HH: Time for the Hillsdale Dialogue, an experiment this week. Once a week, I sit down with Dr. Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College, or one of his colleagues on the faculty at Hillsdale, www.hillsdale.edu, and we conduct a conversation either about the week in review or about one of the great works or essays of English/Western heritage and literature. But Dr. Arnn has never before been awake at 7:30. And so we’ve actually never tried this. And it seems to me that we have tried 8:00, and we keep pushing it back, and we keep turning him from his slumbers earlier until we find that he’ll be broken at some point. Dr. Arnn, are you with us?
LA: I am. I’m taking Relief Factor, Hugh.
HH: That’s very good, because I’m going to plug it at the end of this segment. You need it. Now I’ve got to tell you, you sent me Election Memories, a 1931 essay by Winston Churchill. And I just began a conversation with John Dickerson of Face The Nation by reading him a wonderful paragraph which amused him endlessly. I wish to read it to you. “Of course, there are the rowdy meetings. These are a great relief. You have not got to make the same, old speech. Here, you have excited crowds, green-eyed opponents, their jaws twitching with fury shouting interruptions, hollowing bellowing insults of every kind, anything they can think of that will hurt your feelings, any charge they can make against your consistency or public record, or sometimes, I’m sorry to say, against your personal character, and loud jeers and scoffs arising now on all side, and every kind of nasty question carefully thought out and sent up to the chair by vehement looking pasty youths, or young, short-haired women of bulldog appearance. An ordeal? Certainly. But still, these sorts of meetings make themselves. You’ve not got to worry beforehand to prepare a speech. A few of the main slogans are quite enough to start with. The rest is not silence, but how your supporters enjoy it.” Dickerson got a good kick out of that, Dr. Arnn.
LA: Isn’t that awesome?
LA: And you know, he goes on from there, Hugh, to give tips. So…
LA: To the debating candidates, here are Churchill’s tips. One, grin.
LA: (laughing) Two, be natural. Three, have a sense of detachment, remembering, he says, nothing is so ludicrous as a large number of good people in a frantic state.
LA: (laughing) Isn’t this just a tonic?
HH: It is. It is a tonic.
LA: Isn’t this right now? And the last one is never lose your temper. I mean, you know, Marco Rubio could have read this.
HH: Yeah, yeah. He also writes about what he calls a good instance of the ups and downs of politics, because in this essay, which was written in 1931, he’s been both up and he’s been both down. The King wrote him at one time. King Edward wrote him and said you, well, I’ve got to find that phrase. He said you must be walking on clouds or something like that. He said, King Edward, you must have thought I walked on clouds. I stood on thrones. And so he won big wins, he suffered crushing defeats, but he had a detachment about it.
LA: Oh, yeah. He didn’t like it. He says that in the essay, and it’s buried in the essay. Churchill is so artful, you know, but he also says that it’s where he learned to honor and respect the British people, which is something we should all remember, you know. We think today, for example, there’s just way too much talk that people vote this way or that way because the media makes them do it. But the truth is that’s an insult to the people, too, right? And now, today, heck, you can listen to the Hugh Hewitt Show. You can podcast. You can watch YouTube. You can watch, you can look yourself, and millions of people do.
HH: Let me play for you an ad that the Club For Growth, a fine organization, began playing in Indiana. They are in the list now against Trump, and they make an appeal to the intelligent voter on this basis, cut number 28:
CFG: If you don’t want Donald Trump to win, your choice comes down to this – math. Only Ted Cruz can beat Donald Trump. John Kasich can’t do it. The math won’t work. A vote for Kasich actually helps Trump by dividing the opposition. It’s time to put differences aside. To stop Trump, vote for Cruz. Club For Growth Action is responsible for the content of this advertising.
HH: Now Dr. Larry Arnn, John Dickerson, no mean journalist, he knows his stuff, he’s a very smart guy, says appeals to strategic voting simply do not work. I’m not so sure. What do you think?
LA: Well, this is a great fight, and passions are high on both sides. And they should be. And so I think that is effective, to tell you the truth. I mean, I don’t know if it’ll work. Trump goes on and on, you know. I mean, he just won big in New York, and there’s a bunch of states laid out for him now that he’s likely to do well in. So he’s, you know, but people, I must say, do you get a big correspondence about us, about all this?
