Trumpism: Then, Now—and in the Future?

What was, is, and will be the Trump agenda? 

Against all odds, what elected Trump in 2016 was a recalibration of American foreign and domestic policy—and the art of politicking itself.

Doctrine and Policy

In foreign affairs, the United States would no longer adhere to every aspect of the 75-year-old postwar order it created—given the world now bore little resemblance to the world of 1945. 

Prior bipartisan foreign policy had often ossified to the point of enhancing the power of our enemies, weakening our complacent friends, and terribly damaging our own power. When Trump entered office, ISIS was proving that it was hardly a “JV” organization. North Korea was recklessly testing missiles and bragging of its nuclear-tipped rockets pointed at our West Coast. 

Israel and the moderate Arab regimes were ostracized as part of the insane Obama empowerment of theocratic Iran and its quest for a radical crescent encompassing Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

Russian reset was an utter failure. Unhinged, we were hectoring Vladimir Putin on human rights while agreeing to dismantle missile defense in Europe, if he would just please behave for a bit, and give Obama space during his 2012 reelection bid. The Asian pivot was laughable. Our friendly and hostile trading partners praised the Obama Administration in direct proportion to their manipulation of it.

In the 1950s, it was understandable that the United States would spend blood and treasure abroad to resurrect the destroyed economies after World War II and contain Soviet Communism. Its policy of allowing recovering allies to run up huge trade deficits to reenter the world community was seen both as desirable and affordable, as was putting down Communist insurrections the world over to contain the Soviet Union. 

Western Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea became powerhouses, often with wide open, one-sided access to U.S. markets. China would never have achieved its 40-year stunning ascendence had America applied to Chinese trade the same mercantilism that China applied to the United States. 

By 2016, it was clear that a host of world and international trade and development organizations took for granted U.S. moral and financial support, while assuming wide open entrance for all into the U.S. market. 

The result of the globalist project was the destruction of much of the American interior’s manufacturing and assembly industries. Those whose labor could not be so easily xeroxed—Silicon Valley, Wall Street, banking and insurance, big law, the media, entertainment, professional sports, and large research universities—saw their markets expand to 7 billion consumers. Coastal elites got rich. Interior deplorables and clingers were said to have deserved their fate by not going to college or failing to learn how to code.  

They were lectured that not even a magic wand could save their jobs, or, in the words of Lawrence Summers, former Harvard president and the architect of President Obama’s team of economic advisers, they deserved their unfortunate fates, which in our meritocracy matched their meager abilities. “One of the challenges in our society is that the truth is a kind of disequalizer,”  Summers reportedly once said. “One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that they’re supposed to be treated.”. 

Into that comfortable matrix of easing into decline, Trump stormed in. He damned globalists as elites who cared more about abstractions abroad than unfairness and the poor at home right under their noses. 

To restore U.S. primacy, he greenlighted gas and oil production. When the United States became the largest producer of both, much of the world changed. The Middle East no longer had a political stranglehold over U.S. foreign policy. Russia, and illiberal regimes like Iran, lost hundreds of billions in carbon income. American consumers and industry enjoyed the cheapest energy prices in the Westernized world. And the elite dismissed all that as too damaging to the planet.

Tax reform and deregulation lured back to U.S. shores offshored money and opened up trillions of dollars for investment that had been inert—the owners of which had been understandably worried by the redistributionist rhetoric and policies of the increasingly leftwing second-term Obama Administration and its recalibration of the Democratic Party.

Closing the border with Mexico slowly tapered off the once-endless supplies of cheap imported labor. For the first time in a half-century, the American worker was courted by needy employers who paid record entry-level wages, as unemployment fell to near historic peacetime lows. 

Minority youth were no longer begging employers for a chance of a job, but rather were being begged by them to come to work. Ancient fights over unions and minimum wages faded as an increasingly wealthy America saw middle-class income soar for the first time in years as employers paid whatever was necessary to land American workers. 

Trump stopped most optional military interventions that did not pencil out in a cost-benefit advantage for the United States—or for regional stability. Instead, don’t-tread-on-me realism bombed ISIS out of existence and took out the terrorist Iranian mastermind Qasem Soleimani, or threatened Kim Jong-un with massive retaliation if he dared launch a missile toward the United States. 

At no time did Trump think he should remove Bashar al-Assad and try to create a Western democracy in Syria, or invade and overthrow the Iranian regime—as opposed to slowly strangle them with sanctions, new alliances, and military deterrence. There was no desire to return to spend money or lives in Libya or Iraq to establish or reboot democratic institutions.

There were two final pillars of the new Trump foreign policy. One was to talk honestly to allies about investing in their own defense as promised. Most not only counted on U.S. protection but often loudly seemed to resent their ensuing dependence by opportunistically ankle-biting the United States for its global policeman role. 

Western Europe and Asia, and especially Germany and Japan, were told that if Russia and China really were existential threats, then such front-line states had to commensurately invest in their own defense first—at least if they to expected 19-year-olds from rural Michigan or northern Florida to fly over to their defense.

Unpredictability was seen as safer deterrence in a dangerous world than predictable and ossified policy. 

So, against all advice, Trump called China to account for its commercial cheating and insidious infiltration into Western banking, corporate, media, entertainment, and academic institutions. He cut off aid to Palestinians who refused to recognize Israel, moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, reminded the Assad regime that it would never recover the Golan Heights to launch another war on Israel, encouraged the moderate Arab world to ally with Israel to protect against revolutionary Shiite Iran, and reminded Canada and Mexico that one reason why they had small militaries, and growing economies, was their proximity to the United States—and thus such magnanimity should be reciprocated with symmetry rather than seen as naïveté that explained its continuance.

Class, Not Race

The second pillar of Trumpism was a shift in Republican orthodoxy to reemphasize class differences and in radically different ways. 

