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Barack Obama was an atrocious president.  His ideas, his attitude, and his effect on the country were almost exclusively negative.  Even for someone ill disposed to his politics, there was, for me at least, a hope that his very presence would lead to a moral renewal among black Americans and a rejection of the corrosive “blame whitey” attitude that is so inimical to self-improvement.  Furthermore, while doing so for mostly leftist reasons, I hoped that his rejection of the Iraq War would lead to a broader embrace of foreign policy minimalism.  Both of these possible silver linings turned out to be made of tin.  On race relations he was terrible, fomenting racial troubles at home, while getting us involved in new conflicts abroad. Thus, he was bad in the ways I expected because he is an extreme liberal, and he was not even good in the ways he suggested he would be.  He was simply a disaster across the board.

It’s easy to forget all the ways he and his presidency was a disaster, so let’s recap some things we may have forgotten.

Domestic Policy

Obama’s domestic record, particularly in his first term, has been characterized by standard issue liberal causes–more government, Obamacare, Obamaphones, more spending, big deficits, a heavy tax burden–with newer and more exotic ones, such as transsexual rights, continued mass immigration, vaguely technocratic globalist free trade views, and a loose monetary policy that has only slowly raised the stock market and done little to help the “real economy.”

While the economy is undeniably better off today than at the height of the Great Reset in 2008, the growth was slow and the number of structurally unemployed has been significant.  The massive growth in the market and confidence since Trump’s electoral victory suggests Obama’s pro-regulation and big government views were holding things back considerably.  Furthermore, his use of executive orders and failure to recognize and adapt to his opponents made the style of his presidency imperious and hostile.

While he came from a Constitutional law background, Americans probably don’t realize how radical the law schools are, often hostile to the civics-style understanding and respect they have for law and government.  He exemplified the cynical legal realism of his Harvard education.

Race Relations

We saw hints of Obama’s racial attitudes during his 2008 Campaign, where his toxic pastor Jeremiah Wright’s “God Damn America” sermon was revealed.  A prelude to later events, we may also forget how Obama made excuses for the Jena Six crooks and was soft on crime generally.  Throughout his presidency, whenever there was a black-white conflict, the insecure mulatto took the black side, right or wrong.  In the process, he encouraged lawlessness and made the job of police officers more difficult, leading to race riots and increased violence against cops and people in general.  We saw this embrace of the worst kinds of lawlessness and hostility with the incident of Officer Crowley and Professor Gates, Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, Baltimore, etc.  In his “let’s understand their anger” schtick, he constantly flattered blacks and, in the process, made whites more nervous, cohesive, and aware that minorities are tribal and somewhat hostile, whereas, by contrast, whites are chiefly concerned with justice defined in universal terms.

Gun Control

Obama hates guns.  He hates guns because he hates freedom and hates white people.  He knows white people out in the Red States love guns and freedom and fear their government.  He wants the government to be able to control white people, and he knows it will hit a brick wall eventually if whites still have guns.  He also thinks, against much evidence, that it’s a winning electoral issue.  And he knows, in his heart of hearts, that as much as he hates (mostly white) cops, that minorities with guns are very dangerous, and scare little old ladies and urban white liberals, so disarming them is also popular and necessary.

He tried hard after Newtown to ban assault weapons–rarely used in crime, but useful for grinding a tyrannical government to a halt–but he failed.  His hatred of guns, gun culture (i.e., white culture), and historical American freedoms was always manifest. The Supreme Court gave those who support gun rights a useful tool in Heller, but it met with no help from Obama and his buddies in Congress.

Spending and Regulation

Obama was in love with government spending and regulation.  His stimulus package after the 2008 economic crisis has almost nothing to show for it, other than nearly a $20T deficit, almost double than when he took office.  He’s gotten the DOL to push higher wages through new overtime rules, the EPA to stop useful pipelines and to hamstring American business for dubious fears of global warming, the DoD to shake down local police departments and schools for various racial justice reasons, and the Education Department to push schools to allow boys in the girls bathrooms, when it’s not harassing them for inevitable racial “gaps” in testing.

He has little respect for business, especially small business.  He has weighed them (and individuals) down with Obamacare, and given little moral support for the American free market system. He never worked in the private sector in a meaningful way, knows little about it, and has little sympathy for its virtues and its challenges.  Naturally, he and his wife acted like royalty the minute they got money, much like the Clintons, jet-setting on the taxpayer dime when they’re not cozying up to celebrities.  For him money is to be spent; the idea of capital, thrift, and hard work as a virtue eludes him.

The one area where he might have had some moral authority in this area was to reign in the casino-like activity of Wall Street and the Investment Banks. He didn’t do this.   Whether out of laziness, conflict of interest, or just it not being a priority, it seemed an area where he could do something both popular and useful, and he mostly abjured.

