“Advantage Trump”

rule of law

Please pardon my repetitiveness, but this is really important. This from Andrew Sullivan, The Democrats are in a Bubble on Immigration:

In the U.S. in the 21st century, should anyone who enters without papers and doesn’t commit a crime be given a path to citizenship? Should all adversely affected by climate change be offered a path to citizenship if they make it to the border? Should every human living in violent, crime-ridden neighborhoods or countries be granted asylum in America? Is there any limiting principle at all?

I suspect that the Democrats’ new position — everyone in the world can become an American if they walk over the border and never commit a crime — is political suicide. I think the courts’ expansion of the meaning of asylum would strike most Americans as excessively broad. I think many Americans will have watched these debates on immigration and concluded that the Democrats want more immigration, not less, that they support an effective amnesty of 12 million undocumented aliens as part of loosening border enforcement and weakening criteria for citizenship. And the viewers will have realized that their simple beliefs that borders should be enforced and that immigration needs to slow down a bit are viewed by Democrats as unthinkable bigotry.

Advantage Trump.

Aardvark’s Animadversions

To begin with, is it your view that Sullivan has

  • stated correctly—or misstated—the views of Democratic presidential candidates?
  • stated correctly—or misstated—the views of progressives generally?
  • stated correctly—or misstated—your own views?

And if you think anyone’s views have been misstated, what changes would be necessary to correct the misstatements?

And if you think that Sullivan’s summary is correct, then what effect do you think this issue will have on the 2020 election?

And are you prepared for a glorious defeat?

Or do you have a strategy for convincing a majority of people that you are correct?

Gott Mit Uns

Gott Mit Uns

Ross Douthat, What Are Conservatives Actually Debating? What the strange war over “David French-ism says about the right.

Andrew Sullivan, This Is What a Real Conservative Looks Like in 2019

Nancy LeTourneau, When People Are Certain That God Is On Their Side

The sources listed above provide more insight and clarity about the intra-right “intellectual” controversy about which I wrote two days ago.

Mr. Sohrab Ahmari is a recent convert to Roman Catholicism who, with the zeal of the recently converted, has apparently decided to be more Catholic than the pope. He wants people of faith—that is, folks espousing a certain strain of purported Christianity—to impose a dictatorship on the rest of us.

Now, the world is full of kooks, and Mr. Ahmari’s views would not be important but for the fact that they reflect—and provide a superficial “intellectual” veneer to support—the outlook of a non-trivial portion of our population. These include, BTW, quite a number of my high school classmates of many years ago, as evidenced by their Facebook postings.

Also, I call your attention in particular to the clarifying analysis of Ross Douthat. As he explains, the Ahmari versus French dispute could portend a decision by the religious right to abandon its alliance with the plutocracy, and just take its marbles and go home.

And what a happy event that would be.

Here’s my two cents. For the sake of the discussion, let’s say I’m the kind of person who thinks the most pressing issue of public policy is the necessity to force 13-year old rape victims to bear their rapist’s child, regardless of injury to physical or mental health. Coming in a fairly close second is my God-given right to be really nasty to gays and lesbians. Also of paramount importance: my right to erect “Christian” monuments on public property, and my right to enforce mandatory prayer before public school sports events.

Were I such a person, I would begin by addressing, not the moral rightness of seizing the levers of power and stuffing my views down the throats of everyone else. Instead, I would first ask whether such a course of action is practical. (Why waste mental energy worrying about the morality of a stratagem you could never pull off?)

Having asked myself the question, here is how I would answer: “Self,” I would say, “if the entire United States had the demographic and ideological characteristics of the population of the State of Alabama, then seizing the levers of power and establish a theocracy might work. But, inasmuch as the United States is not much like Alabama, my desired course of action won’t work, and I had best try something else.”

That’s the main point Douthat makes, though he uses a lot more words. And, Douthat cogently adds (in words or substance): if I am going to choose a political champion to advance my theocratic views, then I really need to choose a more attractive, and much cleverer, champion than Donald Trump.

That’s how a logical theocrat would think, but Mr. Ahmari and his ilk are not logical, and that’s not how they think. As Ms. LeTourneau remarks, “Frankly, it is impossible to engage someone like that, because the only response they will accept is capitulation.”

Ixnay on the “Appeasement” Canard


The claim of Democratic “appeasement” is being heard in the land, frequently combined with references to purported lack of manliness. See, for example, Andrew Sullivan, The Appeasement of Donald Trump.

William Butler Yeats wrote, “For the womb the seed sighs.” With that self-same burning desire, Donald Trump craves House passage of articles of impeachment. (Donald Doofus is certain such a development would have the same positive effect on his ratings that it had for Bill Clinton.)

