Thursday, November 17, 2022

A Trump Revival?

It was designed to be a grand theatrical gesture. It was designed to be the coda on Tuesday’s elections, elections that President Trump surely imagined were going to be the bell that signaled his reentry into presidential politics. 

Such was not the reality. As we scanned the news we discovered that Trump had lost the support of big Republican donors, from Rubert Murdoch to Ken Griffin. He had also lost the support of senior officials who had worked with him, from Mike Pence to Mark Esper to Mick Mulvaney. He also lost the support of Congressional Republicans who kept saying that they were tired of losing with Trump. 

More than a few normally sympathetic Republicans accused Trump of having lost his touch. At a time when Georgia was gearing up for an election for senator, Trump risked sucking the oxygen out of the room. Now, Herschel Walker, not the most adept wordsmith, was going to be dogged by questions about Donald Trump.

And yet, the polls do not look all that bad. Trump is still leading all other contenders. Still, if ever those contenders decide on a single opponent, Trump’s good fortune will evaporate. Most Republicans are now touting the greatness of a proven winner and a proven executive by the name of Ron DeSantis.

And yet, were we to look at the Trump record, it is generally positive. It is certainly more positive than the Biden debacle. Victor Davis Hanson sums it up:

Trump’s actual four years of governance were characterized, before the advent of the pandemic, by robust growth, low inflation, energy independence, low unemployment, a rebuilding of the US military, eventual curbing of illegal immigration, the Abraham Accords, and forcing NATO to spend far more on defense. Trump saved the Supreme Court and lower federal courts for a generation.

Unfortunately, Trump more often stepped all over his record. He allowed his oversized persona, his flair for the dramatic, to overshadow his work as president. True enough, he was more sinned against than sinning, but the press and the deep state were so completely hostile to him that he must have felt that he had little choice between crawling into a cave somewhere and crying out against them.

As it happens, there are other ways to deal with such flagrant hostility. Note that when Ron DeSantis is being attacked, whether by his political opposition or by Donald Trump, he becomes ironic, turning the assault against the assaulters. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has no sense of irony, or even of sarcasm. And he barely controls his communications.

For all of his many successes, Donald Trump was done in by his oversized personality, and, yes, by the mean, incoherent, rambling tweets. You might find this to be a gross injustice, but that does not make it true. American citizens seem to want a president who is presidential. Trump was anything but. He reveled in the fact.

Of course, Trump’s 2016 opponent was a grossly incompetent fraud. Hillary was anything but presidential. And yet, consider the fact that Trump lost to our current president, a Tin Man… and your perspective will receive a much-needed corrective.

Trump’s great virtue, in 2016, was that he was the only Republican who could have beat Hillary Clinton. Today, however, if we are to believe Mick Mulaney, Trump is the candidate most likely to lose to a Democrat. Not because of the issues or the record-- but, because of the show. After four years America chose not to be entertained.

The reason is simple. Trump has allowed himself to be consumed by grievance. It is not a presidential look. It is a sore-loser look. In the most recent elections, Trump sought out candidates who claimed to share his grievances. Most of them underperformed. And he seemed to prefer candidates who were near-amateurs, who did not have very much experience at the highest levels of government.

Ironically, this was what damaged the Trump presidency-- inexperience. Lacking same, Trump could not step away from the brawl. He often seemed to be flailing, like someone who had been brought in to pinch hit, but who barely knew how to play the game.


IamDevo said...

Inasmuch as Trump was, and remains the ultimate outsider whose support came largely from Americans who identified with that characterization (i.e., traditional Americans) it should come as no surprise that he supported others who were also outsiders. Why support candidates whose history was within the "insiders," and who owed allegiance to the very "uniparty" system that Trump sought to disrupt and which opposed him when he was in office? His actions are certainly consistent, in my view, even though they may have caused some electoral defeats. I sympathize with him. Why should I cast a vote for a candidate who will do nothing other than become another cog in the enormous and all-encompassing, all-consuming and exclusively self-interested government behemoth?

Anonymous said...

If the Republican party cannot move past DJT then it is in serious trouble.

Bizzy Brain said...

I'm a MAGA Populist who supports Donald Trump. Those who ask me to move past Trump are asking me to abandon MAGA Populism. The point is moot anyway, because Trump or no Trump, the rigged election system means no more Republican Presidents - ever. And those Republicans who have "moved past Trump" aren't going to do jack squat about the corruption.

Anonymous said...

And it's so much more than that. The politicians are looting the country and taking your rights. About 80,000,000 voters recognize this and want a candidate who will reverse it and put the worst thieves in jail. Hence Trump. NOT the other way around! It isn't about Trump it is about America. 80,000,000 voters understand that the rest either don't get it (as in they are ignorant) or they are part of the grift. So "dump Trump" if that's what you gotta do either out of ignorance or to further the grift but what do you think the 80,000,000 voters are going to do? They've already been red pilled and aren't going back. Once you've seen the truth you see it everywhere. Everything the Democrats say has been said in Russia in the 20's, 30's, 40's, etc. If you don't see that either you know nothing or you took the blue pill. Simple as that.

Mark Matis said...

So Trump lost the support of the filthy Koch-sucking Rove Republican swill? What's not to like? By re-electing McCarthy and McConnell to lead them in the House and Senate, the GOP has shown what they are. The OTHER part of the Uniparty!

Anonymous said...

Trump will easily beat DeSantis. Coke vs. Pepsi.. voters like the real thing