Social Issues

Obama was an extreme leftist on all social issues, pushing beyond the 2008 boundaries for gay rights and gay marriage, to the new frontier of normalizing mentally ill transsexuals.  He ignored statutes and constitutional limits on immigration law and brought about the Dreamer executive order, which legalized millions of young (and not so young) illegal immigrants.  And he not only was pro-abortion, but in totalitarian fashion aimed to coerce religious institutions and businesses opposed to abortion to provide them in the form of his Obamacare mandate.  On a great many issues the distinction of public and private is under assault, and Obama did nothing to defend the freedom of conscience, the right not to participate in that which one abhors.  The goal, of course, whether it’s abortion or making people celebrate gay marriage is to normalize one point of view and, more important, label more conservative views as retrograde and unacceptable.   In this he is quite simply a typical leftist fanatic.

The end result of all this social issue ferment was to accelerate the very tangible assault on the family.  A social revolution has transpired since the 1960s, reinforced by an economic revolution that hurts working class men through deindustrialization and wage stagnation.  These events conspire to accelerate the breakdown of the traditional family, which has real consequences:  impoverished single mothers, mass unhappiness, cut-throat economic competition between the sexes, the economic obsolescence of men  and fatherhood, the failure to socialize and contain men and women to do their duty to society and posterity, and a decline in family formation among the most talented.  The assault on the family is dysgenic and disorienting.

These social and economic costs are most pronounced among minorities.  Instead of recognizing and doing something to address this genuine social problem, he has instead doubled down, denigrating heterosexuality with the cult of the transsexual and the gay.  This movement is simply another unfolding of the Marxist sexual revolution, which aimed above all to destroy the family and delegitimize the past.  By normalizing and celebrating the abnormal and failing to recognize we must restrain this powerful passion, the traditional family becomes one option among many, harder to support than ever, rather than the socially encouraged best path for the good of the community as a whole.

Foreign Policy

Mainstream Republicans criticize Obama, in part, for his deviation from neoconservative orthodoxy.  While realism of one kind or another was the dominant view in the first Bush administration, neoconservative reigned in the Second, and many Republicans became uneasy with this au courant combination of idealism and interventionism.  Far from undoing this legacy, Obama pursued the worst of all worlds, a chaotic hodge podge of deviations from our traditional core interests,  a redefinition of the genius of our American system as a fundamentally leftist order, forays into idealistic wars based on dubious and sentimental concerns for the “oppressed,” and cynical support for the Saudis in the Great Game of the Middle East.  Most important of all, he has downplayed the threat of ISIS and al Qaeda terrorism to paint his mediocrity as a success story, and throughout his presidency he has, like his predecessor,  avoided noticing that immigration control is a more important and more efficient means of vouchsafing our security than playing whack a mole in the Middle East.

Anti-American

On foreign affairs, Obama’s rhetoric has been decidedly anti-American and anti-Western.  Obama’s said ridiculous things about how Islam is an integral part of America, gave back a Churchill Bust to the English in a symbolic rebuff, shown no ability to make sense of nationalist leaders like Putin and Duerte, and made a big show of trying to close  GITMO, which he failed to accomplish.  He restored relations with Cuba with no counter-balancing benefit to the United States, even as he incorrectly labels democratically elected leaders who thwart his plans as dictators, especially Putin.  His preference for the Third World over Europe is manifest.

The theme running through all of his speeches is that America had a bad past, which it must renounce, and that it’s only getting better now, in part because he was elected.   His abiding belief was that the U.S’s disproportionate strength, global perceptions of our arrogance, and our shoddy record all combine to make the rest of the world hate us. If we only show that we understand them and are sympathetic, so this thinking goes, they will respond by scaling back their venom.This was not patriotism, but rather messianic utopian liberalism, and judging by all the countries in our grill these days, it didn’t work. Far from being a strategy, it was more of a psychodrama originating in his conflicted feelings about a country that he felt treated him and his people badly. It was silly to think an alienated minority would look out for those whom he deemed an oppressor class.

Less Safe

We are quite simply less safe, as are our European friends.  Obama audaciously announced a lack of foreign terrorist attacks in his speech at MacDill Air Force Base in December of 2016.  He somehow forgot Pulse, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, Boston, San Bernardino, and several other incidents, which he dismissed as merely home grown. These attacks are home grown in the sense only that the killers lived in the U.S. for five minutes before immigrating, or maybe their parents did.  Their victims are just as dead.  And the killers all thought, reasonably enough, they were doing it for Allah.  Obama’s refusal to connect the dots of Islamic terrorism at home to immigration and Islam itself has been a disaster.  He never showed moral clarity or intelligence on this issue, and his happy clappy talk, far from assuaging our enemies, emboldened them.

Stupid Wars

Obama ran on a platform of pulling out of Iraq, which was a popular part of his program that I agreed with.  He did do that, but afterwards he illogically got us more deeply involved in Afghanistan (after dithering), then disastrously involved in Libya, Syria, and Yemen.  He sent troops back to Iraq when his too-clever-by-half plans to depose Assad backfired.  When the Arab Spring came along, he embraced “democracy,” even when it led to Islamic theocracy in places like Egypt.  In the end, we have either helped our enemies (Libya), picked the wrong side (Syria), or picked a side when there was no good side to pick (Yemen).  The old policy of tolerating stable dictators proved the superior one.

