Policy uncertainty threatens trade growth, says World Bank


February 22, 2017

Policy uncertainty threatens trade growth, says World Bank

Warning on protectionism and threats to trade agreements in Trump era

https://www.ft.com/content/9d49b092-f859-11e6-9516-2d969e0d3b65

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Political uncertainty is slowing trade growth, a World Bank report has concluded, indicating that the rise of Donald Trump may already be casting a shadow over the global economy.

Major international institutions such as the IMF, the OECD and World Bank have recently upgraded their forecasts of global economic growth largely due to expectations that tax cuts, rising infrastructure spending and a wave of deregulation will boost the US economy under the new president. But the report by World Bank economists, released on Tuesday, highlights the fragile state of one historically important engine of global growth — trade.

To the extent that the policy uncertainty will remain high we should continue to expect [global] trade growth to be subdued. Michele Ruta, World Bank report co-author

The study avoids naming Mr Trump, but highlights rising protectionism and threats to unwind trade agreements — such as those made by the president. It also raises the prospect that attempts by the Trump administration to force companies to repatriate global supply chains to the US could undermine efforts to boost lagging productivity growth. To the extent that the policy uncertainty will remain high we should continue to expect [global] trade growth to be subdued Michele Ruta, World Bank report co-author International trade has been growing below historic trends for the past five years. The 1.9 per cent growth recorded in 2016, according to the team at the bank, was the slowest since the 2009 collapse in commerce that followed the global financial crisis.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House–The Future of NAFTA

The team found that some of the reasons for the anaemic trade growth, which affected both developed and developing economies, were broader trends such as slow economic growth around the world and a collapse in commodity prices. But in 2016 the principal change was a surge in uncertainty about economic policy. According to the World Bank’s calculations, such uncertainty was responsible for 0.6 percentage points of the 0.8 percentage-point fall in trade growth between 2015 and 2016. The team at the bank based their figure on a study of the relationship between trade and economic policy uncertainty in 18 countries over three decades. They added they expected the impact to continue in 2017. “To the extent that the policy uncertainty will remain high we should continue to expect [global] trade growth to be subdued,” said Michele Ruta, one of the authors. The World Bank team also sought to quantify the impact of trade agreements on global trade growth. World trade grew at an annual rate of 6.53 per cent between 1995 and 2014, they calculated. Had no new members — including China — joined the World Trade Organisation or no new trade agreements been signed, international trade would have grown at just 4.76 per cent annually, they found.

One of the big consequences of the explosion in trade deals in recent decades has been the emergence of global supply chains. Such chains are widely seen by economists to have made businesses more efficient and boosted productivity. But Mr Trump and his administration have said they want to unwind those international supply chains and bring them home. “It does the American economy no long-term good to only keep the big box factories where we are now assembling ‘American’ products that are composed primarily of foreign components,” Peter Navarro, one of the president’s top trade advisers, told the Financial Times last month.

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According to the World Bank team such a move, coupled with unwinding existing trade agreements that have encouraged the establishment of international supply chains, would hurt productivity growth. “Preserving and expanding the reach of trade agreements, rather than backtracking on existing commitments, would help to sustain the growth of productivity,” the bank’s economists wrote.

East Asia: Trade Regime critical for Economic Stability and Political Security


East Asia: Trade Regime critical for Economic Stability and Political Security

by  EAF Editorial Group

What the Trump Administration will ultimately do to the shape of the global trade regime is difficult to foretell but there’s no question that it will change it forever, even if there is strong global push-back against Trump’s threat to unravel trade agreements and carry a protectionist stick.

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The trade regime, and the way in which it encourages open trade and international interdependence among those who sign on to its rules, is not simply an instrument of economic policy strategy that can be changed without political consequence. For most countries, and certainly those in East Asia which are so dependent on open trade to sustain their basic livelihood, the trade regime is a critical instrument of political security.

Trump has already signed executive orders to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). What appeared noisy campaign rhetoric has been transformed into concrete action.

Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP is no big deal in itself: with the exception of what it promised in terms of liberalisation of the Japanese economy, the economic effects of the deal that was on the table were oversold. Even renegotiation of NAFTA may have more limited economic consequences than have been threatened. But these steps, together with the threat of punitive tariffs on imports from China and Mexico, plus a total retreat from multilateral or regional trade agreements, tears at the core principles upon which the US supported postwar economic order had been built.

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POTUS Donald J. Trump and China’s President Xi

Anyone who says that a switch of this magnitude and direction in the trade policy strategy of the world’s largest economy and second-largest international trader is of little consequence is seriously delusional. The old certainties that brought prosperity and a significant measure of stability to world affairs for nearly three-quarters of a century after the Second World War are under serious threat.

A world in which the defining characteristic is a lot of bilateral trade agreements rather than one in which multilateral and regional frameworks are predominant imposes costs on business and consumers alike because of the need for compliance with different rules of treatment across different trading partners. It also injects a different tone into international politics. These concerns are what motivates the argument for regional and global trade regimes that govern international flows of goods and services through unified rules and standards.

The broader the framework within which trade can take place, the greater will be the scope for division of labour and the higher the gains from international trade. Bilateral trade deals can’t replicate the gains from regional and multilateral agreement, and they will unhelpfully cut across global and regional value chains. As the largest centre of production networks, East Asia has much at stake in the push back against an open, global rules-based trading system and the regional arrangements that support it.

While the direct economic costs of Trump turning America’s back on the TPP and other measures might be relatively small, the systemic costs are much larger.

As Shiro Armstrong and Amy King write in this week’s lead essay, Trump’s executive order to withdraw the United States from the TPP agreement in the Asia Pacific ‘is a strategic turning point in the open economic order. It is a blow to furthering reform for some members, a lost opportunity for the United States to write the rules of international commerce, and more worryingly a sign of the United States turning its back on the global economic system it helped create and lead’.

How can East Asia, which includes China and Japan — the world’s largest and fourth-largest trading nations — stand against the corrosion of a global trading order that is so central to their common economic and political interests?

The economies of East Asia must, of course, stand quietly firm in global and regional forums and in all their bilateral representations to the United States against the undermining of the global trading system, giving strength to those forces in America that can help to shape much better outcomes than the present circumstances threaten. But, through their own commitment to collective liberalisation and reform, they can also help to lead the system back from the brink.

With major multilateral trade deals at the WTO now too difficult and bilaterals only able to make slow and incomplete progress towards freer markets, Armstrong and King observe, all eyes now turn to Asia’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. It is the most important initiative on the global trade scene.

Image result for flags of asean member statesASEAN is the hub of RCEP Agreement

RCEP comprises the 10 Southeast Asian members of ASEAN as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Though, as Armstrong and King say, there are many misconceptions about the RCEP enterprise.

‘The first misconception is that RCEP is China-led. But China is a spoke and ASEAN is the hub of the arrangement. RCEP was built to consolidate ASEAN’s five separate free trade agreements with China, South Korea, Japan, India and Australia–New Zealand. And the RCEP idea and its guiding principles were crafted not in China, but in Indonesia. ASEAN centrality has ensured that RCEP has incorporated Asia’s other large power — Japan — and reflects Japanese preferences as much as those of China. Originally, China wanted to limit core membership of Asian cooperation to ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea. Japan wanted a larger membership, involving Australia, New Zealand and India, to help provide a counterweight to China’.

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In the end, ASEAN centrality and the interests of Australia and India in the region meant a broader and representative group ideally placed to take the lead collectively on global trade.

‘With the world trading system under threat’, as Armstrong and King conclude, ‘it is time for leaders in Asia to step up and push for opening markets and deepening reforms to enhance economic integration, not just with each other but with Europe, the United States and the rest of the world’.

*The EAF Editorial Group is composed of Peter Drysdale, Shiro Armstrong, Ben Ascione, Ryan Manuel, Amy King and Jillian Mowbray-Tsutsumi and is located in the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2017/02/20/east-asias-agreement-to-keep-the-world-economy-open/

The State of Asia Pacific Free Trade


February 11, 2017

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Number 370 | February 10, 2017
ANALYSIS

The State of Asia Pacific Free Trade

By Eduardo Pedrosa

On January 23, three days after taking office, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum to permanently withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fulfilling one of his campaign promises. The decision came amidst rising concerns about the future of globalization. Since 2006, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) has been undertaking an annual survey of policy experts to provide insights into the debate about free trade and globalization. The belief that the best route to growth is through freer trade is under siege, with accusations from seemingly opposite poles of the political spectrum, that globalization only benefits the top ten or even 1 percent of citizens of a particular country.

Trade-skeptic sentiments are strongest in high income economies. As seen in the PECC survey, respondents from high income economies like the United States gave the lowest assessment of the political environment for freer trade with a net favorability rating of only +16 percent, compared to +41 percent in emerging economies. While the decision to withdraw the US from the TPP may have been driven by opposition to this particular trade deal rather than free trade generally, it will nonetheless hamper attempts to modernize trade rules already out of synch with commercial reality.

In place of the TPP, the Trump administration has said that it will pursue a series of bilateral deals, an approach that runs counter to a trend to consolidate multi-member trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region.  The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, for example, are an attempt to consolidate ASEAN’s existing bilateral agreements, and the Pacific Alliance (PA) consolidates a series of bilateral agreements among Latin American economies.

The reason for this consolidation was that the “spaghetti bowl” of bilateral agreements was making it harder and more costly to do business, especially for smaller firms. Much of the increase in global trade in recent years has come from the emergence of global value chains. These international chains of production require components to cross borders multiple times. Global value chains have led to a significant reduction in the prices of goods such as cars and mobile phones, making them more affordable for consumers. However, complex rules of origin in bilateral deals made them hard to use and hence costs were passed on to the consumer.

The introduction of more border taxes will raise costs for consumers, and is unlikely to create the kinds of jobs people hope for. Where businesses choose to base production depends on a variety of factors – proximity to the market, availability of skills, ease of doing business, and the applicable tax regime. The current uncertainty over policy is adding to the economic volatility evident since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, with businesses taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude towards hiring and capital expenditure. One reason for this attitude is uncertainty and negative expectations for future global growth. Increased trade frictions are likely to lead to even greater caution from members of the corporate sector, encouraging them to keep even more cash on their balance sheets. Concerns about protectionism are rising dramatically, with 32 percent of respondents to the PECC survey selecting it as a top five risk to economic growth compared to 16 percent two years ago. North Americans were the most worried about the impact of rising protectionism on their economies with 52 percent of respondents picking it as a top five risk to growth (making it the 2nd highest risk).

“If progress is made on trade deals such as the RCEP and PA, businesses will view the economies involved as beneficial locations to operate.”

If progress is made on trade deals such as the RCEP and PA, businesses will view the economies involved as beneficial locations to operate because of lower costs, a predictable trade environment, and proximity to the world’s fastest growing markets. A fifth of North American respondents to the PECC survey thought that the RCEP would have a negative impact on their economy – echoing a concern from an earlier era about ‘drawing a line down the Pacific.’ This uncertainty about transpacific cooperation comes at a critical juncture – over the next 5 years the Asia-Pacific is expected to account for almost two-thirds of all global growth.

The PECC survey results also give some indication of the challenges to freer trade today. Respondents were asked to rate different factors that influence attitudes toward freer trade: income inequality, job security, failure to communicate the benefits of trade, slower global economic growth, and sustained political leadership. Two findings stand out: First, North American respondents were much more concerned about all factors compared to all other survey respondents; and second, there are problems with perceptions about trade (the failure to communicate) and other deeper problems such as rising income inequality and job insecurity.

While a lot of energy and time will be expended on the future of globalization, the critical question is: where are jobs and growth going to come from? Over the past 4 years two-thirds of the region’s growth has come from the services sector, compared to 28 percent from the manufacturing sector. At an average of 57 percent of total output, the services sector in the region’s emerging economies is smaller compared to 80 percent of total output in more advanced economies. Moreover, the way in which services are being delivered is changing – 70 percent of respondents to PECC’s survey thought that digital trade, e-commerce, and the internet economy would be very or extremely important to the future growth of their economies.

While tariffs and border taxes have come down from an average of 17 percent to less than 6 percent, many of the barriers that remain are regulatory in nature. Two-thirds of respondents to PECC’s survey selected transparency, multiple layers of authority, and predictability of regulations as serious or very serious impediments to services trade. These issues are not easily dealt with in the context of trade negotiations – for the most part they are not designed with foreign trade in mind, but are put in place to protect other concerns such as consumer safety. A forward-looking trade agenda needs to find ways to reduce the burden on businesses to allow them to grow – creating jobs and lowering prices.

The Asia-Pacific is undergoing a period of historic change and its trajectory, now more than ever, is unclear. Given the large populations and rising incomes, it is most likely to remain the center of global growth for decades. While the Asia-Pacific policy community remains committed to freer trade, there are significant differences on the domestic political economy of freer trade. A trade agenda that addresses the concerns of those negatively impacted by trade will be critical to continuing the forward momentum in making free trade more desirable and sustainable.

About the Author

Eduardo Pedrosa is the Secretary General of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC). He can be contacted at Eduardo.Pedrosa@PECC.org
The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue.

Established by the US Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.

