2018: The Year In Ideas: A Review Of Ideas

From the foremost thinkers of thoughts in America.
Johnny Sampson

Do we remember a year by the events that happened in it — the births and deaths, the battles and truces — or do we remember it by the ideas that shaped it, the revolutionary new ways of thinking that emerged in those 12 months? Mostly the first way, with deaths and wars and so on, but the latter makes for a more interesting end-of-year feature peg.

That’s why, when Verizon Media Group asked me to curate HuffPost’s 2018: The Year in Ideas: A Review of Ideas, I was honored. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So I asked 10 of America’s foremost thought leaders, authors and political figures to help me put together a definitive list.

All of them refused.

Undaunted, I forced a bot to review the collected writings of each person I asked, and then write essays for me. The bot instead crashed a Tesla into a Checkers.

So I wrote them myself.

The following essays and articles are the result of that painstaking process. I hope they inspire you.

Johnny Sampson

The Only Answer To Our Political Problems Is For Me To Do Nothing

By Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)

Is America irreparably divided? The question is unavoidable. I hear some form of it daily, from hog butchers, schoolteachers or Jake Tapper. And it is an understandable concern. Democrats and Republicans alike have turned politics in a totalizing culture war.

Each side believes the other will send America down a path of ruination. Fearing the worst if our enemies come to power, we beg our elected representatives to do anything possible to stop the other side, to use any tool at their disposal to halt the advance of the opposing army.

But that way lies terror and tyranny. We can’t expect other people, even senators, to heal this country. It is a mistake to ask our elected representatives to do anything, in fact, besides think very hard about what is wrong with America.

Americans are the only people who can solve Americans’ problems. A senator’s job is not to fix the moral rot of modernity, or to fix anything else for that matter; it’s to carefully curate a canonical list of 60 books to repeatedly read to his children.

I had a job, once, as a teenager, for a few months, that was hard. It was the last hard job I’d ever have, but it taught me a useful lesson about the value of doing something yourself, with your own hands. Something like sending a manuscript to your publisher, or mentioning Rousseau in an interview with The New York Times. Americans have forgotten that producing something yourself, instead of asking a senator to produce anything, teaches self-respect, and, more importantly, it teaches problem-solving. Maybe if more of our teenagers today did a hard job for three months before going to Harvard, instead of looking at screens for 17 years before going to Harvard, they’d be able to tackle the ongoing decline of the labor share of income themselves, instead of expecting their senators to.

It is probably a symptom of our time that people expect to outsource the hard work of fixing the country to the men and women they elect to represent their interests in the country’s foremost legislative body, but it’s not a creed we have always followed. As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, what made America great was “not what public administration executes but what is executed without it and outside it.” The Nebraska I grew up in, the Nebraska I believe we can get back to, as long as I don’t do anything to make that happen with the power I have been granted, fit his observation well. It was the Nebraska of 4-H Clubs, Friday night little league games and Elks Lodges. The government didn’t create the inequitably distributed but widespread prosperity that allowed these communities to thrive. The people did, through their hard work. The government didn’t directly subsidize the creation of the community itself, and countless others like it, in a series of policy decisions designed to create a middle class with wealth rooted in homeownership. It all just sort of happened that way because of our national character.

Every night, after we finish reading a selection from The Federalist Papers, I ask my 7-year-old son what he is going to do tomorrow to become a better citizen. He tells me he will help out at church on Sunday, or offer to mow a senior citizen neighbor’s lawn, or send his allowance to a troop. What I’m most proud of, though, is what he doesn’t say. He doesn’t say he’ll ask a lawmaker to exercise his power to address the systemic problems facing his state or the country as a whole.

This is what I wish I could tell everyone who asks me why I don’t “perform oversight of the executive branch” or “meaningfully interrogate judicial nominees.” My first responsibility as a senator is to raise my sons right. And my second is to tell other people how to raise their sons right.

Congress can’t solve America’s real problems. It can only point them out in editorials. God willing, we can once again make the Senate floor a place of high-minded debate, and nothing else.

Johnny Sampson

Our Promise To The American People

By Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

In 2018, Americans sent a message: They voted overwhelmingly for bold change, giving Democrats a new majority in the House of Representatives. I’m more confident than ever that we’ll take back the Senate and the White House in 2020.

