Round 2 of the Great Trump War Sets the Stage for Round 3

The Great Trump War is approaching the end of round two. The president predicted the abuse of unsolicited mass-mailed ballots and ballot harvesting, but did not put an adequate legal team in place on the ground in time with the necessary resources to combat it. He is not blameless in the incoherence and disorganization of this blizzard of uncoordinated lawsuits his counsel have mounted, or in the ambiguity of the status and implausibility of the claims advanced by the estimable Sidney Powell. 

The president’s move on Monday to begin accommodation of the transition activities of the Biden camp indicates that he has moved in time to maintain his legitimate allegations of election skulduggery while also providing a reasonable facsimile of a philosophical acceptance of the likely fact of Biden’s election, though not of its impeccable legitimacy. This will enable him to maintain the rage of his scores of millions of ardent supporters, who constitute by far the greatest block of followers of any current American political leader—easily surpassing Obama, who has backtracked in his latest memoir to false racialization (the last refuge of contemporary American political scoundrels), and the Clintons, whose prestige is crumbling every week, the faded Bushes, who were never stem-winders even in the best of times, and certainly Joe Biden, caretaker for an historical intermission.

All the Trump-haters’ claims that he would unleash his followers’ violence if he did not win the election have vanished down the same sewer as the prophecies of impending Russian election interference and the postmaster general’s evanescently infamous voter suppression (a complete fiction). 

It now appears that when the Democratic Party elders—to save themselves the embarrassment of a Sanders quasi-Marxist candidacy—plucked Joe Biden out of the ditch after he came in fifth in the New Hampshire primary and transported him across the finish line while also resuscitating Kamala Harris from her pre-primary flameout, assumed Biden would not have the mental stamina to complete his term. They hoped Harris could then take over and implement the so-called Sanders-Biden Unity Program for the socialization of America, backed by solid Senate and House of Representatives majorities. The appearance of their current victory is deceiving.

There seems now to be little doubt that the president has been defeated, but defeated in a manner that enables him to replicate the righteous campaign of General Andrew Jackson in 1824 after he led the polls but without an Electoral College majority and was denied victory in the House of Representatives by the joint action of John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, who had trailed him in the election. 

Trump has ample grounds to take the mantle of the reformer and campaign for a cleansing of elections to prevent outrages like the politicization of the intelligence services and the FBI against him in 2016, and the undoubted abuse of ballot harvesting and probable manipulation of voting machines in 2020. 

The Democratic presidential victory, much narrower than the Democratic strategists had imagined, has been accompanied by a general endorsement of Trump’s policies in the congressional and state elections. The Democratic House majority appears to be down to approximately nine congressmen. And the president himself, as long as he avoids the appearance of churlishness and juvenile bad temper, and confines himself to righteous purposefulness, should be able to help assure the victory of the Republican candidates against their somewhat extremist opponents in the Georgia Senate runoffs on January 5. 

This would be a high and portentous note upon which, after reasserting his political preeminence, to prepare for round three.

Contrary to the dreams and hopes of the Democratic strategists, Biden will not get anywhere with the likely Republican Senate majority, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will have trouble enough maintaining her position for the next two years. It is almost inconceivable that the Democrats will retain a majority in the House in 2022. 

This year Trump has been sandbagged by COVID-19 hysteria amplified by the Trump-hating media, ballot harvesting on a grand scale, Big Media, Big Tech, Big Money, Hollywood, professional sports, and 95 percent of the national political journalists, all holding hands in shared Trump hatred. It must also be admitted that the president was often unwise in his own conduct and comments and made his enemies’ task of denigrating him easier. 

Nevertheless, Donald Trump managed to attract nearly 74 million votes and to reposition the Republican Party as entirely accessible to minorities and lower-income earners by practically ending illegal immigration and unemployment and founding enterprise zones in disadvantaged areas; all while retaining his capitalist credentials by cutting taxes, deregulating, and renegotiating trade arrangements with China, Europe, Mexico, and Canada. If he leaves office in January, as appears likely, it will be with unbowed head and as leader of a populist political movement that will make him America’s first inter-election leader of the opposition since Jackson 196 years ago, in unchallengeable control of the Republican Party and with an emerging majority of the country.

It appears from his early selections for senior administration positions that Joe Biden wishes to resurrect the bland, soft Left, apologetic and elitist posturing of the Obama years: vanishing red lines, petulant withdrawals, temporizing with ISIS, truckling to Iran and its terrorist protégés, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis; blissful ignorance of the Chinese challenge, and indulgence of the slacking of “allies” graciously accepting an American military guarantee while Americans pay for the defense of Western Europe, which is perfectly able to defend itself. It looks like endless schmoozing while America’s pockets are picked. 

With only minor stylistic adjustment and a period of comparative discretion, Trump will become a subject of nostalgia. The public will soon see that the Biden Administration for which the elites and establishment of the whole country have striven so mightily is a slap-happy “Gong Show,” probably unable to resist the temptations of reopened illegal immigration and appeasement of China and Iran and its terrorist riff-raff.

Unless Biden ignores the extreme Left in his party and reverts to being a Clintonite occupant of the center-Left, and works out compromises with the Republican leaders in the Congress, he has little chance of being a successful or popular president. There is an opportunity for sensible compromises for healthcare, infrastructure, crime reduction, and other urgent national priorities that have been hamstrung by the fierce contest between Trump populism and the entrenched post-Reagan bipartisan establishment. This would make Biden an effective manager of the bipartisan system, which he sometimes was in his long career in the Senate. 

Whatever Biden does, if Trump plays it right, he is the future, not the past. Barring a Damascene conversion to more civilized times, Biden and his managers are caretaking placeholders, and Trump retains the tremendous momentum he has built for a new Republican coalition.

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About Conrad Black

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 as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.

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