Trumpism Is On the March

I confess that I do not usually read columns by David Axelrod, the former senior advisor and campaign strategist for Barack Obama. But I chanced upon “History will scorn the cowards who fear Trump,” one of his CNN columns that was linked at RealClearPolitics, and I glanced through it. It is the usual partisan anti-Trump stuff, full of animadversions about President Trump’s “appalling attempt to undermine democracy,” etc. No surprise there. And let us acknowledge that there are plenty of columns written from the opposite end of the political spectrum that are equally partisan. 

What interested me about Axelrod’s column was not its partisan nature—that, as I say, comes with the territory—but rather the heat and direction of its rhetoric. Axelrod is a canny writer, and his column is an artfully wrought statement, not so much for its argument—Trump and his supporters are terrible for challenging the election, etc.—but for its cunning deployment of utopian virtue signaling. “History,” he says at the end, will not only scorn Trump and all his works, but it will also honor those who “showed courage and fidelity to the rule of law during this time of trial.”

“History,” you see. I would like to know what History will think myself. I sadly acknowledge that I do not know. I am not privy to her secrets. Only people like David Axelrod (and his former boss, Barack Obama) know them, or pretend they know them, just as they know that they are on the side of the angels and that Donald Trump and his crew are nasty “authoritarian” dispensers of “blatant lies” setting a “chilling precedent” by daring to challenge the 2020 presidential election. 

Some people with a macabre sense of humor will find all this funny. They will chuckle as they juxtapose Axelrod’s talk of “fidelity to the rule of law” with the erupting boils of scandal surrounding what Rudy Giuliani apostrophized as the Biden Crime Family. They will smile when they recall Barack Obama’s refusal to enforce the country’s immigration laws when the state of Arizona attempted to police its Southern border. (“The rule of law? We’re beyond all that. We’re for the rule of virtue.”) And they will be rolling in the aisles with laughter when they contrast Axelrod’s high dudgeon about Trump’s efforts to contest the election with the behavior of Hillary’s supporters in 2016. 

Remember the lawsuits brought by Green Party candidate Jill Stein after the 2016 election? Remember the “celebrities” who urged Republican electors to “vote their conscience” and deny an “unfit” Donald Trump from becoming president? Remember the Russia collusion delusion? The Mueller fiasco? The impeachment wheeze? The pathetic prattlings of Bill Kristol and his NeverTrump epigones? 

Axelrod is complaining that Donald Trump and his supporters have contested this very unusual election for five weeks when he and his ilk have emitted “blatant lies” and displayed all manner of “authoritarian” behavior for nearly five years in their attacks on Donald Trump, his family, and his supporters. 

I have never felt satisfied that I understood the visceral hatred of Donald Trump. I understand why people thought him unfit when he first announced his bid to be president—really, a flashy real-estate mogul turned reality TV star? At first, I thought it preposterous, too, and I said so in a score of columns. But as the 2016 campaign wore on, and after Ted Cruz, my favored candidate, dropped out, I began taking a closer look at Trump. I understood that he was not your usual sort of politician, but I put that down on the plus side of the ledger. 

By the time of the 2016 convention, despite some misgivings, I was sold. And as I listened to what he said about illegal immigration, about the blight of the inner cities, about putting America first, about rolling back the despotic nanny-regulatory state, cutting taxes, appointing constitutionalist judges, about exploiting America’s energy resources—on these and many other issues I was with him 100 percent. I marveled at his energy and charisma as he drew tens of thousands of supporters to dozens of rallies. 

And what a job he has done, as much in his foreign policy as in his domestic policy! No new foreign wars. A stunning legacy of peace in the Middle East, wrought while strongly supporting Israel, our most important ally in the region. Standing up to Iran and China, the most dangerous sources of potential conflict in the world today. I think it is an amazing litany of success. 

In a way, that is neither here nor there with respect to David Axelrod’s present discontents. He wants Donald Trump to disappear because, he says, Trump lost the election fair and square. 

But that of course is precisely the question. Did Donald Trump in fact lose the election? Or was the election rigged? 

I have written a passel of pieces detailing why I think there are exigent questions about the integrity of the 2020 election. The plain truth is that the election was deeply marred by what the commentator Stephen Meister calls “badges of fraud”—“telltale signs that a fraud has taken place—short of positive proof of the actual fraud, because fraudsters have a tendency to cover their tracks.” 

Meister reviews a number of such “badges,” including the curious fact that in all the swing states Trump was far ahead around midnight. Then, after an apparently coordinated hiatus in counting, in unison, there was a sudden “blue spike” that delivered winning numbers of votes to Joe Biden. He notes:

Six swing states were won by Trump on Election Day, and all six shifted to Biden by virtue of early-morning Nov. 4 spikes in mailed-in ballots that overwhelmingly favored Biden; but somehow Biden didn’t win elsewhere in the country; Trump won nearly all (18 of 19) of the historically accurate bellwether counties; Biden, campaigning from his basement, after obvious signs of cognitive decline and the hugely damaging Hunter Biden scandal breaking, running with a vice presidential candidate who had to drop out of the Democratic nomination race while polling at 5 percent, somehow topped Obama, the first black U.S. president, by more than 10 million votes, even as Trump won more of the nonwhite vote than any Republican candidate in the past 60 years.

How does that happen? Not by chance.

David Axelrod doesn’t like it that Trump supporters—all 74 million of them—refuse to accede to what appears to be coordinated voter fraud. The great Allen West, now chairman of the Texas GOP, has suggested that “law-abiding states . . . bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.” Will it come to that? Maybe. I somehow doubt it. But the aroma of resistance, if not quite (not yet) secession, is in the air. 

David Axelrod and other representatives of deep-state business-as-usual just want Trump and his supporters to evaporate so that they can get on with their project of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” I have disappointing news for them. Whoever is inaugurated on January 20, the spirit of Trumpism, which is the spirit of America, is not vanquished. On the contrary, it is on the march and, God willing, it will eventually succeed. It won’t be quick. It won’t be easy. But Spinoza was right: “omnia praeclara tam difficilia, quam rara sunt.”

About Roger Kimball

Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine's Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee).

Photo: (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

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