No longer was there talk of privatizing Social Security, institutionalizing free (but not fair) trade, or following international commercial accords against the interest of an increasingly hollowed out American middle class. Deregulation and cuts in corporate taxes galvanized the economy and indeed profits “trickled down” to the hoi polloi. But such necessary free-market reforms were not the be-all and end-all of Republican orthodoxy, which was now readjusted to be more in the interest of the factory worker, not just the Wall Street investor. 

Closing the border cut off the easy supply of cheap labor for corporations. Only that way would wages of entry-level and largely minority workers rise. More radially, Trumpism did not see the middle classes as spent, addicted, eroding and doomed, much less as deplorables, clingers, irredeemables, dregs, and chumps as the coastal elites increasingly liked to smear them. And Trump certainly did not see poor whites, without much influence, as privileged, and thus in need of making atonement for supposed sins of the past or the present. 

One reason why Trump is libeled as a racist is that he saw through the white elite con of blaming those without advantage for bias and prejudice, in order to win psychological exemption for the elite’s own near-monopoly on blue-chip university admissions, corporate, media and academic old-boy access and cultural influence. 

Bull-in-the-China-Shopism

Aside from fundamental changes in foreign and democratic policy, and renewed emphasis on class instead of race, Trumpism changed the political dialectic. 

Of course, Trump could be crude, even at times bullying and profane. But much of his braggadocio and vulgarity were designed as chemotherapy to kill the cancer of the administrative state and the lock-hold on permanent government by the revolving-door, bipartisan coastal elite. 

The reasons why Trump just days after his inauguration faced a failed impeachment, or calls for his removal by the 25th Amendment, or even talk of a military coup, or the Steele dossier hoax that led to a $40 million, 22-month effort by progressives to destroy his presidency, his person and his family, were manifold. But one cause surely was that Trump was orphaned from the hard-Left Democratic Party and the Republican establishment and seemed either to welcome the ostracism or not be fully cognizant of the cost that it entailed.  

True, Trump may have defined presidential comportment down with his “sleepy,” “crooked,” “lying,” and “low-energy” epithets and with his crowds cheering to “lock her up.” But then again, what was so moral in the past about mellifluously assuring Americans they would lose neither their doctor nor their health plan—to the amusement of the likes of Jonathan Gruber who knew all along that they would? Or ramming through the Iran Deal by bypassing the treaty duties of the U.S. Senate, while deluding the country with a “know-nothing” media echo chamber? If we learned anything from the Obama years, supposedly “scandal-free” presidents might do anything from weaponizing the IRS and siccing the FBI on opponents to dismantling viable allied missile defense to leverage foreign leaders to aid their reelection campaigns—and then call all that moral, with a chorus of media assent.

When a man takes on the role of the gunslinger arriving in the town to clean up the mess, one must expect that his methods and comportment will offend his supporters as much as they terrified his adversaries, all the more so as he succeeds and thus the beneficiaries see an end on the horizon to their embarrassing need to have called in the unorthodox to do what their own polite conventionality should have done, but choose not (or did not have the courage) to do. 

The Fate of Trumpism 

We can sense the viability of Trumpism by the current lack of coherent attacks on its principles and achievements. Would a President Mitt Romney demand that the U.S. embassy now leave Jerusalem? Would a President Nikki Haley cease the new containment of China? Would a President Marco Rubio return to the Bush-Obama coaxing of NATO partners to please, pretty please pay up what they had promised?

Or alternatively, would a President Joe Biden warn the Arab countries to cease their “destabilizing” new partnership with Israel? 

Would he jawbone them to return the autocratic Palestinians to front and center of the Middle East “peace” plan? Would a President Biden begin dismantling 400 miles of border wall and return to open borders?

At home, Biden most certainly would raise taxes, restore cumbersome regulations, strangle the fossil fuel industry, and return to identity politics pandering. But after the 2017-20 Trump boom, he would do so without any expectation that the economy would grow or the country would heal or the world would suddenly cool down and the seas cease to rise. 

Biden knows that under Obama a natural recovery stagnated, a uniter president ignited the country with his team of racial arsonists, and the government wasted billions of dollars in green boondoggles even as a hamstrung private sector did far more than Washington to expand the use of solar energy and electric cars. 

And what about the NeverTrumper—always wrong that Trump would not be nominated or not be elected or be destroyed by “Russian collusion”? At the end of Trump, whether in 2020 and 2024, would they resurrect the Weekly Standard or return to the Sunday talk shows? Would the legions of handlers, operatives and advisors return to recalibrate all the party Senate and House races along the lines of a Mitt Romney or John McCain orthodoxy? Would the NeverTrump Phoenix arise to save the Republican Party from the ashes of Trumpism—on the principle that deplorables would always support RINO candidates, but RINOS would bolt the minute a deplorable candidate appeared. Could a Jeff Flake or a Ben Sasse or a John Kasich candidacy shatter the Blue Wall?

Probably not at all. Elite Republicanism would fail because the white working classes would return either to political hibernation in the swing states or rejoin the Democratic Party. Growing minority support would vanish because blacks and Latinos would see platitudinous and pandering Republicans as far more injurious to their futures than was a crudely talking, Queens-accented populist Trump.

Trumpism did not dismantle Republican conservatism. It simply enhanced conservative appeal by closing the border, confronting China, demanding fair trade, avoiding optional military expeditions, emphasizing the concerns of the working class, and redefining presidential behavior as boisterously honoring promises rather than mellifluously reneging on them. 

Whatever Trump’s fate, the NeverTrump faction will not succeed in rebuilding a new-old Republican Party under the Bush-McCain-Romney paradigm. Biden and his leftist masters would not be able to lower minority unemployment to Trump levels. Neither would they declare an end to containing China and claim such past confrontation was an unnecessary provocation. 

Like it or not, Trump hit on a great truth that no leader can write off his country’s vast industrial interior, destroy his nation’s borders, willingly cede global leadership to a Communist dictatorship, manipulate intelligence agencies to destroy political opponents, prefer to manage decline rather than to seek renewal, and meanwhile, as he did all that, call himself moral and presidential.

