There has never in U.S. history been a presidential election remotely like the present one.
It isn’t really between two candidates, but between one candidate representing a moderate traditional view of the national interest and the nature of American government, and a coalition of interest groups and factions nominally headed by the opposition presidential nominee, whose campaign is entirely conducted by a comprehensive deluge of lies in 90 percent of the national political media.
The incumbent is running on his record and on a traditional value system; his credibility is somewhat undermined by his frequent lapses into what he generously calls his “constructive hyperbole,” and by recourse to louche methods and language. (An example was his nonsensical tweet on July 5 about NASCAR and Bubba Wallace.)
Implicit in the promotion of his program is the destruction of what he has, for the past five years, described as a “swamp” of mediocrity that poorly served the national interest and that after the retirement of Ronald Reagan in 1987 was essentially sustained by both traditional parties.
His opponents defame the president and instead of an election, are trying to conduct a referendum on the president after they have succeeded in destroying him in public opinion.
His very eloquent address at Mount Rushmore on July 3 was his principal effort to date to turn the corner on the tactics of his opponents, deprive them of a rigged and artificial referendum, and present the election as a contest between traditional American patriotic values and media dishonesty, political corruption, and truckling to white-hating mob sentiment.
The Meaning of the Election
The extent to which it has become more of a contest over the meaning of the election than an election itself was well-illustrated when Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) represented the president’s address at Mount Rushmore a few minutes after it ended, as “telling lies about dead traitors.” She was referring to the president’s passing reference to U.S. military bases named after Confederate generals.
As President Lincoln established, Confederates were secessionists, not traitors. Trump’s speech was almost entirely a celebration of the equality of all Americans and the greatness of those who subdued the Confederate insurrection and abolished slavery—all in the context of the revolutionary origins of the American pursuit of liberty, ultimately for all Americans.
Duckworth simply lied about the speech, serenely and justly confident that the national political media wouldn’t expose her falsehood or report the speech accurately themselves.
The president must dig himself out from under his own occasionally inopportune remarks and debunk the barrage of defamations directed at him.
Michelle Goldberg (New York Times and Daily Beast) made a point similar to Duckworth’s in The Mercury News on July 3: that Trump had built his political career on racism and sexism and continues to do so. His large following is attracted by “race-baiting” and buttressed with dollops of misogyny.
This, too, is an outright lie. Trump was a progressive promoter of female executives in his development business, has many women in his administration in senior positions, had in racial terms an equal opportunity record as an employer, and has never uttered one word of disparagement of any ethnic group (his complaint about illegal immigration was about lack of process, lack of skill, and the presence of criminals, not ethnicity).
He had his moments as an energetic seeker of consensual heterosexual pleasures. But he is a paragon of uxorious fidelity compared to those two titans of recent Democratic lore, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, who were at times so profligate that misogynistic tendencies might be imputable to them. With the incumbent as with his predecessors, none of this has anything to do with their performance as president of the United States.
The racist charge against Trump is an insupportable, malicious, defamatory falsehood. It’s in the same category as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s endless prattlings about Trump’s supposedly inappropriate relations with Russia. There are and have been no such relations; Pelosi is simply lying.
The president’s challenge is to pierce the cloud of opprobrium in which the smear campaign of his media enemies has enshrouded him, to counter the Democratic media’s equation of his espousal of liberty for all as white supremacy as the Big Lie that it is, and to expose the spearheads of the anti-Trump opposition, Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa, as the racist, Americophobic, Marxist hooligans and terrorists that they are.
It’s startlingly indicative of the efficacy of the partisan national political media’s anti-Trump campaign that even after the infamies that BLM committed following the murder of George Floyd (supposedly in respectful memory of him), BLM is somewhat more popular than the president himself. This is because the unobservant haven’t noticed that black lives matter less to BLM than to the president, and that BLM rejects the formulation that all lives matter.
Despite the president’s dip in the polls of 3 to 5 percent under the buffetings of the pandemic, the economic shutdown, and the post-Floyd riots—in which he was represented as President Chaos—he still has an incomparable platform for his reelection appeal.
Unlike black-supremacist BLM, he believes in racial equality, and believes that traditional African American economic disadvantage will best be combated by full employment, generous investment in enterprise zones to employ and train underskilled people, continued heavy assistance to African American universities and institutions, and penal reform that will eliminate what has long been the built-in bias against minorities in the U.S. criminal justice system.
This is a program of constructive reform that, with the near-elimination of illegal immigration, had brought the country to a position of unprecedented prosperity before the COVID-19 crisis and had generated swifter income growth in the lower 20 percent of the income scale in percentage terms than the most prosperous 10 percent—a breakthrough in the income disparity crisis that afflicts all advanced societies. This progress can be regained.
By continuing to promote a proven and practical program of economic growth and equitable prosperity increases, and by espousing the traditional view of America as an always well-intentioned, but often imperfect country (as all countries are), striving throughout its history to be a more just and contented society, the president has a natural majority.
If he sticks to his message, strictly respects the facts, and economic and public health trends continue, he should redress the gap enjoyed by his opponent in the polls by the end of the summer. Then, the Democrats will have to cease pretending they are conducting a rigged referendum on Trump and will have to acquiesce in the public’s selection of one of the two candidates.
We know that the president is a competent, if idiosyncratic, executive. Only a delusional optimist could imagine Joe Biden successfully executing the office in which the Democratic barons and media mouthpieces are desperately trying to insert him.
Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and, most recently “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.”
The views expressed herein are solely those of the author. As a nonpartisan public charity, The Epoch Times does not endorse these statements and takes no position on political candidates.