The Asia-Pacific Bulletin (APB) series is produced by the East-West Center in Washington.

APB Series Editor: Dr. Satu Limaye, Director, East-West Center in Washington

APB Series Coordinator: Peter Valente, Project Assistant, East-West Center in Washington

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the East-West Center or any organization with which the author is affiliated.

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50 Year Old ASEAN–No Longer Business As Usual


February 10, 2017

50 Year Old ASEAN–No Longer Business As Usual

by Dr. Munir Majid@www.thestar.com.my

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IT is not business as usual. As ASEAN’s array of official and private sector meetings roll out for the year, urgent thought must be given to dramatically new challenges beyond the stubborn issues that continue to arrest the region’s meaningful integration.

The advent of Donald Trump as President of the United States has overturned many regional assumptions and threatens to cause economic as well as political turmoil. These developments should make ASEAN think crisis management – even if, in the end, the worst does not happen.

There are a number of “what ifs” which should be addressed.What if Trump causes a trade war to break out between America and China by imposing the punitive import duties on Chinese goods that he has threatened?

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It will then not be a simple outcome of relocation of manufacturing centres from China to low-cost Vietnam, for instance, as some have rather sanguinely suggested. The supply chains to which many ASEAN exports are linked for the finished Chinese product would be broken. There will be export disruption – not just for China.

There are countries in ASEAN, apart from Vietnam (90%), like Singapore (176%), Thailand (69%) and Malaysia (71%) whose exports amount to a substantial proportion of their GDP.

On top of exports through China, their own direct exports to the US will also be affected, as will any relocated exports from Vietnam.

There will be no winners in a trade war, no benefits to be derived from China’s apparently singular predicament. The knock-on effect will be widespread. In time, as excess capacity looks for export sales, dumping will become a problem, as will protection against it.

Motor cars that cannot get into America will have to go somewhere. Steel turned away from the US as Trump seeks to protect mills and jobs in the mid-west will have to be shipped somewhere else. Even the textile industry will be spinning in different directions as Trump has promised to revive it in America.

The whole global free trade ecosystem will go topsy-turvy. How will free trade within the ASEAN Economic Community, such as it is, be maintained? Can ASEAN+6 move on to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the fallout from Trump’s America First trade policy hits the world?

Asia – and ASEAN – will have to stick together and carry on with the open, albeit reduced, global free trade and investment system. Will that happen?

Some ASEAN states with larger domestic economies are less dependent on international trade than others. Already, now, they take a different position on opening up their market. Will it get worse in the situation of stress, should it come about?

ASEAN must talk about these possibilities now, before they happen. Someone must take the lead. Too often this does not happen in ASEAN. Can the officials, or the secretariat, or the private sector do this scenario-setting for the ministers, for the leaders? Or is ASEAN going to carry on as if everything is not changing around it?

I am reminded of what George Orwell has been said to have remarked: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. The tendency to take to the ASEAN level what routinely happens in many ASEAN domestic systems should be snapped. Some functionary in ASEAN must warn the regional grouping of the dire threat facing it.

The other challenge facing Asia and ASEAN is the risk Trump poses to regional peace and stability. This comes from the challenge again thrown at China, this time in respect of its claim to the South China Sea. As China’s predominance in the disputed expanse of territory is by no means ideal, its exposure to a more counter-assertive and belligerent American stance under Trump – no Chinese access to islands artificial or militarised that do not belong to China “under international law” – may encourage claimant ASEAN states to be less compliant with the China-set path of dispute management.

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Since the law of the sea tribunal decision last July, there has been a lowering of temperature in the South China Sea dispute, even if at the cost of not highlighting the baselessness and futility of China’s claims under international law. The return has been a commitment by China in the diplomatic channeling with ASEAN to having a code of conduct (COC) finally in place this year – although only in framework form.

It has been a long-term ASEAN objective to have this COC for peaceful conduct in the South China Sea. China has hitherto been dragging its feet on this. With a more assertive American policy against China, would there be among ASEAN states a disposition to push with the US to get a better deal on the South China Sea?

This kind of geopolitical arbitrage may be attractive, but it would come at a longer-term cost to regional cooperation, which has become critical because of Trump’s foreign economic and trade policies. This is a dilemma ASEAN states would do well to address together.

Already, beyond ASEAN, India appears attracted to taking advantage of the predicament China might be in with Trump. India, of course, has long-standing border disputes with China, which Beijing has been happy to keep unresolved. At the same time, there is strategic competition between the two over their regional place in Asia.

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Another could be Japan which, again, has many unresolved disputes and issues with China. India, in particular, appears to want to flirt with Trump even at the cost of frustrating conclusion of the RCEP. The cost to India, however, could be isolation from the Asia-Pacific region for an uncertain alliance with Trump’s America.

You cannot do strategy with a counter-party whose leitmotif is transactional. With Trump it is not going to be win-win. It is going to be win-win-win for America.

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Trump’s Win For America First Foreign Policy

ASEAN states should want to address these profound issues. Even dissuade member and partner countries from wanting to sup with the devil, as it were.

China, of course, has not been the ideal big country partner beyond platitudinous statements and suffocation of ASEAN by money. Its actions in the South China Sea are not indicative of a great power that will not grind your face in the dirt if you did not do its bidding.

Will China become the good big brother it claims it wants to be, even as America becomes the bad and ugly one?

It looks like ASEAN might be caught between a rock and a hard place. Individual member states no doubt will be doing their calculation with the hope to position themselves in a better than survival mode.

However they will all be better off if they also worked together among themselves and partnered Asia-Pacific countries to achieve better economic integration, whose benefit will discourage them from playing dangerous geopolitical games.

So, as ASEAN under Philippines leadership looks at themes such as inclusive growth, an excellent focus, and addresses the many stubborn issues that are barriers to better integration, it must prepare also for the very difficult economic and political environment which will be fashioned by the Trump administration.

Tan Sri Munir Majid, Chairman of Bank Muamalat and visiting senior fellow at LSE IDEAS (Centre for International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy), is also chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute.

 

Why As A Philosopher I Voted For Trump


January 29, 2017

Why As A Philosopher I Voted For Trump

 Trumpism And The Future Of The American Republic
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 Make America Great Again

by Professor Daniel Bonevac (University of Texas, Austin)

 http://www.thecritique.com/articles/why-i-voted-for-trump/

This article is part of The Critique’s January/February 2017 Issue “Stick It To The Man: A Year Of Anglo-American Populist Revolt Against A Changing Culture And An Obtuse Political Establishment.”

I. “We are patronized by our inferiors”

In the heat of the Presidential election campaign, Peggy Noonan wrote about the Wikileaks revelations and thereby captured a central theme of the election:

“Here’s what you see in the emails: the writers are the worst kind of snobs, snobs with nothing to recommend them. In their expression and thoughts they are common, banal, dumb, uninformed, parochial….It’s the big fact of American life now, isn’t it? That we are patronized by our inferiors”[1]

That’s exactly how I see it: We are patronized by our inferiors. During the campaign Hillary Clinton and the Democrats did not just reveal themselves as elitists who are out of touch with the circumstances of many of their compatriots [2], and proud of it; who have contempt for half the country [3], and are willing to say so publicly; and who are willing, in fact, to say anything to gain and keep power.[4] They revealed themselves as fools.

That’s exactly how I see it: We are patronized by our inferiors. During the campaign Hillary Clinton and the Democrats did not just reveal themselves as elitists who are out of touch with the circumstances of many of their compatriots [2], and proud of it; who have contempt for half the country [3], and are willing to say so publicly; and who are willing, in fact, to say anything to gain and keep power.[4] They revealed themselves as fools.

To be clear, I do not mean to say that they are unintelligent. They are often quite clever. In many cases, they are highly educated, or at least, to borrow Glenn Reynolds’s phrase, “credentialed but not educated.”[5] But intelligence and education do not entail wisdom. Indeed, there is a kind of intelligence, and a kind of education, that seems to stand in the way of getting wisdom. Trump supporters often react to the opinions of the anointed, the elites from academia and the media, as George Orwell reacted to outlandish claims in “On Nationalism”: “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”[6] The conventional wisdom, too often, is not wisdom at all.

II. “Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?”

Sixty-five years ago, Swarthmore psychologist Solomon Asch conducted his famous experiments, gathering groups of students together for what he said was research into visual perception. In fact, he wanted to study “a disagreement between a group and one individual member about a clear and simple issue of fact.”[7] He brought students together in groups, all but one of whom were his confederates. He showed the group a card with a line on it, and then a card with three lines—one the same length as the original, the others clearly shorter or longer. He asked the students, in sequence, which line matched the original in length. He started with his confederates, who agreed with one another. For the first few trials, their answers were correct. But then the confederates began agreeing on incorrect answers. In more than a third of the subsequent trials, the subject, who answered last, conformed to the rest of the group, giving a plainly wrong answer. “Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?” Seventy-five percent of the subjects went with the majority on at least some trials. Only twenty-five percent resisted the pull of erroneous agreement completely.

Trump supporters, over the past eight years, have felt like subjects in Asch’s experiments. They have been struck by the discrepancies between informed opinion, as represented in the pages of the elite newspapers in the country, as well as the scholarly journals of academic societies, and their own perceptions on a wide variety of topics. Such discrepancies are not necessarily signs of unwisdom, of course; they may reflect differences in experiences and world views that lead people to base their opinions on different sets of facts or to interpret the same facts in different ways. In Asch’s experiments, however, there was little room for such differences; only one line on the second card was a plausible candidate for being the same length as the line on the first card. Statements that were incorrect were obviously incorrect. That is just how it has seemed to Trump supporters.

How often have we encountered statements like these over the past eight years? “Islam is a religion of peace.” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “Obamacare will bring down the cost of health insurance.” “The economy is in great shape.” “Raising the minimum wage doesn’t cost jobs; it creates them.” “Iran can be trusted not to develop nuclear weapons.” “America is stronger and more respected today than it was eight years ago.” These are not only false, but obviously false. The Quran repeatedly calls for violence against unbelievers.[8] Since December 2015, 68 Americans have died from terror attacks on U.S. soil.[9] More than 200 have been wounded. Obamacare has increased costs while decreasing patient choice, exactly as its critics predicted[10]; no system that increases demand for services while doing nothing to increase supply can lower costs. Obama has overseen the weakest economic recovery in decades.[11] The percentage of working-age Americans employed is at its lowest rate since the late 1970s.[12] Minimum wage increases raise the cost of employing people, which leads to fewer jobs.[13] Finally, Iran is already violating the nuclear agreement, according to German intelligence, and Russia, China, Iran, and other adversaries treat America with contempt.[14]

The Democratic Party and its allies in the media and academia have pushed a narrative for decades that portrays free enterprise as cruel, corrupt, and unfair, and government as caring, altruistic, and just. Freedom creates problems; government solves them. Sometimes, that narrative is accurate. Often, however, it is not. The gap between the narrative and reality has been growing as government grows beyond the problems it knows how to solve. And those upholding the narrative seem increasingly incapable of recognizing the divergence. They seem incapable of conceiving of a simple question: Even if there is a better solution than the equilibrium achieved by the free market—by free people freely making their own decisions—why should we have confidence that government can find it? Still less do they seem capable of answering it. I am not saying that thinkers on the left do not propose solutions—of course they do—but that they do not even try to establish the optimality of their preferred policies. Consider Thomas Piketty, who advocates a global capital tax as a solution to rising inequality without establishing what an ideal level of inequality would be or whether his proposed tax would achieve it.[15] For another example, consider George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, who argue that manipulation and weakness of will lead people to make economic decisions that are bad for them. Why these factors do not equally lead people to make political decisions that are bad for them, and lead political actors to make decisions that are bad for all of us, remains unexplored.[16] Unlike Asch’s confederates, Democratic Party elites seem to believe the narrative.[17] Their decision process, infused with bad information, looks to others to be increasingly irrational. Votes for Trump were votes for rationality. They were votes for truth.

III. The end of “phone and a pen” policy making  

The election’s similarity to the Asch experience was no accident. It stemmed from a deep philosophical divide. This election presented Americans with a clear choice: someone who agrees with the political philosophy of the nation’s founders, or someone who utterly rejects it. The United States was founded on the political philosophy of John Locke, adapted by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other founders.[18] According to that “bottom-up” political theory, people have natural rights to life, liberty, and property. Government gets its power from the people; it is legitimate only with the consent of the governed. Its mission is to promote the general welfare by providing a framework for ordered liberty, a framework within which people can exercise their freedoms and pursue happiness. That is Donald Trump’s vision of government.[19] There is considerable flexibility, of course, in the concept of a framework for ordered liberty. Trump’s enthusiasm for building an infrastructure for liberty places him on the Henry Clay–Dwight Eisenhower end of a continuum the other side of which is Robert Nozick’s minimal state.[20]

Hillary Clinton’s “top-down” progressive vision, stemming ultimately from Rousseau, is incompatible with that Lockean foundation.[21] It envisions a very different role for government. In her view, it is up to the government—in practice, the Supreme Court—to determine what rights people have. There are no natural rights, rights independent of government, inherent in us as human beings in Rousseau’s vision. Rights are creatures of government.

