Blue State Blues: 7 Things that Went Right in 2020

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But there was more. In the U.S., the Black Lives Matter movement brought riots to 48 out of 50 major cities. Democrats tried to remove President Donald Trump from office, and Silicon Valley effectively shut down free speech on the Internet.

Yet there were some things that went so well that we should bring them into the new year.

1. Operation Warp Speed. When President Trump demanded a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible, he was told by the experts and the media fact-checkers that it could not be done until the middle of 2021, at the earliest. But Trump insisted, and the scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and logistics experts responded. As a result, millions have already been vaccinated for a disease that was virtually unknown at the start of 2020, and humanity is entering 2021 with hope for a speedy recovery.

2. Abraham Accords. Foreign policy experts laughed at Trump when he said he would bring peace to the Middle East, and outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry told the world in 2016 that there would never be separate peace agreements between Israel and the Arab world without the Palestinians. Yet in September, Trump brokered peace and normalization agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Deals with Sudan and Morocco followed, with more deals to come.

3. Work from home. Though many people resented the economic shutdowns, which meant devastation for many businesses, others were able to adapt to working from home. New technologies, such as Zoom, and more flexible work routines allowed employees to become more productive while achieving a better work-life balance. The changes have helped drive a boom in suburban housing, and may help women in particular, who have often been forced to choose between work and family life.

4. Teachers’ unions exposed. If it was once possible to see public school teachers’ unions as benign, the school shutdowns of 2020 revealed that many of them exist solely to promote the interests of their members, and the political fortunes of the Democratic Party, rather than to improve education for American children. In many cities, schools remained closed despite scientific evidence they could be reopened safely. Their political clout may have suffered permanent damage as a result.

5. Radical left-wing ballot initiatives defeated. Though Democrats managed to defeat President Trump at the polls, voters rejected almost all of the left’s most radical ballot initiatives. Tax hikes failed even in deep-blue California and Illinois, and California voters also rejected an effort (Proposition 16) to allow racial discrimination (“affirmative action”) in state-run institutions. These were major victories, and a sign that even Democratic voters were pushing back against the radical left.

6. Return to space. In May, the U.S. finally returned to manned space flight on board the SpaceX Dragon, marking the first time a private company had ever taken humans into orbit. The feat inspired the world, and gave hope to a nation struggling with the pandemic and ongoing riots. It also heralded the start of a new era in space exploration, giving new momentum to Elon Musk’s dream of bringing humans to Mars, and restoring U.S. dominance in space ahead of China and other rivals.

7. Skepticism of “experts.” Many of the early failures in the fight against the coronavirus happened because the “experts” were wrong. They told Americans not to wear masks; they botched early coronavirus testing in government labs; and they opposed a travel ban with China. Even the lockdowns preferred by experts are now thought to be counter-productive. As the left pushes the Green New Deal, demanding that we trust the economy to climate scientists, Americans will push back.