About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He was a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won (Basic Books).

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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135 responses to “Trumpism: Then, Now—and in the Future?”

    • That’s right mate, stick your fingers in your ears and squeal about “racism”. It’s worked so well at the ballot box so far. How about mounting an argument – now that would be novel.

    • Trump is going to win so big next week -and he’s going to do it with record levels of support from so-called “minority” groups – the ruling class and its poodles in the dinosaur media will be left with nowhere to go. Aliens hacked the election anyone?

    • I will engage you and your kind on the field of war. I know your pusillanimous nature, your rapacious greed and weakness for mamon. May we talk pistols at 8 am in the near future? Dueling is the answer for you and your like scum. Time for politeness has ended, I want you blood for your attack on our honor. Name the place and time, I will use just a 22 bullet as I kill you and all you stand for. This is war, I can handle it, you cowards have to prove otherwise, with yours, or mine, life! I stand ready as Alexander Hamilton, if you have ANY idea of the USA. You ready? I am serious, I want this on CNN. You ask to be barbaric, we have dealt with your ilk in the past, will do so again. Say a few weeks to put this together? FOAD????

    • As I said pistols at 8 am, your choice, when and where? You mis-educated Need to be proven the craven you are. I Dare AG to publish this, with “Hollywood’s” approval I suggest a national Duel, on CNN, they need the ratings. Private violence in return for questioning of honor is now needed. No need for a civil war. Show me a man of honor, I will reply in kind, with small bore ammunition. Have you had it. I am John Scott. I will reveal when accepted. Cancel your selves, I want a duel with “Hollywood”, probably the coward, can we hope not? Post a message in the comments if you want a reply, you know my name, JS

    • Yeah, nice argument not. Call names then point to a flawed poll. You are the problem, just take one point of the good professors article and disprove it. I got 3:1 says you can’t.

    • Prof. Hanson’s article is, as always, a well reasoned and articulated point of view. You can ageee or disagree with it, but he is not, as you so eloquently put it, “full of crap.”

      You, on the other hand, are a sad sack of talking point spouting divisiveness, as is the pathetic blog post you cited, which completely misinterpreted some simplistic statistics into the predictable RACIST!! cant that defines leftists and race baiters.

    • Hey moderators, wonder why Hollywood is allowed to say Hanson is full of crap but my comments get censored

      • Agree. The moderation on this site is bizarre. It’s one thing for everyone to gripe about censorship from big tech but then teach a man to make his own website and you’ll find he is an Orwellian thought-policer just like everyone else because… who the heck wants to post such awesome content and then allow just anyone to say anything. Harrrrumph.

        Love Victor Davis Hanson though. He’s a national treasure. Maybe even the last exemplar of the Citizen that our Founding Fathers had in mind.

        The single biggest thing that would fundamentally change the world for the better, which Trump has hinted at, is if we could finally exit NATO. There is absolutely no reason why we should pay to defend Europe from anything when they are openly hostile to our way of life in every imaginable way. Personally, I wouldn’t care if Germany and France were conquered by the Russians at all now. But in reality, Russia couldn’t afford to conquer Europe so there is no real danger. Certainly less danger than the current situation where half of Europe is swamped by economic migration.

    • “Full of crap”???? He seems to have hit the nail on the head in my opinion!

    • Ouch. Did the professor hurt your widdle feelings? Better drink some hot chocolate, take a warm bath, and tell your mommy all about it. She’ll give you a hug and it’ll feel all better.

    • Show us on the doll where the “bad” professor touched you. Worthless snowflake.

    • VHD doesn’t need you to agree with him. He has laid out his case using historical truths and logic. Our leaders and representatives have failed us big time in that all the hot button issues haven’t changed much in my lifetime: national security, immigration, the economy, education, race relations, entitlements, taxation….Every candidate for President, the Senate and the House promises that they have all the answers, yet here we are again. President’s worry more about their “legacy” than their accomplishments or actually solving problems once and for all.

      You may disagree with VHD, but I doubt you could articulate it beyond “orange man bad”.

      • If the Democraps didn’t own the msm and msm would report the news NOT just what the liberals want us to see. Trump would win bigger than in 2016 !THE MSM HAS NOT REPORTED WHAT TRIMP HAS DONE! THEY WILL NOT REPORT ON BIDEN LAPTOP EMAILS !

    • In the 24 years 1993-2017 and arguably even also the period 1989-93, all political and economic decisions have been made by Crony Corporatism ruining the working and middle classes in the interests of Big Money (Wall St, Big Tech, the billionaires, the oligarchs).
      There has been a democratic puppet-show but essentially, as regards the policy-positions adhered to by the Political Class and its conjoined twins the Media, Academe, the choices made have all been of one kind: whatever advantaged the new awful ruling caste in society (elites, ‘meritocrats’ – what a misnomer!) and punished ordinary people.
      There has been one party in Congress with two wings, one called Democratic, the other Republican.
      Only President Trump has given the American people for the first time in 3 decades a real fresh choice.
      IF you are not keen for endless pointless winless foreign wars, basically launched by the Military Industrial Complex in the interests of its own money-making and prestige (Generals like medals); IF you don’t want the country to be owned by the Big Tech Titans and Wall St; IF you want ordinary people to have a chance of decent jobs with proper pay; why denounce President Trump and seek to go back to rule by an entirely self-serving class of professional politicians grifting for all they are worth at the nation’s cost?

    • LOL (-; This is the smart people room , you want the next door down on the far left . Its OK , this happens occasionally. Run along now .

    • You are sad. 100 years of Progressive deterioration of our great country and Constitution are being rolled back, undone, and it makes you shake with uncontrollable impotent rage. Please practice your sky screaming before election night, we don’t want you singing out of tune…

      • Galt, The Trump Administration has given us four years of proto-fascism ; of white grievance, anger and hatred ; of know -nothing-populism ; political revenge, of undermining the rule of law and responsible government ; of corruption ; of racial conflict , and personal degeneracy . I look forward to the return of decency, comity and the respect for our governmental institutions.

