Chinese Takeout

If Donald Trump were not the president, and 2020 not a presidential election year, it would be hard to imagine anything else causing the kind of mass hysteria that surrounds COVID-19.

For Democrats, this is what it’s come to: A last attempt to drive down support for Trump by doing everything they can to heighten public fear of the coronavirus and extend for as long as possible the resulting economic disruption.

As demands to open businesses increase in states around the country, Democrats’ target date for getting Americans back to work is 18 months from now. By which time, they hope, Trump’s plan to restart the economy will have backfired, and they’ll be running what’s left of the country, Green New Deal-style.

China would like nothing better. In October 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a 30-year war on the United States. When the war is over in 2049, the 100th anniversary of Communist Party rule, China expects to be victorious economically, politically and, if necessary, militarily. This is something about which few Americans are aware, and most who are don’t take it seriously. Donald Trump does—and Beijing knows it.

China must carefully consider “all complex situations,” Xi said at the time, voicing a cryptic note of caution. In the aftermath of COVID-19, as more of China’s secret ambitions are exposed and anti-communist sentiments not heard since the Cold War go public, there could be a lot of “complex situations” for Chinese leaders to consider.

After failing repeatedly, Democrats and their allies think they finally have the perfect one-two combination—spiked Chinese bat flu along with a sci-fi panic attack—for getting rid of Trump and capitalism once and for all.

The Democratic Party, the media and a newly aggressive China have morphed into a single opposition, and the one person capable of rallying the nation to fight back and win is Donald Trump.

Handed a captive audience, thanks to the lockdown, Trump turned his daily White House briefings into must-see TV, sometimes attracting as many viewers as “Monday Night Football.” No other president could do crisis management every evening before a live audience of fake-news flunkies and make it a hit.

Now it’s time for him to bring back “The Apprentice” and start firing people. Beginning with the two doctors of doom, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx. Both should be relieved of their duties in a way that says the focus is shifting from flattened curves to restoring the economy and cheering on America’s comeback.

Useful COVIDiots

COVID-19 is the most politicized illness in American history. The Trump-deranged media has never hidden which side it’s on, making this one election where a foreign government really is interfering. Newspapers, television networks and platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are onboard and automatically censor anything that contradicts the PRC/Democratic Party line.

Reporters, spouting their usual Chinese propaganda at a recent White House press conference, tried to make it seem as if Trump’s name for the virus was worse than the virus itself.

But while they asked questions designed to make Trump look stupid, he used them to launch a major theme in his reelection campaign.

“Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?” one reporter wanted to know. “A lot of people say it’s racist.”

“It’s not racist at all,” said Trump. “It comes from China. Chi-na . . . I want to be accurate.”

Two minutes later another reporter said: “A White House official used the term ‘kung flu,’ referring to the fact that this virus started in China . . . Is that acceptable?”

“Say the term again,” Trump said.

“Kung flu,” the reporter replied. “A person at the White House used the term ‘kung flu’—”

“Just the term,” interrupted Trump.

“Kung flu,” the reporter said again.

“Kung flu?” asked the president, as if he hadn’t heard it the first four times.

“Kung flu,” the reporter repeated. “Do you think that’s wrong? And do you think using the term ‘Chinese virus’ puts Asian-Americans at risk?”

“No. I think they probably would agree with it 100 percent,” Trump said. “It comes from China. What’s not to agree on?

Watching the White House press corps in action is a form of home entertainment for a whole population sheltering in place. There’s more going on here, though, than journalists beclowning themselves

How many people cooped up with just their TVs to amuse them, agreed with what Trump said about China? Or thought the back and forth on “kung flu” (a phrase broadcast six times in the space of 20 seconds) was funny?

And how many sent links to their friends, who sent them to their friends? Thousands . . . millions?

Donald Trump called COVID-19 “the Chinese virus” and got an oblivious reporter to say “kung flu” over and over for the same reason he called Jeb Bush “Low-energy Jeb” and Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Four years ago he started typecasting Bush and Clinton as losers before a single primary voter went to the polls. A similar strategy is underway in the 2020 race, with a special coronavirus twist.

Cold War II

The idea, demonstrated in Trump’s first campaign ad, is to tie the Democratic Party and its assumed nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden (a.k.a. “Quid pro Joe”), to China—make that Communist China—fixing the trio in the minds of voters as a triple threat to the security and wellbeing of the United States and the entire world.

If that sounds familiar to many voters, it should. This is shaping up to be the first replay of a Cold War presidential campaign in over 30 years, with Trump taking on China the same way Ronald Reagan took on the Soviet Union. For another part of the voting public, not around during the actual Cold War, the next several months promise to be an education in what used to be called “East-West confrontation.”

In the eleven Cold War elections held in the United States (1948-1988) the winner was invariably the candidate voters believed would best protect the country from the dangers posed by the Soviet Union and Red China. The only president defeated running for a second term during the Cold War-era was Jimmy Carter, who was seen as weak on defense. The three Republican presidents, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, all were reelected by wide margins.