In the meantime, I’ll continue as Senate minority leader to fight for a better deal for working and middle-class Americans. In the next Congress, I will make sure you know which party is on your side. We may not have the gavel, but we will use every tool we have to advance our ambitious, future-facing agenda.

Democrats cannot simply be seen as the party of obstruction. We must organize around a positive agenda. After all, the very future of our planet is at stake. And while some of my colleagues in the other party may deny that climate change is even happening, Democrats will unite behind a truly ambitious climate agenda, and we will use our leverage to get results. We’ll tell President Trump that there can be no federal funding for the expansion of immigrant detention centers unless those centers operate on fully renewable power by 2030. And that is only the beginning. Our entire caucus is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to prevent catastrophic climate change, except for the senator who will be the ranking member on the energy committee. Nothing, besides caucus seniority rules, is more important than preserving this planet for our children and grandchildren.

We have to show the American people that if they put us in charge, the government can work for them again. That is why, on the first day of the new Congress, I will be introducing legislation making it a federal crime to give away prescription drugs disguised as candy to trick-or-treaters. My bill, the Suspicious Pills Obviated and Obstructed from Kids and Youths Act, gives law enforcement agencies the tools they need to stop this obscene practice. As the SPOOKY Act’s co-sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, says, “For far too long, parents have had to worry whether that was a Reese’s Piece — or a piece of Ritalin. This bill will allow them, and their children, to enjoy Halloween with something else: a sense of peace.”

I believe that if we use the next two years to put forth a positive, solutions-oriented agenda, the American people will reward us with their support. That’s why I’m promising now that, in the first week of the 116th Congress, we will do what Americans sent us to Washington to do: negotiate with our Republican colleagues to reduce the gasoline tax by a half cent in exchange for approving 60 new judges; reject Trump’s half-baked, taxpayer-funded boondoggle of a border wall; appropriate an additional $2 billion to fortify fencing along the southern border, on top of the money previously appropriated for that purpose; approve another 25 judges as part of the wall/fence deal; and approve an additional dozen judges in exchange for an oral promise from Mitch McConnell to protect the Mueller investigation into Russia’s meddling in our elections.

And when we are back in the majority, we’ll fight to restore the norms of governance that President Trump and his Republican allies have discarded. If America gives the Democratic Party the White House and a Senate majority in 2020, this is my promise to you: We will restore the judicial filibuster.

Johnny Sampson

The Twitter Mob Reduced Me To A Right-wing Caricature. My Real Views Are Repellent In More Complex Ways.

By Kevin D. Williamson

As Tucker Carlson and his corporate advertisers find themselves the latest targets of our nation’s continuous digital struggle session, I have been asked once again to reflect on my own recent turn in the barrel, that brief and comical period of employment at a Liberal Magazine.

As I’ve said before, I bear no ill will toward The Atlantic, and I think my erstwhile bosses were not necessarily wrong to believe that the damage I’d cause their brand might outweigh whatever value they originally found in my ideas. They were reacting to the realities of the market, not making the same moral judgment of my character that my attackers were.

But if I was similarly unbothered by the fact of being pilloried by the mob, something I already had some experience with, I can’t say I was completely unvexed. What was irksome was the flattening of my entire work, the left’s creation of a cartoonish pundit-brute who carried my byline but whom I barely recognized. The liberal mob needed me to be a simplistic hatemonger to justify their disgust at my defiling one of their journalistic temples, so they made me into one.

In reality, my views are much more complex than their parodic version of me suggests, and if anyone had asked me to expand on them them at length, instead of quoting a few outrageous-sounding lines out of context, they would have found much more solid backing for their hatred of me. But hardly anyone called to ask what my actual position was on any of the issues they claimed to think I took vile and extremist positions on. Had they, they might have learned my actual views are vile in much more nuanced ways.

A few stray comments on abortion caused me to be painted a raging misogynist, of course, and I acknowledge that they were glib. But I was not making a straightforward case for the thing I sounded like I was making a straightforward case for. I was trying to spark a debate, to force people to reckon with their preconceived ideas about the issue. And at the end of that hopefully long debate I sparked, I hoped people would understand that my position is much more sophisticated than it sounded in a simple tweet. I don’t believe we should hang women who have abortions. I believe we should criminalize abortion, and then apply criminal punishments to women who have abortions. And, crucially, I believe in not specifying what I personally think those criminal punishments should be, but I’m leaving all the options on the table. I only suggested hangings because I think capital punishment should be more graphically violent, to force people to reckon with their support for a punishment I abhor under most circumstances. Forcing people to reckon with things, through glib provocations, is key to my work.

