The American political establishment appears to be sleepwalking toward the still almost unbelievable likelihood of the return to the presidency of Donald Trump.
One of the most implacably anti-Trump journalists in Washington, RealClearPolitics’ A.B. Stoddard, wrote in RCP on Nov. 22 that the Democrats were likely to “blow up,” be badly defeated in the mid-terms, and were underdogs in 2024, where their most likely opponent is President Trump.
She didn’t connect the last two dots, but someone so antagonistic to Trump cannot be contemplating the future she envisioned without a sense of revulsion, if not terror.
What seems to be happening is one of the great political ironies of living memory. Trump, the unlikeliest major-party presidential candidate in history, was practically the only notable person who saw the depths of the unhappiness of half of America in 2016.
He astounded almost everyone by being nominated and elected, and was the subject of an unprecedented sand-bag job from the national political media, the D.C. governmental establishment, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, the academy, major league sports, and was falsely accused of being a Kremlin agent by former intelligence directors, dragged through the muck of the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense for most of his term, and subjected to two spurious impeachments, one after he had left office.
His reelection was opposed by 95 percent of the media, he was de-platformed by the oligarchic social media cartel, and outspent two to one. Ultimately, a great deal of creative (and constitutionally questionable but never judicially judged) changes in voting and vote-counting in swing states, supposedly to accommodate the COVID pandemic was deployed against him, and with over 40 million harvested votes, he would still have won if only about 55,000 votes had flipped in Pennsylvania and any two of Arizona, Georgia, or Wisconsin.
Despite the close and questionable election result, it was almost universally assumed by his more fervent detractors like Ms. Stoddard that he was a dreadful aberration who had gone and would not be back. The astounding irony is that, after six years of this colossal political donnybrook, Trump is the likely early favorite for the next election and the winner of this great single warrior combat.
The context for the Trump phenomenon is that after the halcyon Reagan-Bush Sr. years of great prosperity and the victorious and bloodless end of the Cold War, official contentment was so general that for only the second time in history, (after Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, 1801-1825), there were three consecutive two-term presidents.
The White House and Congress changed hands at intervals, but the political class was the same and overwhelmingly liberal, and drifting steadily to the left. In the twenty years from early-Clinton to late-Obama, official policy moved roughly half way from the political center toward what was the far left in 1993 when Bill Clinton was inaugurated.
Only Donald Trump, the flamboyant land developer, golf club owner, and reality television star, who polled constantly, changed parties seven times in 13 years, and invented the technique of massively promoting his name as a celebrity brand and then translating it into the world’s highest elective office, detected a seismic erosion of public support for what had effectively become a bipartisan national unity government of gradual leftward policy movement.
Only he saw that tens of millions of working and lower middle class families considered that their jobs were being shipped overseas to cheap labor while the profits that accrued from that labor was not being repatriated to the United States.
Trump’s candidacy was treated with immense mirth by the complacent political establishment of both parties when it was announced in June 2015. As all will recall, the political establishment was struck dumb by his election: it was inconceivable that Trump could be legitimately elected and so the vast effort supported by almost all of the national political media was immediately launched to challenge the election result.
Trump weathered the relentless wall-to-wall assault on him by being a rather successful president: illegal immigration and unemployment were almost eliminated, oil imports ended, and for the first time in any serious jurisdiction, the lower twenty percent of income-earners were gaining income in percentage terms more quickly than the top ten percent.
Trump had identified the challenge posed by China and had begun the imposition of a general Western response to China. This departed from the confidence of previous American administrations that if concessions and preferments were merely heaped upon China, it would voluntarily become a compliant member of the rules-based international community.
In fact, China was emboldened by that pre-Trump approach to ever more provoking behavior, culminating in facilitating the spread of the coronavirus from China to the world while unconscionably delaying appropriately serious warnings of the gravity of this illness. Democratic candidate Joe Biden assured his followers: “The Chinese aren’t our enemies…They won’t eat our lunch.”
It was only COVID and the alteration of the electoral system in several key states that enabled Trump’s removal from office. After adhering for approximately one week to a bipartisan policy of fighting the coronavirus, the Democrats seized their opportunity to terrify the country with visions of a Black Plague and with demands that Trump “follow the science” (which was far from unanimous), and lock down the country in order to ensure an economic depression that the Democrats could exploit.
The Democrats declined to criticize the extreme factions of Black Lives Matter and other entities that rioted all summer in 2020 across the country, supposedly in response to the horrifying death of African-American George Floyd when detained by white Minneapolis police, recorded by cell phone cameras. The whole chaotic summer was represented as inevitable in Donald Trump’s America.
The judiciary at all levels conveniently declined to hear any of the challenges to the integrity of the electoral system that had been changed in the swing states, but not by the state legislatures as the Constitution requires.
Presumably, the judiciary did not wish to incur the immense controversy of potentially reversing the result of a presidential election. From this dubious and hair’s-breadth victory, the unrepentant but severely frightened bipartisan political establishment torqued themselves up to blind faith that Trump would not be seen again and briefly resumed their former complacency.
The new administration has been unprecedentedly incompetent even to those of us who feared the worst—millions of illegal migrants, sky-rocketing crime, inflation, and deficits, a very unresponsive president reduced to insipid pleadings to China and OPEC, a completely unfeasible vice president, a shambles in COVID policy, and in Afghanistan the worst and most humiliating fiasco in the history of the U.S. armed forces since General Hull surrendered Detroit to the Canadians and British in 1812.
Sophisticated military hardware worth $85 billion was abandoned to the incoming Taliban terrorist-tainted government. The response of the Democrats and their media allies to this shambles is to construe every disagreement as racist, as in their disgraceful misrepresentation, from Biden down, to acquitted Wisconsin murder defendant Kyle Rittenhouse as a white supremacist vigilante.
In over-reacting to Trump, a successful president, the Trump-haters largely delivered the great Democratic Party to a riffraff of socialists and are tied to a ludicrously inept regime that has little chance of avoiding Donald Trump’s electoral revenge: himself back again or a candidate he supports.
The long era of complacent bipartisanship that Trump assailed in 2016 now seems likely to perish in 2024. We are in the midst of a unique interlude in American history as the Trump-haters await the consequences of their actions with mounting consternation.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.