We’ve also gotten involved indirectly in places like Ukraine and sent arms to Vietnam on the realpolitik side of things.  In all these instances, we’ve either accomplished nothing or made things worse.  I don’t buy the Republican critique we should have stayed in Iraq forever, but if Iraq was worth leaving–it was–why are we in these other places? What’s our “exit strategy,” a term we haven’t heard much about since Iraq?

Weaker Military

Obama has shrunk the military and focused on using it as a tool for social change.  He has done little to make the bloated procurement system more efficient, encourage any positive systemic change, nor did he ever embrace the role of “wartime president.” While men fought and died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere, he wanted everyone to know that he was the “guy who stopped Iraq,” that he was winning against al Qaeda, and thus the wars that we were still in, some of which he started, had to be ignored.

He basked in the glory of taking out Osama bin Laden (an undeniable good call that others may not have made), but he used it as an excuse to distract from the bigger strategic failure:  that Islamic terrorists untied to states remain on the loose.  Doubling down on his alibi, he said we were winning against ISIS, the “JV team” if you may recall, only days before the horrific Paris attacks.

Worse than all this, he wants the Army to pay for chopping off dicks, when it should be geared towards chopping off the dicks and heads of enemies soldiers.  Women have been pushed relentlessly into combat arms, even as numerous studies have shown they’re less capable individually and weaken units collectively.  Combat effectiveness is a secondary consideration and as current standards lead to disparities they will be modified. He had at least one Muslim turncoat terrorist incident at Fort Hood, which he insultingly had labeled “workplace violence.”  When his narcissism does not compel him to label abject failure as success, the leftist ideologies  of feminism or gay rights or multiculturalism are always the dominant motive, not military effectiveness.

The Real Silver Lining

Obama’s presidency made the country weaker, less unified, and less safe, and the government more bloated, sclerotic, and intrusive than it was when he began.  The country taken as a whole is simply in worse shape.

The real silver lining is what Obama’s failed presidency did to conservatives and the middle class.  He radicalized them.  They realized who they were up against, and that their opponents were playing a zero sum tribal game of gimmedats in what was previously a less diverse country characterized by the politics of ideas and  of class distinctions.  Now the decline and deliberate marginalization of whites to minority status is celebrated, and whites are no longer engaged in unilateral disarmament.  Those with broadly similar interests and disdain for political correctness have joined forces.  And the unlikely hero of Donald Trump emerged.  And Trump deployed the three legged stool of populist nationalism–immigration restriction, American First foreign policy, and pro-worker trade policy–to unify them.

In May of 2008, I wrote in a that , “Four years of this trend will propel someone like me well into the middle of the conservative mainstream, and that would be a good thing. Obama’s presidency will stress and purify the conservative movement, leading to clarity on issues of culture, the welfare state, demographics, and racism that it has lost in the fog of ‘compassionate conservatism’ under President Bush.”

Romney couldn’t pull it off in four; he was still disarmed by Obama’s withering attacks, the left’s naked tribalism, and his own refusal to embrace the logical alternative.  Plus his “get government out of the way” Reaganesque view of things ignored the impact of demographics and the hostility of many large corporations to traditional values.  We need to focus on the people more than policy, and we need also to embrace some species of industrial policy to undo the anemic economy and make sure workers have a stake and benefit in its success.  Trump beat the Republicans by pivoting on the national question.  And he beat the Democrats at their own game because he realized the ways Obama had radicalized everyone who was not part of his coalition of megarich urban liberals, welfare cases, foreigners, and big government beneficiaries.  It turns out “identity politics” work reasonably well when the largest ethnic group is also the most hated, the most naturally Republican, and the most put upon by every institution of culture.

Obama’s leftist radicalism was always his core belief.  It was plain from his past, his pastor, and his paean to his socialist father, and his presidency reflected this at nearly every turn.  Trump simply saw the $100 bill lying on the ground in the form of alienated, working class voters and other scared whites, threw them a bone, and the lesson of that approach is valuable beyond the field of politics.  It shows the power of conviction, common sense, and courage in a world of suffocating political correctness.

One would think from recent overwrought headlines, that the American people were clamoring for more confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and just got had in this election!  Hillary’s motto should have been, “Avenge South Ossetia whatever the cost.”  No one believes that of course.

The whole thing is obvious propaganda along with the corrupt media noticing for the first time in 2016 that there’s a lot of crap on the internet, which they have attacked in a coordinated campaign as Fake News.

They and the Democrats are using this and the Russia angle to avoid soul searching on the crimes of the Clintons and the limits of their anti white identity politics. They want to pin their loss on “fake news,” as if so much of the real news had little effect.  I concede that maybe Russia had something to do with Wikileaks. I’ve not seen definitive proof, and some of the stories that come out are either unsourced, contradicted by verifiable facts (no RNC leak), or are otherwise suspicious, conflating the actions of individual Russians with the Russian government.  We do know hackers are often self-motivated vandals by nature, whether it’s the group Anonymous, Brad Manning, or Julian Assange.

