Everyone Knows the Truth About Politics, by Peggy Noonan.
Everyone knows Donald Trump can be taken in 2020, but everyone doubts the ability of the current Democratic field to do it.
Everyone knows Elizabeth Warren has successfully created and inhabited a persona — the determined, high-energy fighter full of plans — and is killing it. She knows she has gone too far left for the general electorate and will introduce nuance and an air of greater moderation once she gets the nomination. Everyone knows this.
Everyone knows the Democratic moderates are going nowhere and cluttering up every stage, but no one minds their being there because they make the party look sane.
Joe Biden may have about 30% in the polls, but that means all the candidates to his left have about 70%. … The Democratic Party really HAS gone sharply left, and everyone knows.
Shall we be rude? Oh, let’s. Everyone knows Donald Trump is a mental case, including I believe Donald Trump. Why else does he keep insisting he is an “extremely stable genius”? It’s as if he knows a lot of people are certain he’s neither.
It would be nice here to say, “I don’t mean mental case. I mean his mind is a raucous TV funhouse; that he is immature, unserious, and at the mercy of poor impulse control; that he doesn’t exercise power intelligently but emotionally, and with an eye, always to personal needs.” But mental case will do. …
By my observation something is going on with Mr. Trump’s supporters. They now concede much more about him in private than they did in the past. They use words like “unpredictable” or “emotional” or “a little chaotic.” They say, “Well, he may be crazy but maybe that’s what’s needed to keep his enemies hopping.” He may not be a good man, they concede, but the swamp has defeated good men.
What is interesting is that they no longer say what they used to — “You’ve got it wrong, he’s stable, a successful businessman, a realist.” And they no longer compare him to Reagan.
His most frequent public defenders now believe he’s a screwball, which is why they no longer devote their time to lauding him but to attacking his critics.
They’re uncomfortable. He is wearing his own people down. …
More likely it’s just the hyper-critical and biased media “reporting” on Trump that is wearing everyone down.
The latest Democratic Party candidate’s debate shied away from previous extreme leftism:
There seemed to be some recalibrating. No one bravely declared they’ll outlaw all private health insurance. Ms. Warren in fact repeatedly and rather brazenly ducked the question. It must be showing up in her polls that telling more than 100 million people you’ll take away their health insurance isn’t a “popular idea.” No one called for open borders, or federal funding for abortions for transgender women. There was a lot of identity politics and autobiography.
My first impression was that so many of the contenders are such accomplished TV performers with such rounded, practiced sentences that are so dramatically delivered. It is hard to remember but JFK and Nixon were a little shy to be on TV in their 1960 debate, and a little formal. Jimmy Carter, too, 20 years later, with Reagan—they had a certain muted tone. Up until 2000 or so, national TV was a place where you would appropriately feel nervous. Now candidates are so smooth, so TV-ready. Performers in their natural habitat.
This isn’t new, of course. But each cycle it seems a little more so, and a little more unsettling. …
As Mr. Sanders spoke and gesticulated in his wide and ranty way I remembered that sometimes the thing that works against you is also what works for you. He comes across like your angry Menshevik uncle in the attic, but like that uncle he means what he says, is sincere and convinced, and that has its own power.