State of the na­tion

As vi­tal midterm elec­tions loom, a swathe of ti­tles ex­poses a cyn­i­cal elite to blame for po­lit­i­cal dis­ar­ray

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - STEPHEN PHILLIPS

A round-up of the lat­est books on US pol­i­tics

Philip Roth be­moaned the in­tractabil­ity of “Amer­i­can re­al­ity” for the nov­el­is­tic imag­i­na­tion: “It stu­pe­fies, it sick­ens, it in­fu­ri­ates, and fi­nally it is even a kind of em­bar­rass­ment to one’s mea­ger imag­i­na­tion.” Per­haps this is what led Nor­man Mailer and Joan Did­ion to po­lit­i­cal re­portage.

But where to be­gin with the histri­on­ics of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion? Nov­el­ist Ben Foun­tain opens Beau­ti­ful Coun­try Burn Again:

Democ­racy,Re­bel­lio­nandRevo­lu­tion (Ecco Press), his cam­paign chron­i­cle, in Jan­uary of that con­vul­sive year. Nov­el­ists no­tice stuff re­porters miss. Hil­lary em­anates a “dread­nought pres­ence”, while oleagi­nous Ted Cruz tog­gles be­tween “fire-and-brim­stone ar­dor” and “a mealy-mouthed smile as he takes the ap­plause”.

Then there’s old man Bernie – “Clunker eye­glasses, woke-up-like-this hair”. All this is prefa­tory though to the en­trance of the most bog­gle­some char­ac­ter of them all. A Trump stemwinder ex­udes “the junky non­stop pat­ter of a telethon host”, its “con­fid­ing stream-of-con­scious­ness slurry like the boss’s arm draped over your shoul­der . . . ” Later, Foun­tain anatomises the jerry-built mon­stros­ity of Trump’s Repub­li­can con­ven­tion speech, “the rhetor­i­cal equiv­a­lent of subur­ban sprawl”– “ISIS was here, mur­der­ous im­mi­grants over there, po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, the rigged sys­tem, and ‘in­ter­na­tional hu­mil­i­a­tion’ plunked down there, there and there like strip shop­ping cen­ters scat­tered about a mish­mash of hous­ing de­vel­op­ments.”

For full ef­fect, con­sider the ac­com­pa­ny­ing vi­su­als. Trump’s han­dlers teased crisp 1968 “Law and Or­der” Richard Nixon; in­stead, the ghoul­ish flop-sweat-slicked 1974 ver­sion showed up – “by the end ... prac­ti­cally lock-jawed with fa­tigue, punched out ... smile ... ghastly, dry lips snag­ging on dry teeth”.

Foun­tain is a su­perb writer. But there’s an air of pre­cious­ness about Beau­ti­ful Coun­try; its au­thor flaunt­ing his exquisitel­y-mod­u­lated sen­si­bil­ity on racism, which looms mono­lith­i­cally as a skele­ton key to un­der­stand­ing Trump­ism – lit­tle more than a parox­ysm of racial an­i­mus stoked by a na­tion­wide “South­ern strat­egy” that set mil­lions of crypto-racist hearts aflut­ter.

But it seems de­bat­able that racism is the sole an­i­mat­ing im­pulse be­hind Trump­ism. It cer­tainly be­lies Foun­tain’s anal­y­sis that the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion played to work­ing- and lower mid­dle-class vot­ers’ racially-tinged pieties (wel­fare reform, tough on crime) while aban­don­ing their eco­nomic in­ter­ests in em­brac­ing dereg­u­la­tion and glob­al­i­sa­tion.

This set the course for US polity since. And these con­stituen­cies found them­selves shafted by stalled wages, job in­se­cu­rity and spi­ralling

in­ci­dences of sui­cide and sub­stance abuse. Lit­tle won­der they’d be “drawn to a thug can­di­date who states plainly that the sys­tem is rigged rot­ten and he alone can fix it”.

But the will to un­der­stand is fleet­ing, nox­ious and un­re­gen­er­ate. Trump vot­ers are oth­er­wise con­signed to Hil­lary’s “bas­ket of de­plorables”.

