Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

The New Nihilism

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

As the 2020 election nears, there is as yet no coherent Democratic response to the Trump agenda. If Trump himself is unpopular and polarizing, his agenda is for the most part in sync with a majority of Americans who like the 3% annualized GDP growth; near-record peacetime unemployment; record natural gas and oil production; young, scholarly and constructionist justices; pro-Israel Mideast politics; and realism about NATO laxity, the flawed Iran Deal, and the Paris Climate Accord, Chinese mercantilism, and the past inability of the U.S. to translate battlefield victories abroad into lasting security and strategic advantages.

Yet hatred of Trump himself, as well as fear of a successful Trump agenda, has unhinged his opposition. From 2017-19, progressives sought to abort the Trump presidency through furor at his person and often pathetic attempts to invoke the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment, the Logan Act, Articles of Impeachment, the Mueller special counsel investigation, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s counter-intelligence investigation of Trump, and cherry-picking federal justice to stay Trump initiatives. All failed. Now the Left has decided to offer not just invective, but a new array of alternatives—often of a radical sort that we have not seen or heard about since the 1960s.

The Democratic Party is now in the hands of newcomer establishment figures such as Senators Corey Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Mazie Hirono; socialist Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren; newly elected representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib; and activists like Linda Sasour, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, and the usual Hollywood celebrities—all of whom Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former Vice President Joe Biden futilely try to appease.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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