The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘Undefeated’

British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative Party conference on October 13, 1989 (Stringer / U.K. / Reuters)

In response to How to Quit without Being a Quitter

Kevin, after the midterm elections of 2018, I toyed with an idea. Margaret Thatcher once told Charles Moore, her official biographer, that she had wanted to title her memoirs “Undefeated.” She was very proud of having never lost at the ballot box. (Her fellow Conservatives ended her premiership, internally.) I thought Trump might be enchanted by the idea of having been undefeated: one political race — for the presidency, at that — and a win. No defeats. I thought that just might appeal to him.

Maybe he will be undefeated. There are four months left in this race, roughly speaking. I think the experience of 2016 has left most of us ready for anything.

P.S. Yesterday offered another sign of the Trumpian transformation of the GOP. The Republican National Committee — @GOP — tweeted the following:

In 1993, Biden supported NAFTA & downplayed arguments against it — calling them “vastly, vastly, vastly overblown.”

NAFTA killed THOUSANDS of American jobs & put other countries’ workers before our own.

Pres. Trump’s #USMCA — to be put into effect today — puts #AmericaFirst!

Republicans used to be so proud of NAFTA, and international-trade agreements generally. And they used to be contemptuous of Democrats’ and Big Labor’s opposition to these agreements. Not so much contemptuous, actually, as pitying and head-shaking.

There are constants in American political life. Joe Biden was first elected to office in 1969! And to the Senate in 1972! But there is also whip-lashing change.

P.P.S. I thought of Biden, and 1972, when Madison Cawthorn won his primary the other day. He is a North Carolina GOP-er and it looks like he’ll be going to the U.S. House. He is 24 years old. You have to be 25, to serve in the House — but he will be, by the time he’s sworn in (if he indeed wins election). Biden was 29 when he won his Senate race in 1972 — turning 30 later that month, making him eligible for the institution to which he had been elected.

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