America’s Stress Test Isn’t Over

That which cannot go on forever, won't.

The Trump administration has turned a corner, we are told. The appointment of the no-nonsense, anti-ideological General John Kelly to replace Reince Priebus as Trump’s chief of staff has imposed order on an administration prone to chaos. The president’s party in control of Congress has not allowed Donald Trump to indulge his worst excesses unchecked, nor have the courts. As Charles Krauthammer wrote in a column last week, American institutions ranging from the military, to law enforcement, to even the Boy Scouts have resisted the corrupting influence of a president with no use for republican norms. “Trump is a systemic stress test,” he wrote. “The results are good, thus far.”

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America’s Stress Test Isn’t Over

Must-Reads from Magazine

The Self-Degradations of Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Trump corrupts.

How far–how low–do religious leaders end up going when they decide that, in public life, the end justify any means? Consider the case of Jerry Falwell, Jr. For the Liberty University president, the end was the advancement of social conservatism. The means: Donald Trump.

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We Will Never Ever Get Back Together

Podcast: What to expect in a post-Bannon world

The first COMMENTARY podcast of the week finds us—me, Abe Greenwald, and Noah Rothman—wondering at the grandiose plans of Steve Bannon after the White House. A new news channel! War in the Republican party! Etc! All this leads into speculation about 2020, because why not, and why Joe Biden might be the guy to challenge Trump. And then we descend into more crushing morosity as we contemplate whether our divisions nationally are just too large to heal. Give a listen.

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The Silly Season Is Upon Us

Sobriety in September.

August is traditionally the silly season in American politics and journalism, and this August is living up to the sobriquet.

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Bannon the ‘Strategist’? Please.

An imitation mastermind exits a make-believe position

The fact that Steve Bannon, ousted from his senior role at the Trump White House, was its “chief strategist” in the first place is testimony to how accidental this presidency was and is. Who would hire for such a job a person whose first serious involvement in American political life had come only a few years earlier when he found himself running a right-wing media website due to a tragic accident—and whose entire involvement in actual political events was limited to three late months on the Trump campaign? This is the sort of thing that, in a normal universe, might get someone a deputy assistant to the president post as a reward—not a personal fiefdom inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

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Spain’s Jihadis Are Awakened

A long time coming.

The horrific series of events in Barcelona is yet another macabre example of what is starting to feel like Europe’s new normal. This is the era of frequent, low-tech, mass casualty Jihadist attacks, in which any ideologically driven fanatic can jump in a van or pick up a knife and inflict carnage on the streets of our cities. The former head of Mi5, Lord Evans, has predicted that the battle against this form of terrorism is likely to last for a generation.

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