The election is over. The transition is underway. Barring an extraordinary turn of events between now and January 20, Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. Mission accomplished? Crisis averted? Republic saved?
No, no, and emphatically no.
A single election changes nothing. We have a lot of work to do.
First, we mustn’t lose sight of the Greatness Agenda: secure borders, economic nationalism, and an unapologetically America-first foreign policy.
The country remains as deeply divided as ever, and perhaps even more divided than it was before November 8. Trump won a decisive victory in the Electoral College but lost the popular tally by at least 2 million votes while still garnering more votes than any other Republican in history. In a republic overly enamored with democracy, the result is that many people are confused and afraid.
Our job isn’t to shill for the president, but rather to provide intellectual ammunition his administration can use in the fight to make America great again.
Because where else are they going to find it? Fact is, the establishment has failed and is flailing. The mainstream press has shed all pretense of objectivity.
What’s more, Conservatism, Inc. stands exposed as intellectually confused and largely unmoored from historic American republicanism.
The legacy conservative media misunderstood Trump and the sentiments of the people he represents from the beginning. National Review, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, RedState, and others were stalwart in their opposition and demonstrated a contemptuous disregard for the genius of American politics—to say nothing of the American people. And even as many of these pundits come to terms with the outcome of the election, they still do not understand that the very ground beneath their feet has shifted.
Professional conservatives have become too comfortable with government by expertise. They value “intelligence” but eschew wisdom. The idea that people who are not as “smart” as they are would have some say in the direction of the country offended them, much as progressives are offended by ideas they consider hidebound or reactionary (such as the constitutional government of the American Founding). Progressives and many professional conservatives this year made plain their contempt for the necessity of government by consent. They would prefer it if those lacking the credentials valued by coastal elites would sit down and shut up.
We reject the left-wing mindset now, apparently, adopted by a fair number of professional conservatives that people should refrain from asking fundamental questions about the nature of their government or demand to be heard when they see that a policy is working against their interests while advancing those of a favored few. We reject the clichés of checklist conservatism. We reject the left-wing mindset that a border enforcement, a high view of American citizenship, and an unapologetic policy of assimilation are expressions of racism and xenophobia. We reject the unquestioning devotion to our respective sides, talking past each other. We believe in asking basic questions and seeking clarity. We believe in the sovereignty of nations and of peoples. People are not created to shut up and do as they’re told.
The system erected by America’s Founders was meant to encourage deliberation. Its slowness was meant to help educate the public and the legislator alike. The people at large are not the only ones capable of acting with a rash disregard for the truth. The ruling class, without political checks and a proper regard for securing political consent, is similarly tempted to serve only the interests of a select few.
The media have no interest in promoting a truly deliberative democracy. It threatens their power. The Democrats don’t want that, either, because—well, because then they lose.
In this social media-soaked age, are we better because of shallow instant opinion generated by push polls, virtue signaling shamers on the Internet, and celebrity-driven fashions? Or do we need something more? And what would the alternative look like? That’s the question. Because the answer could lead to transformation and renewal.
We are answering those questions here at American Greatness. And we hope you will continue to read.
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