As such, rights can be limited or rejected if they conflict with government goals. Clinton’s platform sought to restrict freedom of speech, for example, by making it illegal to criticize political candidates during election campaigns.[22] That is what the Citizens United decision was about: whether the government could prevent Hillary, the Movie from being shown.[23]

She also wanted to extend the Obama administration’s assaults on freedom of religion, supporting its attempts to make a Catholic charity, the Little Sisters of the Poor, provide funding for abortions.[24] Prominent Democrats called for churches who opposed Democratic policies on abortion, homosexuality, transgender rights, and other matters to lose property-tax exemptions [25], insisting that religious organizations, colleges, and clubs should not be allowed to discriminate even on the basis of religious belief.[26]

She wanted to overturn Supreme Court decisions upholding the right to keep and bear arms, including one allowing a police officer to have a gun in his own home while off-duty, and spoke favorably of Australia’s confiscation of firearms.[27]

She advocated policies on college campuses that have led to tenured professors being fired for cursing, telling jokes, or singing Beach Boys songs, and have provoked investigations of other professors for criticizing those very policies.[28] Political correctness, already out of control on college campuses, has begun spreading to the workplace and other areas of society.[29] She also backed the Obama administration’s insistence that the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt be abandoned, especially as it applies to college students dealing with accusations of sexual assault.[30]

All of these stances have something in common: they advocate restricting or eliminating rights for the sake of expanding government power: making officials immune from criticism; allowing officials to impose their moral views on religious organizations; allowing officials to have a monopoly on violence, even in self-defense; and enabling officials to impose their own visions of proper conduct, including private sexual conduct.

Allowing government officials to impose their own visions on society, even with respect to the most private matters, is central to liberal progressivism. Progressives begin with the worry that the economy and, more generally, patterns of social interaction lead naturally to greater and greater inequality, centralizing power in the hands of a few.[31] Like Rousseau, they imagine a future in which a few gorge themselves on luxuries while the multitude lack necessities.[32] Their solution, inspired by Rousseau, is an expansive conception of the social contract in which people commit everything to the State, and receive in return a fair share of the fruits of their social cooperation.[33] In practice, this becomes whatever the State is willing to let them retain. The State should make this decision according to the general will, that is, the common good. But there is no mechanism within progressivism to ensure that the government acts for the common good rather than the private good of the officials making it up.

To put it another way, the progressive answer to excessive centralization of power is more centralization. Power concentrated in the hands of government is supposed to limit and channel power concentrated in private hands. This, of course, places government officials in a position superior to those they lead, entrusted with the authority to impose their own conception of the good on the rest of society. We have seen this in the Obama administration’s willingness to have key issues decided by unaccountable regulators in the alphabet agencies that now occupy much of Washington. No one voted to destroy the coal industry.[34] No one voted to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant.[35] No one voted to stop enforcing immigration law.[36] No one voted to abandon the “innocent until proven guilty” standard.[37] Clinton promised to continue Obama’s “phone and a pen” policy making, bypassing Congress and thereby the representatives of the people.[38]

Trump stands on the other side of all these issues. He favors freedom of speech; his flouting of political correctness and, sometimes, outright incivility underscores that.[39] He respects freedom of religion.[40] He believes in the right to self-defense.[41] He rejects the culture of perpetual offense that makes life on campus and, increasingly, off campus a minefield of arbitrary and often ridiculous rules. His positions on these issues are in accordance with common sense. They also accord with the Lockean vision that constituted the common ground of American political life until Woodrow Wilson.

Perhaps the central issue of Trump’s campaign was something also found in the campaign for Brexit, to return decision-making authority to the people and their elected representatives.[42] He described the administrative state and the regulatory burden it imposes as “the anchor dragging us down,” pointing out that its growth since 1980 has cost us as much as one-fourth of our Gross National Product.[43] He pledged to issue a moratorium on new regulations and, in the longer term, to insist that any proposed regulation accompany a proposal to eliminate two existing regulations.[44]

In a nutshell, Clinton trusts her own vision and those of people like her. She insists that everyone else conform to that vision, whether they like it or not. Trump respects the vision of the people.

IV. Donald Trump: the supporting partner

The Asch experiments point to a key and under-appreciated reason for Trump’s success. Only twenty-five percent of Asch’s subjects resisted peer pressure consistently throughout the experiment. Seventy-five percent were at least sometimes willing to betray their lying eyes. But the rate of such betrayal fell dramatically if even one other person answered correctly. As Asch put it, “The presence of a supporting partner depleted the majority of much of its power” (1955, 34). My thesis is simple: Throughout 2016, Donald Trump played the role of that supporting partner. He freed people to articulate and act on their own beliefs, rejecting the consensus of the media. He thereby generated considerable affection and allegiance among his followers.

[Asch, Solomon 2007 (Psychologist) (Photo by Jan Rieckhoff/ullstein bild via Getty Images)]

 [Solomon Asch by Jan Rieckhoff/ullstein bild via Getty Images]

“The Asch experiments point to a key and under-appreciated reason for Trump’s success (…) Donald Trump played the role of that supporting partner. He freed people to articulate and act on their own beliefs, rejecting the consensus of the media. He thereby generated considerable affection and allegiance among his followers.”

Asch’s subjects with a truth-telling partner developed a strong bond with that partner. “Generally the feeling toward him was one of warmth and closeness; he was credited with inspiring confidence” (1955, 34). Having someone else who sees things as you do and is willing to say so produces a sense of relief, eliminating for most the sense of self-doubt that disagreement with the rest produces. It generates a strong attachment to that person. It also generates a sense of admiration for the partner who is confident and courageous enough to tell the truth.

This, I suggest, was the source of the enthusiasm Trump’s supporters showed for his candidacy. On the last weekend of the campaign, Trump held a rally in Moon Township, southwest of Pittsburgh. Twelve thousand people, more than the venue could hold, braved a terrible traffic jam to attend.[45] Those who could not get inside—including some of my relatives—did not leave, but remained outside to listen on loudspeakers. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton had trouble filling high school gymnasiums.[46] Many noted the enthusiasm gap between the candidates, but most focused on the lack of enthusiasm for Clinton.[47] Fewer noted the extraordinary enthusiasm for Trump.

The results of the experiment do not depend, however, on whether the majority or the subject is, in the end, correct. The point is the disagreement. Having a partner who sees things as you do, right or wrong, despite the opinion of the majority is what generates the attachment.

In any event, it is far from clear that Trump was not telling the truth. The Obama recovery is the slowest since 1949.[48] Young African-Americans face an unemployment rate of over 20 percent.[49] The national debt has almost doubled; an American born today already owes more than $60,000 in debt.[50] Business profits and durable goods orders are down.[51] So are incomes.[52] Productivity growth is slow.[53] The “new normal,” at most two-percent economic growth, is disappointing by traditional measures. Obama’s policies, driven by a concern for economic inequality, have in fact increased inequality.[54]

The President’s signature “accomplishment,” Obamacare, is in a death spiral of falling enrollments and soaring costs.[55] Racial tensions are leading to riots and attacks on police officers. Violent crime is up sharply.[56] Life expectancy is falling, especially for white males.[57] The IRS, the FBI and the Justice Department are protecting political allies, punishing opponents, and defying court orders, all without anyone being held accountable.[58] The State of the Union is not particularly good. And that is in addition to the international situation, where the United States appears weak, tyrants appear to be emboldened, and the Middle East is in flames.[59] The resulting humanitarian disaster is producing a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions that threatens the stability of Europe. The list could go on and on.[60]

That is not to say that everything Trump said in the campaign is true. Even many of Trump’s supporters do not fully agree with his more extreme statements. As Salena Zito observed, they take him seriously, but not literally, while his media detractors tend to take him literally but not seriously.[61] But such disagreement does not weaken the liberating effect of having another dissenter in the group; it strengthens it.

Another less-noted feature of the Asch experiments is that introducing someone into the setup who disagreed with both the majority and the subject reduced pressure to conform. But a moderate dissenter, who chose a line between the majority’s choice and the correct line in length, reduced it only moderately. A dissenter who chose a line further from the truth than the majority’s reduced pressure to conform by more than ninety percent—more than someone in full agreement with the subject. “The extremist dissenter produced a remarkable freeing of the subjects; their errors dropped to only 9 per cent. Furthermore, all the errors were of the moderate variety” (1955, 34). If Trump has on occasion deviated from the opinions of his followers by being more extreme, that has only added to the liberating effect of his candidacy. The other Republican contenders for the nomination played the role of moderate dissenters; Trump was the extreme dissenter. No wonder he defeated them. His persuasive strategy was akin to his negotiating strategy: start out with a more extreme position and negotiate toward what you want. Taking the extreme position does not weaken your hand; it strengthens it. His followers understood that.

V. “A Basket Of Deplorables”

As imagining yourself in one of Asch’s experiments might lead you to expect, the research situation produced intense feelings toward other participants. Subjects without a truth-telling partner often doubted themselves, thinking they must be abnormal in some way. Some thought the other participants must be subject to some illusion but didn’t want to cause trouble. Some considered others sheep but declined to go against the herd.

Asch did not study what happens if the confederates mock the subject or the subject’s partner, if there is one. But it is not difficult to hypothesize the result. The emotional reactions the experiment generates would probably be intensified. Those afflicted with self-doubt would likely experience even greater self-doubt. Those with negative feelings toward the herd would likely have even more negative feelings toward them. Affection toward a partner would likely be intensified as well.

That, I maintain, is precisely what the Clinton campaign and the media did during the 2016 campaign. Hillary herself attacked half of Trump’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables,” as “irredeemable.”[62] The other half she seemed to consider pathetic. The insult quickly became a badge of honor among Trump supporters, who began posting “Deplorable Me” and “Les Deplorables” memes on social media. It drove some who had been lukewarm about Trump’s candidacy to become eager supporters, and seemed to quiet objections from so-called “NeverTrumpers”.

Attacks on the candidate himself had much the same effect. Trump’s supporters saw the incessant accusations of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc., as Asch’s subjects might have seen insults hurled at a truth-telling partner. The accusations did not push Trump’s supporters away from him; for the most part, they pushed them further toward him.

There are two key components to understanding the mechanism by which accusations of this sort strengthened the Trump campaign. The first is that most of the accusations themselves were unjustified. Pushing them made Clinton and her surrogates appear to be both knaves and fools. The second is that Trump’s supporters saw that what was generating the attacks was not Trump’s deviation from their opinions but his agreement with them. In short, they saw the accusations as essentially leveled at them. As the Democrats now know first hand, or at least should know, calling someone names is not generally an effective way of getting them to vote for you.

Consider the first point. What was the evidence that Trump was a racist? On examination, it was surprisingly thin and easily refuted. This is the comment that Democrats twisted into the claim that all Mexicans are criminals:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably— probably— from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”[63]

The context for these comments is his critique of Obama’s immigration policy, and, in particular, Obama’s announcement that his administration would stop enforcing immigration law.[64] Trump said that, as a result, people crossing the border are bringing drugs and crime into the United States. All of them? No—he explicitly denied that: “some, I assume, are good people.” ‘Mexicans are bringing crime’ has the same logical form as ‘People are taking pictures’, which means that some people are taking pictures. It does not imply that all people are taking pictures, or that most people are taking pictures. ‘Squirrels are building nests in the attic’ does not mean (fortunately!) that all squirrels, or most squirrels, are doing so. Just so, Trump’s comment means that some Mexicans are bringing crime into the country. That is plainly true. It does not imply that all or most Mexicans are bringing crime into the country. So, where’s the racism? Trump went on to say that the same is true of people from other parts of the world. He not only said something uncontroversial about Mexicans, but denied that it was true only of Mexicans. The racism charge rests on a misreading of his remarks.

In 1980, Fidel Castro said that he released political prisoners in what became known as the Mariel boatlift. It turned out that many of those released were ordinary criminals.[65] Many said at the time that Castro was sending us criminals.[66] No one accused anyone of racism for that assertion, and for obvious reasons. It was not racist. It did not imply that all Cubans are criminals. It did not imply that most Cubans are criminals. It did not imply that Cubans are more likely to be criminals than anyone else. Just so, Trump’s comment did not imply that all, or most, or even many Mexicans are criminals. It did not imply that Mexicans are more likely to be criminals than anyone else. It implied nothing at all about Mexican immigrants who came to this country, legally or illegally, before the Obama administration stopped enforcing the law in November 2014. In fact, it is little more than common sense. Stop enforcing the law, and you get more lawbreakers.[67]

Why, then, call Trump’s remark racist? His supporters initially interpreted it as dishonest, as an attempt to smear an opponent by misreading his statements. As the campaign continued, however, it became clear that many people believed that the comments were racist. They appeared to be incapable of distinguishing some from all, of understanding simple sentences with bare plurals and the progressive aspect—something particularly disappointing to me as a logic professor, since distinguishing some from all is crucial to symbolizing sentences in logical notation.[68] In short, it made them look foolish.