    • Hollywood, you are here again? I schooled you the last time about non-substantive comments – you have nothing to say other than spew your own (or in this case, somebody else’s) BS. I know people in “Hollywood” have a hard time thinking, what with rolling blackouts and all that Cher-Bette Midler “entertainment” relaxation, but how about pointing to something specific in the article to comment on? Are you really that intellectually lazy?

      • Looking through your post trying to find anything substantive to reply to. Nope, nothing. Just the usual brainless ad hominem.

    • Well said ! This VDH article is a dissembling polemic that distorts the events of the last four years. It is intellectually dishonest and disgraceful.

      • Yet you cannot articulate what he got wrong using reason and logic backed by facts. It’s all junior high level ad hominem. The disgrace is your limited intellect using this forum to spread hate.

    • A liberal friend of mine made some claim about Trump having a child prostitute ring in the WH. I responded:

      “I am sure you have some proof or evidence or a credible witness to back that up……please share and I will literally change my mind 180 degrees on Trump.

      It’s also funny you bring that up. Guess what? There are lots of pictures on Hunter’s laptop of him smoking crack naked on a Zoom call with a 14 year old girl. In a text to his father, he expressed concern that this ‘relationship” somehow made it to his therapist.

      Let’s be clear, it’s highly likely Joe Biden knows his son is a sexual predator and this information has been hidden from the public.

      I promise you I am not some troll on the internet making up some fantastical story to damage Joe Biden. This is real and will be widely reported on outside of the media that is in the tank for the Democrat Party (i.e., MSNBC, CNN, CBS, AP, NPR, ABC, NBC, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Wiki, Atlantic, Huff Post, etc.).

      And don’t buy the “Russians did it”…..that is childish and meant to pacify idiots”.

    • Very eloquent hollywood. Your liberal fascism lives loudly within you.
      Prepare yourself for four more years of MAGA greatness in mommies basement !!

    • Dr Hansen did not predict a winner in this piece. Also he is not required reading.

    • Who is”we” and what is “BS”? Is it really necessary to go all ape-shit over an opinion—a very well thought out position. You on the other hand, must emote your opinion with absolutely no reasoning apparent. You should quit.

    • Can’t stand the truth can you! Political cycles come and go, however, Trumpism is going to last. When, in your terms “the deplorables” to your personal satisfaction were suffering the world was fine. And now rejuvenated deplorables will no longer consume your elitist BS. Trump has shown an alternative method, not hope like you contend, but a real and reliable method.

  1. Prof. Hanson’s article is, as always, a well reasoned and articulated point of view. You can ageee or disagree with it, but he is not, as you so eloquently put it, “full of crap.”

    You, on the other hand, are a sad sack of talking point spouting divisiveness, as is the pathetic blog post you cited, which completely misinterpreted some simplistic statistics into the predictable RACIST!! cant that defines leftists and race baiters.

    • LOOK where the riots are. Look where the LOOTING is. LOOK where most gun violence is taking place, ALL IN DEMOCRAP CONTROLED CITIES ! (or lack of)

  2. Professor,

    Spot on as usual despite being fully aware of the hatred and ignorance to follow by keyboard warriors like the courageous clown above .. that said, it seems you feel Trump may very well lose and that is depressing for many reasons. Many years ago I used to email with you on your school email and a day before Bush Kerry you expressed confidence the American people would not be fooled and you were correct . I feel through this article the sobering reality that the thousand cuts have taken their toll and that no man, no matter how strong, can stand against the tides of his time .. ironically, the best thing that can happen to Trump himself is to loose. How long can a 74 year old man stand this punishment ? In Miller’s Dark Knight fashion he’ll retreat to Mar Largo, lick his wounds and reboot stronger than ever from his perch. It’s the country, planting a ton of hatred driven corn that will suffer as it grows.

  3. VDH nails why Trump should be reelected.

    A vote otherwise is to vote for the destruction of the US.

    • Gonzo, you must be kidding. It is Trump and his acolytes who are destroying America. Trump promotes white grievance, anger, racial hatred, denies science, undermines the Rule of law and cripples responsible government.

      • Amazingly you spew leftwing talking points but never show us proof, psst your opinion is strictly an opinion!

      • YOU HAVE IT ALL BACKWORD ! Look at the marches and riots. mostly white democraps ! Biden’s good friend was the head of the KKK

      • The Democrats’ platform is Marxist divisiveness. They say anything goes and of you don’t like it, you should be cancelled. They prefer to steal other people’s money and buy votes rather than make things work for everyone as capitalism does.

  4. I agree with Trump’s basic philosophy but………it does seem that most ordinary people are now favoring a return to “normality” under China Joe and Kamasutra Harris. Of course, this may be a function of non-stop 24/7 every media, every commentator, every Big Tech Oligarchy is against Trump.

    I’d like to see Trump b re-elected but I’m pessimistic. Too many “Karens” out there who blame him for the Chinese (accidental on purpose?) released virus.

    • GSR, perhaps it might be well for you to believe what your own eyes see concerning this election rather than what you read/see from the media. My eyes tell me Trump is now more popular with Americans than he was last go around. Just look at the crowds at his rallies or the self-made rallies across the country, even in California of all places. And all this going on with the big, bad, coronavirus breathing down our necks. Trump is likely to perform in this election just like our eyes are telling us he will. Great article VDH!

    • “Kamasutra Harris”. That is an offensive, salacious comment. You should be ashamed !!!

      • It’s spot on. It’s the political equivalent of the casting couch Weinstein thought he had perfected. Is the truth so difficult for you to handle?

      • The Lickspittle has spoken you must listen to her words of wisdome spoken from the tiny orfice know known as mouth to some, but anal for every one else .

