Taking Stock of Trumpism: Where It Came From, What It Has Accomplished, and Where It Is Going


MATTHEW SPALDING: Good evening. I’m Matthew Spalding,
Associate Vice President Dean of Educational Programs
for Hillsdale College here in Washington, D.C. Welcome
to the Allan P. Kirby Center for Constitutional
Studies and Citizenship, Hillsdale East as
we like to call it. And I’m very
pleased this evening to welcome a good friend
of mine and of the college. Our students have
left for the semester, although I’m currently
grading their exams, and the summer students
haven’t arrived yet, so you’ll have to settle
with my introduction. I’m especially pleased to
have him here for two reasons. One is, as a college,
we have proudly continued to teach
things like the classics. And our speaker this
evening is a great scholar of the classics, someone
whose books I hope all of us have enjoyed. But also, as you’ll
hear in a moment, we share some common roots
in terms of where we grew up. Victor Davis Hanson is a
senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of
classics emeritus at California State University Fresno. He’s also, we’re happy to
say, the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in
History at Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. in classics
at the University of California Santa Cruz, is a fellow at the
American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and
received his PhD in classics from Stanford University. He is from California. Indeed, he was the fifth
successive generation to live in the same
house on his family farm in Selma, California,
which is in the Central Valley of California,
which is about 45, 40 minutes north of where I
grew up in a little town called Corcoran. And that fact explains a
lot of his understanding and his shaping of how he
thinks about many things, as we’ll see. He was a full time orchard
and vineyard grower right after he got his PhD, so I’m
glad to see that he put it to good use before he went
to CSU Fresno’s campus to initiate their
classics language program. In 2000, he was awarded the
National Humanities Medal. In 2008, he won
the Bradley Prize. He’s a weekly columnist for
National Review online, as well as the Tribune Media Services. He’s published several
journals, newspapers, magazines. He’s actually one of those
people I oftentimes looked down upon, detest, am jealous of. He’s written 23 books, including
Wars of the Ancient Greeks and A War Like No Other– How the Athenians and Spartans
Fought the Peloponnesian War. His most recent work will be
released in October, The Second World Wars– How the First Global
Conflict was Fought and Won. As the Distinguished Fellow
in History at Hillsdale, he regularly
teaches our students on campus about military
history and classroom culture. He also teaches in
our online courses, if you’re interested, which
are all free at hillsdale.edu. And he was involved in our
course on Athens and Sparta, which came out last spring. And he taught sessions
on life and government in Athens, Athens
in the Persian War, and Athens in the
Peloponnesian War. He’s recently been writing about
the current election, what’s gone on in the United
States, Donald Trump and Trumpism, foreign
policy challenges, questions of immigration. His talk this
evening is entitled Taking Stock of Trumpism,
Where It Came From, What He’s Accomplished,
and Where He’s Going. Please join me in welcoming
our guest this evening, Victor Davis Hanson. [APPLAUSE] VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: There’s
only 5,000 classicists in the United States, so
it’s a very small group. I mention that because
I got a letter yesterday from a very angry
classicist, and he said, “You’ve become the
Enoch Powell of classics, and you haven’t done anything
good til you wrote that one good article on
the use of numbers in Thucydides’ seventh book. Ever since then, it’s
all been downhill, and you’ll regret it
on your deathbed.” That’s the classi- Reminded
me of what Churchill said about classicists: “They
know little Latin and less Greek, and yet they’re
supposed to be experts on it.” But I’ve had a rocky
relationship in the world of classical languages. I thought I would just
speak for about 30 minutes on the phenomenon of
Trumpsim, where he came from, how he got elected,
what he’s trying to do, and what the future holds. All of you have come
across that phenomenon or maybe you
participated in when you had to look both ways
when somebody asked you if you voted for Trump. Or you always said this phrase– this is my favorite– “well,
he wasn’t my first choice.” Or after the primary, “I don’t
agree with everything he does,” but you hear that a lot. It’s always the same. Well, Hillary Clinton the
other day gave an interview, actually she gave a speech to
a women’s international group, in which she said she was
robbed of the election. She said, typical Hillary,
I take full responsibility, but I was robbed because
I’m a woman, of course, and of course, James
Comey stole the election. You think that they’d be
mad that he was still there rather than mad that
he was fired yesterday. But, nevertheless, and then of
course, the Russians did it. As I said to a group
today, the Russians did it is sort of like Goring
going to Hitler in August 1941 and said, well we could
have taken Moscow, but it was very cold. And Methuen said it’s not
like we’re a tropical people. In the German
military handbook it said how to prepare
for snow, but they were blaming
everything on the snow, as if the Red Army
didn’t have a role in their defeat outside Moscow. That’s what Russians do. They try to interfere
with elections. They didn’t put
a gun to her head and say have a home
brew server or approve the sale of one quarter
of uranium holdings in North America. But she’s still angry. And what lost her, of course,
that election and empowered Trump was that she was
shrill, snarky, she wasn’t a good candidate. When she told the truth, she
was less believable than when Trump told a lie. And she was a year
younger than Trump, and physically she was 10
years older than Trump. And Trump violated all the
rules of personal fitness. He looked too heavy. I had a friend that met him,
and I said what was it like, and he said I got a choice
between McDonald’s Big Mac and Burger King. And he said then for dessert it
was Haagen Dazs out of the cup. So Hillary ate right, and
she did everything right, and that she was less healthy
than somebody who was older and had that animal
cunning and animal energy. So she wasn’t a
strong candidate. She had no message
other than I’m a woman, and I’m not Donald
Trump, the monster. And then, the only
key to her election is that she was going
to win only one way. You knew it; we all knew it. That Barack Obama had
bequeathed a suicide pact. I should say, it’s
a long metaphor, he’d signed a suicide pact
with the Democratic Party. Because basically
he said I’m going to go down the community
organizing identity politics Reverend Wright road
once I’m elected. And I’m going to get empower
identity politics minority groups to come out
in unheard of numbers and vote in mass at
levels you can’t imagine– 92%– and whereas
the clinger vote, or what we now know as the
irredeemables and deplorables, will fall off, I will so
appeal to the other groups that it won’t matter. And of course it was
true, but the problem was it was transferable to
nobody other than Barack Obama. So Hillary inherited
all the downside and none of the upside. And when Obama was
through with that carnage, he had ruined the
Democratic Party, and they had lost local
elections, governorships, state legislatures,
Senate, House, a generation of
the Supreme Court probably, and the presidency. And yet she doubled
down on that. She called one quarter
of the United States basically irredeemable
when she said half his supporters were such. And you thought,
if she was smart, she would reprise that
Annie Oakley role. It was pretty effective in 2008. Remember, she said that
she shot guns with her dad. She had Boilermakers. She bowled. But then you start to
realize that by 2016, it was a different party. Obama had destroyed
that Bill Clinton party, that aw shucks, good
old boy didn’t exist anymore, and she inherited a paradigm
that would only work for Obama. And I think I wrote an
article saying you know where this is going to lead. It’s going to lead to
very lucrative speaking engagements for Obama as
a reward for destroying his own party. He’s going to be
loved, and she she’s going to be hated for
trying to imitate something that has to be losing. And that’s exactly why
she lost the election. And then, of course,
the other reason was that we all thought
Donald Trump had a say in it. We all thought that,
February, March, Donald Trump was the
only candidate that could lose to Hillary Clinton. Remember that? Everybody said, well
a lot of them did, Rubio is the ideal
candidate or Walker. We had good governors– Jindal, Christie, Walker. We had senators– Rand
Paul and we had Jeb Bush. They had the dynasty,
the money, the name. We had outsiders that
were more versed in facts, like Fiorina and Ben Carson. Nobody thought Trump has
these particular gifts, but now looking back, I
think most of you agree, he might have been the only
candidate that could have won. Because unlike John
McCain, he was not going to put Reverend
Wright, that type, I’m not going to
mention Reverend Wright. And unlike Mitt
Romney, he wasn’t going to apologize for
his station in life. You can imagine if
Trump had a run in 2008. Reverend Wright would have
been 24/7, all the time. And had he been
Mitt Romney in 2012 when Candy Crowley
hijacked the– he would have jumped
over and grabbed the mic. So at least he was the first
person who when Lee Atwater– remember Lee Atwater? He gave us the Boston Harbor
tank and Willie Horton ads and turned the patrician,
aristocratic, snarky George H.W. Bush to somebody who ate
corn nuts and was one of us. And it was very effective. And after he died, Bush lost. But we hadn’t seen
that type of guerrilla fighting until Trump came. And so whatever was
going to happen, he was going to take, for
once and all, the fight to Hillary in a very
mean-spirited but necessary way. And that’s why he
would resonate in a way that she couldn’t imagine. And he also understood
a couple of things. We’ve all been told that
demography is destiny, but is it really in
