The Next to be Left Behind

Politicians will always promise a return to yesterday. They rarely deliver.

These days, somewhat paradoxically, Forgotten America is on everyone’s mind. Even before Donald Trump won the presidency by appealing to demographics and themes that effete, urban Americans found gauche, books like J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy and John Judis’s The Populist Explosion focused elite minds on those left behind in the Great Recession’s “recovery.” Trump’s “Forgotten Man” was, however, forgotten long before 2008. By casting himself as a defender of the status quo ante—leaving it up to voters to determine for themselves precisely when their preferred “ante” was—Trump tapped into the political potency of nostalgia. The globalized information age is not done transforming the American economic landscape. Others will soon join the ranks of those left behind.

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The Next to be Left Behind

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Trump’s Naïveté on Display in Syria

The hen house is secured.

Eric Edelman–a former undersecretary of defense in the Bush administration, an aide to Vice President Cheney, and one of the most respected foreign policy hands in Washington–wrote that the July 7 meeting in Hamburg between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was the most disastrous superpower summit since John F. Kennedy met Nikita Khrushchev in 1961. That Cold War-era summit emboldened the Soviets to put up the Berlin Wall and send missiles to Cuba, thus bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war. It’s a harsh judgment, but its essential accuracy is being confirmed by what we have learned since July 7.

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The ‘Intersectionality’ Trap

No more Sister Souljah moments.

Republicans didn’t always scoff dismissively at the self-destructive, reactionary, fractious collection of malcontents who call themselves The Resistance. The hundreds of thousands who marched in the streets following Donald Trump’s election once honestly unnerved the GOP. This grassroots energy culminated in January’s Women’s March, a multi-day event in which nearly two million people mobilized peacefully and, most importantly, sympathetically in opposition to the president. It was the perfect antidote to the violent anti-Trump demonstrations that typified Inauguration Day, and it might have formed the nucleus of a politically potent movement. The fall of the Women’s March exposes the blight weakening the left and crippling the Democratic Party.

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Apparently, There Is an Academic Medievalist Far Left

Madness.

Even “Game of Thrones” has not quite rescued medieval studies from its reputation for stodginess. Yet the organizers of this year’s International Medieval Congress must have thought their fellow scholars would think them a teensy bit cool for selecting the theme “otherness.”

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Should the U.S. Revive Nuclear Power?

Keeping the lights on.

Progressives, environmentalists, politicians, and even many corporations have dedicated themselves to increasing the amount of alternative energy Americans produce and use. To many Americans, this means foregoing coal and oil in favor of wind, hydroelectric, or solar power. Fights over the Keystone XL pipeline or Dakota Access Pipeline have less to do with fears of spillage or respect for Native American sacred ground and more to do with antipathy toward expanding gas and oil use and encouraging any further development or exploitation of Canadian oil reserves, especially from Alberta’s tar sands.

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The Quiet Tragedy of China’s Dissidents

Avenge Liu Xiaobo.

The prominent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo died last week while still in Chinese government custody, thus becoming the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in prison since Carl von Ossietzky in Nazi Germany in 1938. Liu had been languishing behind bars since 2011—locked up for daring to advocate the principles of self-government contained in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

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