  5. VDH in his customary insightful and enjoyable read. . . great company with morning coffee. And he reminds he of the tectonic shift Trump has caused across the political spectrum:
    1) The Republican establishment exposed for the weak, pandering, self-serving politicians they are. Mittens Romney is the poster boy for the failed GOP establishment.
    2) The Deep State has been exposed for it’s rampant criminality and has in tur exposed the most corrupt administration in US history. . . Barry O and the Biden crime family. And unlike the Russia hoax and the impeachment hoax, we have hard evidence of criminal wrongdoing. . . often in their own words. These jackasses actually documented their crimes in some cases.
    3) The media is an extension of the DNC, just as corrupt, and now fully exposed.
    4) The Democrat party has sold it’s soul to the radicals, who will eat the party alive. And yet the Dem establishment is still willing to sell out all principles it once advocated for one more election. Pathetic.

    People, what we are voting for this time is the future of our nation. If Trump is re-elected and GOP retakes the House while holding the Senate, there are today enough real fighters in the GOP to pursue the rampant criminality cited above. Leftists know this, which is why they are acting in desperation to try to stop Trump. Every vote counts. No excuses.

  6. Funny how Hollywood people always seem to think they speak for everyone. LOL.

    Another brilliant article by VDH. Professor Hanson, you are a national treasure and patriot. It’s refreshing to see the truth in a sea of media deception.

    Thank you for all that you do.

    • The people are speaking now, and they will continue to do so next Tuesday. I hope you are listening to reality.

      • So, you call rioting and looting by dysfunctional blacks and white trust fund babies speaking? That’s a laugh.

      • Oh good another spokesman for a failing industry. Why should your voice be more important than Elmer Fudd

  7. “One of the challenges in our society is that the truth is a kind of disequalizer.”

    Funny coming from the chief economic advisor or our first affirmative-action president.

    • “Affirmative action president ” ? Do you mean the twice elected, much celebrated President. Your comment is racists and arrogant !!!

      • It is common knowledge that with his lack luster resume, Obama would never have been looked at were he not black. He most certainly was an Affirmative Action president.

      • No, I think he meant the community organizer who is now considered the worst president of all time. The spy president. the traitor in the white house who could not formulate an original thought let alone a string a coherent thought without a teleprompter to eliminate the uhs, ahs of the garden variety progressive dope.

  8. From the article: “… Summers reportedly once said. “One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that they’re supposed to be treated.”.” What a ridiculous statement! Everyone should go to college bunk! To study what: African American studies; ethnic studies; human sexuality? Bunk. There are many millionaires that never went to college, but started businesses (roofing, plumbing, landscaping, restaurants, etc.). College is not for everyone; it sure as hell did nothing for Larry Summers. Trump is on target: Smaller government (fewer regulations, lower taxes). It does not take a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to figure this out, but the Left’s twisted brain is drunk for power.

  9. VDH shows how inept, destructive, and corrupt the Obama-Biden administration was. The tragedy of a Biden victory would not be we necessarily turn back the clock to the Bush Obama days, but the lost opportunities of not continuing Trump’s.

    • No, Tim. “The tragedy of a Biden victory” will be the destruction of the United States of America as-founded presciently predicted by Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

      Our nation has been betrayed by the Democrat pestilence, by their lackeys, lapdogs and lick-spittle slaves in academia, the education cartel, the once-great media, in Hollywood and elsewhere, and by masterful Chinese espionage from within … ably abetted by the Clintons, by Obama & Co. and by the Biden Crime Syndicate. But a funny thing happened in the decades before the Last American Election. Millions of Americans took billions of their own dollars and armed themselves with the best semi-automatic rifles legally available, and plenty of ammo, too. As in Colonial times, they realized that their future and their freedom could again depend on their firepower — that the protection denied them by presidents, mayors, governors, law enforcement, the Justice Department, the FBI, and paid liars in the newspapers and on TV was their own responsibility.

      They have yet to be heard from.

  10. I confidently predict that future historians will write more books about this President and Presidency than were written about FDR or Lincoln. But, “not yet – we’re still in the middle of it now.”

    The American people gambled big on someone who was neither a career politician nor a retired Army General … as EVERY one of his predecessors were. They also picked someone who literally “wrote the books” on the topic of negotiation, and who had a billion-dollar net worth to show for it. As the people had hoped, Trump has shown that these principles apply at both a national and an international level.

    Today, the definition and expectations of the Office of the President of the United States has permanently changed. International leaders around the globe are feeling the winds of change, too. It IS a new century …

    • Couldn’t agree more, Mike. Although pessimism and doom seem to be the order of the day even from conservative pundits, I am cautiously optimistic that we are on the verge of new American Golden Age where a grand coalition forms between traditional GOP voters, a 30-40% group of black voters, and 40-50% hispanic voters. With those numbers, the Democrats are a fringe party, if they survive at all. If Trump can get through true educational choice for parents (as well as cracking down on colleges that discriminate against conservatives), the pipeline of brainwashed youth can be cut off as well.

  11. Trump picked the low hanging fruit that was always there. Our political “elites” were too hell bent on admiring themselves in the mirror to bother. Hopefully we will have some more LEADERS who will come to the defense of the American CITIZEN. A.K.A. the people who are represented by the AMERICAN government. We are not the world government. The world does not want our government, they want our stuff. Everyone likes free stuff you know.

    Lets hope we can find another populist to take Trumps mantle. If we show up at the polls and bring formerly non-voting friends, we can wait 4 years to find that person.

    • Yes, the low-hanging fruit: white nationalism. Strange fruit indeed.

      • White nationalism the new Unicorn only a brain dead and blind progressive could find.

      • Perhaps you will get your bus boy job back when Harris/Biden take over so you will not have to try to spend mornings trying to understand a VDH article.

      • Found first and foremost in Hollywood. This old crap of republicans being racist is so 1950’s. Grow up

  12. Brilliant. Amazing. No one else on the planet gets it like VDH does. No one else communicates it like VDH does.

  13. I disagree with VDH with respect to Trumpism having permanently changed the direction of national politics. The basis for my disagree comes from Plato’s Republic, Book VI, The Ship of State, which Plato analogies the city (or nation in our life and time) with a ship voyaging on a dangerous sea.

