Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Less than three months from election day, Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans keep telling us (and themselves) that President Trump “is in trouble” in his bid for reelection. Trump’s enemies chant poll numbers like incantations, even though that juju failed spectacularly in 2016. They harp on Trump’s media-manufactured “failures” like his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his response to the ongoing riots instigated by Black Lives Matter and its Antifa brown-shirts. And as has been true from the start, the bulk of their criticisms are really about subjective and self-serving standards of “comportment” and “decorum” and “norms” that reflect the bipartisan “cognitive elite” and big-government functionaries.
But a more sober analysis suggests that the president has a faithful and energized base and a record of accomplishment compared to the Dems’ lunge to the lunatic left. Moreover, the spectacle of civic destruction, increasing violent crime, and nakedly partisan and authoritarian excesses on the part of blue-state governors and mayors will give Trump a decided edge with the bulk of ordinary Americans.
First, Trump’s economic success has been stalled not because of any missteps by his administration, but by a pandemic originating in totalitarian China and worsened by its willful obscuring of the virus’s origins and lethality. Voters with common sense and fairness know that the current recession is not Trump’s fault, and that having rescued the economy once, he can do so again. They also can see that blue-state governors have needlessly exacerbated the economic damage by imposing draconian and arbitrary lockdown orders based not on science, but on their increasingly obvious desire to wound the president politically even if it means immiserating their own citizens.
In contrast to Trump’s successful economics, over the last few months the Democrats have abandoned their traditional center-left governing philosophy and embraced a socialist ideology that for over a century has serially failed everywhere it has been tried. Indeed, during this year’s Democrat presidential primaries, the party establishment was trying to neuter Bernie Sanders and his faction just as they did in 2016. They know that socialism and its growth-killing policies like the Green New Deal are not a winning platform for the mass of voters outside the bicoastal blue enclaves.
Yet the Dem standard-bearer Joe Biden has endorsed wacky proposals like eliminating cheap carbon-based energy, restoring punitive taxes, and increasing the redistribution of wealth through handouts like free college tuition and Medicare for all, which more centrist Democrats know are electoral poison. It’s hard to imagine that in just six months the same voters who the Dems thought would be repelled by such policies have suddenly develop affection for them.
So on that score, come November voters will have a choice between returning to the policies that created an economy that reduced unemployment to historic levels, elevated GDP to a level Obama’s court-economist claimed was impossible, increased growth in wages, and brought back manufacturing jobs that Obama sneered would require a “magic wand”; or trying once again failed policies of intrusive job-killing regulations, bloated and overweening federal bureaucracies, tax-rates that punish the productive, and an ever-expanding roster of citizens dependent on government overlords rather than looking to their families, communities, churches, states, and own characters for support in managing their lives.
Next, Donald Trump has fiercely waged war on the political correctness and the toxic “cancel culture” it engenders. He excoriates with brutal wit the preposterous charges of thought-crimes like “racism” or “xenophobia,” exposing their vapidity and hypocrisy. He shrewdly contrasts the Democrats’ neglect of average black citizens whose vote they take for granted, with his own achievements such as sentencing reform, increased aid to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and historic rates of black employment. And he mocks the prissy, pearl-clutching dudgeon of the “woke” left who ransack American history for grievous offenders to condemn, even as the monstrous crimes and genocides of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and their imitators like Castro, Chavez, and Maduro, are ignored or celebrated.
Additionally, Trump has called out the Dems for endorsing the “woke” culture’s totalitarian intolerance and opposition to free speech, not to mention their eagerness to gut the Bill of Rights. On November 3, voters will have a choice between a president who defends their unalienable rights like freedom of speech, assembly, and worship, along with the right “to keep and bear arms”; or a party that wants to limit or eliminate all of them by passing ever-more onerous gun laws, imposing censorship through “hate speech” laws, and privileging casinos and violent riots over churches and temples.
Finally, he has battled the Salemite persecutions of men falsely accused of “sexual assault.” He vigorously supported Bret Kavanaugh in 2018 when the Democrats turned his televised Supreme Court confirmation hearings into a Democrat star-chamber prosecution of the jurist for an alleged 36-year-old sex crime his accuser could not substantiate with a speck of evidence. And he has ended some of the same sort of unjust, unconstitutional practices rife on college campuses for decades––an early and particularly malevolent form of “cancel culture” that has destroyed the lives of hundreds of college students.
All that would be enough to put Donald Trump back in the White House. But that’s not all.
On top of Trump’s record, the Democrats’ candidate is one of the most disastrous since George McGovern in 1972. In nearly fifty years of “public service,” Joe Biden has no record of legislative accomplishments to run on, and the few he used to brag about, such as the 1994 “tough on crime” bill, he has disowned, denounced, and desperately apologized for. The bulk of his time in the Senate has been spent tending to the interests of banks chartered in his home-state of Delaware. It was Biden who made sure government-backed student loan debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Biden’s and his family’s sketchy financial dealings with China are even more troubling given that we clearly are in a cold war with that totalitarian thug-state. No surprise that the intelligence community has determined China prefers Biden in the upcoming election.