the electoral college? Who cares who wins the popular
vote if certain states are more important than others. A vote in Iowa was
worth a lot more, or Ohio or Wisconsin, a lot
more than my vote in California, at least on the national level. And Trump seemed to– I remember watching CNN
when somebody said– I think they were talking
about Jorge Ramos– he seems to be oblivious to
the ramifications of the Latino vote. I said yeah, he is. Because most of the Latino
vote, and I’m living somewhere that’s 90% Mexican-American,
was going to go to two states– California, that was never
going to go red and Texas that was never going to go blue. And the states that
probably had turned, maybe Colorado and
New Mexico, were going to be turned no matter who. Now if he had made
the argument there’s a half a million
Latinos who hate Trump in Ohio and Michigan
and Wisconsin, I would have listened to it. But the point I’m
making is that he looked at the electoral
college, and he understood that
demography is destiny as it applies to
particular states and not the popular vote. And then when you add one
final element to the election, that Trump campaigned as
if he was going to lose and he was desperate,
and Hillary campaigned as if she has already won. That was a classic
hare and the tortoise. And so she was down in places
like Georgia and Arizona that were never going to go
red, at least in our generation, thinking that I’m
going to get a mandate, while not visiting
Wisconsin once. And he had a certain touch. They made a strategic
error, the Clintons did, by thinking he is a
billionaire therefore he can’t be a populist. You can be a populist
and be a trillionaire, and you can be dead
broke and be an elitist. And she’s proved that very
well, she and her husband. And so are the Obamas. And so when he had
that Queens accent, and he surrounded themselves
with the likes of Mike Tyson, the World Wrestling
Federation people, people in these key electoral
states that I’ve got somebody like Donald Trump in my family,
and I bring him out every once in a while– I like him, but I
don’t want to be seen– but they understood who he was. And that Queens accent
worked to his advantage. And I’m being very cynical. I don’t want to
be snarky, myself. Because I talked to a
New York developer once. When he called me and said
I watch from my tower– he has a big high rise. I shouldn’t say high rise. I guess it’s a skyscraper. And he said I see Donald Trump. And it is true that he
deviates from his planned walk when he gets out of
his limo, and he goes and talks to cement people. And I see people clapping
that are on construction sites so whatever he is, it’s
genuine that people like him. And I thought about that when
Hillary was telling the coal miners they had to learn
how to build solar panels, he was using the first
person plural pronoun “our.” Did you notice that? I’ve never heard a
candidate in history say our miners, our
farmers, our soldiers. Nobody told him to do that. And then when you threw
Kelly Conway and Steve Bannon into the mix, these
are people that look like they’ve been
around the block, and Robby Mook and all those
guys that for Clinton look like they came right of
DuPont Circle, Upper West Side. So it was sort of the
metrosexuals against the guys who had been around too long. And over the years,
I’ve met, infrequently but on occasion, Steve Bannon,
so as I was saying to my wife, she goes who is
that guy, and as she said that, “You Can’t
Always Get What You Want” started playing at a
right wing Trump rally. And I said that is Steve Bannon. So there were elements
that explain why Trump won. I want to add, if I could,
just a little excursus. There was also a
deep-seated anger, emotional in America that can’t
really be articulated well because it’s an
emotional gut felt. I guess I could summarize
it where there’s a lot of people in
the United States that the elite, on the
two coastal strips, say that they’re
irredeemable or deplorable, or we say they’re not knowledge
based or post-industrial. Whatever, they’re
not in with it. They are very
angry at people who don’t live by the ramifications
of their own ideology. And by that I mean,
if I’m in California, and I’m told we have to
have high speed rail, it’s going to be built where
I live near Hanford and not in Palo Alto where
it should start. If I’m told we have to pay
the highest electricity rates in the country, it’s
not going to be in Palo Alto where the temperature– I have an office at Stanford. I never turn on the
heat or the cooling. If I go in August 15th
when it’s 107 in Fresno, Wal-Mart is full of Hispanic
people who are there for the air conditioning. They sit there all day, as if
their kids– it’s a playground. And so people, if I hear
a lecture from colleagues at Stanford and tell me that
open borders are a great thing, I know that they put
their kids in Castilleja, or Harker the Menlo school. They don’t put them in
the Selma public schools. And there was a sense of anger. When I get up in the
morning, I don’t get a letter and say Mr. Hanson, your column
from Tribune Media Services was outsourced to
somebody from South Korea. He can do it at half the price. It just doesn’t occur to me. That occurs to a lot of people. And that was epitomized in
this Clinton couple that talked one way and lived the other. Progressive, progressive,
progressive, and then they basically had
a crime syndicate, and they had taste
and appetites that were entirely hypocritical. And you couldn’t square the
circle of what they said and how they lived, and
that was apparent to people, that the Democratic Party had
become a party of the elite and a party of the
poor, and had not just uninterest in the middle,
but actual contempt for them. And that was fatal for
them in these states. I would say that you can
see that the Obamas are very much like the Clintons. I don’t think Obama will be
the avatar of a movement. Think about it. Take those four people– Bill and Hillary,
Michelle and Barack. They’re the only
post-presidential couples that went back, in our
era, to Washington. Carter didn’t. Reagan and the Bushes didn’t. They both bought mansions. They both organized
political action groups. They both, with a
wink and nod, said my wife may be still
politically active some day. Therefore, you should donate
to, check, the library, check, the foundation, check, the
$400,000 speaking engagements. They both looked at marriage
not maybe as an act of love so much as a
business proposition. They both had complaints
about how life had not treated them well and how they
deserved more money or more influence or power. And people looked
at Clinton, and I think the Obama, that
was really a bad image for the Democratic Party. People can take a lot of
things, but they don’t like to be treated like idiots. And to the idea that these
are people in the trenches or they’re good,
old boys or they are hardworking
progressives or you didn’t build that, it’s not time
to profit, or at some point you made enough money and
then go make $400,000. It just doesn’t work. And so, I think that’s
something to think about. As far as Trump himself–
so he’s elected. And how are we going to
characterize the first 100 days? Part of the problem
with the media hysteria is, again, if you’ve
lost the legislatures, the local offices,
governorships, Senate, House, then you don’t have
political power. And so there’s an anger at that. And if you’re the party
of the very wealthy, the suburban, and the educated,
which now the Democratic Party is, if you look at the per
capita income of blue counties, overwhelmingly these
are Democratic. Then you’re angry that
stupider people, less well-spoken people,
less educated, are dictating decisions that
you think affect your lives, and you don’t know how to
respond because politically there’s no outlet for it. And one of the ironies is the
media now is the other party. So if the media starts to use
the F-word or the shit word or whatever that, then
politicians follow suit. Not vice versa. If the media builds up Black
Lives Matter or transgender Hollywood celebrities create
LGBT movement or global warming comes out of the culture,
then the Democratic Party reacts to it. So this hysteria from Trump
is, in the democratic sense, reactive. Chuck Schumer reacts
to Trump after what he reads in the media about Trump. And they don’t really
have a political base because Dianne Feinstein
is 83, Nancy Pelosi is 79, Steny Hoyer,
77, Jerry Brown is 80, Bernie Sanders is 76. And the people who are
young are more frightening. I mean Keith Ellison and Perez. So they don’t have a second
team that’s going to come in. Whatever you think
about the Republicans, they’ve got young people
like Paul Ryan in the House, and they’ve got young
governors, Marco Rubio. So there’s a frustration
that, politically, they don’t know what
to do, and they’re angry at this guy who doesn’t
fit their image of a president. He doesn’t speak well. He’s not educated in the
way that they think he is. And their way of thinking– and
I’ve tried this conversation, maybe some of you have with left
wing people who hate Trump– I said, you think it’s easy to
make a buck in the Manhattan real estate world? Crooked unions, crooked
politicians, crooked community organizing, crooked
environmentalists, and you’re going to build a skyscraper
in downtown Manhattan. You’ve got to be a
genius to survive. They don’t see that. So they underestimated
him in the campaign, and now as president, they
are underestimating him. So what is he trying to do? Basically, if you look at
the agenda, what he’s done is a 1995 to 2005 agenda. The proposed tax
reforms are more like George Bush’s
reduction from 39 to 35 than they are Ronald
Reagan’s down to 28. If you look at Keystone
and Dakota pipelines, they were already approved. It was pretty a
mainstream decision. Hillary was all for
Keystone until the election. If you look at
immigration, Trump didn’t come up with
the idea of the wall. The House Republicans had voted. The whole Senate approved it. A third of it had been
built. Listen sometimes to Bill Clinton and
one of his speeches from 1994 on
illegal immigration. It’s far to the right of Donald
Trump, and so is Harry Reid’s. The point that I’m getting
at is that Trump went back to the middle, but
the middle no longer existed as we had known it. So it was considered