    On the ship of state each crew member covets the captain’s position and spends all his time and energy angling to make his desire come true. Consequently, whoever becomes captain did so because he was good at angling to make his desire come true, not because he was a good captain.

    It is the same in politics. Our leaders are good at getting and staying elected. They are not good at navigating the ship of state. That is why everything is always all messed up.

    President Trump is one of precious few American presidents who possesses the knowledge and wisdom needed to successfully navigate the ship of state. Plato described him in his Republic: President Trump is a spirited man (apex predator) who has been properly educated and trained to be a guardian of the city (nation), to protect it, guide it, lead it to justice and prosperity.

    One of Plato’s key themes was what to do with the city’s apex predators (spirited men) so that they wouldn’t decimate the city in pursuit of their endless, voracious passions.

    Plato’s answer was proper education. And we see how well that is working out for us in modern America. Our public education system has been set up to educate apex predators to be more apex and more predatory.

    For these reasons I must respectfully disagree with VDH and his optimism about America’s future. We are in a world of deep hurt. I just hope that President Trump inspires enough good men with fighting spirit to continue seeking leading positions in America’s ship of state.

  14. Like it or not, Trump Truth engages the country’s vast industrial interior, restores the nation’s borders, takes global leadership from a Communist dictatorship, keeps intelligence agencies from destroying political opponents, manages a great economic renewal, and, as in addition, Trump Truth is moral and presidential.

      • You will be screaming at the sky with the other leftists, progressives, marxists and communists on November 3rd. Anyone who compiles rhetoric from mother jones has no credibility. Keep believing the media BS while President Trump is rallying tens of thousands at his “peaceful protests”! You, my friend, have a dire need to remain miserable. A Trump Landslide will happen on November 3rd! We are laughing all the way to a Second Term!

  15. There will need to be a special welfare fund for discredited economists, pundits, pollsters and other fortune-tellers. We are a compassionate people.

    • Among the candidates for this fund would be Prof. Hanson, Prof. Turley, Prof. Dershowitz, Andrew McCarthy, Roger L. Simon, Mark Penn, Chris Christie, Danielle Pletka, Ann Coulter, Rasmussen, Trafalgar, Rich Lowry, Conman Black, the staff of The Federalist, the staff of the New York Post, the staff of the Washington Examiner, Peggy Noonan, the editorial staff of the WSJ–so many fools spreading false information about the candidates and the campaign. You folks are going to have to eat a lot of crow.

  16. Another magnificent column from the great Professor Hanson. Take note, RINO swamp dwellers. No matter who wins next week, you’re history. I’m looking forward to it.

  17. I agree with most of VDHs points here but I think he’s underestimating the spite and venom of the AOC new hard left, the Dems, the outraged press and even the Rinos. They all want to dismantle the Trump legacy as he dismantled Obumbler’s even to cutting off proverbial noses to spite ones face. They want to make sure no other outsider will ever want to step in to continue draining the swamp.

    The left’s motto will be:
    “It is not enough that I win, everyone else must lose,” … and be punished with personal destruction to ensure it never happens again.

    • I agree with you. I’m somewhat uplifted though that Mr Trump may make sure that there is an enthusiastic and complete reckoning for those who participated in the coup, the impeachment, etc. provided he is reelected. He understands now that there will be no answer other than total justice metered out to those fuggbuttons. One of my daily prayers.

      • The complete reckoning will come when a truth and reconciliation committee documents the frauds, self-dealing, thievery and crimes of the Trump crime admin. Then, the new AG can instruct the US Attorney to do the necessary.

  18. Why no comments on Trump re renewing our culture? He has stood for Christian values and American exceptionalism where Obama and like-minded elites laugh at these. By Simply pointing out that the pointed spruce tree with lights on it and presents underneath is in fact a Christmas Tree demonstrates Trump has more grasp of reality and the importance of culture than the swamp things.

  19. Victor Hanson always sees thru the eyes of history and its lessons. I hope for a solid Trump victory next week and a move forward in American quality of life.

  20. Trumpism is just the way of life and values I grew up with in the 1950’s, the traditional American way. The left represents something totally foreign to America – socialism/communism, all power in a huge central government, a few rich people at the top, no middle class, and the rest of the country poverty stricken. I’ll never understand the appeal of anything left wing.

    • Hell is the absence of reason. Thats all you need to understand about evil.

  21. As always VDH shows incredible insight to the condition of the nation and national politics. Very insightful article. It is incredible to me how he makes cuts through all the insanity that is around us.
    Thank You Professor!

  22. I did a disservice to my 3 children by insisting they go to college and graduate school. (I didn’t go to college, but I did teach at one for a few years) They are all virulently anti-Trump, but it is worse than that. My son, BA in political science and an MA in International Conflict Resolution stated emphatically after Brexit; ” Some people should not be allowed to vote!”. I could only imagine what my parents and grandparents reactions would have been. (Probably a slap across the face from the grandmothers).

    Donald Trump is America’s version of Brexit. We are tired of being talked down to, lied to; accused of crimes, attitudes and behaviors we find disgusting; belittled for our beliefs in God and the Bill of Rights. We are tired of Wall Street and the elites gaming the economy for their benefit at our expense. We are tired of fighting other peoples wars. We are tired of providing for people who hate us.

    We will never accept a return to the world before Donald Trump.

    • Two of my college graduate kids became conservatives when they started having kids. They are now staunch Trump supporters. Hang in there I know it is difficult to be a conservative with liberal flea brained kids.

  23. It’s really amazing how Trumpism has changed America and politics in America. Before Trump, China, immigration, trade deals, lost industry, and brutal defeat of enemies were almost never heard of by pols. There were always fake issues drummed up to hysterical importance by the media (they still do). Trump has succeeded in leading the American people to revisit and restore their national roots. We are witnessing a great one. I’ll take four more years.