HH: Oh, my goodness.
HH: Right now, as we speak, Jonah Goldberg is driving into his cloistered office. He has this vast, expansive office at AEI. It’s actually got a throne in it. And Jonah is driving in and listening, and he will be going through the transcript later to see whether or not we have erred.
LA: Yeah, yeah. Well, he thinks I did, and he has a point. So I want to qualify something I said last time. What I want to do is add the qualifiers I have generally added but didn’t this time about Donald Trump’s character. One is I don’t know Donald Trump, so I don’t really know. Two, Donald Trump is, would be the first person elected president as his first public service. So of course, you’ve got to look. And one should be skeptical, right? If he’d been a senator or a governor, which is the typical way you do it, then he would have a track record. He doesn’t have one. And that’s amazing, you know, that nobody has got this far from running for his first office. Steve Forbes didn’t, Gary Bauer didn’t, you know, people I know who did it. And I always told them that. And the third thing is of course, there is, I am impressed, and it’s a fact, with Trump’s family, and with the testimony of many people who have worked for him who admire him, and you know, say he’s been a good boss and an honorable man, there’s a lot of that. But of course, there’s a lot of the other, too, and I should have mentioned that. You know, go look at Politico, an article about Trump and Roy Cohn. And you know, there’s plenty of bad things said about Trump, too. And so I add all my caveats, which I didn’t on one occasion. I have on others. But also, you know, read that sentence in the middle of that passage you just read from Election Memories by Churchill. He says, the one phrase is alas, impugning of personal character.
HH: Yes, yes.
LA: Well, there’s a huge amount of that in politics, and it tells, and one learns something from it, and it’s bound to be there. But it’s also true that it was the habit of Churchill and Lincoln, for example, it wasn’t uniform, but it was the habit of them to turn to the issues and principles that were at stake in the election and dwell on those.
HH: At the age of 35, he had participated in 14 elections, he wrote. One has got by now pretty well to know the routine. He also says there’s a certain formalism to this, and that we are to expect certain excesses on every side. But a lot of the anti-Trump people believe he is new and different in American politics in the way that Churchill might have greeted, who was the fascist in England?
LA: Oswald Mosley.
HH: Mosley. Now I do not believe Trump is Mosley. But one would, I don’t know what Churchill said about Mosley. Do you, do you have it handy?
LA: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, Churchill, you know, Mosley was arrested during the War. But Churchill, apart from then, you know…
HH: Prior to the War, yeah, prior to the war.
LA: But Churchill was very reluctant to hamper anyone’s speech, right? And I just came across it, because we’re doing the 19th of the document volumes right now. Churchill pressed, in the fall of 1943, to get Rule 19B rescinded, because there was no longer danger of invasion. And that involved, the permitted the British government to confine people who had German sympathies, you know, indefinitely. And he got rid of that, and there was a fight about it in the Parliament, and he said look, we’re not in imminent danger of invasion anymore. Yes, the War is raging, but we’ve got to remember what we are. And so Churchill did a clever thing that historian, John Lucas, points out. And I believe his interpretation of what Churchill did is correct. David Lloyd George, the First World War prime minister, and an old friend of Churchill’s, and also often enemy, too, had been sympathetic with the Germans, and against the War. And in 1940, when things were darkest, Churchill approached him about joining the government. And Lucas, and you know, Churchill was hard core for staying in the War at any cost, fight to the death. But Lucas thinks that that was to set Lloyd George up to be prime minister if Britain was, or to be the head of Britain under the Nazis the way Petain was in France, if Britain should be conquered, and therefore, not Mosley, somebody Churchill knew to be a patriot, to run the place for Hitler.
HH: Huh. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that.
HH: The interesting thing also about Election Memories is that he writes about the 1908 campaign, and having to campaign in Manchester, which was the home of the Pankhurst’s, the redoubtable Mrs. Pankhurst, aided by her daughters, determined upon violent courses. In those days, it was a novelty for a woman to take a vigorous part in politics. Painful scenes were witnessed in the free trade hall when one of the daughters, tragical and disheveled, was ejected after throwing the meeting into pandemonium. This was the beginning of a systemic, a systematic interruption of public speeches, and the breaking up and throwing into confusion of all Liberal meetings. Indeed, it was the most provoking to anyone who cared about the style and form of his speech to be assailed by the continued, calculated, shrill interruption just as you were reaching the most moving part of your peroration, the most intricate point in your argument, when things were going well and the audience was gripping, a high-pitched voice would ring out. What about the women? When are you going to give the women the vote, and so on? He hated, that, obviously, Larry Arnn.
