Best columns: The U.S.
Clinton’s campaign is at fault
Hillary Clinton blew an election against “the weakest major-party candidate in American history,” said Damon Linker, and she and her campaign should stop blaming others for their loss. The Clinton camp has pointed fingers at Millennials, the media, FBI Director James Comey, and the “fundamentals” of a change election. But Clinton ran against an erratic, historically unpopular candidate who got “relentlessly negative” media coverage, and she “should have won in a landslide.” Why didn’t she? After a very successful Democratic convention, Clinton took a comfortable lead in the polls. She then attempted “to coast to victory on an air of inevitability and an undertow of Trump hatred.” For weeks, she did little public campaigning and focused on mocking “baskets of deplorables” at private fundraisers for wealthy Democrats. She bought an avalanche of negative, condescending ads whose sole message was that Donald Trump is a jerk. “Where was the overarching vision for the country and its future?” There was none. Instead, Clinton focused on what her election would mean to women and various identity groups, and never gave all Americans a reason to vote for her. That’s why she lost an election she should have easily won.
Enabling an American kleptocracy
“There are many countries in the world that are governed by men who use their office to enrich themselves and their families,” said Jonathan Chait. Until now, the U.S. has not been one of them. But Donald Trump’s vast, largely hidden business operations here and abroad now guarantee that he will make decisions as president that will affect his own personal and family wealth. That would demolish a long American tradition of presidents disclosing and divesting from any financial conflicts—“and the Republican Party is happy to oblige.” House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz boasted before the election that his committee would engage in “years” of investigations into possible conflicts posed by the Clinton Foundation, but now dismisses any need to go on “fishing trips” regarding Trump’s financial stake in many businesses here and in at least 20 other countries. Republicans insist that since Americans knew Trump had a family business empire and elected him president anyway, his self-dealing isn’t an issue. In other words, Trump is free to turn our nation into a kleptocracy. “If Trump can so quickly demolish decades of precedent against presidential selfenrichment, what other norms will he destroy?”
Where firing gays is still legal
It’s hard to believe, but in much of the U.S., it’s still legal for employers to discriminate against gays and lesbians, said Steve Chapman. To be sure, “America has come a great distance in a short time” regarding gay rights, and now marriage equality is the law of the land. Yet in 28 states, “including Vice President–elect Mike Pence’s Indiana,” you can still lose your livelihood for holding hands with your same-sex partner. Gays aren’t specifically protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” But since that law was passed, public attitudes have changed, and polls find majority support in every state for workplace protections for gays. Last week, a federal appeals court in Chicago heard a lawsuit brought by community college teacher Kimberly Hively, who was fired after she gave her female partner a goodbye kiss in the parking lot. Hively says she should be protected by the Civil Rights Act, and she’s right: If it’s illegal to fire someone because they’re a woman, a Muslim, or black, h ow can it be legal to fire someone simply because they’re gay? When this injustice is finally corrected, “Americans will wonder why on earth it took so long.”
“Since World War II, each major political party has typically had eight years in the White House, worn out its welcome, and then been replaced by the other party for eight years. That cycle of eight years in power followed by eight years in the wilderness has meant that each party gets the chance to sweep away the legacy of the other party and make radical changes of its own only once every 16 years. The reason conservatives are so eager to make the Trump transition—and administration—work is that they haven’t seen this kind of opportunity since the dawn of this century.”
John Fund in NationalReview.com