Okay, I can hear you from here — this is post #301. Grow up.
Post #204 — March 3, 2017: PPFA in a Post-Election World
After a four-month post-election layoff, this column marked the return. And I’ve been back ever since.
In this post I wondered how the site would look when not ramping up to a presidential election. Among my ideas was to reboot my old “Top 30 Most Influential Westerners” countdown I started at Construction Lit Mag back in 2013. Originally I only made it halfway, and I vowed to press forward this time. As many of you now know, I was true to my word! We’re down to #10. (By the way: the nine “Scheduled” posts seen in today’s headline image are the top nine. I have them pre-loaded in case some tragedy befalls me.)
Post #205 — March 10, 2017: Trump’s Rebellion
Settling into a weekly pace for posts, I started with a comparison between President Trump’s White House bid and Virginia colonist Nathaniel Bacon’s burn-Jamestown-to-the-ground bid. Frankly, it should be required reading in Colonial America history courses.
Posts 214-219 — April 12-24, 2017: The “How Presidents Sell War” series
After President Trump ordered missiles into Syria using familiar justifications, I gave a six-part overview of American presidents rallying the American people to war.
Post #225 — June 19, 2017: Trump, Caesar, and Shakespeare Walk Into a…
Here’s a fun one inspired by a very not fun thing. After Congressman Steve Scalise was shot during a GOP baseball practice, both sides of the media rushed to blame each other. Among conservative media’s problems was a “Shakespeare in the Park” performance of a Trumpish Julius Caesar getting murdered by Senators and how it could incite violent acts like this one. Deeming that an overreaction, I decided to offer context on Caesar the man and Caesar the play. In sum, the murder of Caesar was not seen as a heroic act by history nor by Shakespeare nor by the director of this particular Shakespeare in the Park. It was not a call to violently rebel.
Post #226 — July 3, 2017: Five Interesting Things about the Declaration of Independence You Might Not Have Known But Now Will
In 2017’s most read piece, I gave up on creative headlines.
Post #229 — August 1, 2017: It’s All About That Base
In what now seems like a pivot to the following year’s midterm elections, I analyzed President Trump’s strategy to fire up his base instead of broaden his popularity. This strategy, it’s safe to say, remained through the midterms. Though it cost him heavy losses in the House, it did succeed in holding the Senate.
Posts 235-237 — November 6-20, 2017: The “PPFA Evaluates the Electoral College” series
Later I edited and combined this series into one post found here.
Post #246 — January 12, 2018: Quick Hit Friday: Oprah, DACA, Issa, FISA
Here I addressed the Oprah 2020 speculation on the heels of her passionate Golden Globes speech. I thought Democrats overvalued her ability to defeat President Trump in an election and overestimated her ability to govern afterward. One of the planks of my ideology was shared that day: “[T]he ability to win a popularity contest does not necessarily translate to the ability to run a government. It’s a glaring flaw of a democratic republic.”
In the DACA section of the post, I covered Trump’s often hilarious susceptibility to agree with the last person he talks to, even if it totally turns him around on an issue — much to the consternation of those around him:
“What we instead witnessed was another confirmation of our suspicions: Trump rarely knows what he’s talking about. He sent several mixed, even contradictory, signals. The beauty of it is that the decision to televise the meeting has given us wonderfully entertaining video, like when we see the President, so easily swayed by an argument, allow Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) to steer him toward the Democratic position (“a clean DACA bill”), which the President agreed was what he wanted (“I have no problem with that. . . . Yeah, I would like to do that”) before Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy interrupted to remind him of the GOP’s position, back toward which Trump awkwardly tacked.”
This would be a lot funnier if he weren’t, you know, the actual president.
Post #249 — January 29, 2018: CNN, 2020, and the Horse Race We All Lose
Just general cable-news bashing, which is always fun.
Post #251 — March 5, 2018: Oops… He Did It Again
Despite the DACA debacle two months earlier, President Trump again decided to televise a bipartisan meeting, and he again embarrassed himself. This time the topic was gun control.
“At one point, while Trump agreed to everything he was hearing, Democratic Senators Feinstein and Amy Klobuchar shared a wink and a nod — an acknowledgement that Trump is a complete pushover in negotiation, since he has neither conviction, knowledge, nor a strategy.
Of course, on the flip side, those same weaknesses will mean he’ll eventually pass through rooms of advisers, Republican leaders, and NRA representatives who all thought the meeting went poorly (as did his media base, to whom we know the President pays much attention) and will easily redirect their vacuous leader back toward Republican policy. Republican Senator Ben Sasse seemed to understand the situation best, saying, ‘We’re not ditching any Constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them.'”
Again, funny but not funny.
In two parts, PPFA’s Latin American Correspondent Nathan Paluck joined me to talk about the fascinating Mexican presidential election.
Post #260 — May 7, 2018: The Presidential Line of Succession
In one of 2018’s more popular posts, readers were, for some reason, really into most members of the executive branch suddenly disappearing.
Post #268 — September 3, 2018: The Rural Takeover of Washington
I spent much of the summer focused on my family, my Top 30 list, and my sneaking suspicion that a Constitution that awards such disproportionate power to small states was not sustainable in a country where more and more people are concentrated in larger ones. In September, I finally organized this concern into a post.
And then, it being the fall of a federal election and all, I pivoted to focusing on the 2018 midterms. Two months out, we had already settled into a Democratic House and Republican Senate prediction. (Frankly, it looked that way for most of 2018.)
Post #271 — September 17, 2018: The Slow Death of the Partisan Moderate
A depressing look at the rise of American animosity toward those that disagree with us.
“[P]erhaps the worst effect of this increased partisanship is how we’ve begun viewing those who disagree with our politics. Our social and traditional media have so effectively convinced us that the other side is evil and/or stupid and/or corrupt and/or selfish and/or dangerous and/or unpatriotic that we’re starting to hold considerable antipathy toward that other side, especially when we fall into the trap of only trusting and forwarding the sources which have ideologies with which we already agree.
Thus, we’ve seen a rise in what’s called ‘negative partisanship’ — or supporting one’s own party in part because it is the best chance to block the other one.”
Posts 280-281 — November 5 & 6, 2018: The PPFA Midterm Preview-and-Prediction-palooza, Part I: The Senate & Part II: The House
From the two-month mark until the day of the election, I maintained my analysis of a big House gain for the Democrats but a Republican hold in the Senate. I did, however, underestimate the Democratic gain while also missing a couple Senate races that tipped red.
Post #282 — November 12, 2018: The Midterm Cycle Is Over. The Presidential Cycle Now Begins.
The next week, I wasted no time returning to the website’s roots.
Post #286 — December 10, 2018: The “Next 30″ish
As vowed, I delivered a “Top 30” entry every month from March 2017 through November 2018. That brought us to the top 10. I took a pause in December not only to list about 30 historical figures who just missed the cut, but also to give serious clues about who comprised the top 10. (Since then you’ve learned that #10 is William Shakespeare. In six days, you’ll learn who #9 is!)
Post #297 — February 1, 2019: One Year Until Iowa!: Five Impossibly Specific Predictions for the Democratic Primary
My on-the-record prediction of how the 2020 Democratic Primary will play out.
Post #300 — February 11, 2019: PPFA’s 300th Postiversary! (A Retrospective)
Thanks for joining me on the trip down memory lane!
Enough of the clip show. We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.