radical and revolutionary because they were convinced
that this trajectory, whether it was a single payer or permanent
identity politics or whatever or lead from behind foreign
policy, was set in stone. And trying to bring
everybody back was difficult. The other thing that
I think frightened them is that they were afraid
that– and we’re starting to see it in Trump’s
first 100 days– is that he’s not as
stupid as we think. There is a political
paradigm behind a lot of his economic policies. And I think it’s summed
up by two words– 3%, Joe Biden said it was
three, maybe four, 3% growth. If he gets 3% growth due to
simplifying the tax code, reducing corporate
taxes, deregulation in some key
industries, especially EPA, getting the interest
rates maybe up to 1% or 2% or 3% higher
than they are now. And he can achieve 3%
growth that Obama never did, and we haven’t had in 10 years. Then Trump’s idea is
that whatever differences you have with one another on
your religion or race or skin color or ethnic background or
whatever animosity that you have to me, it’s
going to disappear. And as somebody who lived
through Reagan’s era, I can tell you that people
hated Ronald Reagan. And he was very
unpopular in 81 and 82. I remember there was a
congressman named Reagan, and his last name was Vineyard. And he ran for office. Reagan Vineyard. And somebody went down to– I think it was in Southern
California– found this obscure, failed candidate
and made his campaign and printed up
thousands of copies. And all over where
we were, because we had an agricultural collapse
when Paul Volcker sort of broke inflation, prices just crashed. And everybody had this sign
in their- Thompson seedless raisin, Reagan Vineyard. We had one. Reagan Vineyard,
Reagan Vineyard. And everybody said
this guy cannot win. And then you turn
on the TV, and it was the day after
the nuclear winter I think Carl Sagan told us about. Deploying Pershing
missiles in Germany was going to start
a nuclear war. He was bombing,
invading Grenada. He was just Trumpian. And Walter Mondale was
out of central casting, tall, handsome, liberal, but
not crazy liberal like McGovern. And he was going to win. And suddenly between, I
think the dates are roughly between 1983 in November to
October 1984, the economy grew at a blistering 7.1%. And suddenly it didn’t matter. Reagan could have
blown up the world and people would’ve said
at least I died rich. So, people switched. And it was miraculous
for me to see all these farmers who hated him,
and all of a sudden they said– one guy, I can
remember, did this. He took pruning
shears and sheared off the vineyard sign in his
barn and brought it back out, and it said Reagan with this
ragged edge on the bottom. So he was no longer Reagan
Vineyard, but it was Reagan. And that’s what I think
has influenced Trump. He feels that, as a business
person, that money talks. And if we’re prosperous– and so in this way,
although we’re told that he’s a protectionist, or
that he’s a mercantilist, or he’s pre-Milton– whatever that is, if you look
at his actual economic team, their idea is to
grow the economy. And I think that explains a
lot of what he’s doing along with bringing people back to
the center on cultural issues. Abroad, it’s pretty simple. If we were to take a survey
of the world on January 20, I think all of us would say
that North Korea that Obama bequeathed is not
a stable situation. They have been testing. They had been threatening
to blow up people. And they had been doing
this predicated on the idea that being nuts and having
a nuke or two was a good way to extort money. And it would continue. If you looked at
Iran, we were starting to discover there was a
side deal on inspections. There was a side
deal on hostages. Cash for hostages,
we didn’t know about. There was a side deal for
ballistic missile development. And again, the premise was
that Obama would or could not do anything about it,
and the United States was a played out power. If we looked at Russia,
we were not talking just about Crimea, Ukraine. We were talking about
the next acquisition in the Baltic states. We’d agreed that
reset had failed, dismantling the missile
project, anti-ballistic missile in Eastern Europe, or
making fun of Mitt Romney to assure Putin would be more
flexible after the election. All of that stuff had failed. And Russia was emboldened. China had built these bases
on the Spratly Islands, was on the move. It all reminded me– again, I don’t want to overdo
this imagery– but remember, Jimmy Carter ran
on not one soldier shall die under my tenure. I have no inordinate fear of
communism like my opponent, and human rights shall
adjudicate my foreign policy positions. Remember all that? And then I remember he wanted
to sell F-15s to Saudi Arabia and the compromise is he
would get to sell them, but they wouldn’t have
any bomb racks on them. So we sold them these
things, but they had to sort of jerry-rigg
the bomb racks on them. So and then we found out
that after three years, his therapeutic
view of human nature ended up with China invading
Vietnam, communist uprisings in Central America, the
Russians in Afghanistan, a revolution in
Iran, the Shah gone, and the Shia radical Islam. And then Reagan
came in and remember he didn’t really say anything. There will be no hostages. What did that mean? And that point was
he was unpredictable, and he would restore deterrence. And then when he sent missiles
into Germany, stationed them there in Libya,
Grenada, as I said earlier, the loss of deterrence
is very dangerous, and it’s matched only by
the effort to recapture it. So what Trump is trying
to do I think via Mattis and McMaster and that team– it’s not neo con nation
building obviously, it’s not isolationism,
it’s not even just realism. It’s sort of strategic
deterrence or realist deterrence. And what they’re saying
is that the world is an unstable, dangerous
place because people have come to incorrect
conjectures about US power. And that’s a very dangerous
time in world history, whenever that happens. In other words, by any
empirical standard, the United States
military, as cut back as it has been under Obama where
we’re down to below almost 3% GDP investment, if you
look at our carrier force, our strategic
assets, our nuclear assets, our battle-hardened
troops fighting in places like Afghanistan,
there’s no military that even approximates–
there’s no two militaries together that approximate. But deterrence is
also a frame of mind. But if you believe that that
military will never be used or it will be predictably
used, then you earn the additional
wage of contempt. As Hitler said, there’s
no greater contempt for a military superior power
that you can push around. And people kept telling Hitler,
don’t go into the Saarland. Don’t screw around the
Saarland elections. Don’t go in the Rhineland. The French army could crush us. And don’t go into Poland because
Britain and France together have a bigger army. They have better tanks. A Char B tank is so much
superior to Mark I, II, or III. The new Spitfire has the same
characteristics as the MBF109. Don’t do this. And he said I saw
Chamberlain at Munich. I wanted to step on him. I wanted to stomp his stomach
and take that stupid umbrella and hit him over
the head with it. And they’re worms,
he called them. People who had been
magnanimous were called worms. And so we lost deterrence. And so what are wars? Wars are a laboratory experiment
to prove who was actually strong in the first place. Because once you have
faulty perceptions, reality is often the check. As I said earlier today,
if you’re in high school– I went to a really
rough high school– I remember a guy named
Armando Quintana. And he’d always
come on like this. I’m going to get you after. And he’d do this. And he was about 5′ 1″. And there was a guy named
Geronimo Rodriguez who was 6′ 3″. He was from Mexico illegally,
and they put everybody- fights until they learned English. And Geronimo was the
nicest guy in the world. He just sat like this and
then, go up and hit him. I’m going to take you out. And one day, Geronimo
just flattened him. I mean, he knocked
him five feet. Didn’t say a word,
just knocked him. Broke his jaw. It was a big hubbub
in those days. They dismissed school. Everybody could not believe it. And I thought,
wow, that’s weird. And I think what
Geronimo was trying to do was restore deterrence. But he had to do it in
a very violent way that was entirely unnecessary. Had he just said, Mr. Quintana,
I would not do that again. Or just tapped
him once, he would have established the rules. When Dean Acheson said
that South Korea is not within our realm of
defensive capable assistance, the north invaded just
three months later. When April Gillespie
said we don’t intervene with borders
between Kuwait and Iraq, and then Saddam invaded. And we forget that,
that gestures, statements, assurances to
unpredictable aggressors that we won’t react are
very, very dangerous. I had a member of my family
said if Trump is elected, you’ll be so scared the
world is going to blow up. I said no, it will
be the first time I rest in peace because I’ve
been terrified the last eight years that some weaker
power would do something stupid on the premise that
the United States would not retaliate. And then we would get in
a war, which would finally prove after many deaths
and much violence, that guess what, the United States
really is stronger than Iran. One carrier group has more
conventional and nuclear power, of course nuclear, than the
entire Iranian military. It would be stupid for
Iran to hijack a boat or humiliate its crew or
send a missile near a carrier and yet, that was
what they were doing. Because they felt that they had
contempt for military stronger power that would never use it. And then you get
Trump in, and one of the things about restoring
deterrence is he’s capable, he thinks, or he
tries to project that image of saying
anything to anyone any day and doing anything. I was watching this
strange media reaction to the firing of Comey. One of my colleagues at Hoover
wrote today, this is terrible. He fired Comey. And that’s going to
unsettle everybody overseas. And I thought, no, it’s not. It’s going to be like Reagan
firing the air traffic controllers when Gorbachev
said don’t screw around with this guy. He’s capable of anything. So I don’t think
people understand because they don’t live