But if Russia had an opinion on the election and tried to tip the scales by releasing embarrassing emails of one of the two political parties, so what?  Both parties begged borrowed and stole to get opposition on the other.  Did we forget the legion of women claiming (completely unverifiably) that Trump groped them in the days before the election? No doubt the Russians preferred him to the status quo, including that of Hillary, who was the architect of numerous idiotic foreign policy interventions. In the end, the American people still got a say so, and Trump was the peace candidate.   Further, Wikileaks would not have any bite if there wasn’t so much corruption revealed in the leaked emails, whether it was Clinton getting debate questions, calling favored ethnic groups nasty names, or the DNC screwing over Sanders in the primaries.

Finally, our pearl clutching on this is a little hard to take seriously.  The US was clearly behind the Ukrainian coup, which backfired tremendously. Just as it’s behind a goodly swath of the Syrian Civil War, in which “moderate rebels” cooperated with al Nusra and ISIS in destroying a previously peaceful and orderly country.  That war is now thankfully coming to an end, due mostly to Russia’s intervention.  The US has openly supported and funded candidates in foreign elections.  Hacking emails is quite a bit less intrusive under the circumstances.

But Russia will continue to be treated as a bogeyman for at least three reasons.  First, it’s leadership rejects liberalism, both the good kind and the bad kind, and is traditionalist and authoritarian.  LGBT is now the preferred moniker among Russians for do-gooder western liberals, who are opposed by the revived Orthodox Christianity of the Russian people.  Where Americans see human rights, Russians see imposition of foreign decadence. Putin is a symbol for an effective authoritarian nationalist bringing about a renaissance in a country that was an economic and political basket case during the Yeltsin years.

Second, NATO, and Americans reared on NATO brinksmanship, direct their efforts chiefly at containing Russia.  NATO was unwisely expanded to include former Soviet Republics after the fall of Soviet communism, and this orientation to Russia requires a substantial and continuing U.S. investment in military power. There are many people with a stake in this, including defense contractors, otherwise obsolete “Sovietologists” in the State and Defense departments, and those who generally want a world where the “international community” (i.e., the United States) can call the shots worldwide with impunity, even on such dubious activities as regime change in Libya and Syria, and even where those called shots have no obvious connection to the interests of the American people.

Finally, there is a long-standing emotional animosity to Russia, which is never directed at other equally authoritarian regimes.  We hear endlessly about Russia’s apparent containment of critical journalists, but this is commonplace in Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Iran, and even Mexico.  Their facilities at the Sochi Olympics were mocked, even though China’s and Brazil’s were little better, and the latter was positively dangerous.  And this all goes back to England and the Crimean War, in which classically liberal British absolutely hated Russia and all things Russian, labeling them backwards, authoritarian, and dangerous, long before the appearance of Communism.  Their traditionalism, concept of the state, and prospect of limiting British hegemony all made the press and British leadership of the day lose their way, teaming up with the monstrous Ottomans to wrestle away Crimea from Russia in the 1850s.  The anti-Russian feeling has persisted and extended to the United States, particularly by American Jews for whom a nationalist Russia is equated with anti-Semitism, becoming exaggerated even after the peculiar (and arguably anti-Russian) Soviet episode was undone.

Trump is following a sensible policy regarding Russia, namely, avoiding unnecessary confrontation, even while recognizing it may not be an ally strictly speaking.  In this, he has shown more wisdom than the elites of both parties.  If the Russians recognized this reality and wanted to tip the scales, it should be cause for concern, but more because our legacy policy is so fanatical and bellicose against a country that could do us a lot of harm if we were to get involved in any kind of conflict and, furthermore, could do us a lot of good in the war against radical Islam if we were able to find a way to cooperate more effectively in that regard.  The Fake News talk is an attack on Trump’s legitimacy and a surprisingly non-cosmopolitan line of argument from those who otherwise say we should bow before the “International Community,” by which they mean the suicidal leftist elite of Europe and the anti-western elite of the Third World.

In my lifetime, I remember when Republicans thought flag burning should be illegal.  Even Hillary Clinton thought so ten years ago.  Now they faux opposition is going ape on Trump for daring to demand basic loyalty to the country and respect for her flag.

The interment camps of Japanese (and the forgotten German and Italian internees) are bandied about as a horror symbol.  But they’re not.  They are a symbol for what a self-confident and effective America looked like.  An America that won wars.  And an America that wasn’t tied down by a million sensitivities that stop it from achieving greatness.

America was quite simply better in 1945.  And yes Jim Crow was bad. Unjust even. But we’ve paid and paid and paid for that injustice to death.  Ferguson and Watts and the 92 LA Riots were also bad, and so was what happened to George Zimmerman and the five cops killed by a Black Lives Matter terrorist in Dallas.

We remember Emmett Till.  Who even knows the name of those Dallas cops, which should be enshrined in glory?

So Trump appeals in a way apparently offensive to the elite of both parties to the passions of alienated Americans who know the past was better and who know that the world we’re living in is in many ways a dysfunctional cesspool. And he has exposed repeatedly, whether on immigration of Muslims or respect for the flag or immigration, that the “conservatives” don’t mean to really conserve anything but the victories of yesterday’s liberals.