  24. So true and well-said, though I have one, albeit major correction to offer:
    Obama’s empowerment of theocratic Iran wasn’t “insane.” It was his plan.

  25. VDH is one of the greatest communicators of our time. Thank you for this inspiring and well thought out essay.

  26. “Deregulation and cuts in corporate taxes galvanized the economy and indeed profits “trickled down” to the hoi polloi.”

    Trickle-down economics always reminds me of Ambrose Bierce’s “The Devil’s Dictionary”, where he notes of oysters that “the shells are sometimes given to the poor”.

  27. Ben Shapiro 2024. Ben wouldn’t do it (USA not ready for an orthodox conservative jew wearing a yarmulke – they prefer their jews to be Hollywood liberal elites like Messing, Spielberg, Midler) but one can dream…maybe he’ll do it when AOC runs for president. She still refuses to debate him (guess she’s not that stupid)…

  28. The general population unlike Conservatives actually supports Trump idea to hike up minimum wage to 10. In red states like Arkansas Trump voters supported an 11 an hour minimum wage on the ballot.. In fact Trump only increase manufacturing by 450,000 jobs and restaurant and hotel jobs by 800,000. In fact, one can have 10 or 11 an hour minimum wage for 22 and over, and 7.25 or lower for those 21 years and younger, but conservatives don’t want to do the compromise that would slightly help adults. One doesn’t have to rise minimum to 15 an hour, there are lots of comprises in between.

  29. Trump gave Republicans new cloth coats with plenty to spare for Independents and working class Democrats. We can better weather the storms caused by the globalist Socialists and repair the American foundations of liberty, prosperity, and innovation.

  30. I can see no reason for someone that voted for President Trump in 2016 to abandon him in 2020. So the question is if the Democrats are able to mobilize enough new or “Phantom” voters to over come these voters and increased Black and Latino support. If they do steal the election, I think the Republican Party needs to be abandoned to the Establishment and Never Trumpers and patriots craft a new party free of the corruption of the Establishment. A party not “owned” by the same cabal that also “owns” the Democratic Party. I do not want to ever again be in a position of having really to only choose between an Obama/Biden/Warren/Clinton and a Romney/McCain/Bush type of candidate. No more “Holding my nose to support the nominee” crap again.

      • Let’s do the Nancy Pelosi plan to fight covid and give 20 million dollars to the Kennedy Center. Still waiting on that. How about the common cold? Everybody on the planet gets those. Where’s the plan for that. Throw money at it and move on. That’s the leftist plan.

  31. Another excellent article that hits on all the points for why Trump was elected and why he’s very likely to be reelected.

  32. Another good essay by VDH. He sums up the Trump presidency pretty well. Unfortunately, the Chinese bio-weapon politely called “covid 19” came along, and now it looks like the majority of Americans are so scared of this virus that they are gonna elect Joe Biden, because “he has a national strategy”. This demonstrates how easily voters are deceived and manipulated by the dishonest, lying, leftist media. When senile Joe Biden is inaugurated, freedom in America will end. Grim future we have to look forward to, eh?

  33. Have faith that nothing is as it seems…the God of Sinai, the God of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” is fully engaged.
    As to the supposed early voting Democrat edge, I have yet to see a news outlet, whether print or corporate media, make the connection between high Democrat early voting and the pathologies of hate nurtured to hinder Trump since 2016; every early vote is no doubt therapeutic for the majority Trump haters hence the long lines.
    It is unfortunate that those early voters, especially black women, will not have the true choices to be made before them.
    Africanexodus.org
    Onefaith-onevoice.org

  34. Trump’s agenda is to get reelected so he can avoid civil and criminal liability and hope the statutes of limitation run.

    • How Is it that you all became economists and foreign policy experts? In fact,most of you are nothing resembling those things.trump defined those issues for you. There are trade offs on issues such as China,climate change.He expertly capitalized politically on the downside of those issues and won 3 states by a handful of votes by doing so.as to the economy he has the largest deficits of any pres other than Regan.And to conclude this attempt at explaining this aberration he had a lot of help from fools like you.

    • Do you really believe what you are typing or just happy to engage in projection? Or put another way, how can such a clever person engage is such simple-minded, ad hominem put-downs? It beggars belief…

  35. It’s sad about VDH. I used to enjoy his columns in the National Review. They were intelligent and scholarly. At some point during the Obama years, he flipped. Now, he’s in full crazy-uncle mode. It’s too bad: a mind gone to waste. Or maybe it’s money, or old age, or competition from social media. Whatever. Sigh….

  36. Being a free society, it might be better to let the discredited restart in the entry-level jobs they so casually dismiss.

  37. Good article! I’m not convinced though, but this is some of the best pro-Trump arguments I’ve ever heard. Some thoughts I had while reading. I’d love to hear responses, but please be civil! (and cite your sources if you can, that makes discourse much easier!)

    -when talking about his successful push for Oil/Gas: “And the elite dismissed all that as too damaging to the planet. ” I’m not sure who they mean by the term ‘elites.’ I see ‘elites’ as the 1% rich people, many of whom are rich because of oil/gas. I don’t see Elites as the Green movement, or the ‘save the planet’ hippies. Those are far from elites. Maybe they are ‘academic elites’?

    -Wage increases: Did some research to fact-check the claim that closing off Mexico had a positive effect. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/ looks like average hourly wages have increased (but not at an increased rate) but buying power hasn’t. I really don’t know that middle class income ‘soared,’ and minority youth were being ‘begged to come to work.’ Where are they getting this data? It’s not reflected in the studies I’ve found.

    I don’t see any weird change around 2016, it just seems to be keeping on the same path as before. If Trumps policies did affect minority employment, shouldn’t there be a dip at 2016?

    -I do agree that unpredictability can be good. Not sure if it’s good for a stable world peace, but it is a good deterrent to stop aggressive movements.