You may ask, under which circumstances don’t I abhor capital punishment? I answer: See, I’ve sparked debate.

Or take, for another example, poverty. I was accused of racism simply because my writing contained negative caricatures of the African-American poor. But I’m not your typical conservative intellectual who never leaves the Acela corridor, but who never misses an opportunity to condescend to the white American poor, pretending they’re the virtuous keepers of the True American Spirit. In fact, I hate the white rural poor, and periodically travel to their depraved villages simply to announce that I think it’s good that these communities are dying. As I detail the squalor of their rotten lives, I don’t pretend conservative orthodoxy can solve Appalachia or the Rust Belt. No tax cut will bring prosperity back to these fallen places. Instead, I say: Go take another Oxy and crawl into your hole to die, grandma.

With some time to reflect on the matter, I can admit it was amusing to have been hired for the thought-provoking complexity of my hateful beliefs, only to be fired because people thought I believed much more simplistic versions of the terrible things I espouse. I know my value to an ostensibly liberal magazine editor lay in my apostasy, the fact that I could provide a dose of erudition to a take like “Democrats are the real racists” so that it reads like something you might plausibly see in a magazine subscribed to by college graduates. Unfortunately for Atlantic readers now deprived of such contributions, I was too honest to keep up the mask of politesse required for the job.

Their loss. But I don’t want your pity, just your understanding. You may find my views monstrous, but you have to admit they’re monstrous in a much more nuanced way than you thought.

Johnny Sampson

Has The Left Considered That I’m Very Nice In Person?

By Bari Weiss

What does it mean for a movement that has staked its credibility solely on the claim that I am not perfectly lovely one-on-one to confront the possibility that, maybe, I actually am?

It is no easy thing being Bari Weiss. The New York Times opinion editor and sometime columnist, who is me, is a frequent target of online abuse and vitriol from the progressive movement, which considers me a “ghoul” and a “racist” and a “racist ghoul.” Yes, I have not failed to note the irony in the fact that a political tradition that long embraced tolerance now hates me merely for who I am.

But would they hate me if they knew me? To Christina Hoff Sommers, a feminist and registered Democrat, the answer is easy. They wouldn’t, because I’m quite pleasant in social settings.

Sommers and I have our political differences, which I won’t get into, because both of us rely on obscuring our actual politics to maintain the fiction that liberals must listen to us and engage with us, but despite those differences, we get along quite well. The same is also true for me and Bill Maher, the popular comedian and host of a talk show beloved by liberals.

Katie Roiphe, the liberal feminist scholar, also likes me.

I can understand why progressives feel tempted to join the mob of people who hate me but have never been to a dinner party at my home. It must surely feel satisfying to join in the chant — “Bari Weiss is personally unpleasant,” a phrase I’ll put in quotation marks and attribute to my enemies without direct citation of anyone saying those words — of the chorus of the righteous. But perhaps that satisfaction papers over some important complexities.

Yes, a leftist might hate me for my hypocrisy, as I pose now as the world’s biggest defender of campus speech after having gained national notoriety at Columbia University for trying to have professors I disagreed with punished or removed. I even tried to have an invited speaker deplatformed, a practice I now decry as illiberalism run amok. But I would ask that leftist to also consider that I had many friends in college, so I must have been pretty nice then, too.

It may be my sloppiness, which sometimes looks intentional, a way of cloaking my nastiness or a play for sympathy, but oftentimes seems to suggest that I am just not trying very hard at this. I may provoke in you the question, is she as dumb as she seems, or is that an act? Maybe, if we had coffee somewhere — by your office, perhaps, if you don’t want to come to Midtown — and, out of a sense of social politeness, you weren’t mean to me about my tweets, beliefs or work, you’d come to a surprising answer: I like Bari Weiss.

The liberal commentator Dave Rubin, who likes me, has gained a large online following based on the simple premise that no person is unworthy of debate, and that no idea is off the table. There’s power in the idea that everyone should be willing to debate everyone. But even for me, a classical liberal and feminist, that goes too far. I don’t need to debate everyone. I just need polite social interactions with my critics or people who may potentially become my critics.