Anti-Gnostic notes that the legacy GOP with its gnostic obsession with principles, doesn’t deliver much and got run over by the “smart fool” Trump:

Since at least the Great Society Democrats have been telling their constituents, “Here’s what liberalism can do for you.” Republicans seem to endlessly ask their constituents what can they do for conservatism (“Donate to my think tank!” “Buy my magazine!” “Vote for me!” “Sign up for this war!”). Their (overwhelmingly white) base duly votes for the Republican’s limited government-fiscal prudence-meritocracy platform, then watches as government, budget deficits, and political correctness all increase. Nothing the base voted for is actually accomplished, and the perception is these platitudes are being mouthed solely to get comfortable sinecures.

Immigration exposed this cozy scam. Immigration is extremely problematic for proletarian and petit bourgeois communities. But the same people who left the Democratic party to vote for Reagan have to listen as people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham call them bigots for not wanting their voting power and economic clout diluted and their children made strangers in their own country. When the battle lines started getting drawn, the Republican leadership proudly linked arms with the Democrats and did the bidding of their donor class. Donald Trump spotted that disconnect-–an electoral $100 bill lying on the floor–-and like the ruthless Scots-Irish businessman he is, grabbed it in both fists. He made his campaign all about, “Here’s what I’m going to do for you,” and rode it to ultimate victory.

Any of the other Republican candidates could have done that, but they didn’t. This was vindication of the Sailer Strategy: if you want conservative electoral victory, you need to support conservatively-inclined people. Affordable Family Formation: keep the land cheap and the wages high, because that’s what gets families started and married people with children tend to incline conservative. This may require abandonment on occasion of precious, precious principle but like the Democrats realize, this isn’t about principle, it’s about winning. That’s how they captured the institutions.

In a diverse society, it’s not what your candidate supports; it’s whether they support you.

How Trump Won

2016_presidential_election_by_county-svg

When dealing with the uncoordinated activities of several tens of millions of voters, it’s somewhat foolhardy to offer grand theories.  So everything below should be read in light of the lack of precision inherent to the problem.  That is, at most it’s a general theory, supported by evidence, but incapable of falsification or replication.  While less than ideal, this epistemological obstacle applies to me, Nate Silver, the Washington Post, Bill Kristol, and everyone else talking about complex human affairs. But, by contrast to all of them, I happened to be right on my predictions.

Trump’s Voters

Trump won.  He barely won, but he pulled it off.  He was supposed to lose, and lose big, so anything less than that is noteworthy.  He won battleground states like Florida and North Carolina, and he won big in the Midwest, pulling off surprise wins in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, and also Pennsylvania.

Many of these states had long been Democratic strongholds historically and included many working class people suspicious of the GOP and its reputation as the party of the Fat Cats. They are sometimes called Rust Belt states, as they represent the most battered cohort of legacy America:  shattered cities, formerly anchored by manufacturers, where hard-working folks of average IQ could create a middle class lifestyle for themselves and their families until about 30 years ago.  They’ve suffered ever since, as many jobs were destroyed by foreign competition within and outside our borders, as well as a shift towards a “knowledge economy” that offers fewer rewards to those folks who simply want a job and are willing to work hard. While traditionally less “red” than the South, the Midwest is something of a trailing indicator of larger national trends.  The small “c” conservatism of its German inhabitants is less small goernment and more law and order than, say, Southern Republicans, and this particular election cycle presented that in high relief.

As a descriptive matter, Trump won because he consolidated the white vote.  That is, a majority of whites voted for him.  College and non-college.  Young and old.  Men and women. Notably, Trump even did better on a percentage basis than Romney with blacks, Asians, and Hispanics, but whites gave him the biggest gains, particularly those in the Midwest.

While whites are becoming a minority, this is trailing in the electorate, due to fact that many new citizens are children of newcomers, legal and illegal, and this non-voting group make up a greater proportion of the immigrant population.  Steve Sailer nearly 15 years ago explained how the Republicans can do better not by alienating millions of their natural supporters (and betraying their interest) by reaching out to liberal-leaning Hispanics and other immigrants through amnesty, but instead by consolidating the white vote.  Trump did that.  A Rubio, Jeb, or Cruz almost certainly would not have done this nearly as well, not least because they don’t really believe in it, and they run scared at the first media charge of being racist, even though such accusations are inevitable when one fights against liberals.

Trump also benefited from a gender gap of his own.  While Hillary appealed to Team Women ad nauseum through a crude campaign of negative insinuation, Trump barely trailed Romney with white women, winning about 53% of them nationwide, and won 63% of white men and a remarkable 72% of non-college educated white men.  With regard to Hillary’s strategy, it’s not clear how men are supposed to be jazzed by the “first female president” sold as such.  Men compete for women in jobs and social status, and many, particularly in the working classes, have seen special accommodations made to push lesser qualified women and minorities ahead of them in police departments, in the military, and in other endeavors.  She reminded them of this ill treatment.