outside of that coastal bubble. That the world operates on a
tragic view of human nature rather than this
therapeutic view. And the therapeutic
view is very dangerous. And the first Lord Halifax,
I think it was in 1785, the great jurist of
British common law said when people were
trying to oppose the death penalty for anything
other than capital crimes, he said well, you know,
we hang horse thieves, not because the
guy stole a horse, but because we don’t
want horses to be stolen. And that’s what deterrence is. We don’t like to do a crazy
MOAB bomb or bomb one airline. But that’s not
the purpose of it. It’s to remind people with
subterranean capabilities that you shouldn’t
do that because we’re capable of doing something,
like not announcing it. And Trump would probably say,
if I have an FBI director, it would be useful for him
to know that I can wake up one morning and fire him. Because that creates
a deterrent attitude, and you don’t have that
complacency or even arrogance and hubris that James
Comey did because he understood that nobody would
ever question them. So, a lot of the
misinterpretation of what Trump is doing overseas,
I think can be summed up, is it’s very dangerous to
try to restore deterrence. And I don’t know if it’s a
thought out Trump doctrine, but I do, as someone who was
a colleague of Jim Mattis at Hoover and knows HR
a little bit, McMaster. I think they are
trying to tell Trump that we have to find symbolic
iconic moments that will not lead to a wider war. And then we have to draw
a line, and a real line, not verbally but in actuality. And after a few of
these incidents, in which we’re going
to take a lot of heat and which are going
to be very dangerous, we will reestablish
deterrence and then the world as we knew it in the
post-war order will return, and this is preferable
to the alternative. If you would ask
what Trump would say, I would probably say something– I don’t believe in
nation building. I don’t think we can
change the nature of man. The world abroad is always
going to have thugs. It’s like your lawn. It’s always going to grow. And the idea that you’re going
to wave a wand, and the grass will be perfect. You’ll have to buy
AstroTurf in fantasy land because you have
to mow the lawn. And there’s always going
to be a Saddam Hussein. There’s always going
to be a Noriega. There’s always going
to be a Milosevic. There’s always going
to be a Mullah Omar. And the degree to which they
can harm innocent people depends on how well
they are deterred. And we’ve got to
restore deterrence, and this is the way to do it. Where does all this
lead in conclusion, as far as the 2020 election? Well, Donald Trump has
some inconsistencies that he ran on certain
principles that got these proverbial
Reagan Democrats, or the white working
class, or the forgotten Americans, or the
interior Americans, or the blue wall Americans
out to vote in a way that they didn’t before. I was teaching at
Hillsdale this year, and I had taught there in the
2004, ’12, and ’16 election. I had never seen signs
like I saw before. When I came back to California,
a Hoover colleague said to me, well, my latest poll–
he’s a pollster– said that Trump is
going to lose by 11. And I said, I think he’s
going to win Michigan. And they said, well that’s
because you rely on anecdote and you watch TV,
and I have analytics. I said no, it’s because I rode
a bike for almost 25 days, and I saw posters everywhere. And at one point, I saw a person
spray painting his garage. And I thought he was a vandal. So I got off my
bike, and I ran over and I said, you just spray
painted make America great. Who are you? Did you know the owner of this? He said, I am the owner. This is the only time
I’m going to vote. I don’t vote anymore. I’m going to vote for
this guy, and everybody you see around here is
going to vote for this guy. And I thought,
wow, if that would be replicated throughout the
blue wall states, he could win. And then when we
got home, I said to my wife, who teaches junior
college, I think he can win. He said, well, you
know, it’s very funny. I have mostly Hispanic class. I was making a
joke, and I said I guess nobody will
be voting for Trump, and the girl in the front
said why don’t you poll. 26 to 23. Trump had 23 votes of
all Hispanic students in the interior of California. These things started popping up. I know it happened to you, too. All the time, we were
told it was impossible. So, Trump appealed to
working class people who were sick and tired of
this elite or the media, whoever we call the elite. And that base is all
that matters to him. We know now that conservative
pundits that do what I do have no influence whatsoever. If George Will writes a column– I like him a great deal,
I have respect for him– but if he writes a
column saying Trump is the arch satanic figure of
our time, nobody in Bakersfield is going to change his vote. Just not going to happen. My magazine that I
write for, The National, if they run an entire
issue saying never Trump, the people of
Michigan don’t get up in the morning saying I
just can’t vote for him. It’s just not going to happen. But what is going to
happen is those states have to be motivated. And they voted for him
for four or five issues, and you know what they are. One of them was
illegal immigration. Trump was the
first candidate who said I don’t have
to do amnesty lite. I don’t have to
the Gang of Eight. I don’t have to do Marco
Rubio’s- The law says you can’t come in if you’re illegal. I’m not going to
deport everybody. If you’re here, you haven’t
had a criminal record, you’ve been here for five years,
you’re working, maybe, OK. But we got some bad hombres. And that was true, we do. And he basically said Mexico
benefits from remittances. They export the poor rather
than addressing poverty. It’s a safety valve for them. La Raza wants to change the
demographics of the American Southwest. The Democratic Party
wants to usher people in. They do not want
the melting pot. They do not want
Italian-Americans that are assimilated, that paradigm. And so, it was actually a
sophisticated argument he made, that it would be good for the
Republicans in the long run. Trying to outbid the
Democrats for social justice to the illegal alien
community’s not going to work. You can’t ever
outbid a Democrat. But you can say I’m
going to build a wall, and then you’re going to not be
infused by people who come here without education, without
skills, without English, and pretty soon you
will be surprised how quickly you will
intermarry and assimilate, and you will follow patterns
of other ethnic groups. And then if your name is
Scalia or Alito or Cuomo, we won’t know what
your politics are. Lopez, Rodriguez,
it won’t matter. And that’s what he
was trying to do, and he’s got to stick to that. And some of it was
iconic, that he has to finish some kind of
wall or those people will bolt. On trade, he
introduced this idea that we’ve all talked about. Fair trade is not free trade. The Republican
establishment said– I don’t know if
they said it, but I think a lot of my colleagues
at Hoover would believe it– they would say running
up deficits is not bad. Foreign competition, even if
it’s subsidized on their part, is not sustainable. It will weaken Germany
or Japan or China. And it will make our companies
more leaner and meaner, and it will lower prices
at Wal-Mart for everybody. It’s a great deal. And Trump came along and said
you say that because you never get laid off. As I said earlier, I
don’t get a slip that says dear Victor Hanson,
a person in Colombia wrote a much better
column in the local paper and he’s going to be hired
at Tribune Media Services. So they never suffer
the consequences of their own ideology. And Trump then appealed. I don’t think he
had it thought out, whether Milton Friedman
economics or not, but probably in the long run
is not as good for the economy, but he’s saying in the short
term, there are victims. And we’re not going to run
up these trade deficits. If they’re so great, let
Germany have them for 10 years. Let Japan have Milton
Friedman’s– that’ll be great for them. Just try it. And see what they say. And if it’s so great,
why don’t they do it? Why do we do it? And I don’t really
care about being the leader of the free world if
Youngstown, Ohio is destroyed. That was a very
appealing message. So he’s got to deliver
on that and that means he’s got to
grow the economy, and he’s got to keep
unemployment below 5%. That’s another issue. On foreign
interventions, he’s got to be very careful because he
ran not as an isolationist, but as a pragmatic Jacksonian. We’re nationalists. We’re whack-a-mole-ists. They stick their head
up; we knock them down. But we don’t put
boots on the ground and try to change
hearts and minds. I happen to think that Iraq
eventually probably worked. It would have been like Korea
if we hadn’t precipitously pulled out in 2011. Sort of like Eisenhower
coming up for reelection in 56 and said Truman put those guys
on the 38th parallel, not me. I’m pulling them out. For a cheap campaign
talk, I don’t think we’d have Kia
and Samsung today. But nevertheless, that’s
not Trump’s interest. His trump is to be punitive. And yet, Afghanistan is a mess. If we pull out,
there’s going to be a lot of people butchered there,
sort of like South Vietnam circa 1975. So, yet, if he
puts 5,000 troops, and we get involved
more and more, that group of people
that he promised that he wouldn’t
do that are going to be sorely disappointed. Same thing with some of
these trade agreements, like the Pacific trade
agreement or NAFTA. He’s got to at least bring
back something to the table. And they’re very
flexible, but if they feel that he’s a typical
politician that promises something and then he flips
back and he joins the Jeb Bush establishment, he’s
not going to be successful in those eight or
nine states that he has to win. Because that margin
is very, very thin. And if he loses
150,000 votes here, he’s not going to be reelected. If he does what I suggested–
that is not my idea, but if he’s true to these
promises to these voters– he will win. And it’s going to
change the Republican Party if he gets re-elected. It already has changed. The Republican Party is
now a more populous party, and it’s a more
empathetic party, I think. And I like this idea that nobody
knows who to listen to anymore. I like the idea that