Removing any doubts about how the Trump administration sees things, Peter Navarro, White House trade advisor, said in an interview on Fox News, “This is a war . . . a war that China started by spawning this virus.”

Left diplomatically vague is what kind of war Navarro means. Everyone had to see this coming. The Chinese government certainly did. They’ve been preparing for it.

The Great Walmart of China

The first presidential debate of 2016 began with a question from moderator Lester Holt of NBC News, who asked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump how they planned “to put more money into the pockets of American workers.” Each candidate had two minutes to respond.

Clinton went first, looking supremely confident, as you might expect a former secretary of state to look competing against a one-time New Jersey casino operator.

“Donald, it’s good to be with you,” she said through a forced smile, before reeling off a list of work-related talking points Democrats have been plugging for years: equal pay for women, affordable childcare, paid family leave, employee profit-sharing, debt-free college and raising the minimum wage.

Then it was Trump’s turn.

“Our jobs are fleeing the country,” he said. “Look at what China’s doing . . . and we have nobody in our government to fight them.”

That got Hillary’s attention. What the hell does Donald know about China? He was never secretary of state. She was.

“China’s using us as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing,” Trump went on. “We’re losing our good jobs, so many of them, leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. We have to stop jobs from being stolen. Stop our companies from leaving the United States.”

Long before getting into politics, Trump complained that China was robbing the United States blind. Now he was accusing Clinton and the Washington establishment of stripping American workers of their livelihoods by letting China take their jobs.

Hillary denied everything, and, with a nervous smirk in Trump’s direction, said her opponent “lives in his own reality.”

Tens of millions of voters disagreed. Trump was describing their reality, and they believed him when he promised big changes.

Kung Fu Fighting

As president, Trump grew the American economy in ways few thought possible. He made the United States oil independent, replaced NAFTA with the USMCA trade deal he negotiated with Canada and Mexico, and dramatically cut federal regulations. At the same time, the stock market rose to record highs, and unemployment fell to historic lows.

Trump also imposed stiff tariffs on China for failing to live up to its fair-trade agreement with the United States and for its continued theft of U.S. intellectual property. With globalists in an uproar the president held firm. Eventually, China agreed to spend more money on goods made in America, but U.S.-China relations remained tense.

In June 2019, pro-democracy protests began in Hong Kong. Demonstrations drew hundreds and then thousands of people, closing whole sections of the city. Officials in Beijing used organized crime gangs, called triads, to rough up participants, with little effect. What made matters worse, demonstrators were shown in news reports waving American flags and carrying signs that read: “Make Hong Kong Great” and “Donald Trump, Please Liberate Hong Kong.”

It’s easy to guess what China’s leadership was thinking. The democracy protesters were not only challenging the authority of the Chinese Communist Party, they were hailing Trump as a hero for standing up to China’s rulers. If demonstrations like these ever reached the Chinese mainland, the party would have a problem on its hands.

In late November, Trump signed into law the Human Rights and Democracy Act, authorizing the State Department to conduct an annual review to make sure China wasn’t interfering with Hong Kong’s guaranteed autonomy.

Trump said he was enacting the law in the hope “China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long-term peace and prosperity for all.”

That’s not what happened. China’s foreign ministry was outraged, saying “countermeasures” were being considered. “This so-called legislation will only raise awareness of the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the U.S. The U.S. plot is doomed.”

On Thanksgiving in the United States, huge crowds gathered in Hong Kong to thank Trump, as the “Star-Spangled Banner” played over loudspeakers. Some people held pictures showing the president’s head superimposed on the muscular torso of Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky III.” The image was considered a joke by much of the American media. In China, it sent a serious message to the politburo from the city that gave the world Kung Fu movies! Trump was fighting for Hong Kong in the ancient and honored Chinese tradition of youxia, using his power to help people in need.

No matter how much the Democratic Party hates Donald Trump, the Chinese Communist Party hates him more.

Three days later, in Wuhan, according to Chinese sources, the first case COVID-19 was reported. It would be more than a month—as the government stockpiled medical supplies in advance of an expected pandemic—before the rest of the world was warned.

By then, the coronavirus had arrived in Hong Kong. The city shut down and democracy protests ended

Motive, Means, and Opportunity

Whether China released COVID-19 on purpose—reliable accounts say it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology—or it escaped from a lab by accident, the Chinese government hid the truth about the deadly virus until it was too late.

Two years into its stealth war with the United States, it’s hard to believe China didn’t see at least some strategic advantage in keeping quiet.

If so, was putting a stop to Hong Kong’s democracy demonstrations part of a plan, or an added benefit of human error? With a population of 1.8 billion to manage, China’s rulers can always afford to lose some inhabitants to a virus. What they can’t afford to lose is power.

The Chinese Communist Party has always regarded the United States as Enemy No. 1. For decades, successive presidential administrations have overlooked that rather significant fact for the sake of doing business with China. Beijing’s role in the coronavirus pandemic (with an assist from the corrupt World Health Organization) makes it impossible for Washington to ignore China’s not-so-hidden agenda. In March, the Chinese government removed any doubts, by threatening to drown America in “the mighty sea of coronavirus” by halting the export of needed medicines that used to be made in the United States, but now come from China.