Whites did give Obama a chance, perhaps hoping to expiate the ghost or racism, but rather than buying peace, Obama is widely perceived to have made race relations worse, who does not hesitate to suggest all manner of criticism is insidious racism returning to the fore.  Hillary similarly suggested her campaign troubles and much of the criticism she endured originated in sexism, and asking men to sign up to four years of that kind of hectoring is a pretty tough sell.  Apparently they–and a majority of their wives, moms, and sisters–agreed.

Obama’s Failures Made Whites Cynical About Pervasive Guilt-Tripping

Obama’s presidency and the cultural trends of the last eight years have much to do with Trump’s win.  Explicitly anti-white propaganda, and implicitly anti-white policies have grown worse.  Affirmative action is promoted openly in government and in every large company in America.  Diversity is insultingly touted as a strength, even in light of the mass murders carried out by Muslim immigrants and as whites whisper to trusted confidantes about the unspoken burdens of diversity.  Obama and Hillary both sided with the anti-police movement Black Lives Matter, shrugged at riots and disorder in Ferguson and Baltimore, and refused to understand the frustration of middle class people at the hand-wringing and excuse-making for  1960s style disorder and violence. While Obama said if he had a son he would look like Trayvon, whites saw themselves in George Zimmerman, a young first-time homeowner and gun owner, beaten nearly to death while investigating a suspicious person in his neighborhood, who then had to endure a malicious prosecution that he barely escaped from.

In addition, as the county maps have shown since 2000, there is a rural and urban divide, which expresses itself in the contempt for “Wal-Mart people” expressed in a bipartisan way in large cities everywhere.  The national population is fluid to some extent.  The elite on college campuses and in places like New York and DC often consist of talented people who wanted nothing more than to run away from their provincial towns.  What is missing from this elite, however, is a sense of noblesse oblige.  Instead, under the current doctrine of multiculturalism, the destruction of the jobs, culture, and ways of life in those small towns has been, until now, met with “price of progress” shrugs by Republicans and glee by Democrats, who equate those places and those people with retrograde racism, sexism, and other sins. Trump said in an unmistakable way that he was going to fight for this group, and they got the message.  And Hillary and her surrogates reinforced the message by referring to his supporters as “deplorables,” which they embraced as a badge of honor.

Thus, the nostalgic slogan “Make America Great Again” was indeed a dog whistle.  It was conservative and even reactionary in the sense that it upheld as honorable the older America, in which those people had pride of place, opportunity, and a greater say in the direction of the country.  It was an America in which heroes like Washington, Lincoln, Patton, Neil Armstrong, and the like could be honored, without embarrassment and shame or reminders that “well, back then, things weren’t so great for [insert Democratic Party constituency].”

Trump Fought Everyone and Gave Legacy Americans Hope

Trump had a certain degree of authenticity in his solidarity with the working class and other legacy Americans. Being rich and a member of the establishment, this may seem a puzzle.  After all, isn’t this a class thing?  But, like George W. Bush (or even F.D.R. for that matter), he had some credibility by adopting a style and series of positions that made him something of a “traitor to his class.”  He knows the elite–indeed, he knows them well enough to mock and troll them relentlessly–but he has repeatedly and throughout his life shown a sense of comfort and solidarity with the working class.  The rough and tumble folks he encountered in the construction business no doubt played some part in this.  But his persuasiveness depended most upon his personal style.  And it was reinforced by the daily vitriol aimed at him for daring to deviate from the manners and assumptions of the elite.

Trump talked like the people he was purporting to defend.  Even with his money, he acted and spent like a guy who won the lottery, rather than the son of a millionaire.  The very things that the traditional GOP leadership was either uncomfortable with or apoplectic regarding turned out to be strengths:   his jokes, his vulgarity, his plain talk, and his contempt for all manner of political correctness.

The critics did not see it coming either in the primary or afterwards.  And the reason is plain, and discussed at length in Charles Murray’s Coming Apart:  they mostly have little sympathy for and experience with this Other America.  And the things they criticized and the manner of their criticism strengthened his “anti-fragile” message, inasmuch, as his supporters felt it was an attack upon themselves and the things they either valued or at least possessed in some degree.  He talked and thought like them, and he was attacked for talking and thinking like them.  These attacks brought Trump and his supporters closer together.  They all paid a price, and they all saw the bared teeth of their opponents.

Hillary Was A Standard-Issue Democrat, Who Was Also Corrupt and Unlikeable

Hillary was not a destined loser.  Let’s not forget, this was a close election. A few small changes in turn-out, and the result may have been reversed. Hillary largely did manage to consolidate the core Democratic Party constituencies:  childless urban young people, government dependents, minorities, single moms, sophisticated urban professionals, and the like.  But she did not excite them so much.  They did not come out in the same numbers as 2012 for Obama, and there were notable reductions in loyalty among Hispanics, Asians, and working class whites. And working class whites are, in spite of our “new electorate,” the chief swing constituency in America where most of the other demographics are locked up in one party or the other.

This failure to excite even her core supporters probably has something to do with her reputation for corruption and her undeniable status as the status quo candidate.  None of these things helped on the margins, and the Benghazi and Email scandals were classic Clinton.