writers at the Wall Street Journal, National Review,
or Weekly Standard or Comey are not gospel. That there are people
coming in online. It’s just a free for all. There’s no hierarchy anymore. I think this is
much more healthy than this geriatric cadre
that runs the Democratic Party or Hollywood– intolerant and almost Stalinist. Let me just finish by
the Democratic Party. They have a choice, don’t they? They can be empirical and see
that if Hillary Clinton had appealed to the working classes
and moderated her rhetoric, not talk about irredeemables,
not sold herself out to the identity
politics movement, she probably would not have
lost too many of her base and she would have gained some. And she did win 3 million
plus voters, by a margin. She probably would have come
close in only the one or two states she needed to do, and
she probably would have won. Any sane person would see
that would be the anecdote. So what you would
not want to do is nominate somebody like Keith
Ellison or Perez, Tom Perez, as the DNC chairman. Or you would not want to
continue this, call it, the resistance, as if these
people are French fighters out in the Maquis, trying
to ambush the Waffen SS. It’s not a good image. It’s like 1968, when
the Democratic Party came within 3/10 of a
percentage point of beating the very unpopular, more
unpopular than Trump, Richard Nixon. And they were killed
because George Wallace took 13% of the vote, which
translated in the loss of five southern states to
Wallace, 5 to Nixon, that Humphrey would have won. And then you add
in the left wing lunacy at the
Chicago convention, and they blew that election. And then the anecdote
was obviously to tell somebody like
Humphrey or Muske or somebody, don’t get caught with an
anti-war fringe group. And make sure that Wallace,
don’t shoot him, but make sure he doesn’t run in ’72, which
he did, and he was shot, and he was not a
successful candidate. But try to get
that working class. And what did they do? They said ’71 Voters Act gave
18-year-olds the right to vote. This is the sort of new
and progressive movement. We’re going to get
George McGovern and win. It was third largest landslide
in American electoral history. Because they doubled
down on failure, and it took them two elections
to realize that nobody gets nominated who wins after JFK. Between JFK and Barack Obama
were both different candidates, nobody could win unless
they had a southern accent. Nominate a guy like Al Gore,
he wins the popular vote. Bill Clinton wins the president. Jimmy Carter wins, and LBJ. Nominate somebody like
Mondale or Dukakis or Kerry, they don’t win. Because people didn’t
trust the Democratic Party on social issues,
and they wanted some authentic
conservative, they thought, with a southern accent. So that was sort of the remedy. And Obama brought
this new paradigm. It’s not, as I said,
not transferable. So they have a choice to make. If you don’t want
to see them elected, then I hope you’re very happy
that Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher are using this
atrocious language, that we see who’s running
the DNC are pretty much, they can’t say a speech
without using profanity. And Hollywood’s enlisted
Madonna, Ashley Judd. All of these people are building
this image that we saw in ’72, and it leads nowhere
but to oblivion. And so Trump has been
given a great gift in the nature of his opposition. So basically if Trump
can please his base and grow the economy at 3% and
avoid a major war by restoring deterrence, he’s going to win. And if he doesn’t,
he’s still going to win if the Democratic
Party goes the McGovern route. Thank you very much. If you have any questions– [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: My name is Howard. About 50 years ago,
Nikita Khrushchev came to the United Nations
in a very famous news clip. He took his shoe off
and pounded the table. One interpretation of
that was that Khrushchev wanted to show that he was crazy
enough to possibly use nukes. Is it possible that Mr. Trump’s
sometimes irrational tweets have the same kind of effect
on our international enemies? VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: No, I
think it’s not only possible; it’s almost guaranteed. If you read– it is painful,
but read The Art of the Deal or The Art of The Comeback
or Making America Great, and you ask for twice
as much as you expect. You get 51%. That’s a great deal. You act crazy so you
unnerve your opponent. We’ve always known, and
Henry Kissinger wrote that in his book about deterrence. Acting unpredictable
was an advantage. Remember in the Yom Kippur War
Nixon said, no, you go over and tell the Russians that
I’m crazy, I’m a mad bomber, and I’m going to put us
on stage three alert. And then you’re the
sober and judicious voice that has to calm me down, and
you’ll have a lot more success. Nixon said that, and it worked. And so I think
that’s sort of what– I don’t think they
want to broadcast that– but I when I see McMaster
on Sunday evening TV or Sunday morning, I see
Mattis, it’s almost like they’re telling
the world, you guys don’t know what we
have to put up with. We’re dealing with a guy who
wants to get out of NATO. He wants to nuke Pyongyang. He’ll do anything. But you’ve got to deal with us. Help me out. And then you almost
get the impression that they go into
a room with Trump, and Trump says, well
how did it go, you guys? And so, the danger of that
is that our adversaries are brilliant people. And they’re trying to say
Trump and those guys– this is a script
of The Apprentice and don’t fall for it. So we have to at
some point deliver. And so that’s a danger
that we all have, and I think you’re
absolutely right. Yes. AUDIENCE: Thank you, professor. Thank you very much. Michael Maybock. In the case of North
Korea, for lots of us, it seems like it’s an impossible
situation because their troops are so close to Seoul. And so even though he
sends the 6 fleet etc. At some point does that
become a real problem for him to use leverage? VICTOR DAVIS HANSON:
Well, it’s very tricky, but I don’t think any
situation throughout history is impossible. There’s always an answer. And North Korea realized
that when you act crazy, and you have nothing to lose,
and you have a few nukes, then that results in bribery. They’ve got billions
of dollars, and Iran is following the same script. Pakistan does the same thing. And that when you’re sober and
judicious like Israel or France you get nothing with nukes. So we all understand the
game they’re playing. The question is
can we find a way to mitigate it without
leading to the loss of Seoul? The first thing we have to do
is get on board with our allies. We have to get Japan and Taiwan
and Australia and South Korea, Philippines, all
on the same page. So I don’t object to him having
the Philippine president there who’s kind of thuggish anymore. I mean he’s not as thuggish
as the Iran president that we dealt with. So you’ve got to get
him on the same page. You can’t have South Korea
freelancing and saying to the north, these mean
Americans are pushing us. They can’t be doing that,
and they’re doing that now with this new president. The second thing is
that we do have– as Trump has showed– Trump has been criticized
because, like a madman, he says China is
rigging the currency. China’s running up debt. China’s cheating on patents. And then he’s
quietly saying, now if you’re willing to help
us pressure them, cut off their coal imports,
or what, then we’re going to drop all that. Well, in Trump’s mind, if
they help on North Korea, then we’re back where
we started economically. No worse off, but we’re a lot
better off with North Korea. So that’s the only
country they can pressure because they have
a billion people, and I don’t think North
Korea thinks they’re going to do much damage to China. So China has been
playing a dirty game. It’s sort of like having
a pit bull with a leash, and every once in a while
they say, where’s my leash? My pit bull’s
missing, and they know it goes right into your
yard and bites you. I had a neighbor
kind of like that. He’d always say, I don’t
know where my pit bulls are. And anytime we had an argument,
they ended up in my yard biting me. So that’s what North Korea does. And we have to say, you
can’t do that anymore. And if you do it,
you’re going to face severe economic ramifications. And we have a final
and unsavory card, and I think that Donald
Rumsfeld played it once in 2006. We tell China and North Korea
the world is a very dangerous place in your neighborhood. Mexico is not nuclear. Canada is not nuclear. We have two oceans. I know that’s nuclear war, but
we have some preparatory time. But you’ve got nuclear Pakistan. You’ve got nuclear Russia. You’ve got nuclear India. You’ve got American
nuclear assets. You’ve got nuclear Iran. Do you really want a nuclear
Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, and Australia around you? Because you’re headed that way. Because they’re going to need
deterrence, and our clients’ nuclear weapons will work
like Kias or Toyotas. They won’t roll up on the
launching pad like yours. So you broke the agreement
that your client would not go nuclear, and we’re
going to break ours, and they can go nuclear
if they wish to. That’s about all we have. I hate to say, if you’re
going to insist on sanctions with North Korea and then
people are eating grass, you can’t be like the Clinton
administration– oh my God, they’re eating grass. Well, they have to eat grass
for the sanctions to work. I hate to say it, but
it’s better than people getting nuked. So we have these limited, but
necessary and valuable options. I think they’re all
being played right now. And I hope they work. AUDIENCE: Thanks, and
thank you for your speech. I was just wondering, you were
talking earlier about 2016, and how a lot of Democrats
really didn’t think that Trump could win at all. And in fact, the media was
constantly talking about that. I also noticed that they did
that in 2012 with Romney, and I was very
suspicious of that because I never
quite understood why Romney was so far in the hole
that he couldn’t possibly win. It’s one thing to say
he’s the underdog; it’s another thing
to say he can’t win. And they did the same
thing with Trump. And I’m wondering, do
you think that it’s possible this is just
a strategy they’re going to keep trying to use? VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Well,