It also made them look hypocritical. The campaign was racially divisive, but the racial division came from the other side. Clinton spoke of “systemic racism,” of “implicit bias,” which “is a problem for all of us.”[69] In effect, she called every American a racist. She apologized for saying early in the campaign that all lives matter,[70] and afterward said ‘Black lives matter,’ which, in her view, evidently expresses an ideal of equality.[71] On the Supreme Court, she said she wanted justices who would decide cases, not on the Constitution or the law, but on the race, gender, wealth, and sexual orientation of the parties.[72] Hearing her say this in the last Trump-Clinton debate, I immediately thought of the words of M. T. Latsis: “To what class does he belong? That’s the essence of the red terror.”[73] Clinton’s stated judicial philosophy is essentially that of the Cheka, dividing people in the law by race, class, sex, and various other categories, with their rights depending on their membership in such groups. I am not saying, of course, that she wished to liquidate those of the wrong group. But she championed a form of identity politics that divides people by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc., and treats them differently under the law.[74] She never made a clear case for her own candidacy—“Stronger Together” was vacuous, and was undercut by her reliance on identity politics, as revealed in the otherwise also-vacuous “I’m with Her,” not to mention her dismissal of Trump supporters as irredeemable. She and her supporters relied heavily on the appeal of electing the first female President and attacked women who did not support her as traitors.[75]

Attacks on Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,”[76] were equally unjustified. President Obama interpreted this as a call to discrimination, and said, “It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose.”[77] To Trump’s supporters, however, the President’s reaction (echoed by all of Trump’s competitors for the Republican nomination except one, not coincidentally his chief rival for the nomination, Ted Cruz) seemed shockingly removed from reality.[78] They looked at Europe’s experience with large-scale Muslim immigration—widespread rapes and sexual assaults,[79] no-go zones,[80] and terror attacks (in the year preceding the election, Paris, Brussels, and Nice, and dozens of other smaller attacks, for a total of 263 dead and 847 wounded)[81]—saw something similar starting to happen in the United States,[82] and said no thanks. They worried that the Democrats wanted to take the United States down the road that Angela Merkel had paved for Germany, noted the growing recognition in Europe that those policies were unwise, and declined to follow Germany’s example.[83] In short, they saw where Obama’s road led, and decided that Trump’s road was safer.

We are now in a position to consider the second point: Trump’s supporters realized that he was being called a racist, Islamophobe, etc., because he agreed with them. Leftists have sometimes insisted that Trump’s supporters are bigots. The “basket of deplorables” remark seemed to indicate that Hillary herself was among them. But viewed from a Trump supporter’s perspective, the charge is absurd.

Why was Trump being called a racist, a xenophobe, an Islamophobe? In the end, it came down to this: he wants to slow the rate of immigration and to enforce immigration law. He wants to keep criminals and terrorists out of the country. So do most of his supporters—not because they hate foreigners, Mexicans, Muslims, or some other collection of groups, but for a variety of perfectly legitimate reasons:

[1] They dislike crime. They are unhappy about drug gangs crossing the border with impunity.[84] They are not willing to put up with increased rates of theft, murder, and sexual offenses for the sake of greater diversity.

[2] They dislike acts of terror. They recognize that we have no way to screen newcomers to prevent terrorists from entering the country.[85] They realize that many terrorists are homegrown in the sense that they are second- or third-generation Americans but become radicalized in Muslim communities. They see events in Europe and the United States and conclude that terror attacks are likely to become more common and more deadly if rates of Muslim immigration are not reduced.

[3] They worry about the availability of jobs. They recognize that immigrants compete with Americans already here for jobs at various skill levels, driving down rates of employment and wages for the native-born.[86] They see that the consequences are worst for those who are most vulnerable.

[4] They worry about the social costs of immigration. Their ancestors generally came to this country at times when there was no welfare system; newcomers had to make it on their own. Now, a large majority of immigrants rely on social services of one kind or another. And dealing with large numbers of immigrants imposes burdens on schools, health care facilities, and other institutions. Only the most skilled are likely to contribute as much as they cost. As Milton Friedman once said, “It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”[87] The costs are potentially infinite.

[5] They worry about the effects of high levels of immigration on social capital. Robert Putnam’s research shows that areas with high degrees of ethnic diversity have reduced social capital; diversity damages the networks of trust and cooperation on which productive social interaction depends.[88] There are huge costs to being a low-trust society, and huge benefits to being a high-trust one. The reduction in trust is moreover quite general. People not only trust people in other groups less; they trust people in their own group less. They become less willing to participate in various kinds of activities and associations, preferring to “turtle” in their own homes. The life and vibrancy of the community suffers.

[6] They worry about our political culture. They sense that the Democrats are eager to increase immigration from certain areas of the world not to benefit the United States but to benefit the Democratic Party by importing large numbers of voters without much exposure to the political culture of the United States or other English-speaking countries.[89] The Democrats want voters with no attachment to the Magna Carta, the doctrine of natural rights, an ideal of individual liberty, or representative government.[90] Trump supporters see little reason why Americans should assist in the destruction of their own political system and thus their own rights and liberties.

Trump supporters realize that there are many benefits to immigration, at certain levels, of certain types of people, under certain circumstances. They recoil from Hillary Clinton’s vision of open borders, but are not hostile to immigration as such. The issue, in their view, is the kind, extent, and pace of immigration, a topic they think deserves careful consideration and debate. The Democrats and the media do not respond to any of the above concerns. They instead retort by calling anyone raising them deplorable. That sounds intemperate, even desperate. To Trump supporters, it also sounds foolish.

VI. Why I Voted For Trump

I voted for Donald Trump partly because I share his political philosophy (which I view as akin to that of the British Whigs); partly because I share his view of the current state of American society and the international order; and partly because I see the American political system as teetering on the edge of a cliff. A Clinton victory, I believe, would have ended the American republic.[91] Obama set out to transform the United States of America. He has done so by transferring power away from the people, and away from Congress, to the courts and to the executive branch. He won a few legislative victories, but has mostly ruled by decree, by executive order and especially by the rule-making of executive branch agencies. Clinton promised to continue the trend. She would have ruled more or less as a monarch with little Congressional limit to her power. The Constitution would have been a dead letter. She would have been able to impose her own moral vision on the entire country. That vision, moreover, rests on a narrative with limited correspondence to reality. And she would have removed the checks and balances of the American system designed to keep narratives and reality in line with each other.

Donald Trump won the Republican nomination because he understood that and pledged to do something about it. He is described as a populist, and for the best of reasons: he wants to return power to the people. He treats ordinary people with dignity and respect. He treats their situations as worthy of concern and their attitudes as worth taking seriously. He values the Constitution. His cabinet appointments have emphasized his commitment to return American government to Constitutional principles. And, just as important, he punctured the narrative. He showed that he understands which of Solomon Asch’s lines is a match.

“How, and to what extent, do social forces constrain people’s opinions and attitudes?” Asch wrote. “This question is especially pertinent in our day. The same epoch that has witnessed the unprecedented technical extension of communication has also brought into existence the deliberate manipulation of opinion and the ‘engineering of consent.’”[92] Trump supporters are tired of being manipulated. They realize how extensively people who consider themselves superior to them have been engineering their consent. And they’ve had enough. They’re tired of being told that they must live a lie.[93]

In an environment where the media, the Democrats, those in high positions in academia, government, and corporations, and most of the Republican candidates agreed on a story that conflicted with what people were observing with their own eyes, Trump was the only person to tell the truth—to say what he thought, no matter what others said, and, in doing so, to depict things as his followers saw them. When he deviated, he went to an extreme, which only strengthened the independence of his fans, making them more immune to manipulation. He thereby undercut the engineering of consent. He earned the affection and loyalty of those who saw a conflict between the narrative and reality. He made those who clung to the narrative look like fools. He gave his followers not only self-confidence but self-respect. And he thereby embarked on the mission to return the United States to the system of government its founders created for it—to make America great again by returning its government to the people.

VII. Objections

In my final section let me address some objections. Before I turn to specifics, however, let me make three more general points.

First, we must evaluate political candidates in relation to alternative candidates, not in relation to some abstract ideal. Is Donald Trump the perfect candidate? Will he make a perfect President? No, of course not. No one could fulfill such an expectation.

Second, there is always little data about how candidates will perform in office as President. No other position is comparable, and there is no way to predict how events will frame the decisions they face.

Third, there is a consistent pattern to many objections being raised against Trump: people on the left tend to accuse the right of what they themselves do. I do not know whether this is psychological projection, a conscious strategy, or the result of a mindset that interprets opponents’ actions in terms of familiar models. But it is pervasive.

Now, to the objections. I omit here ordinary policy disagreements concerning tax policy, foreign policy, trade agreements, minimum wage laws, anti-terrorism strategies, and so on. Each is a legitimate issue, an adequate treatment of which would take an essay in itself.

Objection 1: Trump is simply not qualified to be president—he has no government experience.[94] He is the first President never to serve in government or the military.

Presidents of the United States have generally had experience as governors, generals, or U.S. Senators. The first two are analogous to the Presidency in the sense that they involve management of large enterprises with political dimensions. In the contemporary world, however, CEOs of sizable corporations also manage large enterprises with political dimensions. Experience as such a CEO seems at least as relevant to the Presidency as service as Senator. Indeed, I would find it hard to defend the proposition that Trump is less qualified than Barack Obama was in 2008.

Objection 2: Trump does not take expert advice from the military or from intelligence officials.[95] He has threatened to fire generals and has declined daily intelligence briefings.

This complaint against Trump drips with irony, since President Obama did fire generals and skip most daily intelligence briefings. Obama purged the military of Generals McKiernan, McChrystal, Petraeus, Ham, Flynn, and Mattis, Admirals Gaouette and Giardina, and almost 200 other officers who objected to highly restrictive rules of engagement or were unwilling to subjugate military objectives to social priorities.[96] He attended only about 40% of his intelligence briefings.[97] Trump will have to shake up military leadership if he wishes to return the military to its main tasks—defending the nation and winning wars. As Aristotle properly noted, the goal of the military art is victory.[98] He will also have to shake up intelligence agencies, who have been wrong on virtually every important question over the past several decades and are now at war with Trump before he even takes office.[99]

There is a larger moral here: President Obama filled with federal government with politically radical “experts” whose advice President Trump should reject. In fact, he should do his best to root them out, get rid of them, and abolish the commissions and agencies they inhabit.

Objection 3: Trump has totalitarian tendencies. He does not accept the democratic process, and believes that he alone can fix America’s problems.

I find it hard to take this objection seriously, and not only because Trump campaigned on limiting the reach of executive action and the administrative state, while Obama expanded it and Clinton campaigned on expanding it even further. Ruth Marcus called Trump’s worry that the election was rigged “dangerous,” “irresponsible,” “unsupported,” and “set[ting] the stage for an explosive outcome the likes of which this country has never seen…. further inflaming an already toxic political climate in Washington.”[100] But now Democrats are claiming that Russia rigged the election—supposedly by releasing accurate information via Wikileaks—and even calling Trump “illegitimate,” comparing him to the Nazis and the KKK, rejecting reconciliation, and exclaiming, “Now we fight.”[101] In short, Democrats criticized Trump for talking about the possibility of something they now claim is actual, because his words might have brought about something the Democrats are now, themselves, intentionally bringing about.[102] This is not only wildly hypocritical; it reveals real totalitarian tendencies on the left, tendencies already evident in the use of violence as a political weapon against Trump during the campaign.[103]

I would like to address the arguments of those who consider Trump a fascist. I would like to, I really would. But I can’t find any arguments in the over-the-top editorials making that claim. Consider Robert Kagan, whose “argument” amounts to this: Trump exhibits “an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture,” and engages in “attacking or ridiculing a wide range of ‘others’.”[104] As far as I can see, these qualities might make Trump a bully, but they hardly make him a fascist. Indira Lakshmanan quoted Trump on world affairs, saying “I alone can fix it,” and heard echoes of “strongmen” Castro, Chavez, and Musharraf.[105] I heard in his speech a more mundane claim: that Obama’s policy of leading from behind had created a power vacuum that led to violence and anarchy in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere; that Hillary Clinton, by helping to craft that policy as Secretary of State and vowing to continue it, had no hope of repairing the resulting damage; and thus that he alone among the Presidential candidates could do so, by rejecting the Obama-Clinton policy and acting in America’s best interests.

Objection 4: Trump admires Putin, invited Russia to hack Clinton, and now dismisses attempts to sanction Russia for allegedly doing so.[106]

Much has been said and written about the Trump-Putin connection, but so far no one has produced any actual evidence of any inappropriate relationship or of Russian involvement in the election. Trump’s remark that maybe the Russians could locate Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails was sarcasm—a joke, not an invitation.[107] Obama did nothing when Russia invaded the Ukraine.[108] He did nothing when the Russians hacked into the White House computer system.[109] His response to supposed Russian involvement in the election was token. Calls for Trump to advocate sanctions before taking office, in that context, sound absurd, and, if taken as sincere, imply that Democrats care more about the interests of their own party than those of the United States. The sense of absurdity grows stronger in contrast with Clinton’s involvement with Russia, specifically, her approval of Uranium One’s acquisition of twenty percent of America’s uranium supply, which ended up in the hands of Rosatom, a Russian company.[110] Why Russia would have preferred Trump to Clinton is unclear; Clinton appears to have been bought and paid for.