Of course, it’s absurd to suggest that the entire progressive political movement get to know me personally, so that they stop hating me. And indeed, I probably don’t want to personally get to know most of the progressive movement, especially considering how many of them are Muslim. So what I would just suggest, instead, is that the left learn to imagine what it would be like if they were my friend, to imagine that I had already charmed them, before they write any more posts about me.

Will liberals do this? All we can do, for now, is hope.

Johnny Sampson

Did Disrespect For Independent Journalists Lose The Midwest For Democrats?

By Salena Zito

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — If you come out of an election thinking the same thing you thought going into it, you haven’t learned anything. Maybe that’s why our elections are the way they are.

Right now, Democrats think they did pretty well last November on the strength of their steadfast opposition to Donald Trump. And there’s some truth to that, as their victories in California show. But they ought to study the elections they didn’t win, too, to see where the country is headed.

In 2018, Democrats thought they could ride base enthusiasm to victory. What they didn’t count on, and what the results from Ohio show us, was how many suburban moderates they’d turn off with their strategic decision to attack independent journalists whose quote-gathering and attribution practices are beyond reproach.

Tina Renacci, a homemaker from nearby Wadsworth, would seem to be exactly the sort of voter Democrats thought they could count on: an educated suburban woman. Still, she told me that even if she doesn’t like Donald Trump’s demeanor, she simply couldn’t pull the trigger for a Democrat after seeing so many liberals accuse certain reporters of possibly having engaged in the journalistic equivalent of lying by omission about the actual beliefs of many of the people quoted in their stories.

“It just didn’t seem at all fair to me,” she said. “Just because you disagree with someone’s politics, doesn’t give you a right to impugn their integrity.”

Dan Gilbert, a local entrepreneur who reluctantly voted for Trump in 2016 after first supporting the more moderate Chris Christie, agreed. Gilbert, who also says he’s supported Democrats in the past, is no ideologue. He says his business brings him into contact with a truly diverse set of people who have to find common ground to work together. One thing they all agree on: It’s unfair to make assumptions about a person based on stereotypes, such as the stereotype that conservative journalists do not adhere to the same ethical standards as their mainstream counterparts.

“Just because a journalist implies her sources are swing voters when they’re actually activist Republicans, that means we should crucify her? That means she shouldn’t ever get published in a mainstream publication at $1 a word anymore? That’s McCarthyism. I thought Democrats were supposed to believe in the freedom of the press.”

Despite the attacks’ apparent toxicity to Heartland moderates and swing voters, liberals seemed determined this year to demonize certain right-leaning reporters. Even some members of the media, an industry long derided by conservatives as a bastion of liberal bias, were nonplussed by the strategy.

“I thought it was a loser from day one,” said Phil Anschutz, a longtime newspaper publisher.

John Podhoretz, a columnist and editor who comes from a family of journalists, agreed. “Just awful,” he told me.

John Kasich, a former TV news anchor who resides in Bexley, Ohio, was even blunter:

“You know, I’m totally against Trump. I can’t stand him. I won’t vote for him in 2020, either. But Trump wasn’t on the ballot this year. When I was casting my vote for governor, I went with the candidate I trusted to push back on so-called media watchdogs and their baseless accusations of journalistic malpractice — the Republican candidate.”

Democrats hoping to defeat Trump in 2020 would do well to tune out their Beltway strategists and spend a little more time out in places like this, talking to regular Americans about their hopes and anxieties, their heroes and heartbreaks, their fealty to conservative messaging and curious refusal ever to express any inconvenient hint of racial resentment.

In the parking lot of the Giant Eagle off Highway 224, a young man pulled on an e-cigarette as he loaded his groceries into his SUV.

Before he shut the trunk, I overheard him echoing a sentiment I’d heard a lot during my time in Ohio.

“I voted for Obama because I was hoping he’d change things around here, but this year I voted for my Republican congressman because I hate bullies, and that’s what people who accuse rigorously fair reporters of doctoring their interviews with regular Republican voters to sanitize their more extreme or conspiratorial or racist beliefs are: bullies. Furthermore, and unrelatedly, we urgently need to keep supporting Saudi Arabia, as it is the regional power most capable of containing Iran.” And then he drove off before I could get his name, and also my tape recorder wasn’t turned on.

That’s just how it goes in the Rust Belt.

Johnny Sampson

I’m An Anonymous Trump Official. I Know It Seems Like Everything Is Pretty Bad Now, But Trust Me, It Would Be Worse If I Didn’t Keep Working For Him, But Also In Case Things Do Get Much Worse, I Tried to Stop It

By Anonymous

President Trump has had a tumultuous, chaotic first two years in office. If it weren’t for people like me, it could have been much worse.

