The “Blue Ripple”

We are, or course, well into the Midterm election post-mortem period.

On the one hand, we have the Republicans, who are pleased to have limited their midterm losses (as of this date) to 31 seats in the House while solidifying their grip on the Senate with 2 pickups.

Having won the right to hold hearings and howl about Donald Trump’s policies, expect lots of Democrat drama and endless House investigations starting next year.  However, that will pretty much be the beginning and end of the Democratic agenda and accomplishments for the next two years—unless they are willing to hold their noses and work cooperatively with President Trump.  Stymied in the Senate and vexed by the veto pen, the dreams of true-blue progressives for a government that is far more expansive and expensive will remain beyond reach.  Seeking to embarrass the school bully whenever possible will be all they can hope to do until 2020.

Perhaps most important to Republicans, their stranglehold on the Senate confirmation process will allow them to continue to put a deeply conservative stamp on the Supreme Court and federal judiciary, which will be a legacy that will live for decades beyond the end of Donald Trump’s presidency.  

On the other hand, we have the Democrats asking a familiar existential question: What happened?  Just a few short months ago Democrat candidates seemed poised to sweep away Republican office holders like a sharp scythe cutting down the tall grass.  Why the Democrats failed to close the deal will be the subject of much public and private discussion.  Given that the norm since 1908 is that the party holding the White House has lost 30 House seats and 4 more in the Senate, Democrat gains for 2018 are well in the range of average to below average.  Just as a point of comparison, the scorecard for Barack Obama’s first term Midterm was the devastating losses of 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats.  Republicans are obviously letting out a sigh of relief today after the many predictions of a similar Election Day catastrophe befalling them failed to materialize.

An additional worry for the Democrats going forward is that the trinity of charismatic progressive candidates who were supposed to be the core of the next generation of leadership for the party—Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and Stacey Abrams in Georgia—all struggled mightily in their races (1 loss and 2 still in limbo).  Now facing the prospect of being stuck with their same ossified leadership going forward, the bench for a 2020 challenge to Donald Trump still looks very thin indeed, although many are actively exploring the possibility of somehow recycling Mr. O’Rourke for a national run buoyed by his amazing fundraising magic.

However, it must be noted that the Democrats did begin the road to bouncing back from their catastrophic state level losses during the Obama administration, when their representation at the state level sank to lows not seen since the 1920’s.  Perhaps when you hit rock bottom you have nowhere to go but up, but additional governorships and state legislative seats will allow Democrats to roll out some of their healthcare, environmental, and economic agenda on a smaller scale, which will provide useful laboratories for testing the differences between high-minded theory and blunt reality when it comes to the troublesome balance between taxing, spending, and debt.

I have a couple of theories regarding why, despite throwing every resource they had into this year’s elections, the Democrats managed to not even meet the historic norm for midterm electoral success—and this against a President whom they believe to be an unmitigated disaster.

First and foremost, Democrats forgot the lesson of 2016: Insulting Donald Trump is like punching a brick wall—the pain is yours and yours alone.  After mistakenly believing that hurling invective at Donald Trump was sufficient to win two years ago, the deafening rage of today’s bug-eyed haters of his politics and personality again managed to obliterate any possibility of rational discussion of Democrat policies that might provide feasible alternatives.  Moreover, the stream of snark and shabbiness from those who could barely keep their heads from exploding at every Trumpian tweet both enlivened his loyal base and fed perfectly into his strategy of convincing independents that crazed and crazy Democrats could not be trusted with the keys to the family car.  It is worth also remembering that if the most visible spokespeople for your cause are late night comedians and oddball D-list actors and celebrities, you’ve got a major problem with your political messaging going forward.

Speaking of message, this brings attention to the second problem that the Democrats had during this election: Resistance is not enough.  I pay a great deal of attention to politics, and I would have a very hard time explaining the party’s platform—beyond impeaching Donald Trump.  Spiteful promises of retribution mashed up with high-flown rhetoric and sanctimonious virtue-signaling are not the same as actionable plans to reach an objective.  In addition, making multiple promises of new programs and benefits—most of which have the word “free” baked inside them—but offering no specifics regarding actual financial execution (aside from raising taxes on the one-percent) does not inspire voter confidence.