LA: Yeah, he didn’t, and the paragraph you read earlier, he embraced the controversy, but the suffragettes were very effective, because they would just scream out something and stop. And so what are you going to do, ignore it? or are you going to respond? If you respond, you’re off your speech. And he says something clever. He says people who care about making good arguments in the forum of them, are particularly put off. He means himself.
HH: He means himself. (laughing)
LA: (laughing) He, the listeners should know that in 1909, Churchill was getting off a train in Bristol, and suffragette Theresa Garnett came up to Churchill and struck him repeatedly with a whip. (laughing) And it made big, national news.
HH: Well you know, they played hardball.
LA: Oh, man. You know, we’re about to get suffragettes on the money in America, and I don’t know that the American ones were as mean as the ones in Great Britain.
HH: Well, Harriet Tubman will be first. She is not a suffragette. She is actually a noble woman.
HH: I was telling someone last night, MSNBC called me up and asked do you have an opinion on this. I said I am from the free soil of Northeastern Ohio where Hubbard House was the terminus of the Underground Railroad in Ashtabula, where I was taken by my family, and I took my children. So I’m very glad to see Harriet Tubman on the currency. I think they were a bit taken aback. We’ll talk about that after the break, Dr. Arnn.
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HH: Dr. Arnn, I want to go back for a moment to the currency and Harriet Tubman, because I was a little bit startled that the producer found it odd that I would support Harriet Tubman being on. They cancelled the segment last night when Prince died, and so I didn’t go on, and I was ready to tell them about Hubbard House in Ashtabula, Ohio, where all four of my grandparents are. It’s a national landmark. It’s the terminus of the Underground Railroad, where escaping slaves, Harriet Tubman would help people, herself an escaped slave, would help people on the Underground Railroad, made their way to Lake Erie, crossed over to Canada, and were free. And you and I, and your college is a free soil college. It is remarkable to me that the left doesn’t know that the Republican Party is an anti-slavery free soil party.
LA: Isn’t that crazy? So Hillsdale College has its own storied history, right? Many escaping slaves made their way to Hillsdale and were sheltered there before they went on. And you know, we are probably, we’re the only one, the first we can find, institution of any kind in America founded on the principle without regard to race, sex or national origin. And we were big time when the, when one of our founders came to Hillsdale to move the college 30 miles south to get to a big town in 1852, he met in the city hall and he said this is going to be an abolitionist college, this is going to be a serious college, this is going to be a Christian college. If you want a college like that, we need you to give us some dough. And Hillsdale ponied up $25,000 dollars on condition that Mr. Dunn, was his name, matched the money. So it was an abolitionist college to the teeth, and that’s why it became affiliated with Abraham Lincoln in the several ways that it was. And of course, Frederick Douglass spoke on our campus twice.
HH: You know what’s sad about that? If he’d only gone another 30 miles south, he’d have been in Ohio.
LA: Yeah, but it was dangerous down there. (laughing)
HH: (laughing) But that is, to me, everyone assumes that the Republicans are going to be upset that they dumped Jackson, a Democrat, for Harriet Tubman. And we’re the free soil people. We’re the anti-slavery people. And that’s just media ignorance. I just think it’s…
LA: Yeah, and I agree with you, by the way, they, she’s a good choice, right? I mean, she was this brave woman who did a very great deal of good. And you know, so I don’t, you know, the objection to it, if there is one, and there is one, is that our money has been amazingly stable. And you know, the images on it and all that, the British change theirs from time to time. So there’s no really great principled objection to the changes except that you know, money shouldn’t be switching around all the time.
HH: Yeah, I don’t want them to turn this into revolving daily thing like stamps. Stamps are that way.
HH: But I’m glad for Harriet Tubman. I think it is representative of a particular kind of courage, and of a particular era of which we should be proud that there existed people like Harriet Tubman and people like the forbearers at Hubbard House and Hillsdale College who helped her, because that is, to me, it’s great American history. It proves, I think, that the Declaration never lost its core group of supporters.