Objection 5: Trump has promoted conspiracy theories, particularly Obama’s foreign birth, without any evidence: “Mr. Obama’s citizenship was never in question. No credible evidence ever suggested otherwise.”[111]

Trump was one of many people to question Obama’s citizenship, and hardly the first; he raised the issue in March 2011, saying that he was “a little skeptical,” and announced the issue settled a month later when Obama released his long-form birth certificate.[112] It is moreover not true that there was no evidence that Obama was born outside the United States; his literary agency had described him as “born in Kenya” and articles by National Public Radio and the Associated Press had identified him as Kenyan-born.[113]

Objection 6: Trump’s anti-scientific denial of climate change will set back hard-fought bipartisan progress on this front.[114]

No one denies climate change—the earth has unquestionably warmed since the Little Ice Age—but satellite and surface data sets do not agree about how much it has warmed. Nor is there any consensus about the proportion of warming due to human activity, the effect that even drastic cutbacks in carbon dioxide emissions might have on climate, or the viability of geoengineered solutions. There is in short nothing unscientific about Trump’s position. There is also nothing bipartisan about Obama’s climate policies; the “bipartisan” group that filed an amicus brief in support of Obama’s Clean Power Plan included exactly two Republicans, both former members of Congress.[115]

Objection 7: Trump does not respect the Constitution: he recommends a return to stop-and-frisk policing; he is open to censorship; his policies toward Muslims would violate freedom of religion and equal protection.

The policies advocated by Trump do not violate the Constitution. He does advocate Giuliani policies that proved effective in New York City, including stop-and-frisk. The Supreme Court approved that policy in Terry v. Ohio: “Where a reasonably prudent officer is warranted in the circumstances of a given case in believing that his safety or that of others is endangered, he may make a reasonable search for weapons of the person believed by him to be armed and dangerous regardless of whether he has probable cause to arrest that individual for crime or the absolute certainty that the individual is armed.”[116]

Trump’s alleged openness to internet censorship is in the context of fighting a war, protecting national security secrets and impeding enemy communications: “it seems that he wants to knock out the infrastructure that provides Internet access in areas of Syria and Iraq that are controlled by ISIS.”[117] Jamming enemy communications is not censorship. After the Obama administration’s decision to cede authority over the internet to ICANN, which Attorneys General of four states sought to halt with a lawsuit; after news of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google engaging in censorship; after the Democrats’ war on “fake news”; it is hard to take seriously the contention that Trump’s willingness to disrupt communications in Syria is a significant threat to freedom of speech.[118]

Finally, registering, restricting or even banning Muslim immigration into the United States would not be unconstitutional.[119] United States law specifically includes religion as a criterion for immigration; “religious persecution” is a basis for granting refugee status. Under the plenary powers doctrine, constitutional protections do not apply to potential immigrants.[120] If they did—if the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection applied to anyone anywhere—then any immigration restriction would be unconstitutional.

In conclusion, let me summarize the case for Trump in three simple propositions:

[1] He says what he thinks.

[2] He’s on our side.

[3] He fights.

The first includes Trump’s resistance to the narrative and his refusal to live the lie. If he sometimes says extreme things, that only increases his supporters’ resolve. The second proposition includes Trump’s concern for ordinary people—people who do not talk and write for a living—and for the nation as a whole. Obama’s last-minute pardons of spies and terrorists fits a pattern of actions that appear to be anti-American, hostile to the United States and its inhabitants.[121] Clinton’s vision seemed internationalist. Trump sees that a government’s primary obligation is to its citizens. The third proposition gives his supporters hope that he will finally do what they have been sending people to Washington to do for decades: shrink the unelected, unaccountable deep state, return control of their country and their lives to them, and thereby make America great again.

Footnotes & References

[1] “America’s Decadent Leadership Class,” Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2016.

[2] Michael Sainato, “Obama Blames Clinton and Her Out-of-Touch Campaign for Losing Election,” The Observer, November 15, 2016, http://observer.com/2016/11/obama-blames-clinton-and-her-out-of-touch-campaign-for-losing-election/.

[3] Aaron Blake, “Voters strongly reject Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ approach,” Washington Post, September 26, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/26/voters-strongly-reject-hillary-clintons-basket-of-deplorables-approach/?utm_term=.c672f7a2b627.

[4] This was Barack Obama’s charge against Clinton in the 2008 primaries; see Michael James, “Obama: Hillary Will ‘Say Anything and Change Nothing’,” ABC News, http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/01/obama-hillary-w.html. It resurfaced in 2016. See, e.g., Lisa Lerer, “Leaked emails show what Clinton told executives in private,” October 8, 2016, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/emails-clinton-wall-street-private/.

[5] He uses this phrase repeatedly; see https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/?s=%22credentialed%2C+not+educated%22. Compare Malcolm Muggeridge on moderns being “educated into imbecility,” https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2014/01/03/malcom-muggeridge-on-the-self-destruction-of-20th-century-western-man/, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s talk of “intellectuals yet idiots” (“The Intellectual Yet Idiot,” Incerto, September 16, 2016, https://medium.com/incerto/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577#.dcvx4hgho).

[6] “Notes on Nationalism,” Polemic, May 1945; reprinted in England, Your England and Other Essays, London: Secker and Warburg, 1953.

[7] “Studies of independence and conformity: I. A minority of one against a unanimous majority.” Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, Vol. 70 (9), 1956, 1–70.

[8] “What Does Islam Teach about Violence?” The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx.

[9] “List of Islamist Terrorist Attacks,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks.

[10] Tom Howell Jr., “Obamacare premiums to rise by double-digit percentages for millions,” Washington Times, October 24, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/24/obamacare-premiums-rise-sharply-choices-dwindle-ad/.

[11] Eric Morath, “Seven Years Later, Recovery Remains the Weakest of the Post-World War II Era,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2016, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/07/29/seven-years-later-recovery-remains-the-weakest-of-the-post-world-war-ii-era/.

[12] Megan Woolhouse, “Percentage of those in labor pool at 38-year low,” Boston Globe, July 3, 2015, https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/07/02/percentage-workers-labor-pool-falls-year-low/zfLQrKjCyhra95v8PJxWcI/story.html.

[13] David Neumark, “The Evidence Is Piling Up That Higher Minimum Wages Kill Jobs,” Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-evidence-is-piling-up-that-higher-minimum-wages-kill-jobs-1450220824.

[14] Benjamin Weinthal and Lahav Harkov, “German Intelligence: Iran Seeks Illegal Nuclear Technology,” Jerusalem Post, July 7, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/Germanys-Merkel-says-Iran-violating-UN-missile-regulations-459766.

[15] Capital in the Twenty-First Century, translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer

(Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2014). For a critique of Piketty’s thesis, see Matthew Rognlie, “Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share: Accumulation or Scarcity?” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring 2015, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2015a_rognlie.pdf.

[16] Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015).

[17] This is a theme of Richard Fernandez’s recent columns. See “History’s Unexpected Guest,” Belmont Club, November 8, 2016, https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/11/08/historys-unexpected-guest/, and “Situational Unawareness,” Belmont Club, December 10, 2016, https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/12/10/situational-unawareness/.

[18] See Thomas L. Pangle, The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

[19] The most important speech for understanding that vision is probably his economic speech in Detroit: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/campaignc/290777-transcript-of-donald-trumps-economic-policy-speech-to-detroit. Newt Gingrich has elaborated the philosophy of government underlying Trump’s policy proposals: http://www.heritage.org/events/2016/12/gingrich; https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4637292/newt-gingrich-heritage-foundation.

[20] On Clay’s political philosophy, see Daniel Walker Howe, The Political Culture of the American Whigs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), chapter 6. Robert Nozick lays out his libertarian view in Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974).

[21] The connection between Rousseau, progressives such as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and contemporary progressives such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is complex and difficult to trace, not least because politicians find it advantageous to obscure their philosophical views (if they have them!) behind bland nostrums. But early progressives were overt fans of Rousseau. Randolph Bourne, for example, described his reaction to reading The Social Contract: “Yes, that is what I would have felt, done, said! …It was a sort of moral bath; it cleared up for me a whole new democratic morality, and put the last touch upon the old English way of looking at the world in which I was brought up and which I had such a struggle to get rid of.” (Quoted by Fred Siegel, The Revolt against the Masses (New York: Encounter Books, 2013), 18.) That makes clear not only Bourne’s acceptance of Rousseau but his rejection of the English tradition stretching from Hobbes and Locke through John Stuart Mill. Whether Hillary Clinton shares the original progressive rejection of natural rights is unclear—her religious background hints that she may not—but she certainly thinks that concern for individual rights, whatever their source, needs to be balanced against and frequently overridden by concern for the general welfare. See, for example, Hillary Clinton, “Children Are Citizens Too,” It Takes a Village (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996), where she speaks about changing conceptions of individual rights; see also Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (New York: Basic Books, 1995); Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (New York: Crown, 2008).

[22] See Theodore Kupfer, “Repeal the First Amendment, Clinton Insists to Applause,” National Review, July 29, 2016, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/438519/citizens-united-hillary-clinton-overturning-means-repealing-first-amendment; Steve Simpson, “Overturning Citizens United would be a disaster for free speech,” The Hill, September 6, 2016, http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/campaign/294665-overturning-citizens-united-would-be-a-disaster-for-free-speech.

[23] Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (550 U.S. 2010), https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf. Justice Kennedy’s majority decision affirms that “Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people…. The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it…. When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.” Chief Justice Roberts concurs: “The Government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech. It asks us to embrace a theory of the First Amendment that would allow censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets, posters, the Internet, and virtually any other medium that corporations and unions might find useful in expressing their views on matters of public concern. Its theory, if accepted, would empower the Government to prohibit newspapers from running editorials or opinion pieces supporting or opposing candidates for office, so long as the newspapers were owned by corporations—as the major ones are.” That kind of censorship is precisely what Hillary Clinton was advocating.

[24] See Emma Green, “The Little Sisters of the Poor Are Headed to the Supreme Court,” The Atlantic, November 6, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-little-sisters-of-the-poor-are-headed-to-the-supreme-court/414729/. The decision in the case, Zubik v. Burwell (578 U.S. 2016), is at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-1418_8758.pdf. Hillary Clinton tweeted her opposition to the Little Sisters: “Every woman, no matter where she works, deserves birth control coverage. This shouldn’t be a question. #SCOTUS -H” See Derek Hunter, “Hillary Comes Out against Religious Freedom,” The Daily Caller, May 16, 2016, http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/16/hillary-comes-out-against-religious-freedom/.

[25] Those publicly advocating this are media personalities rather than elected officials. See, for example, Mark Oppenheimer, “Now’s the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions,” Time, June 28, 2015, http://time.com/3939143/nows-the-time-to-end-tax-exemptions-for-religious-institutions/; Lee Moran, “Bill Maher Breaks Down Why All Religious Institutions Should Be Properly Taxed,” Huffington Post, April 16, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bill-maher-church-tax-religion_us_5711dd19e4b0018f9cba30a7.

[26] Stephen V. Monsma and Stanley W. Carlson-Thies, Free to Serve: Protecting the Religious Freedom of Faith-Based Organizations (Brazos, 2015); “Keeping the faith on campus,” World, April 9, 2016, https://world.wng.org/2016/04/keeping_the_faith_on_campus.

[27] Clinton supported overturning the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (554 U. S. 2008), https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf; see the transcript of the final Trump-Clinton debate: “I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in [Heller], because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them.” The case concerned a 66-year-old police officer who wanted to store a gun at his house—“Respondent Heller, a D. C. special policeman, applied to register a handgun he wished to keep at home”—and had nothing to do with toddlers. The key holding: “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” On her favorable mention of Australia’s program, see Bradford Richardson, “Hillary: Australia-style gun control ‘worth looking at’,” The Hill, October 16, 2015, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/dem-primaries/257172-hillary-australia-style-gun-control-worth-looking-at: “I don’t know enough details to tell you how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australia example is worth looking at,” she said.

[28] See Catherine Sevcenko, “Faculty Senate Censures LSU President for Firing Tenured Professor,” Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, October 8, 2015, https://www.thefire.org/faculty-senate-censures-lsu-president-for-firing-tenured-professor/; Kristine Guerra, “A Kentucky professor says singing a Beach Boys song got him in trouble for sexual misconduct allegations,” Washington Post, December 19, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/12/19/a-kentucky-professor-says-singing-a-beach-boys-song-got-him-in-trouble-for-sexual-misconduct-allegations/?utm_term=.c0ccd78916b6; Eric Wemple, “Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis details Title IX investigation over essay,” Washington Post, May 29, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/?utm_term=.40740b7f1a16.

[29] See, e.g., Jonathan Haidt, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” The Atlantic, September 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/; “The Unwisest Idea on Campus: Commentary on Lilienfeld,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 2017, Vol. 12(1) 176–177; Conor Friedersdorf, “How Politically Correct Should the Workplace Be?,” The Atlantic, April 13, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/how-politically-correct-should-the-workplace-be/477636/.

