Some Random Thoughts the Day After
Israel Radio called last Tuesday night to ask if they could interview me the next morning on the impact of the election results. I duly prepared a few talking points listing my concerns with a Clinton presidency. It never occurred to me that Donald Trump would be the next president. As a lifelong Cubs fan, however, I should have known that if the Cubs could win the World Series, Donald Trump could be president.
Some Losers Besides Hillary – First and foremost the Obama legacy. Americans are ok with the idea of Barack Obama. But they don't much care for his policies or pay much attention to what he says. He and the Michelle campaigned in three states for Hillary in the campaign's final days. She lost all three. He told the Black Congressional Congress that he would consider it a personal insult if blacks turned out in lower numbers than 2012. Black turnout was way down.
When Obama came into office, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, 29 governorships and 27 state legislatures. Today they control neither house of Congress, 18 governorships, and 12 state legislatures.
The Clinton Foundation is now left without any access to sell to foreign governments or billionaires. Not such a problem for Hill and Bill, who have salted away in excess of $100 million since leaving the White House, but what about all those Clinton family retainers soon to be without jobs?
One of the signs of a banana republic is the criminal prosecution of political opponents. But there is already and ongoing FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundations. The only difference is that now it will not be stymied by the Obama Justice Department. If I were Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, or Bill and Hillary, I would lawyer up. Same advice for Lois Lerner, the former director of exempt organizations, who ordered underlings to discriminate against Tea Party and right-wing pro-Israel groups and then took the Fifth before Congress. Using the internal revenue to discriminate against political foes is another aspect of banana republics. President Trump can always pardon any of those convicted of fraud or breach of trust later.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is going to take a lot of flack for not stepping down when President Obama might still have pushed through a successor. President Trump has a good chance of making at least three Supreme Court appointments in the next four years. If he gets competent advice, those appointments could shift the direction of the Supreme Court for two decades. At the very least, the new justices are unlikely to discover new "fundamental rights" that would have been abhorrent to the Founders, based on penumbras of penumbras of the "right" to craft one's own unique self-identity.
And the Trump Court will almost undoubtedly be more sympathetic to claims of religious conscience. The Supreme Court, then, is the one area in which it can be said that the election made a clear difference, and to the benefit of religious Jewry.
Those legions of college administrators heading offices of Multicultural Affairs or Equity and Diversity, who tried to console broken-hearted students last week over Trump's victory, will be getting fewer "guidance letters" from the Trump Department of Education gently suggesting that they abandon all due process when charges are made against male students.
Perhaps the bloated ranks of university administrators will also shrink, allowing universities to go back to spending on providing better educations rather than training in cultural sensitivity. That would certainly lower tuition dramatically.
Pollsters took it on their collective chins, as with Brexit vote, and will have to develop new tools. The mainstream media, which was in the tank for Hillary, did as well. Trump ran against the MSM to his advantage. A Michael Ramirez cartoon of Harry Truman holding up a Chicago Tribute headline, "Media Defeats Trump," said it all.
American's have grown tired with political dynasties. The Clintons and Bushes are behind us -- at least for the time being. Evan Bayh in Indiana proved that one cannot run on a last name anymore.
Schadenfreude alert – Whatever one thinks of Hillary, it is hard not to feel a touch of sympathy for a woman who was twice blind-sided by a political force of nature when the presidency seemed to be hers on a silver platter. Her concession speech was the best she has ever given – human, mature, patriotic, and soft-spoken: only twice did she briefly shift into her hectoring twang.
No such sympathy for the Cornell students holding a campus cry-in or the countless university administrators who cancelled classes and sent out emergency emails enumerating the full panoply of mental health services available to distressed students. Do the students or the aging radicals in university administrations realize how much rolling on the floor mirth they provide by turning themselves into laughingstocks?
Winners Besides Donald Trump – Israel in all likelihood will benefit from a period of benign neglect of the Palestinian-Israel conflict, as under President George W. Bush. Solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has long been a Democratic obsession, even as the importance of that conflict to regional stability has declined precipitously. The bloodletting in Syria (and Russia's direct involvement therein), the impending bankruptcy of Egypt, and a newly enriched and expansionist Iran rank far higher on any list of regional and global concerns.
