The Corner

Culture

What If the Left’s Campus Meltdown Reflects Their Sense of Doom?

From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

What if the Left’s Campus Meltdown Reflects Their Growing Sense of Doom?

Over at Contentions, Noah Rothman writes:

At the heart of the collective liberal angst over the pesky burden of free speech is the nagging perception that they have lost the argument. There is no great progressive era about to dawn; we may never see a more liberal presidential administration than this in our lifetimes.  While the dangerous impulse to silence their critics is merely sad in fully-formed adults, it is terrifying to witness in the generation just coming of age. When asked if he had built for ensuing generations of Americans a republic or a monarchy, Dr. Benjamin Franklin was said to quip “A Republic, if you can keep it.” That is a proposition set to be tested like never before.

There’s good reason to look at what’s going on in America’s college campuses with incredulity, befuddlement, anger, disdain and repulsion. But what if the Leftist temper-tantrum that we’re witnessing is in fact something of a last gasp, a sudden recognition that their long-awaited nirvana is never going to come?

Deep down, they must realize that the only real career paths for the campus radical are to join some leftist organization in a professional capacity or to stay on campus and attempt to become a professor. Corporate America may pay off an agitator, but they aren’t terribly eager to hire them or give them any real responsibility. The audience for Leftist agitprop is pretty limited, while works they see as trigger-inducing right-wing propaganda, like American Sniper, finds large audiences.

Sure, Leftists have gained tighter and tighter control over the academic world over the past generation, but they’re recognizing obvious limitations on their ability to influence the culture at large from there. They police micro-aggressions while the culture grows coarser. They call for racial justice while the state of black America slips further and further into self-described crisis. They’ve fought for feminism while “Sugar Daddies” become in vogue in some circles of young women; advertising is as objectifying of women as ever, millions of women obsess over celebrities bodies, and women put 50 Shades atop the bestseller lists. Their effort to divest from oil and natural gas companies is flopping; divestment from Israel has passed in only a handful of schools.

In fact, radical leftists are taking over colleges and universities just as the higher education bubble is bursting. What’s the point of controlling the world’s most distinguished schools at the precise moment many Americans decide they’re not worth the debt to attend them?

Careers in government aren’t as certain as they were supposed to be, particularly in the lawmaking process. As Rothman notes, Democrats are getting slaughtered at the ballot box beneath the presidential level.

Chuck Todd this weekend:

Well, let’s start with Congress. Since 2009, Democrats have lost a net of 13 Senate seats and a whopping 69 House seats. Now let’s put this in some historical context.

You have to go all the way back to Eisenhower to match this many losses for a party that controls the White House with Senate seats, 13 of them. And in the House, it’s been 100 years since a two-term president’s party suffered worse losses. That was Woodrow Wilson and the Democrats, 99 House seats.

Let’s go to the state level with President Obama. Under him, Democrats have lost control of 12 governorships, including just this past week in Kentucky.

Plus they’ve given up 30 state legislative chambers. And ready for this? Over 900 state legislative seats. No administration since Nixon-Ford saw more governor and state legislative chamber losses in the president’s own party. 

(Guest Rachel Maddow tried to blame this on gerrymandering, but you can’t gerrymander Senate seats or gubernatorial elections.) Perhaps the grassroots-level progressive activists are suddenly realizing what Marc Caputo spells out – that Obama’s presidency isn’t the epic, nation-changing win for the Left that they thought it would be:

I mean, the big thing is that the Barack Obama political machine and the old world big data, it’s a lie. The Obama political machine without Obama is no machine. They don’t win. That was largely a personality-based campaign in two different cycles.

Most Popular

Trump: Yes

Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More

Trump: Yes

Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More
Media

Jeffrey Toobin and Our Public-Hate Ritual

Oh, Jeffrey Toobin — let him among us with a free hand cast the first stone. Toobin, a writer for The New Yorker and fixture on CNN, was participating in a role-playing exercise on a Zoom call with his magazine colleagues, wargaming election-night scenarios. Toobin was standing in for the courts when he ... Read More
Media

Jeffrey Toobin and Our Public-Hate Ritual

Oh, Jeffrey Toobin — let him among us with a free hand cast the first stone. Toobin, a writer for The New Yorker and fixture on CNN, was participating in a role-playing exercise on a Zoom call with his magazine colleagues, wargaming election-night scenarios. Toobin was standing in for the courts when he ... Read More

Trump: No

Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More

Trump: No

Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Might Be Winning

I’m far too dumb to be able to shed any light on polls, but I do know something about celebrity and I think I can guarantee this: If President Trump wins re-election, Robert Cahaly is going to become very famous very quickly. Who is Robert Cahaly? The chief pollster for the Trafalgar Group, the only major ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Might Be Winning

I’m far too dumb to be able to shed any light on polls, but I do know something about celebrity and I think I can guarantee this: If President Trump wins re-election, Robert Cahaly is going to become very famous very quickly. Who is Robert Cahaly? The chief pollster for the Trafalgar Group, the only major ... Read More
Elections

Biden Is Still Underperforming Hillary

On October 20, 2016: Hillary Clinton was up 6.8 in the RealClearPolitics average in Pennsylvania. Today, Biden is up 3.8. (that race only tightened to 2.1 in the last week of 2016.) Clinton was up twelve points in Michigan on that day. Biden is up 7.5 right now. Clinton was up 6.5 in Wisconsin. Biden is ... Read More
Elections

Biden Is Still Underperforming Hillary

On October 20, 2016: Hillary Clinton was up 6.8 in the RealClearPolitics average in Pennsylvania. Today, Biden is up 3.8. (that race only tightened to 2.1 in the last week of 2016.) Clinton was up twelve points in Michigan on that day. Biden is up 7.5 right now. Clinton was up 6.5 in Wisconsin. Biden is ... Read More
World

Trump and Dictators

Donald Trump’s first presidential trip abroad was to Saudi Arabia. On landing, he said, “We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.” That was undoubtedly music to dictators’ ears. It’s their job, as they see it, to tell ... Read More
World

Trump and Dictators

Donald Trump’s first presidential trip abroad was to Saudi Arabia. On landing, he said, “We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.” That was undoubtedly music to dictators’ ears. It’s their job, as they see it, to tell ... Read More