Expecting the Electorally Unexpected

Throughout the Republican primary season, the favorite fallback story angle for pundits was one that hyped the possibility of a deadlock that would lead to an open or contested GOP convention. That was always highly unlikely, and in the end it didn’t come close to happening. Mitt Romney wound up sweeping the field and the Tampa convention was the usual boring political infomercial, rather than one that harkened back to the colorful and unpredictable political conclaves that were par for the course in an earlier era of American history. The yearning for this anomaly said more about the desire of the media for something interesting to cover than anything else, but it must be admitted that it was always a possibility, albeit one that had very little chance of coming to pass. Several months later, the media has a new meme along the same lines: the possibility that one candidate will win the popular vote while losing the Electoral College. This, too, is unlikely. But given both recent history and the way some of the polls are looking, this one is a bit more difficult to dismiss.

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Expecting the Electorally Unexpected

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The GOP has a narrow window to get their agenda through.

So far, 2017 is what 2009 looked like on Earth 2.

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One States, Two States, Whatever

Commentary podcast: A new pathway to peace abroad and a new war at home.

On the second Commentary podcast of the week, we (Abe Greenwald, Noah Rothman, and I) dilate upon Donald Trump’s seeming revolution in the U.S. posture toward the Israelis and the Palestinians while asking this question: Does the president actually know what the “one-state” or “two-state” solution is? We also point out that just as paranoids have enemies, Trump has reason to believe he is under attack from inside his own executive branch—but that his response may hurt him and not help. Also, like Jack Benny and Fred Allen’s radio shows of old, we have a sponsor! Give a listen.

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An Unconventional Middle East Peace?

A Middle East peace that abandons the Peace Process.

It was a shock to the status quo on Tuesday when, standing beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump abandoned decades of U.S. policy by suggesting he would no longer insist on a two-state solution as a prerequisite for peace. Trump went on to demonstrate his contempt for precedent by noting that Palestinian school children are “taught hate from a very young age.” Trump’s disregard for diplomatic niceties may yet end up causing him headaches, but he could also find the restive Middle East more receptive to a breakthrough. Ironically, it was Barack Obama who made Trump’s job of pursuing an out-of-the-box solution to the region’s conflicts all the easier, albeit inadvertently.

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Is BDS a Bust?

BDS has failed to turn Israel into a pariah state.

In 2005, a coalition of organizations claiming to represent Palestinian civil society issued a call to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. Since then, the BDS movement has acted, in church organizations, on college campuses, and elsewhere, to make Israel the equivalent of apartheid-era South Africa; a pariah state. BDS has been active in the U.S., and COMMENTARY has covered many of its individual wins and losses. But it is worth pausing every now and again to consider its overall effect on American public opinion.

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Beinart’s Complaint

Peter Beinart makes his critics' arguments for them.

Peter Beinart is part of a cast of liberals lamenting the fact that conservatives who were skeptical of Donald Trump during the campaign have inexplicably declined to join him in the Democratic party now that Trump is president. And he is now among a more select group on the left to name names in an effort to shame such people over their seeming hypocrisy. Except he doesn’t call it hypocrisy. Rather, Beinart’s argument is that these conservatives don’t share his prohibitive focus on Trump to the exclusion of virtually every other matter of public policy relevance or political salience. And so Beinart inadvertently validates the arguments of those he sought to condemn.

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