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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Trump Will Win

The fundamentals simply do not favor Biden.

Wilkes-barre,,Pa,-,August,2,,2018:,President,Donald,Trump,Portrait
Credit: Evan El-Amin

So, who really believes Joe Biden and his running dogs in the liberal media when they say things are actually OK? What tiny percentage of Americans are they talking to?

Gloom consumes America. Some 73 percent of respondents say the United States is on the wrong track, the highest portion since 1989, when that polling question was first asked. In similar polls, there’s been a prolonged downward trend in Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the country, from a peak of 71 percent in 1999 to just 22 percent today. Biden’s 39 percent approval is the lowest of any president running for a second term a year out from the election. Inflation hit 8.9 percent. The cost of rent and food rose two or three times as much as incomes.

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Truth be damned. A whole intellectual industry has developed to support Joe, making excuses as to why the dumb Americans in the heartland don’t see the glories of Bidenomics. The industry has come up with three explanations. Let’s see if they make sense.

It’s the Media, Stupid. This is part of a bigger problem, presupposing most of the American interior is made of dummies who believe everything they hear on places like talk radio. Never mind kitchen table economics; it’s all in your head, idiot.

Referral Syndrome. This hypothesis comes from the Wall Street Journal, which speculates Americans see so many mass shootings, so much immigration chaos, so many overdose deaths, and proxy wars they simply feel bad about everything (which, economy aside, does not bode well for the incumbent). So when pollsters ask their views on the economy, they get a negative response, because people just feel overwhelmingly negative.

Fatalism. Pretending the economy is just dandy wouldn’t be complete with some candy from Paul Krugman. The New York Times’ resident soothsayer claims all is well if only you could see things from the perspective of a rich New Yorker who writes gibberish for a living. Krugman also postulates Trump supporters who believe Biden stole the 2020 election are so apocalyptic they skew the whole nation’s outlook on other issues.

While the inflation rate may be declining somewhat, the cost of food and transportation is still higher than pre-Covid levels. The problem for Joe is these are not problems of perception; they are disasters surrounding real, concrete home economics. We’re left with the conclusion that the economy really may be treating the bulk of non-coastal Americans poorly, the ones for whom high mortgage interest rates mean the difference between a home of their own and scraping by to pay the (rising) rent.

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It is these people who will vote Trump, or stay home, but are unlikely to vote for the Biden record on the economy. People know when they can both afford to feed the kids and pay the rent and when they cannot.

In this environment, for the first time since President Grover Cleveland’s non-consecutive run in 1892, voters face the choice of two functional incumbents, two candidates running on their recent performance in the White House. One was president during a time when wages rose faster than inflation, when the stock market was strong, when home loan rates were accessible, and one wasn’t. But it is more than dollars and common sense that will see Trump win in a fair election—it is his understanding of the America that he rode to victory in 2016 and near-victory in 2020.

Think of Hillbilly Elegy if you want to take the shortcut. Or, as another pundit put it, “Trump rode a wave of pessimism to the White House—pessimism his detractors did not share because he was speaking about, and to, an America they either didn’t see or understood only as a caricature. But just as with this year, when liberal elites insist that things are going well while overwhelming majorities of Americans say they are not, Trump’s unflattering view captured the mood of the country.”

Trump’s thesis may be truer today than it was the first time he ran on it—polls show most young people never expect to earn what their parents do now, and deaths of despair continue to rise. People tend to notice when they are doing better in an economy, and when they are not.

Immigration under Trump was simple, and matched a large number of Americans’ thoughts: We may have enough. As Trump said, “A nation without borders is not a nation at all. We must have a wall. The rule of law matters!” Yet under Biden a pattern of curtailment of immigration, thought once labeled racism, is now edging toward policy in sanctuary cities. We may have enough.

Biden, in a way, should be thanked for drawing such a stark contrast between his immigration policy and Trump’s, and what the coastal elite minority hold true and what the majority of inner Americans believe and will express by voting for Trump.

They understand that, wall hyperbole aside, enforcing borders is a requirement of nationhood. Check out the shelters and sidewalks of Manhattan and Chicago, where it is obvious Biden’s immigration policy is a failure. Trump’s message was crudely delivered but astonishingly accurate—at least to those willing to see through the former to the latter. Call him a bigot, or a racist, or even a fascist, but he was right about controlling the border. In fact, every other country in the world does so for itself.

More broadly, there are a lot of Americans who believe immigrants threaten jobs and security. They believe we should bring our troops home from places like Iraq and let other nations such as Ukraine fend for themselves. They believe Hunter and Joe Biden sold influence to Ukraine and China and they believe a deep state exists. They want education but don’t want college to be free to those who won’t repay their loans. They believe welfare encourages people to not work, and Social Security won’t be there for those who do. They want to own guns. And although they are the base, they are not alone. Trump’s backing from college-educated Republicans doubled to 60 percent over the course of last year.

Outside the mainstream media, no one is buying the “end of democracy” claim. The simplest counterargument is that if Trump does not believe in the system, why is he following its rules and campaigning? Wouldn’t a wanna-be dictator, you know, act more dictatorial?

Same for J6. Wouldn’t a proper insurrection, as opposed to a protest-turned-tantrum, have some political path toward success? The J6 “insurrectionists” simply walked back out of the Capitol building on their own, and their supposed leader, Trump, did the same with the White House two weeks later. If that was a potential end-of-democracy event, it was a pretty lame one.

If Trump wanted to be a dictator, he had four years to cement his rule; he did not, and anyone willing to think about it knows that. Rowdy dittoheads amok in the Capitol for an hour or two is not the same as tanks on the Ellipse. If anything, the use of lawfare to jail or drive an opponent off the ballot seems as undemocratic as anything else. Hypocrisy is an ugly thing to build an election strategy around.

Trump’s voters look for America and worry they see a future Brazil. Their detractors blame the Electoral College, or talk radio, or ignorance, or Putin. So are Trump’s win in 2016 and likely win in 2024 inexplicable? Try again.

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