I also suspect that the wild nomination hearings of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court were a huge turn-off for many swing voters.  The venom displayed likely startled those who still entertained the fantasy that Democrat Senators were respectable members of a great deliberate body instead of a gaggle of craven careerists who mug for the cameras in order to excite potential campaign donors.  One’s assessment of the final Senate confirmation vote is, of course, wholly a function of one’s political leanings, but the process was not one prone to engender great faith in the Democrat Party and its grasp of either evidentiary standards or the legal presumption of innocence.

This election also might be the point at which we need to finally admit that political polling is, for all its supposed science, no more reliable at predicting electoral outcomes than the Farmer’s Almanac is at predicting the season’s weather.  The stupendously confident failures of 2016 morphed into the careful hedging of 2018—but to no great benefit.  On the whole, the many, many predicted outcomes, which seemed to change daily, bore but a passing resemblance to the actual results, and the supposed clarity was more akin to blind guesswork in many cases.  

However, much more importantly, we can now see that many voters beyond the confines of liberal redoubts clustered on the coasts and college towns just aren’t buying wholeheartedly into what the Democrats are trying to sell, which will continue to cap their national electoral ambitions in 2020 and beyond.  

Democratic Socialism?  Expedited illegal immigration?  Massive tax increases?  Increased regulation?  Globalized government?  Yet larger bureaucracies?  More scolding by legislatively-mandated scolds?  None of these are issues likely to excite anyone other than the already faithful, who have an almost mystical belief in the power of big government to improve our lives—despite much evidence to the contrary.

Russian internet trolls are not to blame for the Democrat “Blue Wave” washing out to sea this time around, although I predict a whole series of new House hearings that will try to revive the rotting corpse of Russia-gate and demand that Robert Mueller be empowered to continue his investigations until he finally finds the elusive evidence that Donald Trump is a KGB stooge who gets down on his knees and prays to a statue of Vladimir Putin every night.  Unfortunately, untilthat day comes—or Democrats end up losing the House again in 2020—we can expect that unsubstantiated allegations, innuendo, and angry diatribes will be the chosen language of President Trump’s not-very-loyal opposition as they struggle to remain relevant during the years ahead.

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Will U.S. Citizenship Remain A “Birthright”?

Just when you might have thought the debates about immigrationboth legal and illegalcould not become more difficult and emotional, there is yet another controversy now brewing: President Trumps plan to end birthright citizenship by executive order for those whose parents have entered the United States illegally.  This executive order, should it actually come to pass, would certainly be immediately challenged in federal court, and it could be several years before the matter works its way up to the Supreme Court for an ultimate resolution regarding the meaning and intent of the 14th Amendment.

For a nation populated by immigrants and the descendants of immigrants, this issue obviously has special resonance, and it collides with our national identity as a nation that has always welcomed everyone to our shores.  The reality is, of course, starkly different.  

When the early American period of frontier expansion, which required a large and ready pool of immigrants ready to risk all in order to seize lands held by others, came to an end toward the end of the late 1800s, immigrants piling into now-established cities and towns became an increasing irritant to those already settled in place.  More restrictive laws were soon enacted to stem the influx of foreignersbringing their cultures and languages ashore to dilute the supposed purity and perfection of this new nation.  The taint of otherness that greeted many new immigrants to this country was often based upon the crudest ignorance and bigotry, but Americas population nonetheless became ever more diverse over time as a sometimes unfair and occasionally arbitrary system of legal immigration was developed and refined over the decades to come.

However, over the past several decades the number of people residing in the United States illegally has skyrocketed, and their unlawful entries have been enabled by both poorly conceived and executed governmental policies and the efforts of private organizations advocating on behalf of unrestricted immigration. Unsurprisingly, many pressing questions have arisen regarding how to respond to an undocumented population that has been estimated to range from 11 to 22 million adults, adolescents, and children.

President Trump won election partlysome might say primarilybased on his promise to stem the tide of illegal immigration to the United States, and over the first two years of his administration we have all been witness to the many political firestorms that have accompanied his efforts to both harden our borders and expeditiously expel those who circumvented or ignored legal requirements for entry.  Many states and local governments have responded to this effort by asserting their local sovereignty and refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authoritiesand some have even advocated for abolishing ICE, the agency now tasked with enforcing the laws and regulations now on the books.

Now added to this mix is the question of whether American citizenship will continue to be automatically granted to the American-born children of illegal immigrants, which is an issue quite separate from the ongoing discussions concerning how to resolve the legal status of those brought here as children by parents who entered the United States illegally and raised them in this country.  As one can easily see, the many layers of complex problems that require resolution by Congress and the courts defy tidy morality and easy answers.  