obviously it’s of some utility, yes, because then they
tell their voters there’s no reason to go out and vote. They’re sort of like
the San Francisco Giants in a losing year. Why would you want to go out? You’re not going to win. Why would you want
to go watch them? Don’t participate
in a losing cause. So yes, I think that
was a lot of it. But also, they believed,
after eight years of this sort of yuppie
identity politics, that this was the trajectory
where the Health Care Act was a prelude to the single payer. Black Lives Matter was a
prelude to gay marriage to transgender restrooms
to who knows what next, no gender identification
on their driver’s license. Everything was a
logical, incremental step to a progressive paradise. And it was fated. It was Hegelian. It was fated. And that’s what they believed. And they thought that the
white working class was self-destructive
perhaps, suicidal maybe, of short longevity, we
know that, and doomed. And so they were going to
make the necessary political adjustments, and they
were going to have, I think 50 years, some people-
and they miscalculated, terribly miscalculated. Because they didn’t understand
the electoral college. They didn’t understand
that not everybody believes that your race is your destiny. There is a growing number
of people in my family, to take one example
of a mixed race, and they don’t
identify with any race, and people want to be Americans. And so the identity politics
is not necessarily our destiny. They misinterpret
a lot of things. But give them credit, they
won by 3 million votes, and they almost won
the electoral college. It was about 250,000
brave Americans that said I’ve had enough
and went out and voted for the first time, and
they voted against Hillary. And you’ve got to give
Donald Trump credit because, for someone who
had no political– the most unique phenomenon in
American electoral history. Somebody with no
political experience. First president that neither
had a political office holding or military office
rank won the presidency. And before Bannon
and before Conway and before all of his
strategists came on, he crafted that strategy. You can say that
he just made it up. But he crafted the
strategy that none of his gifted Republican
contingents and opponents actualized. It was quite
brilliant what he did. I was telling a group today– I keep saying because
I’ve talked to a group. I don’t want to repeat myself
if you’re in the audience, but I have a wife who’s, I
would say, middle of the road. And she said to me, you’ve
got to come in here. This man is– I’m going
to vote for Donald Trump. I said why? And she said come and look. And what she was referring
to was Jorge Ramos, Univision, who’s a
multimillionaire fled to the safety the United
States, cashed in big, lives in a gated community, put
his kids in private schools, daughters working
for Hillary Clinton and says that Trump is a
racist and our country is racist for voting for him, tried
to crash that press conference. Interrupted a number of times. And then Trump– she said Donald
Trump deported Jorge Ramos from his press conference. He said, get out of here. Nobody’s ever done
that to that guy. Doesn’t he know what
they’re going to do to him? I said, he doesn’t care. And she goes, no, he
doesn’t care, does he? I’m going to vote for him. And I think a lot of
people had that visceral– I don’t know if that’s a
paradigm of governance, but it surely electrified
people when he did that. He pointed out and said
look at those media people. They’re all liars. And I thought, well, I’m
going to read tomorrow, this wrinkle frown
op-ed that this is a threat to our republic. But when Glenn Thrush
writes to John Podesta and says I’m a hack, we want
to proofread my article, or Dana Milbank says I’m going
to attack Trump tomorrow, can you guys give me
some free research? That’s what they are. That’s what they are. Or the New York Times says you
can’t be disinterested anymore because Trump is unique,
and therefore, you have to be at the source. So he’s crude, but he always
hits the essence of it. I have no idea what
is sustainable or not. AUDIENCE: I’ve been
watching the media reaction with a certain
amount of amusement, because I have to tell
you, it’s like dinner and a show every night. And I’m kind of curious– there’s an awful lot
of people like me. I just quit watching the news. I get my news in other ways. I get my news
through online blogs. I find other things. I find other ways to do it. Where do you see this going? I mean do you think– VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: I think
what you’re referring to– I wrote an article once called
“The Monastery of the Mind,” where we’ve all retreated
to mental monasteries. And I mentioned this earlier. I used to watch ESPN. I like sports. But I don’t like to have a jock
lecture me on my politics who’s an ignoramus. So I just tuned the
whole thing out. And then I noticed,
there must be a lot of us because ESPN is almost broke. And then I noticed that
about three years ago, I went to a movie. I didn’t know what it was. I was shopping,
and I just thought, well, it’s going to be either
a diversity person is going to be attacking an
evil corporation or there’s going to be
evil people with South African or southern accents. And sure enough, it was. Or it’s going to be a
remake of a great movie, and it’s going to be
a terrible remake. I just watched a great movie,
this Magnificent Seven, and I went to watch the
remake and it was diverse, it was horrible. So I thought to myself, I’m
not going to go to the movies anymore. And I quit doing it. And I noticed that
everybody’s quit doing it. And I don’t mean everybody,
but half the population. And I think that’s what’s
happening, that people are psychologically disengaging. There was a word in classical
Greek called sophrosyne and it meant not just prudence,
but prudence in the sense that you didn’t want
to participate anymore in the arena of a radical
Athenian democracy. A guy wrote a book called
The Quiet Athenian. It’s about people who just
sort of disengaged from Athens. Because they thought they
had nothing to offer, and they were not appreciated. And in California, I
see them everywhere. As one person just told
me, I don’t mind paying 13% and still getting a 46th
ranked schools and 49th roads, but I don’t like
it when I’m called greedy and avaricious and
selfish for paying 13%. So I think a lot of us have
disengaged from the media and we’re looking for
outlets or alternative news. And I think it’s healthy. Again, I think this
chaos is wonderful. And I’m a dropout like
you on a lot of things. I don’t watch the
Super Bowl anymore. If there’s a concert
on TV and it’s Madonna, any popular
entertainment, I turn it off. I think I wrote about this. I went to a service
station on the Chico pass when I was going back
from Stanford home, and a rapper pulled
up next to me, and he had this typical rap–
kill the bitch, shoot the pig, really loud. And I was just, and I thought,
I’m not going to take this. I’m 63 years old. So I had two songs. I had a truck, and
it took me a while, so I had that famous
folk song, I think. I don’t know who wrote it. But it was called
“The Colorado Trail.” It’s a cowboy song. I turned that on
as loud as I could. And then I turned– the next channel was Joan
Baez, “The Pleasures of Love.” It’s a famous French ballad. I played that as loud– And so the guy
stalked over to me. He said, wow man, that’s
pretty good music. And so I said, well,
you know, we’ve all been listening
to your stuff, and you never hear our stuff. And so, you never know what
you’re going to expect, but I don’t think we
have to take it anymore. We don’t have
monasteries anymore, but we have them in our mind. I go to a Wal-Mart where
everybody is basically from Mexico. They’re wonderful people. Most of them are illegal,
but I see things in there you’d never believe. Five or six EBT cards. Everything. This is going to
sound illiberal. I shouldn’t say it on tape. But I was in there
yesterday, and there was an Asian person who was there. And he was watching
everybody speaking in Spanish, everything,
and he was very educated. And he said to me, Dr.
Livingston, I presume. And I thought, what
does that mean? And he was Asian. And what he was saying
is that I’m Asian. You’re white. There’s Mexican-American
people like us, but we don’t have to accept
the fact that everybody comes to the United
States and has EBT cards and does not learn the
language and is rude in line. And just because it’s
a diversity issue, we’re not supposed
to say anything. This person was third
generation Japanese. So I think people
are saying, you know what, I don’t
have to apologize. What propelled Trump was the
total absence of any guilt. He didn’t apologize
for being wealthy. He didn’t apologize
for being crude. A very prominent
editor called me and said Trump is going to
pull out on Access Hollywood because they released today,
and we need to get on board. I said he’s not
going to pull out. He was crude; he
shouldn’t have done it. But he’s not the
apologetic type. Maybe sometimes he should. But I think it was
a shout and said, we’re not going to
apologize anymore. We have nothing
to apologize for. Deterrence is a funny thing. Where I live, most of my
friends are Mexican-American, and we have canteens
up and down our avenue, and they all have Mexican flags. Two weeks after the
election, American flag, California flag at every one. I go to Wal-Mart parking lot. My car has been hit by people
that don’t have licenses. Came from Mexico, very hard
working, but they hit the car, and they leave. Woman hit my bumper,
ready to leave. I look at her. She rolls down the
window and said please don’t tell Donald Trump. I don’t want to
go back to Mexico. [LAUGHTER] I’m serious. So, the left would
say that that’s a sign of the climate of
fear and anxiety in the lives that he’s ruining. A skeptic would say
he created deterrence. So I think it’s still healthy. I know there can be darker
channels we could go to, but I think people have to learn
that the guy you see on MSNBC or the op-ed that you
read in the Washington Post or that
professor on YouTube is not representative
of most people. And he’s actually ridiculous. He’s an emperor
without any clothes. All you have to do show it. And that’s what they
did in that election. [APPLAUSE]

