IN TODAY’S EDITION
- The North Korea summit is canceled. For now.
- In time for Memorial Day: overdue reform of Veterans Affairs.
- Democrats blame Trump for high gas prices while advocating higher gas taxes.
- Identity politics is driving whites from Democrat to Republican.
- Immigration is poised to become a bigger November issue.
- Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“If we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.” —George Washington (1793)
Donald Trump’s cancellation of the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un is not a loss for the United States — far from it. Trump understands dealmaking. And, as it turns out, he may also know a bit about history.
Let’s go back 32 years to the Reykjavik summit, during which Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev offered sweeping nuclear arms cuts to President Ronald Reagan — provided Reagan stop development of the United States’ then-fledgling anti-ballistic-missile defense system known as Star Wars. Reagan refused and walked away. It was arguably the moment that our nation won the Cold War. And it happened because Reagan walked away from an opponent who, as we now know from Peter Schweizer’s book Victory, was on the ropes.
North Korea has similarly been on the ropes. The collapse of its nuclear test site set back that rogue country’s nuclear weapons program. Sure, Kim has his missiles, but intercontinental ballistic missiles aren’t as effective without nuclear warheads. Since that collapse, the North Koreans released three hostages, and then decided to finish by demolition what the collapse had started in the run-up to the summit.
So far, that means the North Koreans have made the bulk of the concessions (the U.S. did cancel one exercise with South Korea, but that can always be rescheduled). As Ari Fleisher, George W. Bush’s former press secretary, noted, “It’s about maneuvering, lack of predictability and leverage. Considering how often NK has played us in the past, I welcome this development.”
Let’s be blunt: Our nation’s previous efforts have been failures. All along, North Korea still pursued nuclear weapons and missiles (the latter having been fired over Japan, incidentally). Furthermore, there has never been a serious consequence for North Korea’s threats until now. It wasn’t just about what Trump called North Korea’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” exhibited in part when a North Korean official called Mike Pence a “political dummy.” North Korea also went so far as to threaten to nuke the United States.
Losing the Singapore summit places Kim in an even tighter spot. North Korea’s a basket case of a country, an unequivocal humanitarian nightmare.
The bigger message, though, goes to three countries: China, Russia and Mexico. China has been in talks with the U.S. to prevent a trade war and now has to realize that Trump is willing to walk away from a bad deal. Mexico has to be thinking the same thing with NAFTA renegotiations. Russia also has to rethink whether Donald Trump can be bullied.
Right now, President Trump is in a no-lose situation. If the summit cancellation sticks, we’ve still secured the safe return of three American hostages from that country, and its primary nuclear testing site is out of commission for a long time. Indeed, his cancellation letter to Kim is masterful in applying a geopolitical carrot and stick for that eventuality.
If the summit is back on, though, even at a later date, the North Koreans will likely have to make more concessions to President Trump. Furthermore, they’ll be facing the reality that if they want the summit to happen, their behavior will have to change. That counts as a win, too.
As of this morning, Trump says, “We’ll see what happens. We are talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. It could even be the 12th.”
In 2012, our Mark Alexander noted with vexation the fact that “so many ‘miserable creatures’ have downgraded Memorial Day to nothing more than a date to exploit for commercial greed and avarice.” He observed: “Duty. Honor. Country — these are not for bargain sale or discount.” Indeed. Memorial Day is not for sale. Rather, it is supposed to be a day set aside to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, not just another annually occurring holiday for advertisers to market with impunity.
Fast-forward six years, however, and Americans can point toward an honorable feat that’s actually worth advertising during Monday’s Memorial Day cookouts. Congress has finally lifted an ominous dark cloud under which our veterans have unnecessarily suffered. Some even died — not from injuries incurred on the battlefield but from a corrupt bureaucracy known as the Department of Veterans Affairs. All of that is about to change. In a 92-5 vote, the Senate on Wednesday passed the VA Mission Act, a pivotal piece of veteran health care reform that the House previously approved, 347-70. Donald Trump will sign the bill in short order.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the legislation “will expand outside medical care options for veterans, increase stipends for veteran caregivers, and streamline community care programs to cut waste. It also strikes arbitrary distance and time restrictions on a veterans’ ability to seek private-sector care. The bill authorizes $5.2 billion to the Veterans Choice Program, which is expected to run out of funding by the end of the month, disrupting care for thousands of patients.”
The Washington Post elaborates, “The VA Mission Act would replace Choice by consolidating VA’s multiple private-care programs and contracting with an outside company to streamline billing.”
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) declared: “I’m delighted to say that a few days before the celebration of Memorial Day we’re going to pass through the United States Senate, and the president is going to sign later this week, the VA Mission bill, which is the final piece of the mosaic we started two years ago to put together to fix the veterans health care service system — make it more accountable, make it relative to our veterans, and make sure we use the private sector as a force multiplier to deliver health services to our veterans at their choice. The veterans, in consult with their primary care VA doctor, will be able to choose the doctor of their choice and the service of their choice, whether through the VA or delivered in the private sector, based on quality, accessibility, availability, and the choice of the veteran.”