The inherent sloppiness of realityin this case compounded by decades of shortsighted thinking regarding immigration policies and enforcementguarantees that a substantial number of Americans will be dissatisfied with the resolution of the cases of the many millions of people who live in the United States but have no legal basis for continuing to do so.  We know many innocents will be made to suffer due to the past stupidity of our government.  Moreover, given that it is functionally impossible for America to absorb everyone who wants to live in our great nation, many will be compelled to leave so that some may stay.  The forced exodus of those who have grown accustomed to life in the United States and presumed they could remain forever because our immigration policies regarding illegal entry were apparently all but forgotten will cause real pain to both those compelled to leave and those left behind.

The newest wrinklethat of the possible limitations of the 14th Amendmentwill be a topic of heated debate.  Originally crafted after the Civil War in order to confer immediate citizenship to freed slaves, the question of whether this Constitutional amendment applies equally to the American-born children of those who entered America illegally has never been fully resolved, and the fear among advocates for the undocumented is that federal courts now being rapidly reshaped by the conservative appointees of President Trump will tend toward a circumscribed interpretation at odds with the more expansive and welcoming immigration policies they favor.

There is little doubt that stricter enforcement of existing immigration lawsand perhaps a landmark reinterpretation of the 14th Amendmentwill divide Americans in the years ahead.  Attempting to either deport or legitimize tens of millions of people will have a major impact upon many families and communities, and there is no doubt this will be a political and social wedge issue in our nation for a long time to come.  However, the alternative, which boils down to an open border policy, is simply not feasibleespecially given the incredible number of people who are desperate to live in America in order to escape economic hardship, political persecution, and violent crime in their own countries.

All we can really expect looking forward is more anger and anguish.

It’s Beginning To Smell Like 1968 Again

Political prognostication is a tricky business.  Even the experts with every resource at their fingertips can be very wrongthe Presidential election of 2016 being the most dramatic recent exampleso now we armchair political gurus perhaps have a little more credibility should we want to engage in an educated guesstimate prior to an election.

So far I am batting a thousand.  Immediately prior to Election Day on 2016, I published my prediction that Donald Trump would win.  At the risk of screwing up my perfect record, I am going to hazard some thoughts regarding the critical midterm elections that are only weeks away.

First, regardless of the actual outcome, we are still going to remain a divided nation.  Fundamentally irreconcilable ideas regarding government regulation, foreign policy, law enforcement, LBGTQ rights, immigration (both legal and not), abortion, gun control, economic policy, entitlement spending, public education, military policy, public aid, and a host of other issues often make it difficult to find common ground. This election is apt to further harden these battle lines and further thrust our nations courts into the impossible position of acting as the moral and cultural arbiter for America.  Given the desire of so many to forcefully and continually assert their uniqueness and individuality at every turn, it is sometimes difficult to discern what truly binds us together as one nation.

However, our present state of despair and dissension is what drives my electoral prediction: It will be a good night for the Republican Party in generaland President Trump in particular.  Why?  I believe we are about to see an eerie rerun of the 1968 elections.

Richard Nixon won the Presidency in 1968 despite being a deeply divisive figure who was reviled by the D.C. political establishment (Sound familiar?), and the Republican Party picked up seats in both the House and the Senate.  The country was deeply divided politically, violent political rhetoric and actual political violence plagued our nation, upheaval at all levels was the order of the day, and calls for a revolutionto restructure America echoed through the culture and our pre-digital media world.  Words were wielded as weapons, liberals demanded action to improve systems they deemed unfair, and the signs of change seemed everywhere one looked around our nation and the world.  The stars seemed lined up for a Democratic night at the ballot box.

However, Richard Nixon and the Republican Party—positioning themselves as the party of law and order, traditional values, and the protectors of realAmericans—waded through the morass and did just fine.

There are, of course, many differences between today and fifty years ago, but the single most important and salient similarity is the Democratic Party found itself aligned with forces that, either rightly or wrongly, were associated with chaos and a lack of respect for both our nation and realAmericans.  

