Ben Sasse is not the Republican savior

Finally, Sasse denounces the two parties for being unable to “even identify the biggest issues we face.” What are those issues? Sasse defines them as “a national security strategy for the age of cyber and jihad,” “balance[ing] our budget,” “empowering states and local governments to improve K-12 education,” “retiring career politicians by ending all the incumbency protections” and “protect[ing] First Amendment values in the face of the safe-space movement.”

And he says Clinton and Trump are out of touch? For all their flaws, both presumptive nominees have made stagnant wages the centerpiece of their campaigns. Both have rightly talked about America’s deteriorating infrastructure. Both have talked about immigration. Both have talked about the dislocations caused by trade. Hillary Clinton has also talked about mass incarceration. And she’s emphasized climate change, which could put Miami and New Orleans under water in a decade.

None of these make Sasse’s list of “biggest issues.” Instead, he includes balancing the budget, something many economists consider unnecessary, if not counterproductive. He calls for a national-security strategy for an “age of jihad,” even though China is a vastly more formidable global competitor than ISIS and Americans are more likely to be crushed by their own furniture than to die in a terrorist attack. He also mentions “protect[ing] First Amendment values in the face of the safe-space movement.” Multiple prominent members of Sasse’s party, along with their presumptive presidential nominee, have proposed a religious litmus test for entering the United States. And he thinks the biggest danger to “First Amendment values” is posed by 19-year-olds who want their colleges to outlaw blackface?