One of the few holdouts, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT), stated: “I acknowledge the work done by some of my colleagues to improve this bill, but I believe it moves us too far in the direction of privatization. That is why I will vote against it.” The American Federation of Government Employees echoed that sentiment, claiming it “kicks the door wide open to VA privatization, no matter what its supporters claim.” Yet massive backlogs have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of veterans, as documented in a 2015 VA inspector general report.
Opponents of VA reform don’t seem to realize the magnitude of that number. Private-sector influence is exactly what the VA needs, not simply more cash infusion with which the government has shown zero ability to improve the system. And thanks to scarce bipartisan cooperation in Congress and Donald Trump, that’s becoming reality.
- Trump awards Medal of Honor to Navy SEAL Britt K. Slabinski for controversial mission in Afghanistan (Fox News)
- Trump signs rollback of Democrat financial regulations (The Hill)
- NFL players mulling new anthem protests “to spite” league over planned crackdown (Fox News)
- Armed citizen kills mass shooter at Oklahoma restaurant (The Daily Wire)
- David Hogg puts Publix in crosshairs, demands $1 million donation and anti-NRA pledge (The Washington Times)
- DOJ employee donations overwhelmingly favor Democrats (The Washington Free Beacon)
- Trump issues commercial space policy directive on eve of anniversary of JFK’s space program speech (The Daily Signal)
- Harvey Weinstein surrenders to NYPD, charged with rape (Deadline Hollywood)
- Morgan Freeman accused of sexual harassment by eight women (National Review)
- Humor: Other 193 countries begin insulting Mike Pence in hopes of avoiding future meetings with Trump (The Onion)
- Policy: What’s next: 3 possible scenarios on North Korea after cancellation of Trump-Kim Summit (The Daily Signal)
- Policy: How to make health care prices transparent (Real Clear Policy)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
Brian Mark Weber
You may have heard that whites are becoming Republican because they feel at home venting their anti-immigrant sentiments in a party led by a president whose alleged dog whistles have called the racist hounds home.
But that nasty and simplistic explanation doesn’t quite cut it. Nor does it tell us why so many working-class whites who voted for Barack Obama jumped ship to support a businessman and television celebrity for president.
Democrats, who have long believed that tribalism and identity politics would rack up Electoral College votes, still fail to realize that promising a multicultural, gender-neutral society isn’t enough for millions of Americans who can’t find jobs, pay their bills or send their kids to college.
In 1992, Democrat campaign strategist James Carville famously told an inner-circle of Bill Clinton’s staff, “It’s the economy, stupid.” In doing so, he got the campaign to focus on a powerful issue that President George H. W. Bush was neglecting.
It seems like Democrats could use a little bit of that old-fashioned common sense in their campaigns these days, but they’re clearly not getting the message. Instead, the party is moving further and further to the left, seemingly unable or unwilling to recognize what’s driving Donald Trump’s support among white voters.
Jim Geraghty writes at National Review that years after Bill Clinton pledged to restore the American promise by focusing on economic issues, “The Hillary Clinton campaign reflected Democrats’ increasing obsession with identity politics, contending that the country’s most pressing injustices explicitly broke along the lines of gender, race, immigration status, and sexual identity.”
The numbers show a downward trajectory in white support of Democrats since the Clinton years, which happens to correlate with the decision by many Democrat candidates to abandon the white working class.
In 1996, Clinton won 49% of the white vote in a two-party race. In 2000, Al Gore attracted only 43%. After pulling a bit more whites into his camp in 2008, Barack Obama’s support from whites dropped to 39% in 2012. Hillary Clinton won about the same percentage in 2016. And if Hillary Clinton had matched Obama’s 2012 support among blacks, she still would have lost to Trump.
Identity politics is clearly backfiring on Democrats.
Vox provides more evidence that Democrats are abandoning non-educated whites at their own peril: “White non-college voters remain a larger group than white college voters in almost all states — and are far larger in the Rust Belt states that gave the Democrats so much trouble in 2016: Iowa is 62 percent white non-college versus 31 percent white college; Michigan is 54 percent white non-college versus 28 percent white college; Ohio splits 55 percent to 29 percent; Pennsylvania 51 percent to 31 percent; and Wisconsin 58 percent to 32 percent.”
Joshua Zingher of The Washington Post further explains the loss of white voter support in the Democrat Party to two factors. One is that more white, conservative Democrats have moved over to the Republican Party than white, liberal Republicans have become Democrats, and that Democrats have “courted and won more votes from ethnic and racial minority groups” while “at the same time, in response to these demographic changes, more whites have shifted rightward on economic issues.”
What white voters were looking for in 2016, and what drives their loyalty to President Trump through the sagas of Stormy Daniels and off-the-wall tweet storms is the hope that an outsider in the White House just might be able to offer them something that no other candidate has.