[30] The “Dear Colleague” letter that announced this policy, without any public discussion or opportunity to comment, is at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201104.pdf. See George F. Will, “Due process is still being kicked off campus,” Washington Post, May 13, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/due-process-is-still-being-kicked-off-campus/2016/05/13/cbf3ee6e-1860-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html?utm_term=.658a0b5b56ad. See also “Department of Justice: Title IX Requires Violating First Amendment,” Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, April 25, 2016, https://www.thefire.org/department-of-justice-title-ix-requires-violating-first-amendment/. On Clinton’s support for that policy, see Jake New, “Trump, Clinton and Sex Assault,” Inside Higher Education, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/10/11/approaches-campus-sexual-assault-would-differ-under-trump-clinton.

[31] See, for example, Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom, A Call For the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People (New York: Doubleday, Page, and Company, 1913), http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14811/14811-h/14811-h.htm, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Commonwealth Club Address,” September 23, 1932, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrcommonwealth.htm.

[32] This is how he ends the Discourse on Inequality, 1754, http://www.constitution.org/jjr/ineq.htm.

[33] See Rousseau, The Social Contract, https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/r/rousseau/jean_jacques/r864s/, http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/assets/pdfs/rousseau1762.pdf.

[34] See Matt Egan, “Coal companies have been scorched under Obama,” CNN Money, August 3, 2015, http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/03/investing/coal-obama-climate-change/; Robinson Meyer, “Obama’s Big New Move on Coal,” The Atlantic, January 15, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/coal-obama-federal-land/424422/; Ben Wolfgang, “Obama rushes out 11th-hour regulations targeting beleaguered coal industry,” Washington Times, December 19, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/19/obama-rushes-out-11th-hour-regulations-targeting-c/; Andrew Follett, “The Stunning Effects of Obama’s War on Coal, in One Chart,” The Daily Caller, April 28, 2016, http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/28/the-stunning-effects-of-obamas-war-on-coal-in-one-chart/. The EPA has tended not to follow the law once it has issued regulations: see John Hinderaker, “Federal Judge Denounces EPA as Rogue Agency,” Power Line, January 12, 2016, http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/01/federal-judge-denounces-epa-as-rogue-agency.php.

[35] Keith Johnson, “How Carbon Dioxide Became a ‘Pollutant’,” Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2009, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124001537515830975; Nicolas Loris, “EPA Formally Declares CO2 a Dangerous Pollutant,” The Daily Signal, December 7, 2009, http://dailysignal.com/2009/12/07/epa-formally-declares-co2-a-dangerous-pollutant/.

[36] The Obama administration’s executive actions in November 2014 effectively ended enforcement of much immigration law. It had been declining even before that: see Jessica Vaughan, “Immigration Enforcement in Sharp Decline, Despite Obama Administration’s Claims,” Center for Immigration Studies, January 2014, http://cis.org/node/5082. The Attorney’s General of twenty-five states subsequently sued the federal government over this action: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/files/ImmigrationStatesFirstAmendedLawsuit12092014.pdf.

[37] “Law School Profs Condemn New Sexual Harassment Policy,” The Harvard Crimson, October 15, 2014, http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2014/10/15/law-profs-criticize-new-policy/; Alan Dershowitz, “Innocent until proven guilty? Not under ‘yes means yes.’,” Washington Post, October 15, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2015/10/14/how-affirmative-consent-rules-put-principles-of-fairness-at-risk/?utm_term=.207dc17410c6; Stephen Henrick, “A Hostile Environment for Student Defendants: Title IX and Sexual Assault on College Campuses,” Northern Kentucky Law Review 40:1 (2013), 49–92, http://chaselaw.nku.edu/content/dam/chaselaw/docs/academics/lawreview/v40/nklr_v40n1_pp049-092.pdf.

[38] Todd Beamon, “Turley: Obama Amnesty ‘Unprecedented’ Threat to Constitution,” Newsmax, November 14, 2014, http://www.newsmax.com/US/executive-orders-amnesty-constitution/2014/11/14/id/607521/; Karl Rove, “Clinton Is Already Vowing to Overreach,” Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/clinton-is-already-vowing-to-overreach-1450307191.

[39] See Nick Gass, “”I’m so tired of this politically correct crap,”,” Politico, September 23, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/donald-trump-politically-correct-crap-213988; Conor Friedersdorf, “A Dialogue With a 22-Year-Old Donald Trump Supporter,”, The Atlantic, May 27, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/a-dialogue-with-a-22-year-old-donald-trump-supporter/484232/; James Taranto, “Trump vs. Political Correctness,” Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-vs-political-correctness-1479233123; Philipp Oehmke, “Has Political Correctness Gone off the Rails in America?” Der Spiegel, January 5, 2017, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/overwrought-political-correctness-helped-trump-win-a-1125725.html.

[40] See https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/issues-of-importance-to-catholics; Alexandra DeSanctis, “Senator Lee Introduces a Bill to Protect Religious Liberty,” National Review, September 28, 2016, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440502/trump-supports-bill-protecting-religious-liberty-introduced-mike-lee,” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440502/trump-supports-bill-protecting-religious-liberty-introduced-mike-lee.

[41] See https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/Second_Amendment_Rights.pdf.

[42] See F. H. Buckley, “Trump’s threat to the Liberal ‘Deep State’,” New York Post, January 19, 2017, http://nypost.com/2017/01/17/trumps-threat-to-the-liberal-deep-state/.

[43] Economic speech in Detroit: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/campaignc/290777-transcript-of-donald-trumps-economic-policy-speech-to-detroit.

[44] Ckyde Wayne Crews, Jr., “Donald Trump Promises To Eliminate Two Regulations For Every One Enacted,” Forbes, November 22, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/waynecrews/2016/11/22/donald-trump-promises-to-eliminate-two-regulations-for-every-one-enacted/#368002832b87.

[45] “Donald Trump campaigns at rally in Moon Township, says ‘We have to win Pennsylvania’,” WPXI, November 7, 2016, http://www.wpxi.com/news/donald-trump-to-campaign-at-rally-in-moon-township/464156588.

[46] There were many such stories during the campaign, e.g., “Hillary Can’t Fill High School Gym in Iowa – Trump Sells Out Huge Arenas Twice Today,” Investment Watch Blog, August 11, 2016, http://investmentwatchblog.com/hillary-cant-fill-high-school-gym-in-iowa-trump-sells-out-huge-arenas-twice-today/; Jim Hoft, “Wow! Hillary Struggles to Fill High School Gym in City of 776,000 Democrats,” Gateway Pundit, August 16, 2016, http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/08/wow-hillary-struggles-fill-high-school-gym-city-776000-democrats/; John Binder, “Hillary can’t fill gym in battleground Ohio, packs crowd with high school students,” The American Mirror, August 17, 2016, http://www.theamericanmirror.com/hillary-cant-fill-gym-battleground-ohio-fills-crowd-high-school-students/.

[47] See Jake Gibson, “Enthusiasm Gap? Clinton addressing modest crowds, as Trump rallies big halls,” Fox News, September 23, 2016, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/23/enthusiasm-gap-clinton-addressing-modest-crowds-as-trump-rallies-big-halls.html; Tim Hains, “Dem Strategist: Clinton Should Be In “Panic Mode” Over Enthusiasm Gap With Black Voters, “Nothing She Can Do,” “It’s Over”,” Real Clear Politics, November 1, 2016, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/11/01/dem_strategist_clinton_should_be_in_panic_mode_over_enthusiasm_gap_with_black_voters_nothing_she_can_do_now.html.

[48] Eric Morath, “Seven Years Later, Recovery Remains the Weakest of the Post-World War II Era,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2016, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/07/29/seven-years-later-recovery-remains-the-weakest-of-the-post-world-war-ii-era/.

[49] “Employment and Unemployment Among Youth Summary,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 17, 2016, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/youth.nr0.htm.

[50] “The Daily History of the Debt Results: Historical returns from 01/20/2009 through 10/04/2016,” https://treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/search?startMonth=01&startDay=20&startYear=2009&endMonth=10&endDay=04&endYear=2016.

[51] Theo Francis and Kate Linebaugh, “U.S. Corporate Profits on Pace for Third Straight Decline,” Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-corporate-profits-on-pace-for-third-straight-decline-1461872242; Lee Adler, “Chart of The Day – Real Durable Goods Orders Still Down 11% From Pre-Crisis Average,” Contra Corner, March 25, 2015, http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/chart-of-the-day-real-durable-goods-orders-still-down-11-from-pre-crisis-average/.

[52] “Household income in the United States,” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States.

[53] David Stockman, “Chart Of The Day: The Great Productivity Bust,” Contra Corner, September 15, 2016, http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/chart-of-the-day-the-great-productivity-bust/.

[54] Lawrence B. Lindsay, “How Progressives Drive Income Inequality,” Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-progressives-drive-income-inequality-1457132837.

[55] Luke Hilgemann, “ObamaCare’s Death Spiral Has Begun,” Investors Business Daily, September 23, 2016, http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/obamacares-death-spiral-has-begun/.

[56] Sean Kennedy and Parker Abt, “Trump is right about violent crime: It’s on the rise in major cities,” Washington Post, August 5, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-right-about-violent-crime-its-on-the-rise-in-major-cities/2016/08/05/3cf6b55e-5b11-11e6-9aee-8075993d73a2_story.html?utm_term=.bbd03b8f92a0; Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Latest Crime Statistics Released: Increase in Violent Crime, Decrease in Property Crime,” September 26, 2016, https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/latest-crime-statistics-released.

[57] Betsy McKay, “Life Expectancy for White Americans Declines,” Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/life-expectancy-for-white-americans-declines-1461124861.

[58] On the IRS scandal, see “Judicial Watch: FBI Investigation Documents of IRS Scandal,” Judicial Watch, July 27, 2016, http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-fbi-investigation-documents-irs-scandal/. On questions about the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case, see “James Comey’s Clinton Immunity,” Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/james-comeys-clinton-immunity-1475017121, and Andrew C. McCarthy, “Please Tell Me These FBI/DOJ ‘Side Deals’ with Clinton E-Mail Suspects Didn’t Happen,” National Review, October 4, 2016, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440697/hillary-clinton-email-scandal-side-deals-fbi-department-justice-politicized. On defying court orders, see David French, “Federal Judge Issues ‘Extraordinary’ Order Sanctioning the DOJ for Misconduct in Executive Amnesty Litigation,” National Review, May 19, 2016, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/435630/federal-judge-issues-extraordinary-order-sanctioning-doj-misconduct-executive-amnesty.

[59] On Libya, see Dominic Tierney, “The Legacy of Obama’s ‘Worst Mistake’,” The Atlantic, April 15, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/04/obamas-worst-mistake-libya/478461/; on Afghanistan, see Andrew Shaver and Joshua Madrigal, “Losing in Afghanistan,” Foreign Affairs, September 22, 2016, https://games.foreignaffairs.com/articles/afghanistan/2016-09-22/losing-afghanistan; on Iran, see Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, “U.S. Signed Secret Document to Lift U.N. Sanctions on Iranian Banks,” Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-signed-secret-document-to-lift-u-n-sanctions-on-iranian-banks-1475193723; Center for Security Policy, “More U.S. Ransom Payments to Iran Revealed,” http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2016/09/07/more-u-s-ransom-payments-to-iran-revealed/; Mark Dubowitz, “The Iran Nuclear Agreement: One Year Later,” http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/071416_Dubowitz_Testimony_Summary.pdf; “Iran seeking illegal nuke, missile technology: German intelligence,” The Times of Israel, July 8, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-seeking-illegal-nuke-missile-technology-says-german-intel-report/.

[60] For an excellent summary, see Quin Hillyer, “Saul Alinsky Leaves the White House,” American Spectator, January 19, 2017, https://spectator.org/saul-alinsky-leaves-the-white-house/.

[61] Salena Zito, “Taking Trump Seriously, Not Literally,” The Atlantic, September 23, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/trump-makes-his-case-in-pittsburgh/501335/.

[62] Reena Flores, “Hillary Clinton: Half of Donald Trump supporters in “basket of deplorables”,” CBS News, September 10, 2016, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hillary-clinton-half-donald-trump-supporters-basket-of-deplorables/. A video clip of her speech is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZHp4JLWjNw.

[63] “Full text: Donald Trump announces a presidential bid,” Washington Post, June 16, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/06/16/full-text-donald-trump-announces-a-presidential-bid/?utm_term=.ef13f118a008.

[64] For a timeline that establishes the context of Trump’s remarks, see the Federation for American Immigration Reform, President Obamas Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement 20092015, Fair Horizon Press, 2016, http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/ObamaTimeline_2016.pdf. In January, President Obama announced that he would veto a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that cancelled funding for executive amnesty programs he had announced the previous November. In February, DHS set up an amnesty hotline for immigrants in the country illegally and allowed beneficiaries to bring in relatives from Central America. A federal judge issued an injunction to stop the President’s executive amnesty, and the Department of Justice requested a stay. In March, the administration admitted it approved more than 100,000 applications despite the injunction; Judge Hanen considered imposing sanctions on DHS for refusing to obey his orders. A second wave of unaccompanied minors streaming across the border from Central America commenced. In April, Judge Hanen denied the request for a stay of injunction; Immigration and Customs Enforcement admitted that they had released more than 30,000 criminal aliens, 3,700 of whom had been declared “Threat Level 1,” including 86 murderers, 186 kidnappers, and 373 people convicted of sexual assault. In May, the Department of Justice admitted that it had violated the injunction, granting more than 2,000 amnesty applications in direct violation of the judge’s order; 113 Republican Congressmen filed a brief in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the injunction, which the Court proceeded to uphold. In June, Border Patrol agents complained that the Obama administration was keeping them from performing enforcement duties. Documents released by Senator Ted Cruz showed that the Obama administration had predicted that more than 100,000 unaccompanied minors would come to the United States from Central America that year as a result of his executive amnesty program. Judge Hanen once again reprimanded the Department of Justice for defying his injunction, and, in early July, threatened Secretary Johnson with contempt of court.