The source of Mr. Trump’s frustrations is not merely the investigation into all the crimes he did — and I’d like to make it clear that not only am I not implicated in the crimes, but that I also told him not to do them — but also the fact that I and my allies in his administration have been working, within the White House, to restrain his worst impulses, except for when we failed and his worst impulses weren’t restrained, but I, and we, still deserve points for trying.

To preserve my anonymity, which I need to continue doing my important work, I can’t get into detail about which things I fought against; suffice it to say, if you thought it was a particularly bad thing, I was against it, and in fact helped make it less bad than it would have been otherwise.

To be clear, I am not a member of of the liberal “Resistance.” While Mr. Trump has shown himself to be singularly unfit for office, I have supported much of the work done by the many fine people he’s brought on to run his government, including myself. In general, I have supported the things this administration has done that you don’t consider to be shockingly beyond the pale, and the Cabinet members and other appointees who are not currently known to be extremely corrupt.

What the American people should know is that Mr. Trump got himself elected on a lie. While his campaign promises seemed to make it clear that he’d keep people like me out of government, he actually filled his administration with people like me. While Mr. Trump never would have been elected if he’d openly allied himself with us, the things that he is doing now that are making him unpopular are being done in spite of us and not because of our presence in his administration.

Mr. Trump has rejected most of the values I have always stood for as a Republican. This is key: The things you don’t like about how this administration has gone so far are the things that are un-Republican-like, and the things that have been fine have been because of the good Republicans like me, who believe in free markets and free people.

Yes, I decided to work for him despite his rejection of my values, but I did so to help the nation, not to advance my career. Just like I decided to write this op-ed to help the country, and not as career insurance in case this whole thing gets much, much worse and everyone involved gets permanently disgraced, unless one could out oneself as the author of an op-ed about how one was secretly trying to stop the bad things.

Every day, people in this administration say to each other, “Wow, can you believe the president said that? He’s dangerous and must be stopped. I’ll see you tomorrow at work, here at the White House.”

The president is a deranged lunatic. He is erratic and deluded, driven by whims and rage, increasingly isolated from reality, addicted to propaganda, tainted by foreign money and willing to sacrifice anything to protect himself from the consequences of his actions. The pee tape is real and Rod Rosenstein showed it to me.

All of that is why it’s vitally important that we continue to prop up his administration and attempt to keep him distracted while we implement our agenda behind the scenes. We have indeed thought about working to oust the president, because of his manifest unfitness for office, which I have described at length. But we did not want to provoke a constitutional crisis. That is why unelected White House employees will continue secretly working to subvert the will of the president of the United States, whom we believe to be incompetent and corrupt, but whom we will not remove from office. To avoid the constitutional crisis.

Finally, I’m not Jared.

Or… am I?

Johnny Sampson

As The World Turns On Saudi Arabia, We Must Be Careful Not To Pay Too Much Attention To The United Arab Emirates

By Ezran Kellar-Borg, policy director, the International Policy Foundation for Strategic Studies

The West once welcomed Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, as a modernizing reformist, eager to fundamentally reshape his country and liberalize its repressive institutions. He promised to lure foreign investment to break the country’s reliance on oil, to institute much-needed labor reforms and to curb the power of the kingdom’s religious police.

As 2018 comes to a close, a fair reading of MBS’s record would declare it a mixed bag. He deserves credit for his positive reforms, including finally allowing women to drive. But the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has, unfortunately, cast a pall on his tenure.

In the United States, it has come to be considered immoral for experts and scholars to accept Saudi money, and multiple think tanks have promised to refuse to do so in the future. IPFSS itself has never accepted donations or grants from the Saudi Arabian government. It was an easy call to make, so long as everyone promises not to pay any undue attention to the United Arab Emirates.

There are countless legitimate, perfectly ethical reasons for such a request. As headlines about repression, war crimes, and murder come to dominate U.S. media coverage of Saudi Arabia, it is absolutely in America’s strategic interest to make sure there aren’t very many headlines about the UAE. The international order itself, to say nothing of stability in the Gulf region, may depend on America’s willingness to simply not ask too many questions about the UAE.