Just think back over the past two years.  Many on the left seem willing to brand those who disagree with their views as bigots and cretinsyou know, deplorables”—which means it is necessary impeach public officials with differing views, remove the President from office by invoking the 25th Amendment, drag Republicans into court and pummel them, censor conservative opinions on social media they find objectionable, shut down campus speakers and professors who are not liberal, dox government officials, harass politicians and their families in public, and generally display the emotional maturity of sugar-infused eight year olds in all their public and private communications.  Although the obvious retort by those doing the ranting and raving is that this is all the fault of Donald Trump and his itchy Twitter finger, the reality is that many Democrats have been quite willing to pump up the volume of their resistancein order to energize those voters whom they believe will be their margin of electoral victory.  Incivility and confrontation are thought be a winning combination.

This brings me to my reason for predicting a good night for the Republicans.  Although standing at the barricades and screaming at your opponents garners lots of media attention and self-congratulations for being brave and woke, the reality is that most people arent much into revolution and are going to default to voting for candidates who speak quietly and with a minimum of incendiary rhetoric.  The mistake that Democrats made in 1968 is analogous to the mistake that Democrats are making todayjust because you are marching doesnt mean everyone else is anxious to fall into line behind you.  The basic American character is evolutionary and not revolutionary, so votersexcept for the loud and partisan feware innately suspicious of those who excitedly promise to circumvent the deliberately slow and pokey mechanisms of government in order to right all the wrongs of the world.  Given the cacophonous clashes that have become cable news and social media staples over the past several years, the body politic is weary and will cast their votes for whomever seems to promise some much needed peace and quiet.

Injustices, of course, still abound, but a general respect for our laws and institutions still abidesand most would prefer reforms over revolt.  Although well-timed ambushes and clever insults sometimes succeed in the short term, voters will inevitably opt for those candidates who seem to exude stability and evince some degree adult behavior.  Provocation gets attention, but conciliation wins elections.

The dark genius of President Trump is that he knows how to needle his opponents into inflammatory words and behavior that work to his advantage.  Perhaps the greatest political counterpuncher to ever occupy the Oval Office, he continually starts fights in order to goad his opponents into madness or stupidityor both.  If you doubt this, I hold up the recent spectacle of Senator Elizabeth Warren shooting herself in the foot regarding the matter of her Native American DNA.  If ever there was a dumber and more pointless political stunt that managed to both amuse opponents and infuriate allies, one would have to look very hard to find it.  Well played, Mr. Trump.

Therefore, my midterm election predictions are thus: Republican gains in the Senate and a near stalemate in the House.  This will drive President Trumps opponents madder stilland further strengthen his hand looking toward the elections in 2020.

Guys and Dolls

Every semester I give my students a new set of articles to use as the topics for their essays up until midterm.  I look for ones that will offer opportunities for thoughtful discussion based on the facts and viewpoints provided so that my students can improve their writing and critical thinkingskills.  Sometimes, despite my best efforts, some articles just don’t seem to grab my students’ attention.  However, on occasion I hit the jackpot and pick a topic that—for reasons that I could not possibly have anticipated—hits a nerve and inspires some very interesting student writing.

This semester I added an article by Suzanna Danuta Walters entitled “Why Can’t We Hate Men?”.  At the point when I sent this to be copied for my classes, I could not have known that the Supreme Court nomination hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh would become an epic battle between the rage of sexual assault survivors demanding to be believed and the insistence of others that condemning without corroborating evidence—however strong the beliefs and emotions of the victims—is a mistake.  Partisan passions, scandal mongering media, and showboating politicians all helped to create the most incredibly divisive and mutually destructive nomination battle possible, and both the process and outcome will be studied and discussed for decades to come.

Not surprisingly, Professor Walters’ article has been the basis of a lot of student essays so far this semester, and the responses have run the gamut from agreeing that men are the source of most of the evils in our world to more evenhanded responses that saw her viewpoint as perhaps simplistic at best—and flat out insulting at worst.

Hatred tends to blind us to the complexity of the people whom we hate.  Just looking around at my classes on any given day I see men who are fathers, loving husbands, awkward singles, straight, gay, bisexual, talkative, shy, daydreamers, focused, politically conservative, aggressive, withdrawn, politically liberal, cerebral, apolitical, sad, upbeat, overwhelmed, confident—and virtually every other descriptor I can think to use.  To label all of them as brute oppressors and terrifying antagonists of women seems both foolish and impossible to support empirically.

