The Corner


Trump Compared with What?

Trump, as most presidents, of course, will point to achievements next Tuesday. And despite the 90-percent-negative media coverage and the shutdown, he can brag about continued robust economic growth, low unemployment, record oil and gas production, tax reform and reduction, and a generally positive economic picture.

Manufacturing jobs show marked increases. Minority unemployment is at record lows. Deregulation, not more regulation, is now the new gospel.

Abroad, for all the herky-jerky presidential rhetoric and musical-chairs key appointments, there is emerging a reification of the NSC’s 2017 strategic assessment emphasizing principled realism. China’s trajectory to global supremacy is no longer shrugged off in the West as inevitable — and it will likely renegotiate downwards its mercantile trade surpluses.

We have been quite harder on Vladimir Putin than at any time under the previous administration. NATO is coughing up millions more in defense investments. There is new attention to missile defense.

ISIS’s land hegemony is almost gone. The verdict is out on North Korea and Iran as well as planned redeployment out of Afghanistan and Syria, but the consensus is also that U.S. foreign policy prior to 2017, reifying the status quo with Pyongyang and Tehran, and paralysis vis-à-vis the Taliban and ISIS, was failing. For all the melodramas about the “wall,” at least there is an effort to secure the border to reduce illegal immigration, and the Democrats at some point will have to explain why they now utterly reject their long-held past agreements to fortify parts of the border with a wall.

But all that said, Trump should deviate from state-of-the-union custom and also point out that we are at a national intersection, in which the Democrats are offering a vision of America that is arguably the most socialist and radical since 1972 — if not ever.

The Green New Deal would essentially ban internal-combustion engines ten years after passing of the bill, and in effect destroy the current U.S. oil and natural-gas renaissance that has empowered the middle class with inexpensive fuel, provided millions of jobs, and ended our strategic reliance on the Persian Gulf.

The emerging new Democratic position on abortion is not just third-trimester abortions, but in theory infanticide upon dilation or delivery. At a time of near Medicare insolvency, many Democrats would expand it for all and thus for nobody, virtually ending private insurance.

Student debt would be abolished and college free — without discussion of where the trillions of dollars needed would come from in a nation running nearly a $1 trillion annual deficit and approaching $22 trillion in aggregate debt.

Anti-Israel and pro-Chavista Venezuela are the de facto New Democratic positions, as well as a new iteration of left-wing anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism. As far as the border goes, the agenda is clear: Abolish ICE, issue blanket amnesties, expand sanctuary cities, and allow “refugees” to enter without documentation.

In sum, Trump should review the stark alternatives ahead — reminding the American people that the Democratic party is abandoning many of its old principles and becoming unrecognizable: Centrists are replaced by liberals who are overwhelmed by progressives who are now themselves being absorbed by neo-socialists.

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Case for Trump.

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