Friday, January 19, 2024

19: New Hampshire

On the Ballot in Iowa: Fear. Anxiety. Hopelessness. As Monday’s caucuses approach, voters casually throw around the prospect of World War III and civil unrest, anxious of divisions they fear are tearing the country apart. ......... mingle at campaign events and casually talk of the prospect of World War III, civil unrest and a nation coming apart at the seams. ........ Now, in the first presidential election since the siege on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, those anxieties have metastasized into a grimmer, more existential dread about the very foundations of the American experiment. ......... “You get the feeling in Iowa right now that we’re sleepwalking into a nightmare and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Doug Gross, a Republican lawyer who has been involved in Iowa politics for nearly four decades, ran for governor in 2002 and plans to support Nikki Haley in the state’s caucuses on Monday. “In Iowa, life isn’t lived in extremes, except the weather, and yet they still feel this dramatic sense of inevitable doom.” ....... This presidential race, he said, is “a moment that is different than any election in my lifetime.” .......... Fearful of the possibility of political violence, Mr. Binns is weighing going to Brazil in November 2024. ........ The result is a disorienting frenzy of facts and falsehoods swirling around issues once considered sacrosanct in public life. Recent polling shows Americans have a gloomier view of the future and express a new openness to political violence. ........ As politicians, commentators and voters grasp for historical analogies, one of the darkest chapters of American history keeps being evoked: the period leading to the Civil War. Some see a parallel in the clash of two Americas — not North and South now, but Red and Blue. ........... Inflation has fallen, unemployment has returned to a prepandemic level, and layoffs remain near record lows. The Federal Reserve plans to cut interest rates several times in the coming year. ............ He was shocked by how divisive school-board elections had become in his small town of Mount Vernon, Iowa. ........ Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump appear to be heading toward a rematch election, despite polling showing that both men remain deeply unpopular among large swaths of Americans.

What Makes Nikki Haley Tougher Than the Rest Several years ago it occurred to me that in every administration I had covered to that point — from Reagan through Obama — the White House staff seemed to fear the first lady more than they feared the commander in chief. ........ Donald Trump was tough, mean and self-pitying (a nifty combination). President Biden is tougher than he looks. And the woman who is now Trump’s chief challenger, Nikki Haley, is one of the toughest politicians in America — by which I mean confrontational, willing to hammer her foes. ........ She once described her childhood as “survival mode.” ....... Haley entered politics as a Tea Party maverick. ...... the Tea Party was female-led, and most of its supporters were right-wing women who, among other things, wanted to take on the Republican old boys network. Women like Haley and Sarah Palin presented themselves as whistle-blowers, taking down corruption. ........ What ensued was classic South Carolina politics. A mailer went out attacking her and referring to her by her birth name, Nimrata Randhawa. A whisper campaign suggested she was Buddhist or Hindu. (In fact, she is a Christian who attends a Methodist church). ....... One of her great successes as governor was relentlessly lobbying corporations to build their plants in South Carolina. When she left office, the state had 400,000 more jobs than when she entered. ......... All U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations defend Israel, but Haley made it the centerpiece of her job. She waded into a famously anti-Israel institution with fists raised. She was one of the people who made the Trump administration so supportive of the Jewish state. When close allies like Britain and France voted for a resolution condemning the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, she did not invite their representatives to a U.S. Mission reception, which is practically war in U.N. terms. .......... When nine parishioners at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston were gunned down by a white supremacist in 2015, she was vulnerable and grieving in public and private. She went to all of the funerals. Her friends worried she was losing a dangerous amount of weight. Mobilized by sadness and anger, she helped persuade more than two-thirds of both houses of the legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol grounds, which was an astounding act of political craftsmanship and moral fortitude that even her detractors admire. ........ if she’s often tough as nails, she has generally been tough as tulips about Donald Trump .......... A woman “will need to prize her tenderness and be able to display it at appropriate times in order to prevent toughness from gaining total authority and to avoid becoming a mirror image of those men who value power above life, and control over love.” .......... Neither Trump nor Haley sits around reading Adam Smith and Edmund Burke. Neither Trump nor Haley has what you would call fully developed philosophies. Neither is conventionally partisan; both made their bones attacking the G.O.P. establishment, not working their way up within it. ......... Trump and the woman who is now his leading challenger are different versions of a bare-knuckled ethos, and if you look at their records, it’s pretty clear that Haley is actually more effectively tough than Trump. She’s confrontational in pursuit of policy, whereas he is confrontational in pursuit of ratings. She’s a doer; his attention span isn’t long enough to make him an effective executive. If Republicans want someone who will execute their agenda, they should go with her. .......... The connection between working-class voters and a shady real estate billionaire is a complex psychological phenomenon that historians will have to unpack. But it’s a bond no amount of Nikki Haley toughness can break.

