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One year into the unlikely presidency of Donald J. Trump and how the political landscape has changed. This Scottish immigrant’s son turned billionaire Manhattan builder, reality-television star, staple of the New York City tabloid press, and bête-noire of his former friends on the institutional Left, who view him, as the Republicans once viewed Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as a “traitor to his class.” To judge from the surly, sorrowful expressions on the Democrats’ faces on Tuesday night during the State of the Union, you might have thought the president had just shot their dog and was taunting them about it on national television.
During most of his pro-America applause lines, including Trump’s announcement of record low black unemployment, the Democrats sat on their hands. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) ostentatiously paraded out of the House chamber near the end of the speech, while Trump was praising the sacrifices of America’s war dead. Afterward, the American Civil Liberties Union complained the president had used the word “American” too many times for its taste.
Could their churlish animosity be any clearer?
But wait! It gets worse. As Trump’s approval ratings have risen in the wake of the stock-market rally, strong overall employment numbers, and the much-vilified tax cut, the Democrats’ pipe dream about a coming “blue wave” this fall looks increasingly like a California marijuana-induced notion. Just prior to delivering the speech, Trump had reversed Obama’s grandstanding, never-implemented executive order to close the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay. By the end of the day, the Democratic National Committee had ‘fessed up some disastrous fundraising numbers, revealing they have only $6.3 million cash on hand and are $6.1 million in debt.
And that’s just what happened yesterday.
The Coming Blowback
In the longer term, the prospects are even worse for the anti-American party. The cultural-Marxist Left, cockily ascendant under Barack Hussein Obama (how many eons ago does his administration seem today?) suddenly finds itself reduced to a rump, coastal party, concentrating its rabid supporters in the same enclaves, and thus weakening the party’s strength in the Electoral College. (As Hillary Clinton learned the hard way, winning the popular vote doesn’t matter if all your voters live in California, Illinois, and Massachusetts.) The prize they had sought so ardently that they were willing to bump Obama over Hillary“Her Turn” Clinton, and then hope for a 16-year skein in the White House to effect the seditious “fundamental transformation” of the American Republic, has thankfully eluded their grasp. This time.
Their first attempt to derail a Trump presidency came with the creation of the phony “Russian collusion” dossier concocted by Fusion GPS for the Clinton campaign, assisted by rogue elements at the highest levels of the American intelligence services. Later came an appeal to “faithless electors” to deny him certification; lesser-court federal judges illegally blocking his executive orders; and, finally, the “Resistance” in order to stymie him at every turn. All these things have failed.
Now comes the blowback. In short order, the so-called Nunes memo, about possible FBI and Justice Department abuse of the FISA court system, which allowed them to spy on the Trump campaign under the guise of “national security,” will be exposed, as will the list of the compromised journalists on the Fusion GPS payroll. Malfeasance at James Comey’s FBI and Loretta Lynch’s Justice department regarding the Clinton email investigation whitewash is also likely to come—as the sudden defenestration of deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe on Monday so vividly illustrated.
The damage to the already reeling Democrats will be substantial. The Obama presidency was the high-water mark of what might be termed the Woodrow Wilsonian view of government—that it should be run by an elite group of credentialed experts. In their “progressive” view, the business of government is too important to be left to rank amateurs, and their contempt for the Constitution is unmistakable. Although both parties shared the “progressive” fantasy—Wilson’s predecessors, Republicans Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, can fairly be termed “progressives” by the standards of the day—the delusion has found special favor among Democrats: the Vietnam War under John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and the other “Whiz Kids” was one of its most disastrous expressions.
No Lasting Progressive Appeal
It took the electorate more than 30 years to get the stink of “progressivism” out of their nostrils and elevate Bill Clinton to the White House—although, tellingly, he never won a majority of the popular vote in either of his campaigns. It wasn’t until Obama’s arrival that the Democrats were able to fully bury the racist and elitist ghosts of their past and get on with the business of remaking America as a cultural-Marxist, “progressive” Disneyland. True, Obama was another credentialed Ivy Leaguer, but that telling fact was lost in the excitement over America’s first black president; in his wake and on his coattails, Hillary seemed poised to waddle back into the White House.
As it happened, Obama had no coattails, and the Democratic-Progressive message, so enthusiastically amplified by the media, held no electoral-majority appeal. In Obama’s case at least, the presidency really was just a popularity contest, in which the Illinois interloper easily bested cranky old John McCain and milquetoast Mitt Romney; otherwise, at every level, his party took a drubbing. If the Democrats ever want to be a national political force again, the party will need to stage a counter-revolution, toss out the Sixties Marxist hippies whose dying hands are still on the tiller, and regroup as a party of the sensible center-Left.
Patriotism used to be derided as “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” and dissent lauded as “the highest form of patriotism,” but for the modern Democratic Party, the highest form of patriotism now seems to be treason. As the deficits soared, illegal aliens murdered with impunity, foreign nations humiliated us, and the quality of life deteriorated noticeably, Americans gradually came to realize that the Democrats’ position on any given subject is antithetical to America’s best interests, even when it’s disguised in the fiction that hatred for one’s mortal enemies, an intolerance of intolerance, and a patriotic determination to preserve the nation as founded is “not who we are.”
Take the upcoming debate over the DACA recipients and immigration in general. Trump has already disarmed his opponents by putting his most generous offer on the table, one that could have potentially ruptured his hardline base. By upping the number of “Dreamers” he’s willing to consider (with restrictions and conditions) for possible eventual citizenship, but demanding the Wall, an end to chain migration, and an overhaul of the 1965 immigration law, Trump has stripped the Democrats of their fig leaves and laid bare their pretensions to “humanitarianism.” Should they reject it, his next offer won’t be half as good. Which is why Schumer quickly caved on the government shutdown, and Gutierrez slunk out of the halls of Congress like a whipped cur.
And all it took to send them scuttling away was a leader. In Trump—imperfect and perhaps at times a little embarrassing—we may just have found him. The fallacy of socialist Progressivism was that the future could be managed by bureaucrats; the truth of the Western heroic narrative is that one man can make all the difference. It’s far too early to determine whether Trump is, or ever will be, great; what is clear that he has had the offer of greatness thrust upon him. The choice is now his.
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