By William K. Black
August 15, 2016 Bloomington, MN
The Wall Street Journal’s Deputy Editor, Daniel Henninger, wrote an op ed dated August 10, 2016 designed to convince Republicans to hold their noses and vote for Donald Trump. His means of attempting to convince them was conventional – play on their hate of Hillary Clinton. Op eds need to be brief, so Henninger picked as his argument the single policy he felt would be most compelling to the paper’s readers.
It is a testament to how bizarre the WSJ editorial writers are and how bizarre they believe their readers are that Henninger chose as his most dreadful policy supported by Hillary that should enrage the paper’s readership – her opposition to rape. The specific context was that she opposes the rape of coeds.
One of the lessons Republicans were supposed to have learned was to stop making remarks suggesting that rape was not really a big deal. Todd Aiken ran for a Senate seat in Missouri in 2012 that the Republicans should have picked up. But Aiken made an unforced error when he talked was asked about rape.
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Richard Mourdock ended his chances of winning a Senate seat in Indiana by suggesting that God planned to have your daughter raped – and for her to be made pregnant by her rapist – as a “gift from God.”
I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
Henninger advises Trump to follow the campaign trail blazed by Aiken and Mourdock. Henninger’s clever twist is to expand on Trump’s penchant for celebrating bigotry as a brave refusal to engage in “political correctness.” Henninger’s subtitle is: “[Hillary’s] presidency will use the federal enforcement agencies to entrench political correctness.” If that is worst thing he can say against Hillary, his research skills are pathetic.
Henninger says that “political correctness” imperils our universities, and that the pursuit of “diversity” poses the greatest peril to universities.
A Clinton victory will empower, for a very long time, the forces now putting at risk one of the country’s incomparable strengths, its system of higher education.
What happened can be explained in one word: diversity
Great, in addition to not downplaying the harm of rape, Republicans were supposed to learn to stop insulting blacks, Latinos, and women. Henninger recommends that Trump double-down on each of these four terrible political strategies. Henninger’s great idea is for Trump to pitch his message to older, white working-class men. Brilliant!
Henninger chooses to end his column with the policy that he says exemplifies the greatest evil of diversity.
Enter the Obama presidency and the cultural left on steroids. In 2011 the Obama Department of Education sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to all higher-ed schools, providing “guidance” on creating sexual-abuse surveillance systems. This is the letter that shut down traditional due process for college students.
For the presidents of these institutions, the “guidance” notice had one key passage. It said that “if a recipient does not come into compliance,” the federal government may “withdraw federal funding.”
Readers of this newspaper do not need more dots connected to understand why nominally sensible college presidents are rolling over like trained puppies to the PC mobs. Resist and Washington will terminate their federal cash flow. None will. All comply. That is raw power.
Hillary has nothing to do with this policy, so it would seem to be a poor political issue to turn around what Henninger says is a failing Trump campaign. Henninger must think that the policy is so horrific that despite Hillary’s lack of ties to it Republicans and Independents will be so outraged by anti-rape policies if they learn of them that it is the best chance of Trump winning the election.
It is difficult to put oneself in the mind of Henninger’s intended audience, but I do not understand how these three paragraphs would transform the electorate. There is one (false) claim that “due process” no longer exists for college students that could not withstand examination.
The huge policy issue that Henninger fantasizes would enrage the electorate and elect Trump is that universities have to report sexual assaults so that students and prospective students and their parents can know the frequency of such assaults. What percentage of parents would like to have that information? What percentage of parents would be outraged that the government was conditioning federal aid to universities on their agreement to provide that information? Exactly. The issue isn’t whether college presidents roll over like trained puppies. The issue is why any college president would not have already implemented such reporting on his or her own initiative.
Henninger’s suggestion that Trump campaign on an anti-anti-rape policy would be terrible policy and terrible politics. Of course, Trump has shown that he is comfortable with those twin failures.