LA: You know, Hugh, if readers want to understand what Harriet Tubman was doing, getting people away from, they should go to our Constitution reader and read one of the entries in it, the Alabama Slave Code. And you’ll find there that the regulations to keep slavery involved everybody in the society. Every free, white male, for example, was required to ride posse looking for runaways one night a month. And slaves were forbidden to be off the plantation without a pass, or to be inside any building without permission for more than 30 minutes. And so they were, you know, all of them, you know, some of them were worked to death in the field, and some of them were whipped and brutalized, and others were treated relatively well. But all of them lived under constraints that we would find simply despotic. And the existence of the slave code, because you know, one of the big arguments back in the day was this is good for them and they like it. And then the obvious question is why did they try to get away?
HH: Why did they run to Hillsdale? Why did they seek out the Hubbard House in Ashtabula? Why did they cross the Lake in winter when it was icy? I mean, there is all sorts of things to be raised. When we come back, the Hillsdale Dialogue will continue. We will return to matters of the California primary which looms. Dr. Arnn is himself a Californian of many years’ standing before he was ejected and went to Michigan, after he was ejected from Arkansas. He’s led an itinerate life. And we’re going to talk about the fact that the California primary is going to resemble, in many ways, a British primary. It’s going to be a sprint, a sprint across many different constituencies for a majority of delegates. It is really remarkable, and Dr. Arnn knows his British politics and his California politics, and we’ll talk about it at the start of the next hour in this special edition of the Hillsdale Dialogue. Stay tuned.
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HH: The British system, Dr. Larry Arnn, is concise, and that’s what we’re coming up to in California. Would you first describe the British system? And then let’s talk about the California primary a little bit.
LA: Well, there are 600-some constituencies in Great Britain – Scotland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And they have general elections. They have to be not longer than every five years. That’s a modern rule. Of course, the British Parliament is very old. But they can get called whenever the prime minister wants to do it and the King says yes. And so there snap elections sometimes. And sometimes, they get, the way Margaret Thatcher came to power, for example, was the Labour Party had had a fair majority, but then over time, you know, you’re sitting for four years, and of the 600 people in the Parliament, some of them retire or get sick or something, then they have what’s called bi-elections. They have interim elections in that one district to elect somebody. And if the majority starts losing those elections, its majority can narrow. And then the Callahan Labour government that Thatcher beat to some into power was running out of juice. And it was also running out of time. The five years was almost up. And so then they had to call an election, and they’re watching the polls like crazy, and trying to find just the right moment. And they ran out of good moments, and she thumped them. And an election, because you don’t know when they are, right? They could be this month, they could be next summer, they could be tomorrow. Well, not tomorrow, but it’s, there’s always a couple of months. And so they don’t last very long. They, you know, Churchill says each one, he ran, eventually, he ran for Parliament 21 times, and he won 16 of them. And that’s 21 months of his life that he spent running for office. And he described what it was like, you know, and he lived in a very turbulent time, like this time, right? Socialism is being born, he personally ran six times against a Christian socialist by the name of Scrymgeour, who was also an abolitionist, up in Scotland. And the first time, that guy got 30 votes out of 30,000. And the last time, that guy beat him by 10,000.
LA: And so he watched all that grow, and he opposed it bitterly, but never bitterly to the place that is stopped him grinning, or made him make personal attacks on Mr. Scrymgeour, whom he admired in a kind of way. Scrymgeour was an acetic, and you know, lived in poverty amidst the people of Dundee, and basically spent a decade visiting every house in Dundee over and over. And that’s how he finally beat Winston Churchill, who was way the heck down at the other end of the country in London being a great man.
HH: He was very solicitous of Srymgeour in this essay in a way that was, you know, you can do from the magnanimity of his wonderful estate. But it does sound a little bit like Bernie Sanders ran against him endlessly. It just does… (laughing)
LA: Yeah, except, you know, Scrymgeour was a nice man. And there are stories that Bernie Sanders is not. So… (laughing)
HH: Now I want to read to you from this. He writes about, I think it’s the election of 1900. Nothing like it had been seen before in the memory of mortal men, and nothing like it was seen until 1931. Mr. Balfour had succeeded Lord Salisbury as prime minister at a time when the 20 year reign of conservatism was drawing to its inevitable close. The death of Lord Salisbury ended a definite and recognizable period in English history. Many mistakes were made by the Conservatives, many violences done, but nothing done or undone could have saved them from grave defeat. Folly and pride converged this defeat into ruin. In those days, elections took five or six weeks, and they were the worst five or six weeks for the…he’s writing basically that there are waves in history, and you can run with them, but you cannot stand when they hit you.