100 Comments

  1. We need to be aware of Twitter, Google and Facebook .. it looks like they swayed the vote in 2016 by 2.6 to 10.4 million votes.
    If not reigned in they will make that 15 million votes in 2020.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNvgl38TLvI

    Please remember to get out and vote, because Facebook will be reminding the dems to do so, and Google will be slanting everything just like CNN does.
    Trump 2020!

  2. I love this guy, VDH! He is so lucid, logical and instructive. I can learn from him the broader spectrum of history, which I appreciate. When he speaks of disengaging from the media, I'm with him; when the woman spoke up in Q & A, saying she has disengaged also, wow, I think there are a TON of us who have dismissed the media — and it IS as VDH says, very healthy to hear from a broad range of sources — to listen to each other, and not the prepared DNC inspired hash of major media and the Hollyweirds. God bless President Trump!!!

  3. I love President Trump, i love the nation of Israel, because of them we have Jesus Christ, we have Bible , the greatest Holy Book in the world, America cannot help the whole world and Im praying for our President that enemies cannot harm him and his family

  4. Obama was a vote for change America wanted, turned out he was just another Globalists puppet.
    What a corrupt mess our government had become.
    They sold us out.
    Thank God Donald Trump came along.

  5. Look at the overt ways GB has treated Tommy Robinson, merely for publicly speaking out against the left. He did not wear a mask. He did not threaten to, or commit, acts of violence. America, as Tommy warned, must understand the implications that free speech violations and abuses can have, and is having on our republic. After decades of conservative complicity, silence, ignorance and naivety, compassion and faith in God, along with our blind allegiance to our imperfect system of government, we are now seeing the left's, agenda-driven timeline accelerate. Why have they have become increasingly brazen and overt? Partly because the left has been exposed by Trump and other freedom-loving patriots. Also because history has been effectively diminished or erased, or just forgotten and ignored. And in part, because the left is as close to realizing their primary agenda of total control of…"fundamentally changing America"…as they have ever been. The left, the progressives, the socialists, the communists, along with their village-idiot followers, and their paid anarchist thugs, are collectively tearing individual freedoms, and liberty, and morality to absolute shreds, by silencing or eliminating one life, one child, one word, one principal, one thought, one image, one soundbite, one idea, one religion, one rule, one regulation, one law, one reporter, one blogger, one conservative voice, and one constitutional right at a time. They are incessant, they are immoral, they are unrepentant, and they are ruthless. Tragically, many of the left, don't know why, they align themselves with the left, in the first place. If permitted to continue unabated, at the present pace, and if the left succeeds in destroying our constitution, our means to speak out, our right to protect ourselves (from them and others who would harm us and our way of life), then it will be the end of America, as we know now her, and later perhaps, tolerated to remember her. POTUS, Ronald Reagan once said, "We are just one generation away from losing our democracy." How long has it been, count the generations since he made that prophetic statement? Now look around the country. No, look at the rest of the world. What have we all witnessed or read about, or heard about, that might indicate that Reagan was right? Ask yourself whether you know the whole story? What aren't we being told? Have any facts been omitted? Have outright lies ever been disseminated, by a complicit media, as the truth? Are you either "blind" to the facts, or only ignorant? Are you naïve or just afraid? Have you been living life, oblivious and unconcerned, with your head stuck in the sand? Will it be too late, when and if we finally understand the very real implications and consequences of losing our freedoms, or is it already too late? Or must we re-learn, the hard way, once again? Are we doomed to repeat the past? Will the left control America, as they have controlled other failed nations? At what cost? How many lives will be sacrificed in the name of progress? When will the left finally be admonished and de-fanged? Donald Trump will remain the POTUS, God willing, until January, 2024. Maybe he could be appointed to the SCOTUS?:) Beyond 2024, who knows? God bless America.

  6. 26,000 Afghans have died, employed by the US, since 2016. 40% unemployment will always provide the US an employment pool. Mercenary kids willing to put on a uniform and pack a gun for our military expedition – 93 % of the planet opium grown in Afghanistan. Murder for money. Hanson calls this "peace-time economy". Only "major war" count for this freak?

  7. Kim, I guess the voting public decided the globalist capitalist system wasn’t working for them.
    The corruption of the dems was shocking, Mueller was thrown under the bus by his own.
    Now we get to watch them cannibalize each other as Justice Barr goes to work.
    BOO YA Trump!!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  8. Apology alone will not do for people who Massacred Native people of a continent ( Natives of the new found land-America) And enslaved people of another continent (Africa), And bombed people of a nation ( Japan) to surrender.
    Rise to power of a people (Nation) will in time lead to its fall ( as history has shown) and America(ns) are no exception.
    Intelligence and creativity is to formulate the progress of a people or a nation without misery of others. Collective intelligent people of the world should train scholars who look for the interest of all people, not only those of Thor own clan. Views of this type have been around since the first revolution of man kind to leave cave ages and form hunter and gatherers societies.
    Awake shall become by not hating another for the sake of survival.
    SOOOON

  9. Hanson's Trump as 'the tragic hero that we need' reminds me a lot of Hayek's 'strong man who can get things done'. My other thought is that if Trump 's acting crazy and nuke-happy is simply a well calculated 'peace through power' deterrent, what does that say for his millions of fans who get into a frenzied elation every time Trump starts talking about actually pushing the button or deploying troops?

  10. This was May 2017.. the Dems didn't take ANY of this brilliant advice, in fact they've doubled down on full retard mode..
    Trump 2020.. and thank god he'll win in a landslide.

  11. Trumpism occurred because of bad domestic and foreign policies made by our Congress, over the last several decades by both Democrats and Republicans.

  12. Trump is antithetical to everything for which Conservatism has stood for decades — fiscally irresponsible, abhorrent of custom and tradition, morally bereft, blatantly opportunistic, disrespectful of the rule of law — if Conservatism is to thrive it must repudiate Trump and Trumpism.

  13. I would like to know why your charter schools are fear mongering and teaching grade school kids lies about vaccines. The school lies to parents too. Vaccines are NOT required to attend Florida schools.

  14. This guy is leaving out the root cause of Trump and this is the plutocracy we live in, while both democrats and republicans openly support and encourage corporate corruption as it is a way to win elections. People know this on both sides. The democrats that are not progressive blame it on identity social issues, while the republicans blame it on immigrants and minorities. Love this guy's history lectures but his knowledge of current events is biased at worse, uninformed at best.

  15. Trumpism is a direct result of conservatives having no party, no voice and no platform. Both parties have totally sold out leaving conservatives without a voice. The next best thing is a big orange middle finger.

  16. I started listening to Trump very carefully after he won the election. He says and tweets seemingly politically incorrect things and says it incorrect ways. But at the end of the day he turns out to be right on everything. He wins and he knows exactly what's happening. He is 10 steps ahead of MSMs and stupid politicians…😁😁 I am enjoying his craziness……well if it's craziness, bring it on more!👍👍👍😂😂

  17. Victor David Hanson is one of the top 3 Scholars I love to listen to. I'm sure I gain in IQ, every time I do. ..

  18. Sad, Trump hasn't delivered, when he put his kids on the team and the Bush employees, he strayed from his platform.

  19. Davis is stating what now is obvious. I also knew Trump was an scumbag. I just had no idea that there were that many scumbags in the United States that would vote for him.

  20. what a great discussion…I realize this is from 2 yrs ago…but hearing the insight of this speaker was so interesting…because he was spot on with all of his predictions…and in his descriptions of World Leaders…and how Trump would deal with them..

  21. COMMUNIST CALIFORNIA…RUN BY SOCIALIST CLOWNS…A BROKE$$$$ WELFARE STATE RUN BY TERRIBLE UNQUALIFIED PEOPLE!!!!! MAXIZNE DUMB WATERS????? 90 YEAR OLD PELOSI!!!!

  22. Has anyone notice when they want to like pro conservative videos, it times out or there’s an error. Any other videos, it’s very easy to click like and move on… Just curious.

  23. This may look weird, but I found the history of Donald Trump's campaign in the forgotten States and towns, where none of the Big Leguers visited, mirrored the history of rock band KISS in their early days. KISS toured 2nd and 3rd tier cities and towns, where the monster rock bands didn't bother to go as the number of ticket buyers would not be enough to fill stadiums and large arenas. But both entities, by visiting and touring the forgotten people, were able to attract a sizable number of fans and voters, who ultimately brought them to victory.

  24. I'd like to hear from this guy on UK politics: hard Left Labour versus Brexit and the influence of Islam on British culture.

  25. So smart that one becomes STUPIDER! What is More Stupid is the disconnect from truth! Democrats and Republicans are like 2 Boxers! However, The Democrat's handlers (Polititians) are the crooked mob that are always out to fix the fight so that the lesser prepared candidate wins! Republicans however are made up of boxers focused on winning by hard work, sweat and talent driven by a heart dedicated to Justice! Success is promised to the stronger, best prepared that appeals to the heart of the receiver of the spoils which are those who fight to win against the odds and provide for those whom they love. Their Family! When the promised spoils are stolen from winners, Winners will step up to defend what is theirs rightfully earned. This Country was built on their labored backs and the lives of their soldiers! Keep promising others our stuff and You TOO are going down unless you learn to be less Stupider! Trump. won because Democrats have PISSED OFF REAL American Patriots and listened to their justified pain and promised to stop letting what has been stolen be continued and to expose the Hate-filled, Divisive, Corrupt Tactics and Agenda of the Communist, Socialist Democrats that Represent the Theiving of the Spoils of Winners being handed over to The ill Prepared Victims of the Democrat's LIES so that Government Can Be Filled by the financially tax engorged lords of the earth and overlords of their life! Of Whom are waking every day to the realities of TRUTH!
    The saying,:"The Truth Hurts" is only realized by those whom had "Invested Their Hearts on The Lies of the Liers" !!!

  26. Only one question…what if it's the other way around between the media and the Democratic party? My own observation leads me to think that the media gets its talking points FROM the DNC and not the other way around. Possible? "Almost Stalinist" is SO right!

  27. The Freewill Baptists that founded Hillsdale College would be absolutely appalled that their institution in its present form is praising and supporting a man who assaults women (grab them by the pussy)/beauty pageant unannounced entry into dressing room full of young naked women, marries three times, has sex with porn stars and various others in adultery, and who quite possibly raped women (15+ accusers). How Great Thou Art, Praise Him From All….Amen.

  28. Trump fills me with optimism, excitement and energy. He delivered on all of his promises and continues to do so. #Trump2020

  29. "You can't always get what you want" , song , is JFK jr.'s favorite tune ! Selected by Himself , as you will soon be enlightened !

  30. 30:12 – this version of history Hansen's generation of academics built their careers on, the one without 80,000 Volksdeutsch refugees, without ethnic cleansing massacres in villages like Bromberg, without General Smydly promising to "blow Danzig to bits", without France violating the Pact of Locarno to make an alliance with Stalin, or Lord Halifax and Churchill lobbying Poland with promises of carving up Germany to build a Polish empire like Dmowski promise,d if they'd just deny every German offer of peace — this version of history without Germany's neighbors violating the Treaty of Versailles, what Hansen refers to as "the magnanimity of worms" — is the only one that justifies the war, and the founding myth of the American world order that followed. This version of history will die with Hansen's generation of historian. It's just too impossible to keep contorting around those lies of omission.

