alone would ultimately keep the two safe.

Fracking provides jobs and cheaper fuel; the elites of the Democratic party care about neither. Indeed, Barack Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu proclaimed their desire for spiraling gas and electricity prices. Boutique environmentalism is a losing issue for the Democrats. The very wealthy can afford to be more concerned for a three-inch smelt than for irrigation water that will ensure that there are jobs for tractor drivers and affordable food for the less-well-off. When Hillary Clinton talks about putting miners out of work, she’s talking about people she has no desire to see unless she needs their votes.
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Hillary’s Sputtering Campaign

Facing a free-wheeling Trump, she is weighted down by tons of baggage.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Why We Are Sick of Washington

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Protesters Have Jumped the Shark

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Hillary Vs. Trump: Godzilla Vs. King Kong?

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days by PJ Media

king_kong_godzilla_trump_hillary_article_banner_3-20-16-1.sized-770x415xcWhen and if it comes down to a vote for one of just two candidates in the remaining Republican primaries, a majority may still vote for Ted Cruz, which at this point I think is the far wiser course. In November, like most conservatives I’ll probably hold my nose and vote for whoever is the Republican nominee—unless, of course, she or he is arrested or indicted or springs a private server on us.

But will the so-called establishment do the latter? Read more →

Time to Calm Down about Trump

Trump is crude and politically clueless, but no more so than the Clintons, Sanders — or Obama.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Donald J. Trump thus far has not shown that he has the level-headedness to be president. He has no political ideology and could just as well govern to the left of Hillary Clinton as to the right of her. Yet his sloppy way of speaking has earned him equally sloppy, over-the-top analogies — to Mussolini, Hitler, George Wallace, and a host of other populist and racist demagogues.
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Donald Trump: How to Fight Him

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: (L to R) Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson, Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) look at their watches during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

What Cruz and Rubio need to do now.

Both Donald Trump and his opponents are up against the constraints of time.

Trump wants to run out the clock; Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio want overtime. Trump does not want any more Texas-debate–style fights with Rubio and Cruz, and yet he still has four more debates on his schedule. In each one, we will see a geometric increase in attacks on Trump — all the more so if Carson or Kasich, or both, drop out, and the allotted debate time is split just three ways.
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Obama: The Lamest Duck

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days by PJ Media
Obama Lame Duck

President Obama is boxed in a state of paralysis—more so than typical lame-duck presidents.

His hard-left politics have insidiously eroded the Democratic Party, which has lost both houses of Congress and the vast majority of the state legislatures, state elected offices, and governorships. Obama has redefined the black vote, as a necessary, no-margin-of-error 95% bloc majority to offset his similar creation of an increasingly monolithic 65% bloc white vote. We are no longer individual voters, but, in Chicago-politics style, merely faceless “Latinos,” “Asians,” “African-Americans,” “gays,” “women,” and now “whites.” Read more →

Venezuela on the Potomac

Somehow, having an Enemies List is all right if you’re Barack Obama and not Richard Nixon.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

It has become an iffy idea to cross Barack Obama. After seven years, the president has created a Hugo Chávez–like deterrent landscape, intended to remind friends and enemies alike that he is perfectly willing to use the federal government’s vast power to go after those he finds politically inconvenient, while exempting those he understands to be sympathetic to his agendas.

In Freudian fashion, Obama has long joked about using the power of government in a personal way. As early as 2009, when he had been invited to give the Arizona State University commencement address but had not been granted an honorary degree, he warned of rogue IRS audits: “I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.” Jesting about politically driven IRS audits is always scary — scarier when life imitates art in the age of Lois Lerner.
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