Trying to think about this year’s Presidential Election is like a trawl through an especially mephitic cavern, maybe this one, the sort where you need multiple layers of protective clothing and your own portable atmosphere.

2016 Presidential Debate

2016 Presidential Debate. Credit Patrick Landmann/SPL

Republicans are, justly enough, getting hollered at for not figuring out how to keep the spectacularly unqualified Donald Trump from seizing the party, but, somehow, the Democrats have been exempt from equivalent criticism for spending 8 years to devise a way to hand their nomination of the Candidate that No One Wants. The question, “How did Trump happen,” is asked, without, as yet, a satisfactory answer. The equivalent question, “Why, O Why, Hillary?” doesn’t seem to be out there at all. The horribleness of Trump provides camouflage for the horribleness of Hillary. Fascinating.

Younger voters may not have acute memories of life under the first Clinton administration. Here you go.


April 22 1999


April 19, 1993

It was such a fun time. Really want Round 2?

(In case you don’t get it, it’s not the policy or source of action, but the extent of force applied to American citizens and legal residents)

So lets assume that Trump and Sanders are attracting protest voters.  Is there any reason to think that?  Via Steve Hayward, this chart provides a hint that even politicians might pick up on.


In other words, things went bad immediately after the 1964 election. I’ve always known that was a watershed, but didn’t realize how much so.

I’ve been recommending Amity Schlaes’ terrific biography of Calvin Coolidge (named, simply enough, Coolidge, a title the subject would approve) as a way to understand how greatly our politics have changed since Coolidge. There was, even in Coolidge’s time, a “D.C. Establishment” that lived in and for itself, was pretty self-referential, and had taken new shape and size during World War I; but it was there before.

Where now? Still working on it. . .



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