  31. Money does talk. Trump is right. And today we are on the edge of a major recession, the interest rate is going down from its Trump administration record of 2%, and farmers are going bankrupt all over the country. Yes, looks like money is getting ready to talk about Trump when the election comes.

  32. Hansen is such a soft spoken , well spoken, honest man. It’s only the last few years I started following him. He is right on point, non partisan, good, honest, sincere very intelligent man
    He is too good a man to smart a man to get into politics. Too bad, our government needs great men like this, but truth told they would destroy him. The political climate has turned so terribly bipartisan, the democrats would rather see our country fall then have Donald trump get re-elected

  33. Trump was elected because he was not a democrat, he has another term ahead of him but come 2024 the democrats will again go into the presidency because the voters keep hoping that the other party will fix the mess. They are wrong neither party isn’t going to fix the mess.

  34. The Democrats are never be realistic. They are the party of Radical Ideologies and they apply to not for themselves.

  35. Fast forward to 2019 and the reality of Trump the Charlatan settles in;

    *) Economy barely growing (Trump begging for more rate cuts and Quantitative Easing)
    *) No Wall
    *) The White House full of warmongering neocons
    *) No repeal of ObamaCare
    *) US troops still all over the world
    *) More regime changes in Venezuela and Iran
    *) The "big fat ugly bubble" on Wall Street during the campaign, is now suddenly a testament to the "best economy ever."
    *) No Swamp drained, but instead the Swamp is getting filled more and more.

    Die-Hard Trumptards will of course vote for him again in 2020, but for most other people he has been a HUGE disappointment.
    If the DNC manages to find a reasonably 'likeable' and relatively neutral candidate for 2020, then Trump is toast.

  36. Perhaps he succeeded in "corrupt" New York City because he was also corrupt? (Does he want Greenland because it doesn't have an extradition treaty?)

  37. BRILLIANT
    Absolutely
    BRILLIANT!

    Every point this man emphasized is 100% accurate.

    His analysis of America and the electorate. The cause and effect of Trump his policies is Astoundingly Spot On.

    Cruzer
    In
    CT

  38. The irony is the Democrats wouldn't be in this mess if they had maintained their focus on the FDR coalition. Instead they went full retard.

  39. For 27 years I was a proud independent that leaned towards the right. In presidential elections, I happily voted for Ralph Nader 3 times and Gary Johnson once.

    When Trump went Republican, I changed my party to Republican just to vote for him in the primaries. Then I voted for him in the general election. I have no regrets.

  40. I think Donald Trump has done more for America and Americans than any other president in his short term in-spite of the fierce opposition from a very powerful media, the left and Hollywood. He alone has stood up against China and has put the ball in their court. He has brought back lost jobs to America and will bring back more. Although, a lot of people have tagged him with the racist tag I don't believe he is. He puts America and Americans first and with that policy refugees and illegal immigrants will have to wait longer in the queue why is that not fair. I don't see the democrats ever achieving anything like what Donald Trump has done as they are all too busy having a good time and making BS speeches and sucking up to the media and hollywood. Sorry, that does not serve common Americans and no wonder they lost the election and will probably loose again.

  41. Ignorance if not, plane ole stupidity just flows out of people that do not take the initiative to learn and/or otherwise educate themselves on their governmental environment and what makes U.S.A. Unique in its form. The why we have maintained freedom, that other countries have not experienced, Dr. Victor Hanson spells out in his lectures on the Americanism. He is clear and understandable with a firm philosophical foundation supporting his teaching. He is, a professor at Hillsdale College that is of high virtue.

  42. Admittedly, I'm writing this at the 45:00 point; so, the speaker might still address this "800# gorilla in the room;" but, he's by-passed so many opportunities to address the infestation of globalism into BOTH parties, I seriously doubt that he will in the remaining 21 minutes of his speech… 🙁 One of the key (and encompassing) aspects of what got Pres. Trump elected is the fact that he's willing to fight for our nation's sovereignty and against the global governance agenda. This is also why he has been so villainized by both parties and the press. Our nation had almost had "the noose" tightened around our collective necks; and, it was HRC's appointed task to finish setting the noose and pull the lever – dropping our sovereignty to its death… The pro-globalism forces, who had been working diligently toward this goal, for many decades, THOUGHT they had the 2016 election "in the bag." The reason why HRC "won" the popular vote was the MASSIVE amount of both voter fraud and election fraud which had been pre-orchestrated to insure that outcome – despite the fact that HRC couldn't even fill high school auditoriums every couple of weeks; and, Trump was packing huge arenas (with a massive overflow), on an intensive basis. Granted, some of those voters might have become complacent; and, in doing so, allowed day to day stresses to result in their not carving time out to go vote ~~ which will be an even greater danger in 2020; but, the reality is: we MUST "landslide" the 2020 electionS; or, risk our sovereignty and our liberties!!! We, also, must apply the same diligence to the primaries; keeping in mind that the republican party has been almost as thoroughly infested by pro-globalist forces as the democrat party. We not only need to get Pres. Trump re-elected; but, also, to fill every open seat with a pro-sovereignty and liberty individual. It's NOT enough that the person just has a "R" in front of their name…

  43. This man is very articulate and deeply ignorant. He is what passes for intellectualism on the right. To quote the man he shills for: SAD!

  44. If you vote for Trump your not listening to real people this is nothing but propaganda for idiots that have more$ than sense. Please watch P.B.S. NEWS they have no agenda just straight up news then make your choice

  45. Mr Hanson is clearly a well educated and intelligent man, which is why that at 32.02 when he says, "gestures, statements, assurances, to unpredictable aggressors that we won't react, are dangerous," he must surely know he is being deceitful. Why ? Because America was and still is the world's most dominant super power, but corrupted by 'an elite' whose wealth has been for centuries derived from war and human suffering. The honest patriots who died in the wars he mentions are but pawns to these people, and the quotes for which he supports his argument, could just as easily be seen as bait to the "unpredictable aggressors," he mentions. It is time to come together and recognise the real enemy, those who own the politicians, the media, the legal system and the armed forces. It is not the democrats, it's not the republicans, try to see beyond politics, race, gender, and sexuality. In failing to do so we are creating a prison of our own making. It is time to Awaken!

  46. Trump 2020 no matter what ! Democrats no longer matters . Me thinks democrats doth complain much yet exercise governance but little !

  47. The Germans could not take the bridgehead and this allowed the Russians to resupply ammo and fresh troops. The cold had something to do with it, yes, but this was the military factor.

  48. I THINK AMERICA HAS BEEN WAITING FOR TRUMP FOR A LONG TIME. I THINK IT IS SUSTAINABLE. TRUMP 2020. KEEP POLITITANS OUT OF POLITICS.

  49. KAG 2020!! Trump is the best president ever!! The hipocrite commies democrats don’t understand what is happening in the world and how china abused the USA for decades with an unfair trade. China has sunk the developing countries with their cheap trash products, they destroyed the weak industry in the developing countries. That is the real world, not the romantic world in which the democrats think we live in.

  50. Lots of tripe here. Same attitudes, generalizations, stereotypes that are raised as to why the “other side” did wrong. So much truth was spoken, yet dismissed by VDH, in the first 25 minutes of his talk. All one needs to understand what happened in 2015-2016, and still today, was said in that time-frame.

  51. I was hoping for a thought provoking speech. It didn't take long to start scratching my head. The speaker has begun with more than one assertion w/o a shred of substantiation. See 'ya!

  52. If your primary consideration in selecting the world's most powerful leader is how well the economy is doing at the moment, then you shouldn't be voting.

  53. Thank you sir, however, the Democrats have clearly gone off the rails, open borders, free everything for illegal aliens, taxes out if the universe, 1 layer medical, mostly the rich rule the poor. SOCIALISM! What a sad shape their in.

  54. TO END….THE DAYS….of EVIL ones FOREVER in HIGH PLACES… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXrX87g2kCc note: MIRIAM CHARTIER'S comments THANK you

  55. I thank Dr Hanson and Hillsdale for reminding me that California includes a very large and valuable community of residual Americans.

    It is otherwise too convenient to pleasantly muse about catastrophic seismic events.

  56. I disagree. People keep saying hillary lost because of this and that etc. WRONG. Trump won because Americans (silent majority) are tired of the crap, and Trump is real.

  57. To me, the republicans are the wealthiest in this country and therefore they could care less how the population suffers due to their greed.

  58. In order to stop oppressing the nation, change the taxes to equality. 10 cents on every dollar earned for medical care for all. And 10 cents on every dollar earned for running the government. No different for the wealthy nor for the poor.

  59. Republicans offered to match my donation to the party and triple it by other backers! How is that not corrupt? IT DEFINITELY IS CORRUPT! YOUR PARTY DISGUSTS ME!

  60. Hanson was one of the last establishment conservatives (National Review) to came out against Trump’s candidacy. If he were so prescient, he should have predicted the outcome, even Coulter, the NeverTrumper guessed right.

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