Victor Davis Hanson is a rare breed of American intellectual: The professor of classics and military history at the California State University and senior fellow in classics and military history at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute has supported Donald Trump in a number of books and articles.
In an email interview with Kathimerini, Hanson offered his opinion on recent developments in Washington, shedding light from a conservative angle on a number of issues that define modern America.
Do you think that Trump went too far in inciting violence, ignoring the fact that in the previous two months all legislatures in disputed states and all judges had already decided that the claims of a “stolen election” were baseless, proving that there was no election fraud?
Trump had a right to lodge legitimate inquiries about election irregularities given 100 million voted by mail or through “early voting” before Election Day – 61 percent of the voting electorate. Traditional authentication was impossible under those Covid-19 rules. All agree that in many key states voting laws were wrongly changed by local magistrates and judges.
But whether these and other egregious laxities in voting would have given Trump the strategically located ca. 42,000 votes (out of 165 million cast) necessary to win the key states for an Electoral College victory was uncertain. After the second week in December, when the state electors were chosen, there was almost no chance of changing the election. And at the point it should have been in Trump’s interest to concede, galvanize conservatives to save the Republican senate by winning the two seats in the runoff election in Georgia, and then to play the loyal opposition as the country from 2021-22 might well tire of what will likely be the most radically left-wing agenda enacted since 1964 or 1932. Instead, he persisted, alienated swing voters, appeared a sore loser and gave the impression to his supporters that the election results would be overturned – again an impossibility. The storming of the Capitol by splinter groups from the massive protests [on January 6] – rightly condemned by conservatives in a way the summer Antifa and BLM nightly rioting and looting was not by the Left – essentially made him politically inert.
Trump’s recent but belated concession, and calls for unity and calm may be too little too late to save his legacy – but then in second-chance America maybe not.
Will political conflict persist in the US or have we witnessed the end of the Trump era of division and hatred?
Trump was a symptom not a catalyst of the hatred. Radical changes due to globalization, enormous concentrations of wealth on the coasts, 50 million non-native-born residents, and a hollowed out manufacturing and assembly industry all created a new volatility. His sin was replying back in kind to the attacks of the Left crudely and in a way Bush, McCain and Romney did not.
He also sought not to stop but to roll back the entire left-wing agenda, and by February 2020, in the pre-Covid months, might well have been re-elected given a booming economy, secure borders, a calmer world abroad and his victory over the special prosecutor, the impeachment conviction effort, and the media’s nonstop assaults. Almost all of the so-called administrative state, the rich, and the permanent bureaucracy, academia, the media, and entertainment despised him for both cultural and political reasons.
After March 2020, the pandemic, the recession, the lockdown, the George Floyd death, the months of looting, arson, and protest and radical changes in voting laws all empowered the Left and finally undid Trump – as did his own constant tweets and fiery feuding that estranged moderate and swing suburban voters. The Left will not try to unite the country; its aim is instead to transform the country into something like a European democratic socialist state, if not more leftward still.
This is not the Democratic Party of old, but a progressive movement that seeks an “equality-of-result” society and demands the power to enforce its ideological aims.
Could we say that the core of the political energy that sustains the Trump movement might have something to do with the politics of race and the fact that a core white constituency cannot accept that the blacks can have equal access to the democratic electoral process?- READ MORE
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