Politics & Policy

NRPLUS Conference Call with Rich Lowry and Victor Davis Hanson

(NRO Illustration: Elijah Smith)

Yesterday morning, NR editor in chief Rich Lowry spoke with author and historian Victor Davis Hanson to members of the NRPLUS group on a private conference call. The pair discussed the Mueller report, Victor’s decision to support Trump, and Victor’s life on a farm in Fresno, Calif.

Rich and Victor started the call by discussing the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on President Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. Victor described the report as a reflection of Mueller’s team, who he says were all non-Republicans tasked with the job of finding evidence of collusion regardless of whether collusion was present. Indeed, the first volume didn’t suggest any evidence was found. But by packing everything damning of Trump into Volume II, the team managed to accomplish the job the Left wanted them to accomplish.

Victor says that impeachment isn’t likely, as long as the economy remains strong and the United States doesn’t enter another war, but the progressive Left will continue to pursue it regardless of the presence of these triggers, which makes stopping the impeachment train harder. Arguing on their terms won’t work, Victor explained, and only a counter-offensive will. This counter-offensive would bring to light improper behavior by those on the Left, including Andrew McCabe or James Comey. For example, how did Comey and the FBI find their contacts if it wasn’t through John Brennan or people talking through Congress? There’s a lot of legal exposure, Victor says. Once the Right begins to pursue that, the push for impeachment will lessen.

Next, Victor explained why he made his decision to support Trump for president, as he wasn’t a supporter until near the end of the campaign. He offered three reasons. First, he was witnessing his neighborhood, which used to be a very safe, multi-ethnic community of farmers, becoming dangerous. Just a quarter of a mile away from his farm, several illegal activities began popping up. Second, he was seeing what happens when progressivism takes over. California was passing new taxes and new laws designed to make the state better, but Victor didn’t see many positive changes. Third, on his trips to Stanford University, he would witness cultural progressivism, in the form of unanimous support for sanctuary cities, safe spaces, trigger warnings, and more. Victor added that he believes many other people in the country grew tired of Marquess of Queensbury Republicans, who would call victory even with a narrow electoral loss and then go out for drinks with their opponent like divorce lawyers after a case.

The hosts then turned to questions from NRPLUS users, who were participating via the Facebook page and the plus@nationalreview.com email. One user asked whether the toxicity in American culture is unprecedented and how we can move forward to unite the country. Victor explained that we have had many eras during which the U.S. was unstable, but the things that people were protesting against was something even the other side had sympathy for. The issues now are issues without consensus. The force multiplier of all of these dissensions have created two cultures: The East and West coasts and middle America. Victor’s colleagues have been all over the world, and yet never to Fresno, Visalia, or Bakersfield, which are between four and five hours away from San Francisco. That’s scary, Victor said. And if Trump gets elected to a second term, Victor says he believes that California is going to ramp up the aggressive defiance of the president’s.

However, Victor said he wouldn’t be surprised if California experienced a rightwing drift in the next 10 years, given the increase of immigrants from cultures that value religion and tradition moving to the state. The members of this group, which makes up just under 30 percent of California’s population, is growing tired, according to Victor, of paying for the luxuries of coastal dreams and witnessing direct attacks on their faith. Trump has a unique grasp on this population, which is puzzling, but Victor wondered if it was due to his refusal to adopt different accents and different garb wherever he goes. Combine this with his identity as a builder, and you have a more “real” candidate than many in California are used to.

Victor and Rich took a few more questions, then Rich asked Victor about his writing routine. Victor answered, and closed out the call with an idyllic picture of his life on the farm. A recording of the call is above. Thank you to those who joined us, and we look forward to seeing you all for the next one.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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