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Our Best Stuff on October Surprises, Donald Trump, and China
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Our Best Stuff on October Surprises, Donald Trump, and China

Plus, remembering D-Day with gratitude, and a visit to an RFK Jr. rally.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and then-President Donald Trump attend a welcoming ceremony November 9, 2017, in Beijing, China. (Photo by Thomas Peter-Pool/Getty Images)

Hello and happy Sunday. One of the great things about working in journalism generally—and The Dispatch in particular—is that I can do my job from just about anywhere. This being June, that means I’m coming to you from the baseball field.

Our middle son is 17, about to enter his senior year of high school, and he’s a pitcher. Unless he gains about 20 pounds or finds a workaround for the laws of physics that allows him to pick up 6 to 8 miles per hour on his fastball, this could very well be the last summer we trek all over the place for tournaments. There are a few things we won’t miss—the expense, for one, and having summer vacations dictated by whether the big destination tournament is in Georgia, Florida, or South Carolina. And don’t get me started on the constant stops for energy drinks and protein bars on the way to games.

But when I think about what I am going to miss, I realize that the action on the field is not necessarily at the top of the list. Don’t get me wrong: One of my favorite things in the world is watching his curveball drop right in front of a befuddled batter for a called third strike. But I’m weirdly sentimental about all the time in the car. It’s where we have our best conversations.

Time with teenagers, as I’m sure many of you know, is precious. Just as kids are coming out of the fraught and angst-ridden years of puberty and are actually kind of fun to hang out with again, they want nothing to do with their parents. I’m over here thinking about how we are running out of time before they go away to college, and they’re over there making plans with friends or trying to pick up an extra shift at their part-time jobs for some extra spending money. 

We parents have to take what we can get, and what we get most often seems to be time in the car. Over the past few years, I’ve picked up a grudging appreciation for hip-hop, learned that our son knows almost every arcane MLB statistic even though he won’t sit down to watch a game (thanks a lot, social media?), and counseled him through friend spats and girl trouble, all while cruising down the highway.

On our way to Saturday morning’s game, we discussed the stylistic differences between Travis Scott and A$AP Rocky, his current thoughts on college, and the causes of our persistently annoying inflation. (Okay, I’ll be honest. I was asking him if he could possibly find some new cleats that were closer to $100 than $150.)

June is a big month for milestones that signify a big life change—graduations, weddings, moves, etc.—so I’m sure a lot of you are feeling reflective right now too. There’s a lot of news in the world—we’ve got a few things below you might have missed this week—but I hope you’re taking some time to celebrate moments, big or small, that have a longer-lasting effect than the latest headlines or kerfuffle of the day.

Thanks for reading. And one note: We have a (non-baseball-related) family trip coming up, so I’ll be skipping the newsletter next weekend. But I’ll be thinking about you when we’re having lobster rolls or catching a game at Fenway Park. Have a great weekend. 

“One of the ironies of contemporary politics is that Donald Trump offers himself as the champion of American interests against China when Donald Trump personifies the Chinese ethos.” So Kevin begins his column laying out the many parallels between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping’s regime in China: Both are sanctimonious whiners who “argue that economic success is an answer to all criticism.” He then discusses the errors that Cold War liberals made in dealing with China, and the errors that post-liberal Republicans made in believing that Trump could be contained and guided into making good policy decisions. “In the cases of both Trump and China,” he writes, “the optimists underestimated the corrupting influence of access to power and how cheaply so many leading figures of the ruling class can be bought with a few economic privileges or a happy sinecure—and, more to the point, how powerful a weapon is the threat of losing those privileges and sinecures.”

The last two presidential elections saw myriad “October surprises”—Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death (technically in September), Hunter Biden’s laptop—and that has Nick wondering about what 2024 might bring. He starts with the obvious—a serious health incident for either Joe Biden or Donald Trump—and then moves to the possibility of a death on the Supreme Court. He wonders what would happen if Donald Trump’s conviction is overturned before the election, or if a deepfake audio or video of either candidate saying something disqualifying emerged. “Because so many Americans doubt that either candidate is fit for office,” he writes, “a sudden jolt to the race near Election Day could tilt them decisively toward one or the other.” 

We might be done seeing Donald Trump hold courthouse press conferences for the foreseeable future. In The Collision, Sarah and Mike write about how the Georgia Court of Appeals halted the case against Trump until it rules on his appeal of a Superior Court decision not to disqualify Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis, who had a romantic relationship with someone she hired as a special prosecutor to work on the Trump case. Oral arguments, which may or may not happen, are scheduled for … October. “Here’s the best-case scenario for Willis,” Mike and Sarah write. “Trump loses the November election, McAfee’s order is upheld, the trial can get back on track sometime in the spring or summer of 2025, and she successfully wins convictions. But as we also pointed out back when McAfee issued his ruling, a guilty verdict in this case ‘would now come with an asterisk.’”

And here’s the best of the rest:

  • We commemorated the 80th anniversary of D-Day this week, and World War II historian Alex Kershaw penned an essay recounting his time getting to know the veterans who stormed the beaches that day. “Next year, and every year until I can no longer walk, I’ll go back to Normandy,” he writes. “I’ll squat down, again touch the sands on Omaha Beach, and thank God the Allies succeeded on D-Day.”
  • To hear progressives tell it, “America’s mothers are ‘screaming on the inside’ or barely ‘holding it together.’” Patrick T. Brown offers an important counter to this parenting narrative with data: The gender pay gap is historically low, remote work has offered parents flexibility, and day-care centers have hired tens of thousands more workers even as pandemic-era support has ended.
  • In this week’s edition of Techne, Will gets ready to welcome our new robot overlords. Just kidding. In this analysis of how artificial intelligence and robots might shape our workforce and economy in the future, he talks about the challenges companies face when adopting new technologies, and how it matters whether those technologies are narrow or general purpose.
  • So, what’s an RFK Jr. rally like? David Drucker traveled to Aurora, Colorado, in late May to find out, encountering a friendly, diverse crowd “bound together by their saintly reverence for Kennedy.”
  • The Dispatch Politics team reports that Republican lawmakers, angered by Donald Trump’s conviction in New York, are looking for ways to prosecute Democrats. Florida Rep. Byron Donalds mused about prosecuting Hillary Clinton, Texas Rep. Chip Roy speculated about going after Department of Homeland Security officials, and Georgia Rep. Mike Collins implored “Red State AGs and DAs to get busy.”
  • On the pods: Jonah welcomes Nellie Bowles of The Free Press to The Remnant to discuss her new book, and they have a fun conversation about what’s wrong with progressivism. On The Dispatch Podcast, George Will joins Jamie to talk about the Trump verdict and the future of the GOP. And on Advisory Opinions, Sarah and David analyze the Hunter Biden trial. Should he plead guilty? Tune in to find out.

Rachael Larimore is managing editor of The Dispatch and is based in the Cincinnati area. Prior to joining the company in 2019, she served in similar roles at Slate, The Weekly Standard, and The Bulwark. She and her husband have three sons.