In Ren­dezvous with Obliv­ion: Re­ports from a

Sink­ingSo­ci­ety (Pi­cador USA), es­say­ist Thomas Frank de­murs from pro­gres­sive or­tho­doxy that “[T]he Trump move­ment is a one-note phe­nom­e­non, a vast surge of race hatred”.

“... [W]hat hap­pened in 2016 de­serves to be taken se­ri­ously ... In ad­di­tion to the ugly gusher of big­otry that Trump tapped, there swirled per­fectly le­git­i­mate con­cerns about dein­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, oli­garchy, the power of big banks, bad trade deals, and the long-term aban­don­ment of work­ing-class con­cerns by the Democrats.”

Frank is an old-fash­ioned per­son of the left, in­ter­ested in “la­bor and work and ex­ploita­tion and eco­nomic power”. Delv­ing be­yond the in­sult high­light reel, he finds trade was Trump’s num­ber one talk­ing point. He spoke in part at least to ne­olib­er­al­ism’s ca­su­al­ties.

Frank also en­gages with Trump vot­ers. Those he en­coun­ters in Mis­souri evince am­biva­lence – their votes cast in the spirit with which Trump no­to­ri­ously can­vassed black vot­ers: “Whad­daya got to lose ... ?”

“In walk­ing around these small towns,” he re­ports, “it oc­curred to me that nos­tal­gia must come nat­u­rally here. The greatness of the past and the di­lap­i­da­tion of the present are ob­vi­ous with ev­ery step you take: the solid, care­fully con­structed build­ings from the Ben­jamin Har­ri­son era ... now crum­bling ... There is noth­ing un­pro­gres­sive about want­ing your town to thrive.”

It goes with­out say­ing that Trump is an ar­rant moun­te­bank, but with the wind to his back eco­nom­i­cally and levers of power at his right hand, Democrats must “re­dis­cover their roots as the tribune of blue-col­lar Amer­ica”, Frank coun­sels, if they are se­ri­ous about fore­stalling the un­think­able in 2020.

Be­sides Frank’s field­work, Homo trum­pus has been thor­oughly poked, prod­ded, pathol­o­gised and tax­on­o­mized. The most cat­a­logued spec­i­men is Rust Belt Trumper, many of them erst­while Obama sup­port­ers. In TheFor­got­ten: How the Peo­ple of One Penn­syl­va­nia County Elect­edDon­aldTrumpan­dChangedAm­er­ica (Lit­tle, Brown US), ex-Bos­ton Globe deputy manag­ing ed­i­tor Ben Bradlee jnr em­beds with the lo­cals of Luzerne County, Penn­syl­va­nia. It is two hours’ drive from New York City but a world away, where Trump trounced Hil­lary and gained much of the edge with which he won this “bat­tle­ground” state.

The most strik­ing as­pect to Bradlee’s elic­i­ta­tions is the sheer whiplash-in­duc­ing mis­cel­lany of be­liefs com­pris­ing Trump’s big tent. The sen­ti­ments veer from pro­gres­sive to

out­ra­geous. Ed Harry’s po­si­tion on mil­i­tarism could have is­sued from the mouth of San­ders him­self: “War per­pet­u­ates it­self ... All the money pissed away on wars could be used here to take care of the needs of peo­ple.” Con­versely, he “em­braces the un­founded the­ory that lib­eral bil­lion­aire Ge­orge Soros paid Black Lives Mat­ters $30 mil­lion to protest in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, and Baltimore.” It’s a re­minder of how Trump shred­ded as­sump­tions about the im­por­tance of ide­o­log­i­cal fidelity to Repub­li­can vot­ers. But it also points to some­thing more dis­con­cert­ing: the soft pull of Trump, or Trump as re­li­gious ex­pe­ri­ence. Be­liefs seem al­most be­side the point, in­ter­vie­wees speak in rap­tur­ous terms of val­i­da­tion by Trump. “Peo­ple fall in love with their ther­a­pist be­cause they want to be heard ... ” re­marks Tiffany Cloud. “I think peo­ple felt Don­ald Trump heard them with­out judg­ment.” For Donna Kowal­czyk, a post-elec­tion Trump rally was like the band get­ting back to­gether. “It was so cool. Vice-pres­i­dent Pence, Kellyanne, and the whole gang were there. No matter what any­one says, if you lis­ten to Trump talk, you think you can con­quer the world.” Lynette Vil­lano tricked out her car as a Trump-mo­bile re­plete with “dash­board con­sole” primed to ping on re­ceipt of Trump tweets. Hard to imag­ine some reg­u­lar wonky politi­cian tick­ing through their talk­ing points in­cit­ing such ar­dour. Ideas you can ar­gue with, but feel­ings and faith... From Trump-ad­dled ex-Democrats to hard-bit­ten racists: in Risin­gout­ofHa­tred:The Awak­en­ing of a For­mer White Na­tion­al­ist