This being said, our national dialogue about the sexual assault and harassment of women is both necessary and belated.  Human history has also been the history of organized warfare, daily violence, and cruel dominance—and a good portion of this has been perpetrated by men and has harmed women.  To argue otherwise would be ridiculous, and to fail to understand the pain of victims would be to deny the darkness that lies beneath our civilized veneer.

However, is it OK to hate men?

I would argue not.  Although we are all part of many groups and subgroups—and gender is perhaps the most easily recognizable grouping of all—men are not part of a collective hive mind and so must be assessed on an individual basis.  It is impossible to predict the behavior of individuals from the tendencies of the group.  In almost every collection of individuals—regardless of how they are sorted—you will find cruel and cowardly people mixed in with those who are decent and brave.  To presume every man is an animal and rapist—and so neglect the many good men in this world—might satisfy the rage of some, but it will build walls where none need exist and create a society that is far more lonely and suspicious than is actually necessary.

It is also appropriate to point out that men deal with a host of challenges as a group that are sometimes forgotten in the rush to castigate them for their “testosterone poisoning” or whatever the other clever insults of the day might be.  Men are 3.5 times more likely than women to commit suicide, account for over 90% of workplace fatalities, and are now far less likely than women to finish high school or earn a college degree.  Were we to point to this harsh statistical evidence of pain, danger, and ignorance affecting practically any other group in our nation, outrage would result—and a rush to find solutions would follow.  Unfortunately, men are presumed capable of bearing their pain on their own—or are somehow deserving of it—which are sad and isolating beliefs that condemn many to lives of misery and, worse yet, make them feel that asking for help is a sign of “unmanly” weakness.  Neither men nor women benefit when inane preconceptions based on gender alone drive our decisions or viewpoints.

Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 Presidential election convinced many that America is too innately misogynistic to ever overcome the more unfortunate aspects of the history of relations between men and women, but only the most blindly partisan could fail to note Secretary Clinton’s obvious shortcomings as a candidate.  Perhaps the better lesson to take away from her defeat in light of how so many women obviously did not cast their votes based on gender identity alone is that both women and men are looking more and more beyond mere surface realities regarding one another.  It could be the case that our perceptions are both more sophisticated and more nuanced than elite opinion could possibly imagine, and myths regarding how men and women see political and social issues dramatically differently might need to be discarded along with so many other ignorant and insulting ideas from the past regarding gender.

I hope there can be less hate and more understanding, less shouting and more listening—and more empathy and less derision—where relationships between men and women are involved.  Our differences are actually insignificant compared to all that binds us together as humans, and we should not allow partisans on either side of any issue seek to divide us for political gain.  There has been more than enough hurt and harm, and it is now time for healing to begin.

 

A Reset Of Liberal Thought In America?

All systems of government—even totalitarianism—cannot operate without the support of the governed.  Although this support may be bought in all sorts of unsavory manners through lies, threats, or the handing out of unwonted benefits that translate into outright bribery, some provision must be made to obtain the cooperation that is necessary to ensure the operation of the basic economy and the maintenance of public order.  Failing this, no government can long survive.  Even if the actual benefits for citizens are set so far in the future that blandishments and symbolic gestures must suffice for today, leaders invariably maintain power by offering some pleasing mixture of perceived economic security, national pride, and protection from criminals within and enemies without.

Modern liberalism, which traces its roots back several hundreds of years, has sustained its support across the centuries by essentially promising that a benign and expansive government can supply economic security by way of a mix of government benefits, enable national pride by supporting freedoms not found in illiberal nation’s elsewhere, and provide protection from criminals by removing the basis for most criminality—want and anger—through state-sponsored laws and programs that will both fill stomachs and gladden hearts.  Enemies beyond one’s borders will—although bullets will unfortunately sometimes still be necessary—be largely vanquished by the shining example of your nation’s incredible goodness, which others will surely wish to emulate.

Therefore, liberals are, by their very nature, supporters of—and proselytizers for—government in all of its manifestations.  Given enough taxes and legal authority, poverty, ignorance, and injustice can—and must—be eliminated, and these governmental ideas must be exported across the globe in order to create interlocking and mutually supportive liberal international authorities to manage the world for the benefit of all.  Misbehavior and overreach by government entities will be controlled through an alert and interventionist judiciary, and mismanagement of money and resources will be driven to the point of extinction by a secular priesthood of credentialed experts who will guide their nations and people to something approximating heaven on earth.  No problem will be unsolvable as long as government is free, after some period of study and reflection, to provide the most perfect of all possible solutions.