Despite boasts that he could broker a solution with his vaunted negotiating skills, Trump has no incentive to deploy those skills on Palestinian-Israeli peace, and he appears to recognize, as per his AIPAC speech, that there can never be peace as long as the Palestinians cannot reconcile themselves to a Jewish state and stop inciting against it.
Given the questions about Hillary's health, Prime Minister Netanyahu can count himself fortunate to have dodged a potential presidency of Tim Kaine, the senator from J-Street.
Some unsolicited advice to my law school friends– You were so thrilled to vote for Hillary, and are bitterly disappointed in her defeat. But consider engaging in a few moments of introspection before filling the ether with snarky comments about your knuckle-dragging fellow citizens.
For four years, you have taken the intellectually slothful and infuriating route of dismissing all criticism of President Obama as racism and now Hillary's defeat as the result of misogyny. Is it really the case that there are no grounds other than racism to be highly critical of Obamacare – the "craziest thing ever" according to Bill Clinton, the Obama foreign policy, which even the New York Times has described as a near total failure, and the Iran deal? Are there no reasons, other than condescension to women to reject Hillary? Have you read Clinton Cash? Were you repulsed by the brazenness of the Clinton Foundation's influence peddling? Did you actually listen to what FBI director Comey said about her private server and her handling of classified information?
Sixty per cent of Americans don't trust Trump, and with good reason. But even more don't trust Hillary, and with no less good reason. Of those who felt both were unfit to be president, a large plurality of the population, seven out of ten voted for Trump. Not because they loved him or approved his behavior, but because they were sick of the elites – you included – and wanted to try something new and different.
One cannot have her greed and eat it to. If you and your husband rake in $150 million making anodyne speeches at grotesquely inflated rates, those struggling to make ends meet will not identify with you. If you can barely bring yourself to campaign, but cannot get your fill of fundraisers among the rich and famous at the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard, and Chaim Saban's Hollywood mansion – minimum contribution a $100,000 check (and no bundling allowed) -- is it any wonder that the average American questions your concern with his or her problems. Donald Trump may (or may not) be a billionaire, but his tastes could not be more plebian or vulgar. Bet he never tasted arugula.
"Are we a country or not?" Trump asked. Let me unpack that question, which resonated so powerfully. Every child expects his parents to be more concerned with his well-being than that of the child next door. And every citizen expects his government to place his well-being above that of those seeking to enter from around the world.
Tens of millions of citizens lost their faith that those running America cared about them – and that includes Republicans with their one-note mantra of tax cuts. Clinton spoke in her concession speech of a more inclusive America. But she did not mean the old idea of a melting pot, in which people from diverse lands amalgamate into an American constitutional ethos. Who teaches the Constitution to immigrants or anyone else today?
The Democrats electoral strategy has long been to divide America into balkanized groups, based on racial or gender identity. They concocted a phony war on women at a time when the far greater long-term threat is the disappearance of able-bodied men from the workforce and from higher education. They did not hesitate to tell black people that the Republicans want to put them back in chains and that American is infected with systemic racism, even as voters twice elected a black man president. Not one Democratic politician challenged the lies or hatred of Black Lives Matter, a movement whose sole achievement has been to cause more young black men to be shot to death.
You lament Trump's unconstitutional call for a ban on all Muslim immigration. But did you not bring that about with your obtuse, politically correct, refusal to acknowledge a connection between Islam and terrorism. You recoil in horror at his crude characterizations of Mexican immigrants, but how much did you contribute by creating sanctuary cities, in which an illegal immigrant can be arrested seven times for various crimes and quickly released, until he finally kills a young woman out for dinner with her father.
Like the California environmentalists who cared more about a six-inch snail darter than billions of dollars of agricultural and the loss of jobs of tens of thousands of workers, so you are more solicitous of every one of the 37 gender identities, in the new dispensation, than of white males. The latter are of no concern, for they are infected with "white privilege" no matter what the circumstances into which they are born. If they can't make it, they are just "losers," bitterly clinging to their guns and religion.
Well, old friends, the "deplorables" heard your contempt and disdain, and they have returned it in full.