(Dou­ble­day) by Wash­ing­ton Post jour­nal­ist Eli Saslow, the rise of Trump and the alt-right soft­ens the blow felt by ex-Klans­man Don Black, founder and web­mas­ter of Storm­front, the in­ter­net’s fore­most hate site, af­ter his son re­nounces his ide­o­log­i­cal pat­ri­mony.

Derek Black was a racist prodigy like Tiger Woods was pre­co­cious at golf. In­doc­tri­nated from in­fancy to spout anti-im­mi­grant in­vec­tive and Holo­caust de­nial, his cre­den­tials were impeccable: be­sides be­ing Don’s son, he was the god­son of an­other ex-Klans­man, near-miss Louisiana gov­er­nor David Duke.

“We at­tract too many so­ciopaths,” lamented Don (this is char­i­ta­ble; his own ini­ti­a­tion into white power’s so­dal­ity came at 16 on a road trip. His fel­low trav­ellers: Duke and fu­ture mass mur­derer Joseph Paul Franklin). Derek would be the fresh face to carry the cause to Amer­ica’s main­stream. Re­moved from the harm­ful mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism of pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, he was her­met­i­cally home schooled us­ing the En­cy­clopae­dia Bri­tan­nica, 1914 edi­tion, deemed to com­port with fam­ily val­ues for its de­scrip­tion of the KKK as a “fra­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion”. De­camp­ing for col­lege, his par­ents con­sid­ered him in­oc­u­lated against lib­er­al­ism’s blan­dish­ments.

In­stead, he finds him­self stealth­ily call­ing into his racist ra­dio show seated next to his Jewish sorta-girl­friend. To pre-empt ex­po­sure, he at­tempts to out him­self, plant­ing a mag­a­zine pro­file (Derek Black: The Great White Hope ) in the gym. As a stu­dent in the 1960s Duke had steeled him­self to pro­claim his racism at a cam­pus speak­ers’ cor­ner, forc­ing him­self to be loud and proud. But Derek is more monk scholar than rab­ble rouser. Even­tu­ally he’s rum­bled by a class­mate who finds his name on­line.

Here, Saslow drama­tises a fault line cleav­ing Amer­ica’s left: hate-the-sin-love-the-sin­ner

ver­sus shun and/or bar­rack them. Derek feels the lash of op­pro­brium but also love. Two Or­tho­dox Jews and their house­mate adopt him as a project. He ab­jures white na­tion­al­ism and em­braces full-blown apos­tasy, warn­ing in the

New York Times of the cover given his for­mer be­liefs by Trump­ism.

Amid a back­slid­ing Amer­ica, the redemp­tion is strictly per­sonal. Bereft at his heir’s de­fec­tion, Don perks up at Storm­front’s Trump bump of spik­ing traf­fic. And as for pol­i­tics in the time of Trump, he’s lap­ping it up. “To be a white na­tion­al­ist,” writes Saslow, “had al­ways meant root­ing for chaos and de­light­ing in up­heaval.”

Seek­ing to rise above the fray in Them: Why

We Hate Each Other and How to Heal (St Martin’s Press), never-Trump Repub­li­can Ben Sasse as­cribes Amer­ica’s state of dis­union to a decades-long de­cline in civic en­gage­ment, cou­pled to fall­out from cul­tural and tech­no­log­i­cal up­heaval. Fill­ing the “void” in­dig­na­tion mer­chants on ca­ble news and the in­ter­net, ped­dling “po­lar­iza­tion [as a] busi­ness model” and fake salve to na­tional anomie.