In addition, I should think her status as a Clinton has some impact on her failure to connect sufficiently with feminist-leading white women, whom most of her ads were aimed at.  Like George W. Bush, it’s hard to believe she would be where she was, wielding as much power as she did, if her husband was not a former president.  If a woman is to be the president, might it not have some more punch if she got there through her own talents? After all even Pakistan had a female leader related to a previous male leader.  Similarly, (I hope) no one thought W. was the best and most qualified person in 2000.  Alternating Bush and Clinton presidencies since 1988 with only the Obama interregnum leaves Americans of a democratic bent understandably uneasy.

Her problem was not merely her reputation and status, but also that her economic and policy message was vague.  As presaged by the Bernie Sanders phenomenon, there is a great deal of fear and loathing among many Americans regarding the perceived chummy nature of Wall Street and Washington DC, evidenced by the near absence of any prosecution of bad actors following the 2008 economic crisis, as well as the sweetheart TARP loans that saved Goldman, AIG, and others from the consequences of their gambling with other people’s money.  Having given numerous $250K a pop speeches to these groups, it was hard to believe she would do anything to reign them and their power in.

Finally, her personal style, in contrast to Trump’s, was icy and entitled.  Videos of her angrily asking “Why she’s not 50 points ahead?” or “What difference does it make?” were not easily forgotten.   These personal flaws were coupled with her apparent lack of enthusiasm, infrequent speeches, poorly attended rallies, robotic and staged demeanor, and, most important, an absence of message other than “Trump is a bad man” and “she’ll be the first woman president.”  What she would do for the people hurting economically and what she would do to make the country safer, in light of her professed globalism, were never well articulated.

Trump Had a Sensible Policy Message

Trump’s campaign was, irony of ironies, one of policy.  Trump had a clear policy message for anyone paying attention.  It was communicated far more articulately than the aspirational themes of Hillary and Obama, the latter of whom ran, we can’t forget, on the gauzy slogan “Hope and Change.”

Trump ran as a pragmatist with a nationalist edge.  He said we should reduce immigration and enforce our laws in order to benefit native-born Americans.  We should negotiate trade deals, not as an exercise in fidelity to abstract principles, but in the manner of a businessman seeking the best deal for his boss, in this case, the American people.  And in foreign policy, America First must be the watchword of the day, which Trump articulated through skepticism of idealistic campaigns like the war in Syria.  His opposition to Iraq, which turned out to be a dead end, reinforced this reluctance to get involved in military action when the American people do not directly benefit.

Hillary and the neoconservatives who supported her amplified Trump’s message with their frequent war-mongering regarding Russia, which is not a natural enemy of our country.  The establishment’s consensus on intermediate foreign policy objectives –NATO expansion, human rights promotion, and elusive stability–turned out to be a hard sell for Hillary.  Periodic terrorist atrocities based on our national leadership’s failure to use border control to protect ourselves from Muslim terrorism highlighted Trump’s message.

While Trump and the media’s relentless attacks on Trump exposed his flaws and likely cost him some votes, Hillary never said very clearly what she was going to do and how the things she has already done would benefit and protect the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Americans.

Other issues like Obamacare and gun control undoubtedly helped out Trump in consolidating the Republican base, but his biggest achievement was deemphasizing divisive social issues like gay marriage or abortion in favor of controversial but, on net, popular positions on immigration, trade, and foreign policy.  The vocal opposition of establishment figures in both parties only highlighted that he was–love him or hate him–the change candidate in spite of the “historic” nature of Hillary’s run.

What Went Wrong With Polls?

Trump’s success occurred in spite of repeated, very certain predictions  on how he would definitely lose.  These predictions were made by very smart people, who have long been political observers, pollsters, media figures, or otherwise political professionals.  No doubt polling is a difficult business, as the raw data requires some massaging, because it all comes down to who is going to vote.  Anyone can answer a polling question.  But actually voting requires a certain amount of effort, planning, and interest. It’s hard to know who will actually do that.

That said, the scale and uniformity of their wrongness is reminiscent of the 2008 Economic Crisis. All the experts were wrong, and they were cocksure right to the very end. Models have inherent uncertainty.  Data only measures what it can measure.  And common sense–that inchoate bundle of lived experience, historical knowledge, and self-doubt–was in short supply on both occasions.

Data is not just “numbers.”  Data is information, which requires analysis and evaluation to be rendered into useful knowledge.  What all the polls seemed to miss is that in swing states and traditional Democratic strongholds, Trump could fill an arena with two or three days notice.  He could do this repeatedly across the nation several times a day.  There was undoubtedly an enthusiasm gap, which  mattered more than in past cycles because it was magnified by the increasing prominence of social media.

For each of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who attended a Trump rally, there would be 10 times that number in friends, relatives, coworkers, and acquaintances informed of the event via social media.  This was Trump’s ground game: his army of enthusiastic MAGA-Hat wearing fans, who would proselytize for free on Facebook, Twitter, and in person to everyone they knew.  I know, because I was one of them.

