I just stumbled across a post that Roger Kimball wrote back in May, titled "How Hayek Predicted Trump With His 'Why the Worst Get on Top." Kimball was referring to a chapter in the 1944 classic The Road to Serfdom, where Friedrich Hayek writes that in a totalitarian regime, "the unscrupulous and uninhibited are likely to be more successful."
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The other day, "Alt-Right" leader Richard Spencer spoke at Texas A&M University, and I went on CNN to discuss his seductive message. What I had to say boiled down to this: First, Spencer is charming and intelligent—not the normal Klansman stereotype. Second, his messaging is shrewd.
Right after the election, I interviewed my mom --- a Pennsylvania Trump voter --- about her decision to support him. After all, why would she support him? "I really believe that people want to work," she told me. "The people of central Pennsylvania voted for change. They want jobs. And they want their self-esteem back. And there's nothing like earning a paycheck --- getting a paycheck on Friday night --- to perk up your ego."
Over the last year, Donald Trump has been compared to everyone from Adolf Hitler to Andrew Jackson to Ronald Reagan. His detractors fear he compares to the worst figures in modern history, while his boosters equate him to the greatest.
You might have heard about Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes' recent appearance on The Diane Rehm Show, where she appeared to suggest that truth is not objective, but rather, that it is in the eye of the beholder.
The announcement that Donald Trump has already saved roughly 1,000 Carrier jobs from being moved from Indiana to Mexico struck me as probably bad policy and bad precedent, but definitely brilliant politics. And while few are disputing that, I'm not sure people realize exactly how significant this accomplishment is.
One can argue that the most important moment in American democracy happened when President John Adams (having pushed through his "midnight appointments") snuck out of town on the eve of Thomas Jefferson's inauguration.
There's nothing more emotionally exhausting, but also rewarding, than wading through old keepsakes. A few weeks ago, I wrote about rummaging through some old boxes and finding the first "book" I ever authored.
Regular readers will know my affinity for the movie A Few Good Men, which is a sort of simplistic microcosm of the dichotomy between a civilian versus a martial worldview. These opposing positions are represented by extreme avatars: Jack Nicholson plays Col. Nathan Jessup, the hardened and politically incorrect military man who sees the world as a simple power struggle between good and evil: "We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns," he avers. Tom Cruise plays Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, the cosmopolitan Navy JAG lawyer who goes after him.
As former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is reportedly being considered for the role of Secretary of State in a Donald Trump administration, red flags concerning his business dealings have started popping up faster than a package of Jiffy Pop. One red flag that has been cited frequently involves his work for a controversial group called the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (or MEK).
When conservatives were afraid President Reagan would get rolled by the Soviets at Reykjavik, they sent in old Reagan friend and aide Lyn Nofziger to try to talk some sense into him. Don’t worry, Reagan assured Nofziger. "I still have the scars on my back from fighting the communists in Hollywood.” That's sort of how I feel right now when it comes to my criticism of the media feeding frenzy surrounding Donald Trump naming Breitbart boss Steve Bannon as a senior advisor. The so-called "alt-right" hates me, and I'm not getting soft on them. But that doesn't make Bannon a white supremacist, as some have alleged.
Having never supported Trump in the primary or General Election, I am trying to keep an open mind about his impending presidency. Some people grow into the job and accept the awesome responsibility that is thrust upon them. And while it doesn't make me think more highly of Trump, it's possible that some of the worst things he said during the campaign were cynically calculated to win votes—and that they are not an accurate reflection of how he will govern. That hope wasn't enough to win my vote, but now that he's the president-elect, that hope is all I have to cling to.
I've always thought President-elect Donald Trump had at least a shot to win the General Election (as this video from way back on May 4, 2016 demonstrates). I also always thought he had a chance of being a very good president. It's just that there was a huge range; Trump was always a high-risk, high-reward gamble that I wasn't willing to take.
As I said on Election Day, I think my knowledge of the history of modern electoral politics makes me more skeptical of seemingly fantastical scenarios where, say, a Republican wins Pennsylvania or Michigan. Being an "insider" can sometimes be a curse. Wisdom is good, but conventional wisdom is bad. But know this: Every year I have people (typically someone running for U.S. Senate or Congress) come to me and tell me they are going to do the impossible; they are going to pull off some miracle. And I'm just too stupid or cloistered to see it. And you know what? They end up going down in flames 99 times out of 100.
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Wisconsin and spoke about the campaign. I told the audience that there were only two scenarios where I could envision a Donald Trump win: The first was a huge October surprise, and the second was Donald Trump stringing together a couple of weeks without going off script. Amazingly, both came to fruition. Trump closed the election in arguably his strongest position of the entire campaign.
As I prophesied back in August, I won't be voting on Tuesday. This is a first for me, and while I see it as a legitimate form of passive resistance (or, at least, a defensible decision—all things considered), it is one of the least popular stances I have taken thus far in my career.
It's that time of year where we take our best stab at guessing what will happen. (Admission: In politics, as in sports, nobody ever really knows what will happen.)
With less than a week to go before this election season is mercifully over, I thought I would provide some counter programming and talk about something more hopeful. As regular readers know, I'm a fan of podcasts, and I recently stumbled across a simple (yet profound) way to help discover your life's calling.
A study conducted by the Media Research Center found that legacy TV networks are attacking FBI Director James Comey over Hillary Clinton at a ratio of 3-to-1: