The Case for Trump by VD Hanson excerpts

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Excerpts from The Case For Trump by Victor Davis Hanson, 2019

Introduction

MEET DONALD J. TRUMP

The outsider offered no apologies for promising to be the first successful presidential candidate to have no political experience … Trump arrived with few if any campaign handlers … He boasted that he would pay for his own campaign … by Election Day, Hillary Clinton would raise almost a half a billion dollars more than Donald Trump.

Unlike most all politicians, Trump did not hide that he was egotistical … I listened to determine whether Trump have any persuasive arguments. He did. Lots of them, even if not all were relevant campaign issues … He was capable of saying anything … yet he had a unique ability to convey a truth, even as he exaggerated details …He sounded neither orthodox Republican, nor consistent with his own liberal past.

Most politicians routinely called for “comprehensive immigration reform” [as] a way of avoiding the unspeakable word “amnesty” … In fact, at home in California’s vast Central Valley I knew a lot of Mexican nationals who laughed at American stupidity … before 1993, my home was often broken into and vandalized [until] I built a six-foot tall, 550-foot block circuit … I have never seen a Malibu home without a wall and gate … When one finds dead game cocks and rotting fighting dogs, along with stripped-down trucks in one’s own orchard … or goes to the emergency room only to encounter waiting families of Bulldog gang members squared off against their Surenos rivals, Trump’s rants reflected lots of Americans’ realities.

[Trump] would secure the border and stop illegal immigration. Trump either promised to win optional wars or more likely, not fight them … Middle-class populism – less government, doubt over overseas military commitments, fears of redistribution and globalization, and distrust of cultural elites – was as old as the Athenian land revolutionaries of 411 BC … Trump himself played an ancient role of the crude, would-be savior [or] more like a frenzied Martin Luther (“Sin greatly, but believe still more greatly”).

Trump was unapologetic about America’s past. The future, not yesterday, mattered … Trump’s use of superlatives envisioned decline as a Nietzschean matter of choice. Sinking into oblivion was not fated … For Trump, it was all a simple matter of will, not means. Such thinking was anathema to politicians.

Trump displayed an uncanny ability to troll and create hysteria among his media and political critics. In their anti-Trump rage, they revealed their own character flaws, instability, insecurities and ignorance … Trump was an interloper who planned to hijack the Republican Party and recalibrate it as his own, a sort of virus whose DNA would take over the host.

Trump should not have an outside chance of winning the presidency … Many warped their own institutional protocols, their training and their professional to construct what they wished to be true so that it might become true. Those who loudly warned against “groupthink” fell willing victims to it … Trump’s critics loathed him … the antipathy to Trump seemed class-driven … Queens accent made him especially foul-tasting to the coastal elite Left … Worse still, Trump campaigned as the anti-Obama.

The Washington and New York conservative establishment grew to despise Trump more than his progressive enemies … Trump’s foreign policy was to put of out of business the bipartisan foreign policy establishment … Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria were not shining examples of American interventionism.

I grew up in the same house where I now live, and in a farming Democratic household … that would have have voted for a yellow dog on the ballot if it had just registered Democrat. All my siblings in 2016 either voted for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton; all no doubt assumed that Trump marked something ominous – and perhaps their own brother too for voting for him … My late mother as a Jerry Brown judicial appointee would not have appreciated … her son’s vote for him in 2016 and his support for most of the Trump record since then.

 

The Two Americas, some Obama quotes

“Still, there was something about him that made me wary. A little too sure of himself, maybe. And white …” — autobiography Dreams of My Father

“I can no more disown him than I can my own white grandmother.” “She is a typical white person.” — March 2008 speech supporting his racist preacher Jeremiah Wright

“They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustration.” — describing the white working class after losing the PA 2008 primary

“Typically, when people feel stressed, they turn on others who don’t look like them.” “If you’re in the United States, sometimes you can feel lazy, and think we’re so big we don’t really have to know anything about other people.” — 2016 speech in Laos

 

On Devin Nunes, who is suing Twitter for $250M for defaming him to further the Mueller hoax, and for censoring conservatives:

Nunes grew up on a dairy farm (not far from my own farm.) Worse still in the eyes of the elite, he majored in agricultural business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo … Coastal critics focused on Nunes as the proverbial rustic dunce.

MSNBC analyst Elise Jordan equated farming with inability: “Why are Republicans trusting Devin Nunes to be their oracle of truth? A former dairy farmer who House Intel staffers refer to as ‘Secret Agent Man,’ because he has no idea what’s going on.” Jordan apparently assumed the intelligence and savvy required to run a small farming operation did not equate to those of a capable TV talking head.

Quotes

“There exists in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.”
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Why Trump Won

African American Barack Obama, running as a traditional liberal, won 43 percent of the white vote in 2008. White female Hillary Clinton, newly incarnated as a leftist progressive, won only 37 percent in 2016. So the progressive problem was not that a supposedly racist white America voted [but] that the working and blue-collar classes would only move so far left, before recoiling and heading back to the center.

To define the Obama era is to envision a sort of genie that brought all sorts of repressed unsustainable ideologies and politically unviable ideas out of the bottle. Given Obama’s personal popularity, he made them for a while seem mainstream. Progressivism, however, inherently was a dynamic ideology that constantly renders its prior recent manifestations as passe if not illiberal. In some sense, the Democratic Party was mimicking the cycles of European revolutions, from those in France to Russia, in which today’s radicalism was almost immediately seen as yesterday’s counterrevolutionary sellout, to be followed by tomorrow’s more authentic and strident leftism.