And don’t forget Biden’s history of plagiarism, gaffes, lies, and specious fabrications in anecdotes about his past. He serially accused the driver of the truck involved in the car accident that killed his wife and daughter of being drunk, thus ruining the man’s life, when in fact he wasn’t and Biden’s wife was responsible for the crash. And he has lied about his law-school career. As Derek Hunter writes on Townhall,
Everything Joe said in that exchange [with a voter in 1987] was untrue. He didn’t have an academic scholarship; he hadn’t won a moot court competition; he wasn’t listed as an outstanding student. Even though his claim of being in the “bottom two-thirds” of his class and finishing in the “top half” makes no sense because there’s enormous overlap between the two, he actually finished 76th in a class of 85 students.
From facing down a gang-banger named “Corn Pop,” to attempting to visit Nelson Mandela in prison, Biden has repeatedly told preposterous lies. And don’t forget, there are yards of footage of Joe inappropriately putting his hands on women and girls and sniffing their hair, offenses that if committed by a Republican would have sparked a national spasm of MeToo hysteria.
And if that troubling record of duplicity and unwelcome fondling isn’t enough, it has been clear for months that Biden suffers from the early stages of dementia. FOX News has made a number of video catalogues of Joe’s lapses in memory and bursts of anger of the sort typical of people with dementia. This bodes ill for Biden, as David Catron has pointed out. Reviewing the collapse of Mike Dukakis’ presidential campaign against George H.W. Bush in 1988, Catron writes, “[T]he liabilities of [Biden] in 2020 involve the same issues that dogged [Dukakis] in 1988 — mental fitness to handle the duties of the presidency, difficulty connecting with the minority voters without whose support he can’t win, and the willingness to brand any opponent a racist who dares to bring up ‘law and order.’”
Finally, the “law and order” issue that Catron mentions, one the Republicans have owned since 1968, has been daily advertised in the coverage of killings, injuries, vandalism, and looting springing from “woke” protests and riots, which have led to forced police stand-downs and violent crime rates skyrocketing in blue-state cities––in the first six months of this year, Chicago’s murder rate increased 38%, with 440 deaths including four children under 10 murdered over five weeks. Worse, the Democrats have endorsed and rationalized the violent protests, nor has candidate Biden, the alleged “moderate,” forcefully condemned it. This state of affairs is reminiscent of 1968, when the “silent majority” expressed its anger at the riots and bombings of the Sixties by electing Richard Nixon.
Biden’s handlers know all this, and so have sequestered him in his basement, letting him out only briefly and reducing his opportunities for impromptu speaking. And they’re working mightily to get the presidential debates cancelled, for they know that in an unscripted, personal encounter, the street-fighting orator Donald Trump will beat Biden like a rented mule. It seems highly improbable that anyone can become the leader of the most powerful free country in history by hiding from the voters.
Nor will Biden’s pick for vice-president, California senator Kamala Harris, help him overcome these challenges and deficiencies. Harris is one of the most progressive and aggressively “woke” members of the Senate. She has endorsed the far-left policies of the Sanders-AOC wing like the Green New Deal, Medicare For All, forgiving student-loan debt, free college tuition, and restoring the tax-and-spend excesses of the Obama years that gave us one of the most sluggish recovery from a recession ever. And she is a clumsy, off-putting campaigner, with little appeal for the moderates Biden supposedly attracts.
But Harris will be a problem for leftists as well. Seeking future votes, as a prosecutor and AG Harris took a tough-on-crime tack that saw high incarceration rates for low-level drug offenders, a sore point with the BLM faction of the party. And don’t forget her vicious attacks on Biden during the primary campaign: She clearly implied that he is a racist for saying nice things about segregationist senators like Strom Thurmond, and said that she believed the woman who has accused Biden of sexual assault. Her cringing, treacly acceptance speech graphically highlights her career-long opportunism and hypocrisy, and no doubt will make effective ads for the Trump campaign.
So what will be the saner choice in November: an incumbent president with a style that puts some voters off, but cheers others, who battles against the intolerant and illiberal “cancel culture,” and who has one of the best records of achievement in a president’s first term? Or a mediocre career pol with no record of achievement, a long history of gaffes, corruption, and lies, an economy-killing policy program imposed by the party’s extreme left, and a “woke” ideology that sanctions violence not just against people and property, but America itself and its unique virtues and achievements?
Trump should win on November 3, but as a philosopher once said, “Should ain’t is.” The stakes couldn’t be higher: saving our Constitutional order of unalienable rights, citizen sovereignty, and limited government; or watching it descend further into a technocratic despotism over dependent clients, as our safety and security are increasingly compromised.
* * *