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Tyler Cowen

Politics Is Weird Right Now. Business Isn't.

Corporate America is making healthy progress without making headlines.
Not a normal presidency.

Not a normal presidency.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

If Rip van Winkle had fallen asleep 20 years ago and woken up in 2017, he might be stunned at how weird things seem. The U.S. has a reality TV host as president, at strange hours he tweets things like “covfefe,” and the main news story is the investigation of administration collusion with the Russians. In my admittedly subjective opinion, the third weirdest story on many days is still considerably stranger than what I am used to reading. For instance, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s breaking Russia sanctions while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was chief executive hardly merits major mention.

Much of this strangeness is downright unpleasant. Racism is more prevalent on social media, and in some quarters more acceptable. There is increasing talk that liberalism, in the broadest sense of that word, is on the way out. Hungary, Poland and Turkey are turning away from freedom, and our president has called the press “the enemy of the people,” a phrase that harks back to Vladimir Lenin.