Democrats had only sketchy ideas of how to define radical environmentalism as a boom to the middle classes in Ohio, or why their progressive anger at the rich did not also apply commensurately to Facebook billionaires, Jeff Bezos and George Soros, Malibu celebrities, elite anchor women, and wealthy establishment Democrats. How could an open border be a boon to the job aspirations of inner-city youth, and minority and white working-class Americans?

Trump’s opponents … seemed to put orthodoxy first, and then made people follow it … his Republican rivals pigeonholed supposed losers into existing and narrow set remedies. The media … never saw what was right before their eyes: Trump of all people talked of people as people, especially those forgotten if not despised.

Or as a rabid Trump supporter and lifelong friend put it to me during the primaries when I grilled him on Trump’s ideas and past: “Do you ever wake up without a job? Why can’t someone in China or Vietnam write a book or one of your columns just as good as you can for half the cost? Why doesn’t everybody get tenure like yours? Why doesn’t a college just bring in cheaper people from overseas to replace you guys at half the cost?”

Trump had no history of major loyal donors … There was no “conservative movement” of intellectuals in his circle … Most of the status quo Right avoided his campaign and later his Presidency … Trump understood that people did not want to hear long-term solutions for short-term problems, especially from those who always seemed to have the clout to avoid any downside from their own abstract theories. By process of trial and error, and seeking soft spots, Trump had through sudden failure and bankruptcies, but even quicker recalibration and restoration, become rich and learned that sheer willpower, bluster, and audacity were surprisingly rare traits among the elite.

Free trade is great? If so, then why doesn’t China follow it? NATO is crucial? Then why didn’t the frontline members most in need of it pay as much as America did? … Trump hammered these “but then why don’t they do it?” reductionist issues … ultimately, America willingly allowed others to take advantage of the global trade, commercial, and military post-war rules it had fostered on the assumption that the United States would always be so wealthy and powerful that it could and must afford the underwriting to keep the global project alive.

Trump insisted otherwise: we were broke. Others freeloaded or cheated. And the world was a mess. Or rather, he told America, this system broke you and enriched those who perpetuate it:

“Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization, moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas. Globalization has made the financial elite, who donate to politicians, very, very wealthy. I used to be one of them.”

 

The Ancien Regime

John Brennan … the president’s chief counterterrorism advisor, once asserted: “Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.”

James Clapper insisted that “the term Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular.”

NASA director Charles Boden told Al Jazeera in 2010, President Obama “charged me with three things”. Bolden added, “Perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with the dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contributions to science, math, and engineering.”

Army chief of staff General George Casey, in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings … “Our diversity, not only in our Army but in our country, is a strength.”

Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano … “In my speech, although I did not use the word ‘terrorism’, I referred to ‘man-caused’ disasters.”

The Office of the Management and Budget sent a memo to the Pentagon: “This administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror.’ Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.'”

Why do Liberals Now Love the Deep State?

Not long ago, liberals … had been apprehensive of the of the supposed right-wing overreach of the CIA and FBI … civil libertarians worried over Woodrow Wilson’s propaganda machine … FDR’s Congressional allies who tried to “pack” the Supreme Court … John F Kennedy’s successful efforts to wiretap prying reporters.

Again, now not so much. In the last decade, on questions of diversity, gender, gay rights, political correctness, and social activism, the unchecked and unaccountable powers of the deep state were envisioned as more an ally than a threat.

In the 1970s, the military corps and the top ranks of the CIA, DOJ, and FBI were, in the eyes of the Left, synonymous with Seven Days in May and Manchurian Candidate-like conspiracies. Yet in 2016, these same institutions had been re-calibrated by progressives as protectors of social justice against interlopers and bomb throwers like Donald Trump. Whether it was scary or needed to have a secretive, unelected cabal inside the White House subverting presidential agendas depended on who was president.

 

The Ancien Regime, Conclusion

Donald Trump … feuded with Jeff Bezos, Amazon owner and the richest man in history … according to Crowdpac … technology companies’ employees donated overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton by a 95 percent margin … Trump’s nemeses – Apple, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook – were the world’s five largest companies in terms of stock value … about the net worth of the entire country of Switzerland.

Its management is unapologetically partisan. In September 2018, a pirated video appeared of a Google “all hands meeting” following the Trump victory. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, remarked to the audience: “I certainly find this election deeply offensive” … Brin attributed Trump’s victory to “voter boredom” and then editorialized on that in general “data shows that boredom led to fascism and also the communist revolutions.”

Trump’s entire fortune was comparable to what Bezos or Zuckerberg made or lost some days on the stock market … In inflation-adjusted dollars, these new billionaires dwarfed the nineteenth-century so-called robber-baron fortunes … much of it was aimed against … Donald J Trump and his agendas.

Silicon Valley cynically manipulated both parties: Democrats would drop their muckraking tendencies given Big Tech lucre and progressive cool; blinkered Republicans were so ideologically straitjacketed that they were simply incapable of biting the hand that starved them.

When Obama’s EPA director Lisa Jackson stepped down after being caught using a pseudonymous email account, she was quickly hired as Apple’s environmental director. When Jay Carney … left the administration .. he became Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide corporate affairs. Obama’s campaign adviser David Plouffe was hired by Uber.

Never before in the history of the presidency had a commander in chief earned the antipathy of the vast majority of the media, much of the career establishments of both political parties, the majority of the holders of the nation’s accumulated personal wealth, and the permanent federal democracy.

These ideas and agendas, and the people who embraced them, were antithetical to the status quo of both parties and the administrative state itself.

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