Sasse is equal op­por­tu­ni­ties in ap­por­tion­ing blame, not least to right-wing ca­ble TV rat­ings leader Sean Han­nity, non­pareil pur­veyor of “poli­ti­tain­ment” whose Fox News show abounds in “‘Hey-can-you-be­lieve-this shit?’ mes­sag­ing”– “some­thing that makes him mad enough to emote ... to let oth­ers par­tic­i­pate in a col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence of cathar­sis”. Else­where, he skew­ers “the en­emy of my en­emy is my friend” mind­set of Repub­li­can stu­dents, mak­ing com­mon cause with provo­ca­teur Milo Yiannopou­los to goad cam­pus lib­er­als – “... some­times the en­emy of your en­emy is just a jack­ass”.

Sasse owes his renown to his own “en­emy of my en­emy is my friend”, stand­ing among Democrats as an im­pla­ca­ble Trump foe con­sid­ered a pos­si­ble chal­lenger to him in 2020. But this should not be con­flated with ide­o­log­i­cal squishi­ness. Them is un­apolo­get­i­cally con­ser­va­tive.

Sasse links the fray­ing of Amer­ica’s so­cial fab­ric to the de­cline in tra­di­tional fam­i­lies. And US ex­cep­tion­al­ism is a tough sell these days no matter how mild. “Amer­ica is a place for those who be­lieve that fallen hu­man­ity ... is so of­ten in er­ror that we are ret­i­cent to use force. We would pre­fer to ex­tend the de­bate ... ”

Mean­while, amid na­tional soul-search­ing about racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and in­equity, Sasse’s fine words on Amer­ica’s orig­i­nal sin – “The his­tory of in­jus­tice in Amer­ica does not in­val­i­date our core prin­ci­ples; no, our re­solve against in­jus­tice is an af­fir­ma­tion of the liv­ing force of those prin­ci­ples” – will strike many as just that.

It would be a shame how­ever if Them were dis­counted. This is a thought­ful book about the need to recover “real, lo­cal in-per­son com­mu­ni­ties” as bal­last against wrench­ing change and dys­pep­tic TV hosts and politi­cians.

One of the joys of Steve Kor­nacki’s The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Po­lit­i­cal Trib­al­ism (Ecco Press) is its evo­ca­tion of a sim­pler, happier time. Amer­ica in the 1990s ap­pears to­day as a belle époque tele­scoped into 10 heady years. The econ­omy was go­ing gang­busters, the first stir­rings of the web set off a land grab in cy­berspace and, abet­ted by the nascent web but not yet blown apart by it, mass cul­ture reached peak vi­brancy. At the close to the cen­tury that bore its name, Amer­ica was fin­ish­ing strong. Still, there’s no mis­tak­ing what was left in 2000. Buried in the tu­mult of the Florida re­count, and Ge­orge W Bush’s nanoscale vic­tory, lay a deeper truth: the re­draw­ing of Amer­ica’s electoral map. Ru­ral, largely white, re­li­gious Amer­ica was the re­doubt of Repub­li­cans; Democrats had sewn up ur­ban, browner, sec­u­lar Amer­ica. It’s a crude char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion but it cap­tures a di­chotomy that’s largely held to this day.

Kor­nacki traces this rift to the machi­na­tions of sundry fig­ures, but a smack talk­ing ex-aca­demic steals the show. Newt Gin­grich’s im­pact on con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans ap­prox­i­mates that of a cor­po­rate raider on a distressed busi­ness. Inured to mi­nor­ity sta­tus, the party cut an ab­ject fig­ure, thought Gin­grich who set about purg­ing it of be­hav­iours that did not re­dound to electoral success. In place of co-op­er­a­tion, he prac­ticed ob­struc­tion­ism, fomented the­atri­cal con­fronta­tions, and like any good turnaround mer­chant was re­source­ful in wring­ing share­holder value from ob­scure places – an af­ter-hours slot for speechi­fy­ing in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives tele­vised by ca­ble net­work C-Span af­forded an op­por­tu­nity to kvetch about Demo­crat mis­rule to the masses (un­seen by view­ers, thanks to the cam­era an­gle: Gin­grich and his acolytes were typ­i­cally ad­dress­ing a de­serted room).