The Things We Disagree On About Gaza
Trump Is Playing With Fire

The Most Durable Force in American Politics: Trump’s Ties to His Voters If Donald Trump’s rivals want to stop his rise, they’ll need to break his bond with his supporters. They didn’t come close in Iowa......... For eight years, he has nurtured a relationship with his supporters with little precedent in politics. He validates them, he entertains them, he speaks for them and he uses them for his political and legal advantage. ......... Republicans lost control of the presidency, the Senate and the House during his four years in office. He failed to deliver the red wave of victories he promised in the 2022 midterms. He has been charged with 91 felonies in four criminal cases this past year. ........ many Iowa Republicans made clear they don’t judge him. They adore him. ......... “Trump is not a candidate, he’s the leader of a national movement,” said Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker who has advised Mr. Trump. “No one has come to grips with what’s it like to take on the champion of a movement. That’s why even as all these legal issues pile up, it just infuriates his movement and increases their anger unbelievably.” ........ Roughly half of Iowa Republicans voted for one of Mr. Trump’s rivals, including about 20 percent who backed Mr. DeSantis, who finished in second, with Ms. Haley close behind. ......... As the Republican nominating contest moves to New Hampshire next week, one poll this month showed Ms. Haley within striking distance of Mr. Trump. The state’s voters tend to be more moderate and less religious, suggesting an opening for her. ........ MAGA Nation rivals the Queen’s Guard when it comes to standing at the ready to defend their sovereign ....... Perhaps most significantly, he has rallied their support amid unprecedented legal troubles in part by describing the prosecution of him as an attempt to silence them. ........ “You and I have been in this battle side-by-side, together — and we have been taking on the entire corrupt system in Washington like no one has ever done before,” Mr. Trump told Iowa supporters at a rally on Sunday, adding that the political establishment and global elites “are at war with us — we have to fight.” .......... nothing short of a political magic act: The billionaire son of a multimillionaire has become the voice for working-class Americans. .............

“He’s a blue-collar billionaire.”

Putin Is Making His Plans Brutally Clear In 2023 there were more than 6,000 air alerts in Ukraine. Last month alone, Russia launched some 624 drones carrying explosives .......... On Dec. 29, more than 120 Russian missiles and drones targeted towns across the country, killing 44 people. It was the deadliest attack on civilians in Kyiv since the beginning of the war. ......... Russia’s strikes increased as attempts to authorize more funding for Ukraine stalled in the U.S. Congress and in Europe. Since the fall, Kyiv’s western allies have reportedly been quietly pushing for negotiations to end the war. By the end of December, Vladimir Putin was also reportedly signaling that he, too, was ready to make a deal. ......... From Kyiv it’s clear that Mr. Putin is not preparing to offer anything that Ukrainians could agree to — and he knows it. His plans are occupation, devastation and destruction. ....... On Jan. 2 Russia launched 35 kamikaze drones, some 60 cruise missiles and 10 hypersonic Kinzhal missiles — which Russia has claimed are impossible to shoot down — on Kyiv. ........ Last year, Russia started attacking more often in January and February, when the temperature went down. It used drones to target the power grid, weaponizing the cold against civilians. People had to use generators, and power cuts were frequent. This year, the power grid is less vulnerable, and people have needed generators less.

Trump Is Playing With Fire
Don’t Turn Away From the Charges of Genocide Against Israel
The Greatest Threat Posed by Trump Swatting — a grotesque tactic in which the police are called to respond to a nonexistent crime or threat at someone’s home — is a shockingly dangerous act that can threaten the victim’s life and property. The police will often descend in force on the home, anticipating a possible violent confrontation........ The result is a religious movement steeped in fanaticism but stripped of virtue. The fruit of the spirit described in Galatians in the New Testament — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” — is absent from MAGA Christianity, replaced by the very “works of the flesh” the same passage warned against, including “hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions” and “factions.” ......... “vice signaling,” to describe how Trump’s core supporters convey their tribal allegiance. They’re often deliberately rude, transgressive or otherwise unpleasant, just to demonstrate how little they care about conventional moral norms. ....... Absent public virtue, a republic can fall. ...... if he wins again, the equation will change and history may record that he was not the culmination of a short-lived reactionary moment, but rather the harbinger of a greater darkness to come.

Trumpism Is Devouring the Evangelical Movement
Trump’s Landslide Victory in Iowa
Voters Look Past Legal Problems to Give Trump a Big Victory The possibility of a two-person race remains elusive for Trump foes, who fear a split field will ease his path to the nomination.

A Republican Pollster on Trump’s Undimmed Appeal Kristen Soltis Anderson unpacks why Republican voters want stability — and how Trump represents it.

Why Nikki Haley Can’t Win Mr. Trump by contrast often speaks from a place of unfiltered rage...... a conventional politician, even one who can brag about polls showing she’d beat Joe Biden by a wider margin than the former president would.
A Republican Pollster on Trump’s Undimmed Appeal Kristen Soltis Anderson unpacks why Republican voters want stability — and how Trump represents it.
We Are in a Big Covid Wave. But Just How Big? Wastewater data has become perhaps the best metric to track the spread of the virus in the U.S., but it’s an imperfect tool.
Israel Unearths More of a Subterranean Fortress Under Gaza The Israeli military has been surprised by the extent, depth and quality of the tunnel network beneath Gaza.

The G.O.P.’s ‘Nasty’ New Religion
History Argues for Disqualifying Trump

Letting Trump Off the Hook Will Change the Shape of History
China’s Economy Is in Serious Trouble
Why Jan. 6 Wasn’t an Insurrection bad leadership. President Xi Jinping is starting to look like a poor economic manager, whose propensity for arbitrary interventions — which is something autocrats tend to do — has stifled private initiative. .......... To outside observers, what China must do seems straightforward: end financial repression and allow more of the economy’s income to flow through to households, and strengthen the social safety net so that consumers don’t feel the need to hoard cash. And as it does this it can ramp down its unsustainable investment spending........ But there are powerful players, especially state-owned enterprises, that benefit from financial repression. And when it comes to strengthening the safety net, the leader of this supposedly communist regime sounds a bit like the governor of Mississippi, denouncing “welfarism” that creates “lazy people.” ......... Scariest of all, will it try to distract from domestic difficulties by engaging in military adventurism?

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