The ugliness this election has wrought

While I suspect most of the country has peace of mind that our next President will not be a certain short-fingered vulgarian, I am not excited or optimistic about four years under Ms. Clinton. Two terms of Obama and the rapid, largely negative change it has brought to America and the world — and the odds those policies will be expanded and continued — should fuel the urgency of the Republican party to get its act together, and return to power. The question is whether there’s still a viable coalition around a limited government, American power, and a free-market economy. I’m not sure.

How the alt right abuses those who oppose Trump
The harrowing first-person account of David French (and his wife’s corresponding tale in The Washington Post) is a reminder of how ugly some parts of the GOP are right now. I don’t believe Trump (or anyone else in the party) is responsible for creating these people or for what they say, but they are liable for how they respond to them, denounce them, or encourage them. Trump’s encouragement has given the alt-right and their behaviors legitimacy that they’ve never had before, and I worry that they presage a long, difficult battle to define the party in the future. An alt-right that drives the GOP agenda is no way to build a 51% coalition, and without that, there’s no value in having a party at all.

Supporting someone who destroys everything you’ve built
I lay the blame for our current state squarely at the feet of Reince Preibus. Bloomberg put out a long article earlier in the year about the struggle Reince faces, nominally trying to get Trump elected while he destroys all of the post-2012 plans the party put together. The party never should have got to the point where Trump was its standard bearer: they played with fire, excited to see the engagement from Trump supporters and thinking they could lever it for the general election. Instead it blew up in their face, and may have ruined the party of generations to come. It’s on the party to develop a platform that can win, and hold candidates running under its brand to supporting those positions. Reince has failed on both counts.

The NFL’s TV rating crisis
Every NFL programming block is down more than 10% year over year in ratings. I’m not surprised to see this give my own experience: this is now the second consecutive year I’m having a hard time getting into the NFL. For me, it’s been just a total lack of passion for a league that minimizes and ignores violence (both on the field and off), but feels compelled to assert its power through heavily punishing celebrations or other arbitrary offenses. The NFL’s greed has become painfully transparent, and The Ringer outlines how this has impacted the on-field product — and no doubt been a major driver to the ratings decline.

Angel is Airborne
A few weeks ago I posted an article that was an oral history of Air Force One on 9/11. After reading it, I came across this similar history of Air Force One’s flight back to Washington, DC after the assassination of President Kennedy. I had never considered the delicate need to both ensure a smooth transfer of power, and also respect the feelings of the Kennedy folks in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. Despite the overwhelming power of the United States, it’s amazing how in these moments of tragedy, it really comes down to balancing the small group of personalities at the center of crisis.

Should companies dump Peter Thiel?
In light of Peter Thiel’s support of Trump, there appears to be a move amongst the illiberal left to cast him out of Silicon Valley by removing him from the boards on which he serves and ceasing to do business with his companies. This is beyond ridiculous. No one has been more clear than me about how abhorrent I find Donald Trump. But the fact is, there are a number of perfectly coherent reasons for supporting him. The idea that we would ostracize or punish people for their political views is a step further down the same path of intolerance the left criticizes the right for. Thiel isn’t guilty of some kind of hate speech that should be punished: he’s using his time and funds to endorse one of the two main candidates for President. 

Changing the facts on the ground
As the Obama years experience their twilight, it seems like much of the world is eager to create a dangerous, different reality for the next president. Lack of interest in asserting American power across the globe has defined Obama administration, and it’s clear that trend is only accelerating in his last few months in office. It seems that Russia, China — and now even the Philippines — feel confident in that and are using it to act as they would like without fear of consequence. This has magnified Obama’s greatest failures in foreign policy, and creates a situation that our next president, whomever it is, will need to solve just to return things to the status quo of 2008, let alone meaningfully advance them.