Em­pha­sis­ing max­i­mal “con­trast” with Democrats, he led the GOP out of the wilder­ness in the 1994 midterms. In­com­ing Repub­li­cans skipped the cus­tom­ary bi­par­ti­san con­clave at elit­ist Har­vard, hun­ker­ing in­stead at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Here, shock-jock Rush Lim­baugh de­liv­ered the fol­low­ing ode to comity: “... some­times to avoid the hos­til­ity we say things and then be­gin to do things de­signed to gain the ap­proval of those who are hos­tile to­ward us. I want to warn you against it. I want to warn you: you will never ever be their friends.”

Mo­bil­is­ing what amounted to a shadow pres­i­dency, Gin­grich enu­mer­ated a raft of leg­is­la­tion for the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress to en­act. But forced to “spell out all the ugly de­tails” of the bit­ter medicine he’d pre­scribed to shrink the “lib­eral wel­fare state”, the Democrats glimpsed an “open­ing”.

Pres­i­dent Clin­ton split the dif­fer­ence be­tween his party’s left and Gin­grich’s pro­pos­als – gen­er­ally re­garded as “un­con­scionable” by po­lite opin­ion – to axe free school lunches and con­sign chil­dren to or­phan­ages. It didn’t hurt that mod­er­ates were spooked by Gin­grich’s fringy fel­low trav­ellers: gun nuts, whacked-out con­spir­acy the­o­rists and evan­gel­i­cals on fire for the Lord.

For Repub­li­cans, there was no way back. Its es­tab­lish­ment at­tempted a re­boot, field­ing Ge­orge W Bush, an avatar of “com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­vatism” with an af­fa­ble if dim per­son­al­ity that was the an­tithe­sis of the grandil­o­quent Gin­grich, in 2000. But he was forced to tack right to muster votes, fur­ther alien­at­ing mod­er­ates. It cut both ways. Demo­crat Al Gore couldn’t carry his home state of Ten­nessee. The Clin­tons knew which way the wind was blow­ing, writes Kor­nacki. On leav­ing of­fice, they did not re­turn to Arkansas but high­tailed it to New York.

Land­ing with a leaden clank in 2018 is Ken­neth Starr’s Con­tempt:AMe­moirofthe Clin­ton In­ves­ti­ga­tion (Sen­tinel), re­liv­ing his in­ves­ti­ga­tion into “high crimes and mis­de­meanors” in the Oval Of­fice that riv­eted and rended 1990s Amer­ica, re­sult­ing in the im­peach­ment of Bill Clin­ton. Ma­jor­ity opin­ion holds that this was a Repub­li­can hit job, an in­qui­si­tion trolling for some­thing, any­thing, to pin on a Demo­cratic pres­i­dent. Com­ing up short on fi­nan­cial malfea­sance, the dis­cov­ery Clin­ton had been con­duct­ing an af­fair with in­tern Mon­ica Lewin­sky about which he’d lied un­der oath in a sex­ual ha­rass­ment suit – in­struct­ing Lewin­sky to do like­wise – fur­nished a gotcha to press charges of per­jury and ob­struct­ing jus­tice.

More­over, there was some­thing un­seemly about the spec­ta­cle; sure, this ap­plied to Clin­ton’s con­duct, but it ex­tended to the meth­ods em­ployed to en­trap him: eaves­drop­ping on Lewin­sky’s conversati­ons with “friend” Linda Tripp and pruri­ently grub­bing for sor­did de­tails of the dal­liance, in­clud­ing foren­sic proof of that se­men-stained dress. The sala­cious re­port is­sued at the end seemed de­signed to in­flict max­i­mum hu­mil­i­a­tion on Clin­ton, with scant re­gard for Lewin­sky.