[65] Katie Springer, “Five Years Later, Overriding Crime Is Mariel Legacy,” Sun-Sentinel, September 26, 1985, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1985-09-26/news/8502100720_1_mariel-boatlift-criminals.

[66] Alfonso Chary, “How Fidel Castro and the Mariel boatlift changed lives and changed Miami,” Miami Herald, November 26, 2016, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/fidel-castro-en/article117206643.html: “”It was an example of what Fidel Castro was sending us, ” Odio said. “Criminals and crazies, who had no families here. I began to worry.”

[67] See Tom Morgan, “How to stop lawbreakers? Enforce the law,” Utica Observer-Dispatch, November 23, 2015, http://www.uticaod.com/article/20151123/OPINION/151129985.

[68] The distinction is central to Aristotle’s theory of the syllogism, and to contemporary first-order logic, which has two quantifiers, corresponding to some and all.

[69] “Transcript of the First Debate,” New York Times, September 27, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/27/us/politics/transcript-debate.html?_r=1. The concept of implicit bias stems from Anthony G. Greenwald, Debbie E. McGhee, and Jordan L. K. Schwartz, “Measuring Individual Differences in Implicit Cognition: The Implicit Association Test,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74, 6 (1998), 1464–1480. Though the concept of implicit bias is coming under increasing criticism in academic circles—see, e.g., Oswald, F., Mitchell, G., Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., and Tetlock, P., “Predicting ethnic and racial discrimination: a meta-analysis of IAT criterion studies,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Studies, 105(2), 2013, 171–192;

Oswald, F., Mitchell, G., Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., & Tetlock, P. , “Using the IAT to predict ethnic and racial discrimination: small effect sizes of unknown societal significance,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Studies, 108(4), 2015, 562–571; Blanton, H., and Jaccard, J., “Not so fast: ten challenges to importing implicit attitude measures to media psychology,” Media Psychology, 2015, 1–32; Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., and Burrows, C. N., “Implications of the implicit association test D-transformation for psychological assessment,” Assessment, 22(4), 2015, 429–440—it has most often been seen as an indication of hidden racism. See, for example, Malcolm Gladwell, Blink (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2007), chapter 3, and President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report: Presidents Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 2015.

[70] “Hillary Clinton’s ‘All Lives Matter’ Remark Stirs Backlash,” New York Times, June 24, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/06/24/hillary-clintons-all-lives-matter-remark-stirs-backlash/.

[71] “Hillary Clinton said it. Black lives matter. No hedge.” Washington Post, July 20, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/20/hillary-clinton-said-it-black-lives-matter-no-hedge/?utm_term=.ee334f27a074.

[72] “And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy. For me, that means that we need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community….” “The final Trump-Clinton debate transcript, annotated,” Washington Post, October 19, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/19/the-final-trump-clinton-debate-transcript-annotated/?utm_term=.e55b48ea684b.

[73] M. T. Latsis, Red Terror, quoted in Harrison Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow: Russia’s Revolutions, 1905-1917 (London, 1978), 565, and in Paul Johnson, Modern Times (New York: HarperCollins, 1983, 1991), 71.

[74] See Mark Lilla, “The End of Identity Liberalism,” New York Times, November 18, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-identity-liberalism.html?_r=1: “National politics in healthy periods is not about ‘difference,’ it is about commonality. And it will be dominated by whoever best captures Americans’ imaginations about our shared destiny.”

[75] Ella Whelan, “Stop Vote-shaming Trump’s Female Supporters,” Spiked, 15 November, 2016, http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/stop-vote-shaming-trumps-female-supporters/18975#.WHvdyTuEfKx.

[76] “Donald J. Trump Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration,” December 7, 2015, https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-preventing-muslim-immigration.

[77] “Address to the Nation by the President,” December 6, 2015, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/12/06/address-nation-president.

[78] Marco Rubio and John Kasich were the most vocal in criticizing Trump’s stance; see, for example, “The CNN Miami Republican debate transcript, annotated,” Washington Post, March 10, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/10/the-cnn-miami-republican-debate-transcript-annotated/?utm_term=.273c513232de. Polls showed that 50% of the American people, and 71% of Republicans, supported Trump’s proposal; see Kristina Wong, “Half of American Voters Back Trump’s Muslim Ban,” The Hill, March 29, 2016, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/274521-poll-half-of-american-voters-back-trumps-muslim-ban.

[79] The best known are the Rotherham scandal, which involved the exploitation of 1,400 children, and the Cologne New Year’s Eve attacks, which involved almost 1,200 sexual assaults in that city as well as hundreds in other German cities; see “Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotherham_child_sexual_exploitation_scandal, and “New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Germany,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year’s_Eve_sexual_assaults_in_Germany. But the problem is much more widespread. See “Europe’s Muslim rape epidemic: ‘Cologne is every day’,” Muslim Statistics, July 11, 2016, https://muslimstatistics.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/europes-muslim-rape-epidemic-cologne-is-every-day/; “Sweden and Denmark have highest number of sexual assaults in Europe,” The Independent, January 7, 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/sweden-and-denmark-have-highest-number-of-sexual-assaults-in-europe-a6800901.html. For a list of sexual assaults by migrants in Germany covering just the first two months of 2016, see Soeren Kern, “Germany: Migrant Rape Crisis Worsens,” Gatestone Institute, March 5, 2016, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7557/germany-rape-migrants-crisis; a similar list for July is at https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8663/germany-migrants-rape.

[80] The existence of “no-go zones,” zones in which non-Muslims are likely to be attacked, is controversial and not officially acknowledged, but widely asserted by police and those living in neighboring areas. See Soeren Kern, “European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 1: France,” Gatestone Institute, January 20, 2015, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5128/france-no-go-zones, and “European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 2: Britain,” Gatestone Institute, February 3, 2015, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5177/no-go-zones-britain; “Police Admit: No-Go Zones in France,” New Observer, October 11, 2016, http://newobserveronline.com/police-admit-no-go-zones-france/. For an argument that there are no no-go zones, see David A. Graham, “Why the Muslim ‘No-Go-Zone’ Myth Won’t Die,” The Atlantic, January 20, 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/. Skeptical filmmakers who have ventured into these areas to investigate have tended to be attacked; see, for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8bqWbJkTf8. The dispute turns largely on definitions; no one thinks there are areas officially acknowledged as outside government authority, and everyone admits that there are areas that are dangerous for outsiders, even for police.

[81] “List of Islamist terrorist attacks,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks; “Islamic Terror in Europe (Since 2001),” https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/attacks/europe-attacks.aspx.

[82] The United States, in the year preceding the election, suffered terror attacks in San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; St. Cloud, Minnesota; and Burlington, Washington, for a total of 68 dead and more than 200 wounded. See “Everything we know about the San Bernardino terror attack investigation so far,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-san-bernardino-shooting-terror-investigation-htmlstory.html; “Orlando shooting: 49 killed, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance,” CNN, June 13, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/; “ISIS wing claims responsibility for Minnesota mall attack,” CNN, September 18, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/18/us/minnesota-mall-stabbing/; and “Mall shooting suspect had blog with picture of ISIS leader,” Fox News, September 26, 2016, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/09/26/mall-shooting-suspect-had-blog-with-picture-isis-leader.html.

[83] See Christiane Hoffmann, “Merkel’s Humane Refugee Policies Have Failed,” Der Spiegel, February 26, 2016, http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/the-limits-of-humanity-merkel-refugee-policies-have-failed-a-1079455.html.

[84] See “DEA: Most Illegal Drugs Enter via Mexico, Cartels Greatest Criminal Threat to U.S.,” Judicial Watch, November 1o, 2015, http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2015/11/dea-most-illegal-drugs-enter-via-mexico-cartels-greatest-criminal-threat-to-u-s/. The DEA report itself is at https://www.dea.gov/docs/2015%20NDTA%20Report.pdf.

[85] An outline of the screening process is at https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/11/20/infographic-screening-process-refugee-entry-united-states. The difficulty, however, is that there are many falsified documents and little data on which to base decisions. See Leo Hohmann, “FBI: No Way to Screen ‘Refugees’ Coming to U.S.,” World Net Daily, October 22, 2015, http://www.wnd.com/2015/10/fbi-no-way-to-screen-refugees-coming-to-u-s/.

[86] George J. Borjas, Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999) and We Wanted Workers: Unraveling the Immigration Narrative (New York: W. W. Norton, 2016); Bob Davis, “Immigrants Push Down Wages for Low-Income Workers—But How Much?,” Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2016, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/02/09/immigrants-push-down-wages-for-low-income-workers-but-how-much/.

[87] Interview with Milton Friedman, Forbes, December 29, 1997. For discussion, see Robert Rector, “Look to Milton: Open borders and the welfare state,” http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2007/06/look-to-milton-open-borders-and-the-welfare-state.

[88] Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000); “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century”. Scandinavian Political Studies 30 (2), June 2007, 137–174, doi:10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.x.

 

[89] See Thomas M. Holbrook, “Here’s a close look at how immigrant voters could affect the 2016 U.S. election,” Washington Post, June 26, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/06/26/heres-a-close-look-at-how-immigrant-voters-could-affect-the-2016-election/?utm_term=.fcdc8cc57f12; also, Altered States: Changing Populations, Changing Parties, and the Transformation of the American Political Landscape (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

[90] The “phone and a pen” political philosophy of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton rejects limitations on executive power. That is precisely the point of the Magna Carta, the doctrine of natural rights, and representative government—to limit the executive’s power. Recent immigrants to the United States are from parts of the world where these traditions are weak, and the tradition of executive power is strong. See Luma Simms, “Why Immigrants Vote for Democrats,” The Federalist, July 27, 2015, http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/27/why-immigrants-vote-for-democrats/; James G. Gimple, “Immigration’s Impact on Republican Political Prospects, 1980 to 2012,” Center for Immigration Studies, April 2014, http://cis.org/immigration-impacts-on-republican-prospects-1980-2012.

[91] Publius Decius Mus lays out the argument in his influential essay “The Flight 93 Election,” Claremont Review of Books, September 5, 2016, http://www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/the-flight-93-election/: “A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda, plus items few of us have yet imagined in our darkest moments. Nor is even that the worst. It will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent hitherto seen in the supposedly liberal West only in the most “advanced” Scandinavian countries and the most leftist corners of Germany and England. We see this already in the censorship practiced by the Davoisie’s social media enablers; in the shameless propaganda tidal wave of the mainstream media; and in the personal destruction campaigns—operated through the former and aided by the latter—of the Social Justice Warriors. We see it in Obama’s flagrant use of the IRS to torment political opponents, the gaslighting denial by the media, and the collective shrug by everyone else.”

[92] “Opinions and Social Pressure,” Scientific American 193, 5 (1955), 31–35, 31.

[93] See Vaclav Havel, “The Power of the Powerless,” in The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe, edited by John Keane, with an Introduction by Steven Lukes (London: Hutchinson, 1985).

[94] See the Clinton endorsements by The New Yorker, October 31, 2016, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/31/the-new-yorker-endorses-hillary-clinton, and The Atlantic, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/11/the-case-for-hillary-clinton-and-against-donald-trump/501161/.

[95] Dana Milbank, “Donald Trump’s war with the U.S. military,” Washington Post, September 9, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trumps-war-with-the-us-military/2016/09/09/a6701dae-7678-11e6-8149-b8d05321db62_story.html?utm_term=.3e2570a30bbd; Andy Greenberg, “Trump ignoring US intelligence agencies creates risks beyond Russia hacking,” Wired, December 12, 2016, https://www.wired.com/2016/12/trump-cia-national-intelligence-briefings/.

[96] F. Michael Maloof, “Top Generals: Obama is ‘Purging the Military,’” State of the Nation, July 19, 2016, http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=43853; Daniel John Sobieski, “Obama purged military of those who sought victory,” American Thinker, September 10, 2016, http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/09/obama_purged_military_of_those_who_sought_victory.html#ixzz4W399n6wF; “List Of Military Elite Purged And Fired Under Obama, Compiled By General Paul Vallely, 3-17-14,” https://jhaines6.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/list-of-military-elite-purged-and-fired-under-obama-compiled-by-general-paul-vallely-3-17-14/.

[97] Marc A. Thiessen, “Obama’s hypocrisy on intelligence briefings,” Washington Post, December 19, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-hypocrisy-on-intelligence-briefings/2016/12/19/8b1fbed0-c5f4-11e6-bf4b-2c064d32a4bf_story.html?utm_term=.229941a01b00.

[98] Aristotle, Comanche Ethics I, 1.