Back to the Future

Less than six months before a presidential election COVID-19 has made Donald Trump a “crisis” president.

Instead of coasting to victory in November on the strength of his economic record, he will need to deal effectively with the coronavirus, revive the economy—for a second time—and confront the most formidable foreign policy challenge since Ronald Reagan was president.

In fact, Trump’s run for a second term in 2020 is a virtual playback of Reagan’s 1984 campaign. The similarities between the two men and their races, including the Cold War overtones, are uncanny.

Reagan was 73, so is Trump. Reagan ran against his predecessor’s vice president, just as Trump is doing. Both were Washington outsiders and former Democrats, who previously worked in the entertainment industry.

They also share two qualities—determination and resilience—particularly suited to campaigning in times of crisis. Reagan was an optimist and a fighter with a unique ability to communicate his ideas to voters. Trump has the same traits, using Twitter to connect with his millions of followers. And no politician in America can fill stadiums—and their parking lots—with supporters the way he does.

The major issues in 1984 were the economy, Soviet Communism, and nuclear weapons. The major issues in 2020 are the economy, Chinese Communism, and biological weapons.

Thirty-six years ago, the Soviet Union didn’t produce anything American consumers wanted to buy. Today, almost everything they buy comes from China. In 1984, most Americans rejected communism. Not so today. Until last month, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an avowed socialist, was in line to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

With the arrival of the coronavirus, however, every American understands the kind of large-scale suffering a communist regime can inflict. The latest Gallup poll shows 67 percent of Americans now view China unfavorably, and only 33 percent favorably. China’s unfavorable numbers are sure to go up in the months ahead.

What Would Reagan Do? 

When Ronald Reagan ran against Walter Mondale in 1984, he made Jimmy Carter’s vice president look inexperienced, out of his depth (like his boss) in foreign affairs, and too liberal to be trusted in a faceoff with the Kremlin.

As for Joe Biden, whenever China comes up in the 2020 campaign, so will his son Hunter’s lucrative arrangement with two Chinese investment firms, both tied to the state-run Bank of China.

Given his mental slippage, Biden would never be able to debate Trump, or anyone else, on the issues. If, for any reason, he’s replaced on the ticket, it will only increase the public’s distrust of the Democratic Party for manipulating the nomination in 2020, as it did 2016.

Trump didn’t come up the hard way, as Reagan did, but he became a multi-billionaire in the hardest place in the world to make money, New York City commercial real estate. What better preparation could there be for dealing with ruthless dictators? Trump has already proven he’s a tougher negotiator with China’s leaders than any previous president.

Reagan survived being shot early in his first term and came back to make history by ending the Cold War. During his first term Trump withstood a three-year attempted coup by Democrats and their co-conspirators in government and the media. And, let’s not forget, Joe Biden may have been in on the plot.

Meanwhile, Trump produced the greatest economy the nation had ever seen. There’s no reason to believe he can’t do it again.

The People’s Republic of China will be a major, maybe the major, campaign issue. Despite an extended period of state-controlled prosperity, due to global outsourcing, a built-in culture of corruption has always made lying, cheating, and stealing merely business as usual in communist China. In the case of COVID-19, China’s duplicity was so blatant and the results so catastrophic, its top officials can expect Trump, joined by other world leaders, to come after them with multi-trillion-dollar damage claims.

By starting the process of economic disengagement from China and spearheading the drive to put maximum international pressure on the Chinese government to pay up, Trump has an opportunity to duplicate what Reagan achieved during the Cold War.

At this point the only thing that can save the Chinese Communist Party from a reckoning long overdue is a Democrat in the White House.

Because of the coronavirus, the 2020 campaign will be a debate about political systems, economics and national security, issues that play to the strengths that helped Trump win in 2016. And, as president, he can use campaign events, as Reagan did, to spell out the options in language every voter understands.

Will the United States be held hostage and eventually dominated by China and its Democratic Party collaborators, or will it “Stay the course,” as Reagan put it?

If the Democrats take over, the answer is obvious. Welcome to the United Socialist States of America (USSA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Communist China.

Shortly after Reagan’s second inauguration, Mikhail Gorbachev was appointed general secretary of the Soviet Union, the “evil empire’s” eighth and final leader. Later, Reagan was asked if Gorbachev’s reform-minded approach to communism had changed his strategic thinking about the Cold War. “No,” he said. “Here’s my strategy: We win. They lose.”

Elections are about the future, and everything is riding on this one. Until November, here’s something to keep in mind: Ronald Reagan never lost a presidential election . . . and neither has Donald Trump.

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About Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas is the author of Club Fed: Power, Money Sex and Violence on Capitol Hill as well as other books, and the co-author of Red Tape: Adventure Capitalism in the New Russia. He is also a former editor and writer with The Economist Group.

Photo: FreeTransform/Getty Images

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