A stature gap is beginning to appear between an international leader and a group of arguing, petty politicians. Speaker Pelosi feuds with the insane wing of her caucus, while President Trump meets with the Emperor of Japan. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Joe Biden feud over a decades-old forced busing debate, while President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. House Democrats cave to the Senate Republicans on border funding, while President Trump has a surprise visit to North Korea and a one-hour meeting with Kim Jong Un. As it happened in 1972 and 1984, a Republican president can build a stature gap that makes it incredibly hard for the Democratic nominee to be seriously considered as an international leader by anyone except hardcore Democrats.

Patriotism is an issue on which the Democrats are rushing to give the president a huge advantage as well. The Democrats don’t seem to be able to help themselves. The theme of a weak America, a dangerous America, an inadequate America goes back to George McGovern in 1972. It was captured by Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick (herself a former adviser to Vice President Hubert Humphrey and a Democrat). In 1984, she described the San Francisco Democrats as always blaming America first.