From The Origins of Progressive Agony by Victor Davis Hanson a the National Review:

Obama bequeathed to his successors neither a popular progressive record nor a robust economy nor a stellar foreign-policy success. If he did ensure massive minority voting registration and bloc voting, that served largely himself — and came at the cost of alienating independents and the working classes. In other words, Obama most certainly did pass on to his successors the downside of his polarizing sermonizing and divisiveness, but not the upside of record minority turnout and uniform voting.

Progressives once thought that Obama was their godhead and their assured pathway to permanent power. In those heady days of 2009, the American system of government was still deemed wonderful. Conservatives were bitter dead-enders, and the country was in the process of being fundamentally “transformed.” Basking in the rites and rituals of her role as first lady, Michelle Obama had finally learned, by her own admission, to be proud of her country.

But then with the loss of local, state, and federal legislative power, progressives grew understandably bitter. Never had so much been promised and so little delivered. And they began to recalibrate Obama the erstwhile savior as mostly a narcissist who had thrived while emasculating his followers.


Elections hinge on magnified passions, and fleeting if serious events.  Crisis fade in the passage of time. Depending on crisis to justify political action requires the manufacture and exaggeration of more crisis.

Crisis, however, are like storms and impossible to control.  There are distinct possibilities they will turn on you; if not this one then the subsequent ones created to retain control.

Politicians are foolish to think these crisis signal a major shift in the coarse of mankind, or the values of the voters. Sometimes this may be the case. The Civil War and the Great Depression, for example.

At the time radical activists thought the Great Depression was the end of capitalism.  It wasn’t.  It did however adjust the course of big business and the federal government as an instrument of economic, and not just political equality.

Today’s activists fear Donald Trump signals the end of democracy.  He doesn’t.  Democracy, like capitalism, has its limits. The framers of the Constitution understood this and considered it carefully in their design.

There is no arc of history. Progress is not inevitable. Every crisis is not a permanent or dramatic shift in the values of the people.