    -I do like a lot of this foreign policy. I’m not fact checking most of it, though. I’m also not confident that what I like is actually a good idea. Maybe it only sounds good, but supporting Israel isn’t a good idea, for instance.

    – This literally quotes “trickle down” and says it’s a good thing. It was taught in high school as a failed economic model that has been proven to NOT work.

    -“only by [cutting off cheap immegrant laber] woudl wages of entry-level and minotirty workers rise” Why not raise the minimum wage? wouldn’t that work too? Cutting off cheap labor probably just drives production back to china, like the article started off saying was the problem…

    – I don’t understand what it’s trying to say when it defends Trump as not racist. Literally don’t understand. Too much big words.

    -Dismissing the Steele dossier as a ‘hoax’ is false, it wasn’t a hoax. Makes me doubt their other statements. Parts of the Steele dossier were inaccurate, not true, or exaggerated, but other parts of it were legit. If Buzzfeed had only released the parts that turned out to be true, it would have STILL been a big deal. Instead, because parts of it were not true, people are dismissing the whole thing.

    -I don’t know what to think about Obama investigating Trump with FBI. On one hand, being a candidate shouldn’t make you immune to investigations that have probable causes. Quite the opposite. Heck, I’m always surprised some of these politicians can get a security clearance. But on the other hand, I agree it would have probably been easy for Obama to use the investigation as a way to spy on their campaign. (another good reason to have moral presidents. It’s going to be impossible to verify that they won’t misuse their powers. I have some hope that Obama didn’t misuse his powers here, but would have 0 hope if it was Clinton or Trump in that same seat.)

    -“Biden would raise taxes” according to his published tax plan, yes. He would raise taxes on those people who make over $400k. This seems to be a good thing, yes? https://taxfoundation.org/joe-biden-tax-plan-2020/#Key this source says “Biden tax plan by 2030 would lead to about 7.7 percent less after-tax income for the top 1 percent of taxpayers and about a 1.9 percent decline in after-tax income for all taxpayers on average.” So that’s not good; however it would give the government $3.3 trillion.

    -“Biden would restore cumbersome regulations;” Capitalism, if left unchecked, leads to what we saw in the industrial revolution, with massive wealth inequalities. In recent years, wealth inequalities have skyrocketed, so I’m in favor of more regulations to try and fix that.

    -Biden would strangle the fossil fuel industry” Same deal as before: I ask myself: what would be best for rich people? As that’s probably the biggest single factor influencing where money gets spent to influence politics. I don’t think moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy helps anyone who is currently rich, and so therefore I support it. It can only help more startups, small energy efficient businesses, and of course, new technology. And lastly, yes, I would like to be environmentally friendly.

    -Obama is called a ‘racial arsonist’ lol. And Trump ‘Stand by’ isn’t. Under whose term were there massive racial protests?

    -I actually havn’t really heard about the NeverTrump movement. I’ve only heard about it from republican news sources. Are you sure it isn’t a ‘strawman argument’?

    Thanks for reading! I know my post is super long…

  38. shoot, my line spacing didn’t work, it wasn’t meant to be one massive block of text… if someone can tell me how to fix I’ll resubmit

  39. So looking forward to Hussein’s arrest and imprisonment. That clown is panicked now, which is a great sight to behold. MAGA!

  40. It’s wonderful to see so many progressives / liberals reading VHD – hopefully they will learn something? TRUMP 2020

  41. This article is an excellent assessment of Trumpism. As always, VDH sums it up nicely.

  42. Dear Professor Hanson,
    Magnificent summary; brilliant recounting and analysis of President Trump’s tenure in office. And, why it is so critical that he remain in office. This article is a must read for all Americans who care for our country.
    God Bless you and preserve you.
    Respectfully,
    Raul J. Fernandez

  43. Donald Trump doesn’t give two cents for any of you. Joe Biden is the lessor of two weevils, and we are self-destructing as a nation.
    I imagine these posts as the same rhetoric from the German middle class in support of Hitler before millions of ordinary men, women and children died in horrific fashion, in addition to the millions of Jews, Poles, Russians, and others persecuted just for not being “Arian”.
    Political parties are our real enemies along with our human disability to choose what we want to believe for whatever reason we choose to believe. Stop the caustic rhetoric for a moment before we demonstrate to the world our emotional dysfunction, and open the door for more foreign interference.
    Anything can happen in this life, and we each have equal capacity for good and evil. The dueling psychopath made his case and challenge, but is that who we are now? Do I have to put my nine mil under my pillow, because we have political differences? This is not the America I want for my grandchildren.
    And even if Dr. Hanson’s remarks are articulate, his comments are provocative and unworthy of a scholar who has studied in depth the consequence of fascist mindsets and political propaganda.
    I took your course on World War II and I was impressed with your depth of knowledge and your insights, then surprised and disappointed following your essays on Trump, assigning your insights and perceptions to a man out of his depth, beyond his capacity to comprehend, socially inept without remorse or responsibility.
    Dr. Hanson you are an enabler for fascist minds, and egocentric individualists who cannot survive well in the social framework that Democracy requires. They will destroy us all, and you as well, in this devil’s bargain.

  44. Victor,
    This piece was one of your Greatest Hits. I have followed you since 2003 when you were on C-span2 for an in-depth interview. I was hooked and remained so, after all these years. Your writing is a model to discourse as
    Elle Macpherson is to a bikini: brevity with high impact. this short world history from WWII wrapped in political subplot, leading to Trump as a walk-off home run. So well done. thanks for it, and your stamina to continue your belief in America.

  45. Here’s the real situation those of you who like Hanson are laboring under anti-science nonsense and fantasies. Nate Silver says Trump currently has a 10% chance of winning at this point. At this same point, Trump had a 35% chance of beating Clinton. So, how do you like those odds? And it’s likely Trump’s odds will decrease by election day. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-can-still-win-but-the-polls-would-have-to-be-off-by-way-more-than-in-2016/