And as Trump becomes not the ogre of Hillary’s ads, but the person that your trusted  friend, uncle, son, or coworker defends, it becomes a bit more acceptable to vote for him yourself.  Obama benefited from the same phenomenon, particularly among young people, but nowadays grandma is on Facebook too.  By contrast, I cannot recall meeting a single enthusiastic Hillary supporter this go around.

Trump Disrupts the System

Trump’s victory is enormous. It represents a repudiation of conventional wisdom on campaigning and on policy that was shared by both parties.  It shows the value of conviction, authenticity, and the simple power of listening to voters and their concerns.  It shows how not dancing to the tune of the media–which encourages weakness and self-doubt–allows one to reframe the debate and show courage of conviction at the same time.  It exposes the fragility of political correctness and the “smart fools” who make up our media and political elite.  And, most important, it shows that a great many legacy Americans are going to go down fighting rather than accept the bipartisan and destructive policies of open borders, free trade, and “idealistic” war that have characterized American life since the end of the Cold War.

We Did It

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I’ll write more soon.  I’m exhausted, having spent the entire day watching polls to prevent fraud and staying up ’til 2:30 a.m. to see the results.

This was such a hard race with literally everyone and everything against Trump: the Democrats, the media, the Republican establishment, 16 capable candidates in the primaries, several of whom conspired against him in the general, the donor class, the universities, celebrities, Wall Street, and even the Pope.

And he—the American people really—still won!

This is an amazing time to be alive.

Well, Trump had his tapes coupled with a flurry of unverifiable allegations that fit the tape to a tee.  This had mostly blown over.  His virtues and vices are well known; and, while vulgar and a ladies’ man, there is no real credible claim to be made that he’s a predator, like Bill Clinton.  Now Hillary has her encore investigation of emails, rather beautifully coming form her Arab adviser Huma Abedein’s pervert husband Anthony Wiener’s computer.  He was under investigation, recall, for sexting a 15 year old, having earlier resigned in disgrace for doing so with someone only a little bit older.

FBI Director James Comey, whose rectitude was beyond reproach when he did not indict in July, is now scum, persona non grata, and devoid of all credibility for Hillary and her media corps.  She has rather boldly demanded that the investigation’s current state of knowledge be disclosed. But there’s a problem with Hillary’s call for transparency:  her own actions are why there’s no transparency.  She kept an illegal email server that was not backed up through normal means, doing this to evade congressional and public scrutiny under FOIA, and now when new troves of emails from one party to those conversations turn up, they reveal the extent of her deception, which included deleting massive numbers of emails after receiving congressional subpoenas.  In other words, she hid things, they were only imperfectly uncovered after a long investigation, and now more have been uncovered.

Hillary touts her skill within the system as a qualification, which Trump has dismissed as “bad experience.”  She is experienced no doubt, and her experience coupled with her venality and penchant for secrecy is what brought about this entire email situation. But the claim of experience has an additional flaw.  While she is clearly of low character, even if she were honest and authentic–like Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich for example–it would not matter.

The goals she aims to achieve are bad ones.

She is hostile to the historic American people, our limited government traditions, our traditional distaste with empire, our desire for a less intrusive government, our unplanned and spontaneous and natural approach to family life, among other things.  She is a leftist. And her experience and political skill, such as it is, recommends against her rather than in her favor, because the better she can accomplish her goals, the more we collectively suffer.

The appeal to experience by those in the middle is quaint and wrong-headed.  There is no abstract notion of good government in an ideological age.  We’re not running a homeowners association or a village deciding to pave with concrete or asphalt.  What each side wants to do is quite different.  While the GOP’s steady decline as an institution of conservatism masks this, the Trump campaign highlights the issues in full relief.  She wants to take our guns, she wants to tax us into oblivion, she wants to flood us with hostile foreigners, she wants government run by people like her to run our lives, she wants neighborhood bakers and schools harassed into accepting transexual mental health sufferers, she wants eight month unborn children to be aborted without any impediment, she wants black criminals elevated above hard-working police, she wants us all dependent on an ever-growing and more intrusive government, and the better she is able to do any of these things, the worse off we are individually and collectively.

In a healthy society, the appeal to experience might have some weight.  It has some value in local and even state elections, where the good is conceived less ideologically and more practically in terms of efficiency in bringing about noncontroversial government goods like public safety and public works.  Particularly on a national level and cultural level, we are under attack by a hostile ideology and increasingly our identity itself is under assault by social engineering writ large in the form of mass immigration.  Perhaps her manifest public corruption and criminality would give pause to those who think her experience is some kind of virtue.  But whether her corruption amounts to a vice limiting her ambition or a “virtue” furthering her designs, it is the leftist content of those designs that chiefly disqualifies her from the presidency.

Hillary Clinton’s goals are unworthy of a free and moral people, no matter how fine her personal character may be.  In addition to seeking to do political evil, she has the distinctly political vice of self-enrichment and corruption. This adds an additional harm to the nation as a whole, not least in normalizing behavior from which better men than she have been impeached.  Nonetheless, her skills and instrumental moral virtues like prudence and courage would be rendered grotesque in the service of the ends to which she is committed. Our only escape would be her lack of skill and lack of ability.  Like a trained assassin, her abilities and experience are to be feared.