Of course, the obvious trade-offs here are two-fold.  First, tax money—and lots of it—will be necessary to support the Byzantine governmental structures necessary to monitor and manipulate human behavior to ensure the best outcome for all.  Second, any pesky adherence to traditional cultural, moral, or religious beliefs must be openly denigrated and actively suppressed—if not outright outlawed—should they not serve the greater good as defined by liberal government.  Unfortunately for the social engineers, two harsh realities tend to throw a monkey wrench into the gears of governmentally-imposed nirvana if liberal aspirations are allowed to proceed unchecked: Money tends to run out rather quickly, and your citizens get a tad annoyed about being constantly ordered around.

When given its proper place within a broader governmental system that also respects traditional institutional norms and personal beliefs, liberal political values provide an idealistic appeal that is a necessary counterbalance to the daily grind of governance—and which also brings new energy and fresh ideas into the process.  However, if allowed to proceed unrestrained, the idealism that animates liberal thought can curdle into sanctimonious scolding, and programs and laws intended to improve the lives of the citizenry can turn government into a horde of micromanaging busybodies armed with all the legal authority that the state can provide.  If the judiciary, which is meant to check the abuses of government powers, has also been captured by liberal ideologues, the daily lives of citizens, schools, businesses, medical providers, the police, the military, and houses of worship are subjected to a daily beat down by bureaucrats and attorneys who are determined to reshape humanity to fit their goals and purposes.  If no reason or relief is available, the inevitable outcome will be an insurrection at the ballot box, and I believe this is precisely the situation we find ourselves in today.

If you scratch the surface of the average American voter, you will find a fundamentally fair and kind-hearted individual who would rather live life with fewer constraints upon their choices and behavior.  These citizens, who do the work and pay the taxes that keep America moving, are generally good to their families, friends, and neighbors—and quite sympathetic to those who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.  However, having cared for themselves and others throughout their lives, they are set in their values and loathe to adopt new ideas unless their benefits can be clearly demonstrated.  Often blessed with an abundance of common sense, they are innately suspicious of pie-in-the-sky promises and unwilling to allow elites to scorn their lives and aspirations.  Like a terrier, they are loyal to a fault, but they will administer quite a ferocious and memorable bite if sufficiently annoyed—which America’s liberal establishment now knows to be the case.

The 2016 election of Donald Trump did not herald an army of Klansmen hooting out of the hollows and hillsides, although one would imagine from the prevailing media narrative that goose stepping goons were ready to round up the resistors at any moment.  This fraught—and dangerously wacky—reaction to election results that were a surprise to no one other than the commentators at MSNBC perhaps served the political purposes of progressive partisans who were determined to delegitimize President Trump from the outset and paint his victory as a win for bigotry and intolerance, but it has also caused damaging fear and suspicion to pervade our nation.  

The reality was perhaps a bit less dramatic—or worrisome.  Fed up with a federal government that seemed more interested in bathroom politics than creating the conditions for economic growth, Americans were willing to roll the dice on a rude and confrontational outsider who promised massive changes.  Moreover, many wanted see immigration laws enforced, regulations reduced, taxes lowered, government shrunk, and accountability returned to federal agencies that operated with the impunity of medieval royalty.  In addition, it cannot be overemphasized that Hillary Clinton ran one of the worst political campaigns in American history, and her evasive and defensive responses to legitimate questions regarding her use of an unsecured email server while serving as Secretary of State only served to cement the voting public’s unflattering perceptions of her slippery character and deficient honesty.

The upcoming midterm elections will provide an opportunity for voters to decide whether they like having a reflexively combative President who delights in punching his opponents in the face and chortling at their pain.  Moreover, and certainly more importantly, the midterm elections will serve as a referendum on the rollback of liberal thought and action that Donald Trump’s election certainly signaled.  My guess is the expected “blue wave” will not materialize, and the post-election analyses will blame Americans for surrendering to fear and stupidity by helpingPresident Trump to continue to torch liberal institutions and philosophies that many wrongly assumed were inviolate.

However, as painful as this might be for some, the political dominance that President Trump now enjoys might serve as a necessary corrective that will later facilitate a more measured liberal phase—one now counterbalanced by a conservative stamp on many institutions of government—which will permit the good of liberalism to persist without the excesses that obviously annoyed so many voters in the past.