Children, it is not “appeasement” when you don’t take the bait and fight on the ground on which your enemy wants to fight. When the Americans fought the Redcoats, marching up and down in plain sight attired in scarlet apparel, it was not “appeasement” for the patriots to wear old leather clothing, hide behind rocks, and shoot at the enemy. It was just common sense.

All that being said, just because Donald Doofus thinks a thing is in his own interest does not make it true. That’s because he’s a doofus.

To be more specific: think about this potential scenario. The Democrats call witnesses against Trump, and otherwise build on the Mueller report to make the most damning case possible. Maybe, about the same time, the state of New York brings an indictment for a variety of business crimes. The House then passes fact-filled, inculpating articles of impeachment. To which Mitch McConnell responds,, “Fuck you. We’re not going to hold a Senate trial.” (Sullivan raises the possibility of such a McConnell tactic, and I have seen it mentioned elsewhere. McConnell’s overriding goal is to avoid Republican senatorial embarrassment or disunity. It sounds to me very much like the sort of asinine maneuver that would appeal to McConnell’s lizard brain.)

And let’s assume that’s the ground on which the 2020 election is fought: an utterly damning set of articles of impeachment, and an utter failure to refute the charges, because the Senate’s constitutional duty is being disregarded.

In that scenario, I like our odds.

Are You an Asymetrical Multiculturalist?


Obama: “We can’t label everyone who is disturbed by migration as racist”

Andrew Sullivan, The Opportunity of White Anxiety

Ronald Brownstein, Trump’s Immigration Policies Unify White Republicans: As the GOP’s political power concentrates in less diverse areas, resistance to the president’s agenda keeps on shrinking.

Brownstein, an acute political observer, acutely observes the main force behind Republican politics. Obama does what Obama does. Sullivan reflects on the expanding definition of whiteness in America, the alleged distinction between racism and mere racial conservatism, and why we should supposedly be concerned about asymmetrical multiculturalism. (Don’t know what that is? I didn’t, until I read Sullivan’s piece.)

I have a more basic point to make. People who aspire to influence and leadership in the progressive movement need to stop hemming and hawing about immigration. They need to have coherent, reasoned, humane, and defensible positions. If they are for open borders, say so, and explain why. If they are not for open borders, they need to say what rules they would apply, and why.

In particular, we need to have a coherent position on immigration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Yes, I know, we need to help the folks down there build livable countries. No doubt about it. But unless and until that happens, what should the US do about migrants from those countries?


Readers today come from Canada, India, Singapore, the Palestinian Territories, Romania, the UK, and the United States. See y’all soon.

The New Beatitudes: Blessed Are the Winners

From Andrew Sullivan, The Pope and the Pagan. Thanks once again to Hans.

Blessed are the winners: for theirs is the kingdom of Earth.

Blessed are the healthy: for they will pay lower premiums.

Blessed are the rich: for they will inherit what’s left of the earth, tax-free.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for oil and coal: for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciless: for they are so, so strong.

Blessed are the liars: for they will get away with it.

Blessed are the war-makers: for they will be called very, very smart.

Blessed are those who support you regardless: for theirs is the Electoral College.

Blessed are you when others revile you and investigate you and utter all kinds of fake news about you. Rejoice and be glad, for the failing press is dying.

Words of Wisdom from Andrew Sullivan


Worth a read on several counts, but let me draw your attention to what Sullivan (who got the happy phrase from Josh Barro) calls the Trump-curious.

Aardvark calls them the fans leaving the stadium in the early innings.

Sullivan Writes,

The key, it seems to me, are those voters best described in Josh Barro’s lovely formulation, the “Trump-curious.” Gallup finds them much lower in support for early Trump than they were for late Obama. They don’t like chaos or incompetence — and they’ve seen their fair share of both; they’re not going to like seeing people’s health insurance taken away from them. Nor do they enjoy unnerving scenes of mass deportations. They voted for Trump in part because they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton but also, one suspects, out of a gamble that Trump may be good for the economy. If the economy goes south — and remember, Trump inherited a low unemployment rate and a long stock-market boom — they could leave in droves. It’s vital we don’t push these people away from the opposition by too dogmatic or leftist a stance. It’s crucial to keep a calm, moderate, and sane voice directed at exactly this 15 percent or so; and to simply hold Trump constantly accountable for the results of his policies, especially on health care and jobs. If we can’t remove him, we can neuter him. And for that, the coalition of opposition has to be as broad as possible.