Starr puts an op­pos­ing case – a matter in which he’s hardly a dis­in­ter­ested party – with the all-busi­ness le­gal mind that pre­sum­ably won him the gig in the first place. In his telling, a lawyer of mod­er­ate, but staunch, Repub­li­can lean­ings an­swered his coun­try’s call for an in­de­pen­dent of­fi­cial to ex­am­ine the first cou­ple’s murky fi­nan­cial deal­ings, sac­ri­fic­ing per­sonal am­bi­tion on the al­tar of pub­lic duty. Once in­stalled, he stead­fastly dis­charged the pow­ers in­vested in him in the face of the Clin­tons’ se­rial pre­var­i­ca­tions. His re­open­ing of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 1993 sui­cide of Clin­ton aide Vince Foster was mo­ti­vated strictly by the de­sire to cat­e­gor­i­cally rule out foul play and scotch in­cip­i­ent con­spir­acy the­o­ries Foster had been bumped off. As for the peremp­tory re­lease, in un­ex­pur­gated form, of his of­fice’s re­port on the Lewin­sky case that al­most broke the 1998 in­ter­net, blame giddy House Repub­li­cans.

Starr gives the devil his due, hail­ing Clin­ton’s “gen­uine em­pa­thy ... and re­la­tional power.” But this seems driven chiefly by a de­sire to demon­strate how hard done by he is.

“[Water­gate pros­e­cu­tor Archibald Cox] was lucky to have the de­spised Nixon as his tar­get. Two of the ma­jor sub­jects of my in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in sharp con­trast, were Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, the lov­able rogue, and his wife, Hil­lary Clin­ton, the co­pres­i­dent.”

Over­look the egre­gious Water­gate com­par­i­son and be­hold the self-pity. It crys­tallises why this at­tempt at per­sonal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion is likely in vain. More fun­da­men­tally, though, I fear Starr has mis­judged to­day’s mar­ket for a fresh nar­ra­tive to Clin­ton’s transgress­ions. Amid #MeToo, there’s am­ple de­mand, but not for what Starr’s sell­ing here – an ex­cul­pa­tory tract re­lit­i­gat­ing Starr v Clin­ton for pos­ter­ity.

In The Fifth Risk (Allen Lane), Michael Lewis alights on a topic that were it not for the drifts of fear, un­cer­tainty and doubt de­posited daily by Trump would be a scan­dal: the par­lous semi-func­tion­ing state, un­der Trump, of the US fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

So much for the pres­i­dent elected to lick an in­ef­fi­cient bu­reau­cracy into shape and drain the swamp. Lewis de­scribes a sit­u­a­tion in which, al­most half­way through Trump’s term, scores of po­si­tions re­main un­filled and those that are oc­cu­pied are filled by the rankly un­qual­i­fied or man­i­festly un­suit­able, in­dus­try lob­by­ists or other swamp dwellers.

There’s a tra­di­tion in US gov­ern­ment of pa­tron­age ap­point­ments – job­bing cronies into pres­tige posts. Per­haps the best-known ex­am­ple hith­erto was Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency di­rec­tor Michael “heck­uva job” Brown, griev­ously out­matched when Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina struck in 2005. But Trump is known for trans­gress­ing norms and Brown re­sem­bles a rocket sci­en­tist com­pared with some of his picks. Notably, a con­ser­va­tive ra­dio per­son­al­ity was nom­i­nated as chief sci­en­tist of the de­part­ment of agri­cul­ture be­fore ties to the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion ruled him out.

Lewis is renowned for de­liv­er­ing rich nar­ra­tive sat­is­fac­tion from osten­si­bly dry sub­jects. The Fifth Risk doesn’t dis­ap­point. Here’s his price­less de­scrip­tion of the ig­no­min­ious hon­orific sta­tus of Rick Perry atop the de­part­ment of en­ergy:

“He pops up in dis­tant lands and tweets in praise of this or that DOE pro­gram while his masters in­side the White House cre­ate bud­gets to elim­i­nate those very pro­grams. His spo­radic pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tions have had in them some­thing of the shell-shocked grand­mother try­ing to pre­side over a pleas­ant fam­ily Thanks­giv­ing din­ner while pre­tend­ing that her blind-drunk hus­band isn’t stand­ing naked on the din­ing-room ta­ble wav­ing the carv­ing knife over his head.”

Wel­come to US pol­i­tics in 2018.

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