The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Black Panther’s Wakanda Basically Relies on Real-World Conservative Foreign Policy

Men carry a banner with an image of Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o before the African premier of the Marvel film 'Black Panther' in Kisumu, Kenya, on February 13, 2018.
Men carry a banner with an image of Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o before the African premier of the Marvel film Black Panther in Kisumu, Kenya, on Feb. 13. Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images

Today in Conservative Media is a daily roundup of the biggest stories in the right-wing press.

The latest electoral test of the Trump presidency and the #Resistance comes Tuesday in western Pennsylvania where Republican Rick Saccone is running neck-and-neck with Democrat Conor Lamb in a district Trump won by 30 points in Nov. 2016. There will surely be lots of tea leaves to be read and extrapolations to be made once the polls close Tuesday about the state of national affairs heading into the midterms. “This typically safe seat for the GOP is in legitimate jeopardy of falling into Democratic hands in an upcoming special election,” Jay Cost writes for National Review.

Ultimately, Lamb can win by counting on relatively low turnout districtwide, rallying the #Resistance vote to maximum effect, then winning a critical mass of formerly Democratic Trump voters who have either soured on the president or are underwhelmed by Saccone. On the other hand, Saccone can win turning out the Trump vote — plain and simple.

“A victory for Lamb would be a huge symbolic triumph for Democrats heading into the fall midterms,” Cost concludes. “The last thing Republicans want is to buoy Democratic spirits before the filing deadlines prior to the midterms close—but this is a real possibility on Tuesday.”

David Byler writes for Weekly Standard that the race ultimately matters most “for politics but not for policy.” What voters in the Pennsylvania 18th say could impact candidate recruitment on both sides and “[m]aybe more importantly, a Lamb win would provide Democrats with a blueprint for how to run in a deep-red district,” Byler writes. “Lamb has mainly criticized House Speaker Paul Ryan and has been decidedly soft-spoken on President Trump. He’s also distanced himself from the national Democratic party, taking positions that don’t quite square with Democratic orthodoxy and promising not to support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.”

In other news

The editors at Weekly Standard still aren’t caving on Trump’s calls for tariffs on steel and aluminum, and offer up a way for conservatives—and a good many potential Democrats—to nix the measure. In a staff editorial titled “Congress Can Stop the Tariffs—and Should” they note that “the president’s authority to impose these tariffs is not constitutional but statutory,” which means “[a] simple provision requiring Congressional approval is all it would take to stop the administration from punishing and antagonizing our allies in the simpleminded belief that doing so will protect U.S. industries.” “Amending these provisions couldn’t be done with a simple majority,” the editors write. “But that just means Republicans will have to solicit the minority party’s support, and there are easily enough Democratic free-traders to make the effort viable.”

For National Review, Dan McLaughlin dissects Marvel blockbuster Black Panther and finds the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda “gives voice to two contending and fundamentally conservative/right-wing foreign-policy philosophies.” “The traditional Wakandan policy towards the rest of the world is not only proudly nationalist, but nationalist in a way that should be instantly recognizable as a Trumpist species of ‘Wakanda First’ separatism,” McLaughlin writes. “To the extent that liberal foreign-policy impulses appear here at all, they are in the form of the kind of Hillaryesque liberal internationalism (foreign humanitarian aid, public diplomacy) that overlaps significantly with the favored tools of neoconservatism.”

Kira Davis makes the argument at RedState that everyone should chill out about President Trump’s antagonistic relationship with the press, because that’s how a vibrant press doing its job is supposed to interact the president of the United States. This didn’t happen during the Obama administration, and that was a problem, Davis says. “[T]he point is that the legacy media in this country exercised exactly zero intellectual curiosity about what was or was not happening in Obama’s White House,” she writes. “Every day was ‘Barack Obama Day’ and for eight years Americans were robbed of the privilege of an antagonistic media.”

While [Trump’s] feelings are justified given the amount of fake news being touted in the mainstream, his attitude and response are still annoying. We don’t need to be frightened of Trump’s open disgust for his media foes. We should be comforted by it. It only spurs the media to be more suspicious of the most powerful position in the world. It only spurs them to do their jobs. If Trump jails a reporter for investigating shady dealings, we’ll all know about it and can be appropriately outraged. Imagine what the coverage of Obama’s scandals might have been had he insulted his friends and social acquaintances in the mainstream media.

“If anything, what we are seeing is a market correction in the media,” Davis concludes. “Everyone needs to stop whining and deal with it.”

Will Racke at the Daily Caller picks up on the evolving argument that what the president really meant by “Mexico will pay for the wall” was “the wall will pay for itself!” Huh? “President Donald Trump has repeatedly said Mexico would foot the bill for his proposed wall along the southwest border, but the barrier could end up paying for itself by saving the U.S. treasury billions in welfare payments,” Racke writes. Steven Camarota [the research director at the Center for Immigration Studies] crunched the numbers and found that if the border wall cut an expected 1.7 million illegal crossings by 200,000—about 12 percent—over a decade, it would pay for itself in fiscal savings from welfare, public education, tax credits and other benefits available to low-income, illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America.”

Katherine Timpf at National Review covers a new two-page “inclusivity checklist” released by Georgia Tech’s student government that “includes more than 40 guidelines related to dietary restrictions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, and more.” Timpf finds the need to please every student every time, sensitivity run amok. “In the real world—which is no more than four or so years away from most of the undergraduates attending Georgia Tech—not every event will accommodate your dietary preferences, and there certainly won’t always be a space for you to run to if you feel ‘triggered’ at any time,” she writes. “I know the student government was well-intentioned, but it would probably be better preparation for these students to spend college attending events in the same way they’ll be expected to be able to handle doing after they leave college.”