Deep down, many coal miners in West Virginia and unemployed steel workers in Pennsylvania probably know that the Rust Belt might never fully recover. But a president who at least offers them a vision of what’s possible is a lot more attractive than candidates offering gender-neutral bathrooms, unabashed globalism, and promises of green jobs as a cure-all for America’s economic woes.
And branding the white working class neo-Confederates isn’t a wise strategy.
Thomas B. Edsall suggested in The New York Times earlier this year that “a Democratic Party based on urban cosmopolitan business liberalism runs the risk not only of leading to the continued marginalization of the minority poor, but also — as the policies of the Trump administration demonstrate — to the continued neglect of the white working-class electorate that put Trump in the White House.”
Yet, many Democrats continue to believe the party can gain seats in Congress or take back the White House by appeasing every identity group except white working-class voters. They’re counting on the fact that the burgeoning electorate of women, Millennials, educated professionals and minorities will be enough to make up for the loss of whites. For now, their calculations have resulted in Republicans holding more power nationwide than at any point since the early 20th century.
The GOP shouldn’t rest on its laurels heading into the 2018 midterms, though. It’s newfound support in the working class is tentative at best, especially if the party doesn’t keep producing results. But until Democrats stop focusing on “white privilege” and start listening to white voters, the balance of power will continue to favor Republicans in the coming years.
Democrats hoping for a “blue wave” this fall must fight a rising tide of working-class Republicans. Sure, they can do this by practicing identity politics. But unless they start identifying with the hopes and dreams of the white working class, Nancy Pelosi can forget about taking the speaker’s gavel from House Republicans in November.
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- Immigration Is Becoming a November Issue — Moderate House Republicans are trying to force a vote on legalizing “dreamers.”
- Democrats Blame Trump for High Gas Prices — Meanwhile, Dems regularly call for more tax hikes on gasoline.
- Trump Slashes $6B in Red Tape — The president is cutting government regulations at double the rate he campaigned on.
- Why China’s Belt and Road Initiative Matters — China is hungry to play an expanding role on the world stage and is willing to spend a lot to do it.
- Video: Trump Presents Medal of Honor to Master Chief Slabinski — The retired Navy SEAL’s heroism in Afghanistan is worthy of recognition.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Mona Charen: “One cliché that dominates many commencement addresses really should be retired, and that’s the one that exhorts the graduates to go out and change the world. High school and college graduates don’t know very much about the world. Maybe before they set out to change things, they should get a good grasp of how things actually work. Ask them the difference between term and whole life insurance, or how to change a tire, or how much to save every month, or whether you should call a cop after a fender bender. Ask them if they’ve ever organized a dance, far less a factory. There are always things that need changing, of course. Nor should we wish to curdle the natural idealism of the young. But along with calls for change, shouldn’t the young be reminded of the preciousness of their inheritance? So many of the things they take for granted were achieved by their forebears at great cost — and I’m not referring to what the parents spent for those fancy degrees. So many things about our society work well. Our supermarkets are stocked with food from around the globe. Our homes, offices and cars are heated and cooled for our comfort. Emergency help is available nearly everywhere by dialing 911. Just as crucial as trying to fix what’s broken is taking the time to appreciate and shore up what is sound. The great liberal virtue is impatience with injustice. The great conservative virtue is gratitude.”
Food for thought: “I know that correlation isn’t causation. But I do think it’s worth exploring whether our declining birth rate may be yet another symptom of the despair that grips so many American hearts. When you lose hope, do you want to bring a child into this world? Do you have the energy to care for and sustain a separate human life? I’m not positing sadness as the reason for declining American fertility even in an age of material prosperity. But I think it’s a reason.” —David French
Dezinformatsiya: “A truly silly New York Times headline last week read ‘FBI Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims.’ You can call it whatever makes you happy, but in the real world, the act of furtively gathering information about someone else is called spying.” —David Harsanyi
For the record: “Why is Kim Jong Un’s regime lashing out? It’s not because it is offended at talk of a ‘Libya model.’ It’s because it was hoping to follow the ‘Iran model’ — sanctions relief up front and weak inspections — and is starting to realize that is not going to happen.” —Marc A. Thiessen
Braying Jenny: “I think it’s a good thing for Kim Jong-un [that Trump canceled the summit]. Here you have a thug, a person who killed his own family members, a person who has — runs a police state, being legitimized by the president of the United States. They were on a par with each other.” —House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Non Compos Mentis: “It’s counterintuitive in people’s minds that the Democrats are the deficit reduction folks. But the fact is … when there’s a Democratic president … the deficit goes down. When the Republicans are in power, they give tax cuts at the high end, all kinds of other things, and the deficit, the debt, the national debt goes up.” —Nancy Pelosi
And last… “Has an outgoing administration ever worked to delegitimize and dislodge its successor like this? We hear many complaints, some justified, about Donald Trump’s departure from standard political norms. But the greater and more dangerous departure from norms may be that of the Obama officials seeking to overturn the results of the 2016 election.” —Michael Barone
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families. We also humbly ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor Mark Alexander, Publisher