Since Khashoggi’s murder, many in the West have also come to question the utility and morality of the Saudi-led coalition’s military actions in Yemen, which some blame for creating a humanitarian crisis. It is vitally important to emphasize that this is a Saudi-led campaign. Are other countries involved? It’s difficult to say. In fact, the question may not be worth asking at all.

This is not to say that we should totally ignore the UAE. At a recent international conference on cybersecurity and the future of nanotechnology in the oil extraction industry that happened to take place at the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi — my attendance at which was vitally necessary for my work as a foreign policy expert — Emirati officials told me, at the hotel’s signature steakhouse, over Prohibition-era cocktails and a splendid seafood tower, about recent labor reforms designed to enhance the UAE’s economic competitiveness. It’s absolutely the sort of story more Americans should know, especially Americans who are executives at large financial institutions. But, these officials stressed, we don’t need to know about it so much that we also start writing lots of other articles about what the UAE is up to.

This doesn’t reflect a desire on their part to withdraw from the West, of course. The feeling, among both Emirati and Pentagon officials, is that selling the UAE precision-guided missiles would both boost America’s standing in the region and help to contain Iran, but also no one really needs to talk too much about it.

So when people say, as The Washington Post recently did, that “It’s time to silence the Saudi lobbying machine in Washington,” we wholeheartedly agree. If we want to cleanse our politics of dirty foreign money, it’s time to shut down that specific lobbying machine and then be done thinking about the problem.

Mr. Kellar-Borg is the policy director for the International Policy Foundation for Strategic Studies, a think tank whose donors are not important.

Johnny Sampson

Exclusive: Trump Plans Regime Change In France

By Axios

President Trump plans to back the restoration of the House of Orléans to the French throne, and is willing to use military force if necessary to end the Fifth Republic, he said yesterday in an exclusive interview for “Axios on TV,” a new documentary news series produced in partnership with Cheddar and debuting on Gas Station TV this Thursday at 5 a.m. ET/PT.

Why it matters: Installing Henri d’Orléans, Count of Paris, Duke of France, as King, would be a major foreign policy shift for an administration that, so far, has shied away from toppling the democratic governments of our traditional allies.

Trump did not specify how the American government would carry out the restoration, but all options are expected to be on the table, including supplying Prince Henri with a private army and providing American air support for his advance on Paris.

  • “It’s gonna happen. We’re still working out how but it’s in the works,” Trump said.
  • Asked if stating this publicly amounted to a declaration of war, Trump said: “If they want to declare war that’s their business. We’re just making plans and we’re going to carry out those plans.”
  • “Prince Henri, soon King Henri, but we’re working that out, probably not emperor again but we’ll see, is a tremendous fellow, a huge supporter of everything we’re doing here.”

Advisers inside and outside the White House, including former Blackwater head Erik Prince, have pushed for the private military option ever since the “gilets jaunes” protests revealed the weakness of President Emmanuel Macron’s presidency and, they argue, the republic as a whole.

Those advisers have pushed Trump to record a video message to the French people, with Prince Henri d’Orléans, celebrating the new year and urging the French people to march on the Palais Bourbon and dissolve the National Assembly.

Trump expressed surprise at being asked about plans to carry out regime change in France: “Wow, I wasn’t expecting that one. Yes, that’s something that’s been brought up. We’ve talked about it. We’re definitely going to do it, yes.”

  • Trump described the plan as something that was only hypothetical and that he had forgotten about until “Axios on TV” reminded him and he made up his mind to do it.

Be Smart: Few foreign policy experts believe the restoration of the French monarchy is necessary.

  • But Orléanists insist only a king can “make France great again.”

Richard N. Haass, the influential president of the Council on Foreign Relations, is skeptical that the plan is advisable or achievable. “It’s a very stupid idea,” he told “Axios on TV.”

One problem: The White House has not yet signaled its position on legitimacy. According to ancient rules of French primogeniture, Louis Alphonse de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou, should be next in line to the throne. But White House sources point out that the Treaty of Utrecht, which made the Duke’s direct-male ancestor the king of Spain, also required that Philip V permanently renounce his claim to the French throne. The French, a proud people, may not accept a foreign-born monarch. The OLC is said to be finalizing its report on the issue.

Bottom line: If the White House does send an Orléanist pretender with a mercenary army to France to topple the republic, “it would just be a bad idea, just, I mean, I wish no one had brought this up to him, it’s such a bad idea, why did you ask him about it to begin with?” Haass said.

