I'm just back in America and getting up to speed on how things stand this election year. Herewith, a handful of observations:
~In 2012, Mitt Romney was worried about Russia, and Barack Obama sneered that "the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back".
Four years later, it's the Democrats who are running around shrieking about Russian "interference" in the US election. As one reader wrote to me:
The chronic and systemic political corruption of Obama/Clinton Democrat minions that have been covered up by elite Democrats, their partisan media and complicit Department of Justice's FBI, could only be exposed by foreign cyber hackers.
The 1980s are again calling to ask for their foreign policy back. But this time the roles are reversed. We're now the guys with the closed, secretive, paranoid elite desperate to prevent the truth getting out to the wider world. In the Soviet Union, the apparatchiks of the one-party state warned you not to listen to the BBC on short-wave under the bed covers at night. In America, CNN's Chris Cuomo warns you that it's "illegal" for you to read those Wikileaks emails. So just leave it to credentialed media wallahs like him to let you know if there's anything in them of any interest. Which, judging from the networks' coverage, there isn't.
So, as Chris Cuomo sees it, the same FBI whose officials were leaned on not to investigate Hillary for illegally keeping classified emails on a server housed in some guy's toilet in Colorado should instead investigate you for reading emails about her illegal emails. This is what a supposedly free press has been reduced to in order to drag Hillary across the finish line.
~It is still somewhat jaw-dropping (and not in the Monica sense) that the campaign to return the Clintons to the White House is now running on how terribly the other guy treats women. Introducing Hillary in New Hampshire today, Michelle Obama gave a speech on Trump as a sexual predator and then hailed Hillary as someone who's had "more exposure to the presidency" than any other candidate. Be that as it may, she had rather less exposure from the President than innumerable other women during the Clinton years. Paula Jones got considerably more, and without asking for it. But Mrs Clinton stands there and demands "dignity for women" - and nobody laughs.
~You gotta love the massed ranks of the media huffin' an' a-puffin' about how disgraceful Trump's remarks about "rigged" elections are. As I said on yesterday's John Oakley Show, America runs, at best, the most incompetent and, at worst, the dirtiest elections in the developed world. Ballot-wise, there's no such thing as a "presidential election"; there are instead a gazillion county elections with multiple voting methods of uncertain reliability. That's why, as I've said for many years, Republicans have to win "beyond the margin of lawyer" - because otherwise the Democrats will discover an extra 3,000 votes in a dumpster round the back of DNC HQ and then find a friendly judge with impressive powers of divining the true meaning of lightly dimpled chads. This doesn't happen in Canada, Britain, Australia, France, Denmark, etc. As I wrote three presidential elections ago:
What happens on Election Day is that the Democrats lose and then decide it was because of "unusually long lines" in "minority neighborhoods." What "minority neighborhoods" means is electoral districts run by Democrats: in Ohio in 2004 as in Florida in 2000, the "problems" all occur in counties where the Dems run the system. Sometimes, as in King County, Washington, they get lucky and find enough votes from the "disenfranchised" accidentally filed in the icebox at Democratic headquarters. But in Ohio, George W. Bush managed to win not just beyond the margin of error but beyond the margin of lawyer. If there had been anything to sue and re-sue and re-re-sue over, you can bet those 5,000 shysters the Kerry campaign flew in would do it. Instead, Mrs. Boxer and Mr. Conyers and Co. are using a kind of parliamentary privilege to taint Mr. Bush's victory without the flimsiest pretext.
But unlike Trump nobody accused them of undermining the integrity of American democracy. Whether he's right on Mexican rapists and Muslim immigration is a matter of opinion. But the crappiness of US electoral integrity is surely beyond dispute. Don't take my word for it, ask the Democrats. Even without a Republican in sight, their elections are the usual overflowing toilet of corruption:
[Democrat candidate] Dixon, who received more than 46,000 votes during the primary, narrowly lost to [Democrat candidate] Pugh. The former mayor has questioned the legitimacy of that result, citing hundreds of irregularities that were uncovered by a state review.
The Dixon campaign also has accused the Pugh campaign of paying poor people for votes by offering food and jobs.
"This is the first time in the history of the state of Maryland that an election was decertified," Dixon said. "There were questions in 71 precincts. There were provisional ballots that were thrown out. Judges allowed independent voters to vote during the primary."
Dixon told listeners she is "not a sore loser," but that state officials reviewing the city's election "literally threw up their hands because it was such a total mess."
She suggested that boxes full of votes for her and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders weren't counted...
The Pugh campaign has denied any wrongdoing.
Is Ms Dixon also undermining faith in the integrity of American elections? Don't be silly, she's a Democrat.
[UPDATE: Reader Michael Mullinix adds:
Candidate Dixon is the former Baltimore Mayor who resigned after pleading guilty to stealing gift cards intended for poor Charm City citizens.
As I said, this is an intra-Democrat fight. As Bernie Sanders discovered, Dems can't run a clean election, even with no Republicans to screw over.]
~Also on yesterday's Oakley show, I pointed out that Donald Trump is in the unusual position of running against both the Democrat and Republican parties. That is literally true. The National Republican Congressional Committee has a new ad out praising Representative Bob Dold (R - Illinois) for his opposition to the party's presidential candidate:
"Dold is an independent voice who stood up to Donald Trump months ago," the narrator in the ad says. The ad then shows a clip of Dold declaring, on CNN, "I think Donald Trump has disqualified himself."
So the party machine is funding attacks on its own voters' choice of presidential candidate. The Beltway notion that, once Trump is defeated, the GOP can resume business as usual in service of the donor class seems unlikely to me.
~There are arguments across the airwaves today about whether the race is "tightening". Maybe. I certainly don't believe we're in for a Hillary landslide. But, as you listen to reporters on the ground in, say, "the swing state of North Carolina", you can't help noticing that almost all the so-called "swing states" used to be Republican states. Indeed, some reliably red states are passing through the "swing state" stage via the express lane and moving straight to blue-state status in a couple of electoral cycles - Virginia, for example.
The #NeverTrumpers blame this on the weakness of the candidate. But I'd say it's basic demographic arithmetic. As I wrote back in February:
These three electoral maps - 1988, 2000, 2012 - are a portrait of remorseless Republican decline... What about another 12 years? In Arizona, a majority of grade-schoolers are Hispanic: Are you entirely confident AuH2O country will still be red a decade hence? In 2010, seventy per cent of births at Dallas General Hospital were "anchor babies": If the GOP loses Texas' 38 electoral votes, there is no conceivable math that on the Rove turnout-model model gets them to the magic 270 - or anywhere near it.
I'm on record from September predicting a Trump victory. But, if he doesn't, don't pin your hopes on 2020, when half the purple states will be blue and another handful of red states will be purpling. As I put it eight months ago:
The GOP has done a grand job of screwing itself out of electoral viability.
~Thank you for your kind (and even your unkind) words about my impending television extravaganza, The Mark Steyn Show. It will be a nightly show (and entirely commercial-free), keeping an eye on the big picture but with room for some lighter divertissements along the way: man cannot live on looming civilizational collapse alone. For more about the show, and Michelle Malkin's new venture (which is part of the same low-rate introductory package), see here.