[99] See John Hinderaker, “Dishonest CIA Director Rips Trump; Trump Should Rip Him Back,” Power Line, January 15, 2017, http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/01/dishonest-cia-director-rips-trump-trump-should-rip-him-back.php: “So ‘intelligence officials’ think nothing of committing a felony if it will help serve the cause of the Democratic Party. The CIA is a sick agency. Heads need to roll.”

[100] “Donald Trump makes his most dangerous comments yet,” Washington Post, August 3, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trump-makes-his-most-dangerous-comments-yet/2016/08/03/ed5722ba-59b0-11e6-831d-0324760ca856_story.html?utm_term=.4ec29a8af454.

[101] John Lewis: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.” See Virginia Kruta, “Trump Lashes Out at Dem. Rep. Skipping Inauguration of ‘Illegitimate’ President,” Independent Journal Review, January 14, 2016, http://ijr.com/2017/01/778135-trump-lashes-out-at-dem-rep-skipping-inauguration-of-illegitimate-president/. Martin O’Malley tweeted, “Now is not the time for reconciliation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer didn’t reconcile with the Nazis. MLK didn’t reconcile with the KKK. Now we fight” https://twitter.com/MartinOMalley/status/820476452478939137/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw.

[102] See Piers Morgan, “The people who are determined to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency before he even takes the oath aren’t just undermining him, they are undermining democracy and undermining America,” Daily Mail, January 16, 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4125390/PIERS-MORGAN-People-undermining-Trump-undermine-America.html#ixzz4W3QkNa8u.

[103] See Austin Bay, “Democratic Party Operative Robert Creamer Used Terror to Wage War on Honesty,” The Observer, October 25, 2016, http://observer.com/2016/10/democratic-party-operative-robert-creamer-used-terror-to-wage-war-on-honesty/. Creamer has not faced any legal consequences; he met with Obama in the White House 340 times, and sat in the front row at Obama’s farewell address. Note, too, the threats against Trump, including from a family friend of the Clintons: “EXCLUSIVE: Florida man charged with threatening to kill President-elect Trump at his inauguration on Twitter was a close family friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Daily Mail, January 19, 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4133938/Florida-man-threatened-kill-Trump-Clinton-friend.html#ixzz4WFAzNPZd.

[104] “This is how fascism comes to America,” Washington Post, May 18, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-is-how-fascism-comes-to-america/2016/05/17/c4e32c58-1c47-11e6-8c7b-6931e66333e7_story.html?utm_term=.35ab03239faf.

[105] “‘I alone can fix it’ — the simple and dangerous appeal of Trump’s worldview,” Boston Globe, July 22, 2016, https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/07/22/alone-can-fix-simple-and-dangerous-appeal-trump-worldview/yssdNUFFuNeng96N2Vxj1H/story.html.

[106] See Jennifer Rubin, “Republicans have a problem: Trump-Putin,” Washington Post, July 27, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/07/27/republicans-have-a-problem-trump-putin/?utm_term=.5d4fdb3805f4) and Garry Kasparov, “The U.S. doesn’t have a problem with Russia. It has a problem with Vladimir Putin.” Washington Post, January 3, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/03/the-u-s-doesnt-have-a-problem-with-russia-it-has-a-problem-with-vladimir-putin/?utm_term=.f016663a818a.

[107] You can listen for yourself: “Trump: ‘Russia, I hope you can find Hillary’s missing emails’ – video,” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2016/jul/27/donald-trump-russia-dnc-email-hack-video.

[108] See Jennifer Rubin, “Russia invades, Obama expresses ‘concern’,” Washington Post, August 28, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/08/28/russia-invades-obama-expresses-concern/?utm_term=.a639a82d27c6; Paul Roderick Gregory, “International Criminal Court: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine Is A ‘Crime,’ Not A Civil War,” Forbes, November 20, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2016/11/20/international-criminal-court-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-is-a-crime-not-a-civil-war/#1a654c8c7fec; Liz Peek, “Obama, not Trump, has built up Russian strongman Putin,” Fox News, August 15, 2016, http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/08/15/obama-not-trump-has-built-up-russian-strongman-putin.html.

[109] See Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz, “How the U.S. thinks Russians hacked the White House,” CNN, April 8, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/07/politics/how-russians-hacked-the-wh/; John Hinderaker, “Remember When the Russians Hacked the White House Computers?” Power Line, December 11, 2016, http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/12/remember-when-the-russians-hacked-the-white-houses-computers.php.

[110] See Jo Becker and Mike McIntire, “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal,” New York Times, April 23, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html?_r=0: “…the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States…. As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well. And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”

[111] Michael Barbaro, “Donald Trump Clung to ‘Birther’ Lie for Years, and Still Isn’t Apologetic,” New York Times, September 16, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/us/politics/donald-trump-obama-birther.html.

[112] See “Donald Trump, Whoopi Goldberg, Spar Over Obama on ‘The View’” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2011; “Birtherism Is Dead, But the Birther Industry Continues,” Time, April 27, 2011.

[113] Trial and Triumph: Stories Out Of Africa, NPR, October 9, 2008; “Kenyan-born Obama all set for US Senate”. The Standard. Associated Press. June 27, 2004; Dylan Stableford, “‘Born in Kenya’: Obama’s Literary Agent Misidentified His Birthplace in 1991”, ABC News, May 16, 2012.

[114] See Nicholas Kristof, “As Donald Trump Denies Climate Change, These Kids Die of It,” New York Times, January 6, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/opinion/sunday/as-donald-trump-denies-climate-change-these-kids-die-of-it.html; Brad Plummer, “Here’s what optimistic liberals get wrong about Trump and climate change,” Vox, January 4, 2017, http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/1/4/14116592/trump-climate-change-optimism-meh.

[115] U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, “Bipartisan Group of Current & Former Senators & House Members Join to File Amicus Brief in Support of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan,” http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2016/4/bipartisan-group-of-current-former-senators-house-members-join-to-file-amicus-brief-in-support-of-president-obama-s-clean-power-plan.

[116] 392 U.S. 1 (1968), http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/392/1.html. In the first Trump-Clinton debate, Lester Holt asserted that stop-and-frisk had been found unconstitutional in New York, and Trump denied it. So-called fact-checkers universally took Holt’s side, declaring Trump’s statement false, even though it is hard to locate anything incorrect in what he said. Even Michelle Ye Hee Lee, “Trump’s false claim that stop and frisk in NYC wasn’t ruled unconstitutional,” Washington Post, September 28, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/09/28/trumps-false-claim-that-stop-and-frisk-was-not-ruled-unconstitutional/?utm_term=.9387780a1ab1, draws the relevant distinction, though she then proceeds to ignore it: “The important distinction here is that stop and frisk as a tactic is constitutional. The way it was applied in New York City, and as it was challenged in the lawsuit that Trump and Holt were referring to, was found unconstitutional.” So, Trump’s claim that stop-and-frisk itself had not been found unconstitutional was entirely correct.

[117] Nicholas Thompson, “Please Don’t Shut Down the Internet, Donald Trump,” New Yorker, December 17, 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/please-dont-shut-down-the-internet-donald-trump.

[118] See https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/Net_Complaint_-_FILED.pdf; Sarah Perez, “Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube collaborate to remove ‘terrorist content’ from their services,” Tech Crunch, December 5, 2016, https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/05/facebook-microsoft-twitter-and-youtube-collaborate-to-remove-terrorist-content-from-their-services/; Alex Hurn, “Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft sign EU hate speech code,” The Guardian, May 31, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/31/facebook-youtube-twitter-microsoft-eu-hate-speech-code; Robert Epstein, “The New Censorship,” US News, June 22, 2016, http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-22/google-is-the-worlds-biggest-censor-and-its-power-must-be-regulated; Liz Peek, “How the Focus on ‘Fake News’ Could Lead to Censorship,” Fiscal Times, December 14, 2016, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2016/12/14/How-Focus-Fake-News-Could-Lead-Censorship.

[119] Contra the claims of, for example, Corey Brettschneider, “Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide,” Politico, August 4, 2016, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/2016-donald-trump-constitution-guide-unconstitutional-freedom-liberty-khan-214139. See Louis Nelson, “Trump’s Muslim registry wouldn’t be illegal, constitutional law experts say,” Politico, November 17, 2016, http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/donald-trump-muslim-registry-constitution-231527.

[120] See Eric Posner, “Is an Immigration Ban on Muslims Unconstitutional?” December 8, 2015, http://ericposner.com/is-an-immigration-ban-on-muslims-unconstitutional/; Hiroshi Motomura, “Immigration Law after a Century of Plenary Power: Phantom Constitutional Norms and Statutory Interpretation,” Yale Law Journal, 100, 3 (1990), 545–613.

[121] See Stephen F. Hayes, “Obama’s Shameful Legacy,” Weekly Standard, January 18, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/obamas-shameful-legacy/article/2006355; Bob McManus, “Why Liberals Just Love to Set Terrorists Free,” New York Post, January 18, 2017, http://nypost.com/2017/01/18/why-liberals-just-love-to-set-terrorists-free/.

 

 

 

 

 

FDR started the Long Peace. Under Trump, it may be coming to an end.


January 29, 2017

FDR started the Long Peace. Under Trump, it may be coming to an end.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/fdr-started-the-long-peace-under-trump-it-may-be-coming-to-an-end/2017/01/26/2f0835e2-e402-11e6-ba11-63c4b4fb5a63_story.html?utm_term=.748842165167

In his first days in office, President Trump has begun to reverse the domestic policies of the previous eight years. But with regard to the United States’ relations with the world, Trump seems far more radical. In word and deed, he appears to be walking away from the idea of America at the center of an open, rule-based international order. This would be a reversal of more than 70 years of U.S. foreign policy.

In an essay in the New York Review of Books, Jessica T. Mathews points out that since 1945, Americans of both political parties have accepted three principles. First, that America’s security is enhanced by its broad and deep alliances around the world. Second, that an open global economy is not a zero-sum game but rather allows the United States to prosper and others to grow. And finally, though there was debate about whether dictatorships were to be “tolerated, managed, or confronted,” in the end there was a faith in democracy and its advantages. Mathews notes that for 30 years, Trump has attacked these views as costly naivete that has allowed the world to rip off America.

Given the magnitude of the policy shift, it is worth recalling why the United States adopted this outward-looking approach in the first place. It started with Franklin D. Roosevelt, as Nigel Hamilton explains in his superb book “Commander-in-Chief.” By 1943, while victory was still a distant prospect, Roosevelt began to imagine a postwar international system. Hamilton brilliantly sets out Roosevelt’s foresight, determination and skill in establishing a new world order.

Image result for nigel hamilton commander in chief

Neither of FDR’s key wartime allies was much interested in his approach. Joseph Stalin, a communist autocrat, would resist many of his ideas, and Winston Churchill was stubbornly committed to continuing Britain’s rule over its vast empire. Roosevelt wanted something different: to establish an enduring peace in which freedom could flourish. That meant the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan, to wipe the slate clean of fascism and militarism. And it meant that Britain and France would have to decolonize Asia and Africa. Roosevelt despised the system of colonial exploitation and believed that it created the conditions that led to revolution and war. He also wanted open trade, rather than the ruinous protectionism of the 1930s. To secure all this, FDR understood that the United States would need to be permanently engaged with the world in a way it had never been before.

Hamilton vividly describes how, in the midst of directing military strategy in the largest conflict in human history, Roosevelt always kept his eye on postwar planning. With Congress and the public still suspicious of American involvement, he juggled various plans and proposals to make sure that this time, unlike after World War I, America would help keep the peace. He needed Churchill’s and Stalin’s support, which is why he kept trekking around the globe to meet them at summits. (To understand the strain on FDR, keep in mind that Roosevelt’s trip to meet Churchill at Casablanca in 1943 entailed a long train ride to Miami, a 10-hour flight to Trinidad, a nine-hour flight to Brazil, a 19-hour flight to Gambia and finally another nine-hour flight to Casablanca. All this for a man who was paralyzed, had a failing heart and had not taken a plane ride since 1932.)

Roosevelt’s vision for a global system did not work exactly as he had hoped, chiefly because of the Soviet Union and its postwar behavior. But much of it did happen, from the United Nations to an open global trading system to the decolonization of Europe’s empires. And the great holdout to America’s vision, the Soviet Union, itself collapsed in 1991.

The results have been astonishing. Many historians have pointed out that we live in unprecedented times. The period since 1945 has been marked by the absence of war between the world’s major powers. Most of prior human history is a tale of economic mercantilism, political conflict and repeated war. Since 1945, we have lived in what John Lewis Gaddis dubbed the “Long Peace.” Through the Long Peace we have also had decades of rising incomes, living standards and health throughout the world, especially in the United States.

When Roosevelt was beginning to design his system, he was the dissenter. The dominant foreign policy ideas in America at the time were represented by a movement called “America First.” Nativist, isolationist and anti-Semitic, the movement held that an outward-oriented America was a policy for suckers. It took Hitler and World War II to make Americans recognize that, for a country of America’s size and scale, isolation and narrow self-interest would lead to global insecurity and disaster. One wonders what it will take to make today’s America Firsters relearn that same lesson.