The full interview will air on “Axios on TV” this Thursday, at 5 a.m. ET/PT, at a gas station.

Johnny Sampson

The Year Is Ending: Here’s What That Means For 2018.

By Chris Cillizza

Jan. 1 marked the start of 2018, the most recent year America has ever experienced. It’s been 2018 for almost 12 months. Believe it or not, there’s an even newer year on the horizon. But before we get to that, we need to get to the bottom of what is happening to 2018.

1. 2018 was the newest year in politics since 2017.

Think back to January. 2018 was the newest thing in Washington, and no one had any idea how it would go. Now, believe it or not, pretty soon it will never be 2018 again. That’s a massive rise and fall, but it’s typical of how fortunes can change in an instant in the age of the first Reality TV President.

2. 2018 lasted for 12 months.

Can you believe it’s been only 12 months since 2018 began? To put that into perspective, 12 months is the average amount of time that passes between when a child begins kindergarten and when they begin first grade. We’re as far away from the start of 2018 now as the second season of “Game of Thrones” was from its first season.

And Winter is Here.

3. It’s been almost a year since America experienced anything like this.

Year changes don’t happen every day. In fact, they happen, on average, only once every 365 days. The last time Americans faced the end of a year — and the beginning of a new one — was almost exactly one year ago. With the rise of Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle, our political attention spans have only been shrinking. How many people alive today remember what it was like the last time we faced a national transition this significant?

4. President Trump has said some wild things about 2018.

Donald Trump is our first Reality TV President. He has a tendency to stretch the truth, which his opponents hate, but his supporters love. When it comes to 2018, he’s been the same old Donald Trump.

“42,000 in the Coast Guard, and saved a lot of lives this year. Over 4,000, I guess they’re saying. Over 4,000 just this year. That’s a tremendous amount of lives that you’ve saved.”

That’s what Donald Trump said to members of the Coast Guard on Thanksgiving. The “this year” he’s referring to? That’s right: It’s 2018.

5. The year change will affect Democrats and Republicans equally.

This is a divided country. But despite that, some things are still universal. On Jan. 1, 2019, the year 2018 will be over for both Republicans and Democrats. Just because they have that in common, though, don’t expect the two parties to bond over it. Washington is simply too divided, and it’ll take a lot more than a year to change that.

6. 2018 has no say in whether or not it should end.

As nice as it would be if 2018 and 2019 could share the stage, let’s be real: This is Washington. That ain’t happening. Like the saying goes, “If you want a year to be your friend in Washington, make a dog a year.” And 2019 is no one’s dog — yet. But that doesn’t mean 2018 doesn’t have any more tricks up its sleeve. There are days to go before the scheduled transition, and while most experts expect it to happen like usual, keep in mind the No. 1 lesson of Donald Trump’s Washington: Anything can happen.

7. Next year, there’s going to be a new year: 2019.

The only constant in politics these days is change. It’s been 2018 for what seems like ages, and while it seems easy to imagine that it could continue being 2018, the hard truth is, it can’t. Here’s what we know about 2019 so far: It will begin with a January.

Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

The Point: 2018 is this year, but soon, it’ll be last year. A new year is coming — 2019 — and no one knows what that will mean.

Johnny Sampson

Trump Is Using His Emergency Powers To Censor Electronic Communications And Deploy Troops To The Major Cities — And Twitter Is *NOT* Having It

By HuffPost

The president declared a state of emergency today over border security and what he called a “Sanctuary City crime wave,” ordering U.S. Army troops into an unknown number of American cities. The president’s emergency powers are vast and poorly understood, but the president is also said to have granted federal law enforcement agencies the right to detain, at will, anyone on a classified FBI list of national security risks.

In a series of tweets following the announcement, Trump urged Americans to remain calm, obey orders from military officers and avoid expressing dissent.

Spoiler alert: Americans didn’t listen, at all. Dozens of Twitter users took to the site to post their displeasure with the decision, and to have a little fun with The Donald’s power move.

The replies rolled in:

Some users were reminded of a couple tweets from the past, too:

Unfortunately, Trump suspended access to the popular microblogging site shortly after these devastating burns were posted. Presumably, people on Twitter would have said things in response to that news, too — like, “Triggered much, snowflake?” or “at least now I don’t have to see Trump’s tweets!” — but for the foreseeable future we can only guess at how Twitter will react to things.

Popular in the Community


What's Hot