LA: Yeah, one of the, you know, one of the basic ideas of Churchill, and you can just follow it through prudence all his life, is in the end, the people are going to decide. They have a right to decide, and it’s not a good idea to do what they don’t want you to do. And they will change their mind. And there’s some things that you could never do. You’d be beat rather than do them. But on the other hand, keep that number to as small as possible. And you know, what happened, see, Arthur Balfour, who became a very good friend of Churchill, was the son of the fifth marquis of Salisbury, the last real nobleman. And you know, the Salisbury’s are descended from Lord Burghley, who was Queen Elizabeth’s first advisor.
HH: The first Queen Elizabeth.
LA: The first Queen Elizabeth, right? And that’s a really grand family. And Salisbury was born into that family, and he became prime minister shortly after Churchill was elected, and he’d meet Churchill, young backbench Tory, immediately began giving Balfour huge trouble. They later became great friends, and Churchill was, wrote a beautiful essay about him that’s very worth reading, great contemporary.
HH: Now I bring this all up not only because Election Memories is wonderful, and I hope it’s available at www.hillsdale.edu, I’m not sure if it is or not, but we can always, I’ll tweet out a link to it somehow. But the California primary has never mattered a whit, right? It’s just June 7th. Elections have always been over. And now, it’s going to matter quite a lot, because if you do the math, and I’ve done it repeatedly, if you give, I’m being very generous to Donald Trump with these numbers. If you give Donald 28 out of 28 Connecticut delegates, and 32 out of 38 in Maryland, and 16 out of 16 in Delaware, and 17 out of 17 in Pennsylvania, where most are unbound, 10 out of 19 in Rhode Island, if you give him 51 out of 57 in Indiana, where Cruz expects to actually win, but I’m being very generous here, I won’t give him any delegates in Nebraska or South Dakota or Montana, because he isn’t going to win there. But if you give him 22 out of 34 in West Virginia, and 12 out of 28 in Oregon, where it’s proportional, and 24 out of 44 where it’s a mixed proportional and by Congressional district system, if you give him all 51 in New Jersey, that scenario, very generous to Donald Trump, still leaves him 137 votes short of the magic number. There are 171 available in California, Dr. Larry Arnn, and this is 53 different constituencies. And it’s going to be done in six weeks. It’s a lot like an English election.
LA: It is, isn’t it? And it’s a huge state, and you know, California is more than half the population of Great Britain. So that’s right. He’s got, it’s a huge state, it’s the biggest media market in the country, if you think of the whole state as a media market. And you know, people routinely spend more money running for governor or senator in California than 20 years ago anybody spent running for president.
HH: Now there are very few Republicans who matter out here. One of them is Pete Wilson. And you and I have dealing with good old Governor Pete. I talked to him this week, by the way, because I was at the World War II museum in New Orleans, which is a magnificent place. It’s the American perspective on World War II. So there isn’t much Churchill there. He’s there a little bit, but there isn’t much Churchill. Have you been down there, yet?
LA: Oh, I love that place.
HH: Isn’t it amazing?
LA: Yeah, it’s really, it’s one of the, along with the Imperial War Museum in London, it’s right up there as a great war memorial.
HH: Well, it is growing and growing and growing. But in any event, Governor Pete is on the board there, and he actually saved it. They’re very loud in their praise of Governor Wilson, because after Katrina, there were some voices that said we’ve got to shut this down. And he said no, no, no, no. And Wilson, the Marine, showed up, and he led them through it. Has Pete declared, to you knowledge, yet, between Cruz and Trump and Kasich?
LA: Not to my knowledge, and it matters, of course, as you’re suggesting, that what he declares. I’m going to see him in a couple of months, but it’ll be too late. That’s too bad. I do, like you, adore him. And he carries a lot of weight. And who knows what he’ll do?
