Herbert London: 2017 - The Year That Never Was

Jan 10, 2018

With the election of Donald Trump came a spate of predictions suggesting the U.S. was spiraling into a cataclysm. CNN, MSNBC and a host of other networks argued a monumental market crash was just around the corner. Several analysts said war is inevitable in the first few months of the new administration. Some, relishing the opportunity to attack the new president, contended that someone as erratic as Donald Trump would bring the nation to the brink of nuclear war.

While recanting has not occurred, the reality of the year speaks volumes about what never happened.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its biggest gains with the most closing highs for the index in a single calendar year. Volatility diminished to historic lows and many global stock markets finished the year at or near record highs.
  • Despite the energetic effort of the Mueller investigation, there isn’t a scintilla of evidence suggesting collusion was part of the Trump campaign effort.
  • The unemployment rate of 4.1 percent is the lowest in 17 years and the labor participation rate has increased steadily throughout the year.
  • While tension exists in many corners of the globe, the Trump administration has acted cautiously, despite provocations from North Korea and Iran.
  • Tax reform legislation will increase take-home income for the large majority of Americans and a dramatic reduction in the corporate rate should increase national competitiveness on a global scale.
  • Steps taken in the direction of deregulation produced a 3.5 gdp growth rate with most economists predicting 4.0 in the near future.
  • Although tensions exist between the U.S. and China, President Trump has established a working arrangement with President Xi.
  • The National Security Strategy document issued by the White House clarifies the national mission and unerringly deals with Russian threats and the need to defend Western Civilization.
  • Despite claims President Trump would not receive respect from world leaders, his Riyadh and Polish speeches received plaudits from world leaders.
  • By referring to U.S. sovereignty as the sine qua non of national policy, the president has undermined the foolish idea of “a new world order” espoused by President Obama.
  • The pundits in high dungeon maintained the movement of the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would result in convulsive warfare across the region. Aside from a ritualist UN vote condemning the decision, Palestinians have seemingly accepted the decision with modulated resignation.

This historic divide between what many were convinced would occur and what actually happened is palpable. Yes, of course, there were hiccups during the year including inaccurate claims, “false news,” inappropriate tweets, and members of the administration seemingly lacking direction and control. But the end of history did not occur in 2017. Apocalypse was not on our calendar. Our Constitution preserves the idea presidential authority is limited.

The unpopularity of President Trump has certainly invited a host of conspiratorial scenarios, but in almost every case the claims are disinfected by the sunlight of evidence. Needless to say, there are those who believed it was necessary and inevitable that Hillary should win and Trump should lose. These hard losers will not give up in their relentless desire to undermine the Trump presidency, but that didn’t happen in 2017 and, in fact, the evidence defies the belief it will happen in the year ahead. 

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research,  a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org

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