HH: So, but that is not true of Arnold. It’s interesting, because while you and I had differences on orthodoxy with Governor Pete, and he did me the very unfair thing of appointing me to the Air Quality Management District, which was a horrible thing to do to me…
LA: Worse to do to them, I must say. (laughing)
HH: (laughing) Yeah, but he was a conservative. Arnold was not. Now Kasich has got Arnold with him. Do you think Arnold helps in any way?
LA: You know, I’ve never liked Arnold. You’ve got to admire the Terminator, the movie. The first one is a really good movie, in my opinion, but yeah, I don’t, I doubt if that’s a name to conjure with.
HH: When we come back, I’m going to ask Dr. Larry Arnn, who knows California well, how do you win California. And I hope all of the three teams are listening, because Arnn knows. Stay tuned, America. It’s the Hugh Hewitt Show.
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HH: But I want to turn for a moment to this California primary in which we will be involved between now and June 7th. It will be decisive, Dr. Arnn. All these other ones matter. There are 15 races left. But the 15th will be in California on June 7th. and here, we have seven minutes, and you spent how many years in California at the Claremont Institute?
LA: Counting graduate school, 23.
HH: 23. I believe, and I want to put it on the table for you to talk a little bit about, that nowhere is the state bigger and more onerous. Nowhere are the vested interests more powerful and more moneyed like the Teacher’s Union and the Prison Guards. Nowhere has the profligacy of government gotten so out of control as in California. How does that shape the Republican electorate, which has been reduced to a shadow of its Reagan self?
LA: Well, you know, I don’t know. The place went to pot when I left.
LA: But, you know, (laughing) it’s a very liberal state. And it’s a blue, deep blue state now. And just think first of all what that means. When Ronald Reagan was running for president in ’76 and ’80, one of his talking points, one of his advantages was it was just expected that he could carry California.
LA: And think how the map has changed, right? Reagan carried 49 states, and everywhere but Minnesota, I think.
LA: And nobody thinks anybody’s going to do that this year. And you know, that’s part of this phenomenon we have called the Blue Wall, right, which is that the Democrats start out with 240 or something Electoral Votes in states that have voted Democratic six consecutive elections. And so the Republicans have to take all the rest, and California has not been on the table, and not for a long time. And so you know, there’s a lot of reasons for that. One of them that’s notorious, and often mentioned, is immigration. And Hispanics vote Democratic. But another one that’s not talked about enough is middle class people moving out of the state, because you know, they do those U-Haul numbers, you know, which way the U-Haul trailers go, and it’s a lot cheaper to rent a U-Haul to go to California than it is to go from California.
LA: And so there’s been huge changes, and a lot of what used to be the vote that elected Pete Wilson, and before him, George Dukemejian, lives in Arizona and Nevada now, and Seattle. And so you know, it’s very liberal. And there is a Republican minority, and they’re intense, I can tell you. Hillsdale College has a lot of Imprimis readers in California, and we get a lot of students from California. I think it’s third or fourth on our list of places where students come from to Hillsdale College. So they’re there, and you know, they will vote. You know, the party faithful, I mean, I think the way it’s been breaking, but you know, I can’t speak with perfect confidence about this, because these numbers are complicated and hard to get, that the way it’s been breaking so far is that the Republican faithful vote more commonly for Cruz now that the race has narrowed, and independents vote more commonly for Trump. And so Trump is probably going to do what he does, and that is try to appeal broadly, bring new people. I think in the states that voted for, so far, there are two where Cruz, and I’m looking up exit polls, right? And exit polls are not great. So this data is all suspect, but it’s what we’ve got. There are two where Cruz has done as well as Trump among independents. Wisconsin is one of them, and I forget the other one. And the other ones, Trump has done well. So you know, it’s very unpredictable, and if it breaks the way it’s been breaking, it’ll be like that, and Trump might do well. You know, I think he’s up nine points, last time I looked, in the state, in the statewide popularity poll. So it’ll break like that, and as you say, it’s divided by Congressional districts, so that’s an imponderable.
HH: Dr. Larry Arnn, we’ll be back next week to continue the conversation about how to win in California. This concludes this week’s Hillsdale Dialogue. Thank you, Dr. Arnn. I’ll be right back.
End of interview.