The greatest danger to GOP is Trump drifting off into the sunset
The real danger from a post-presidency Trump is his leaving the GOP leaderless and alone
By Jeffery A. Rendall
Are we in danger?
I suppose it depends on who you ask. Should you pose the query to any number of liberal Democrat politicians these days, the answer is most emphatically “yes” and will likely be accompanied by an authoritarian order for you and your loved ones to stay separated from anyone outside your household during this time of giving and goodwill towards men (and women, of course). Thanksgiving is now in the rearview mirror and all of America turns to the true “holiday season” of Christmas and Hanukkah.
How many of you celebrated a “virtual” Thanksgiving feast via zoom last week? Nothing like sitting in rooms thousands of miles apart while traveling around the confines of a computer screen, each group taking a turn discussing how they planned to observe the holiday. For us, it was strange, but somehow fitting for the year 2020, where nothing made sense. One can’t help but feel the powers-that-be did whatever they pleased in their own environments. It’s the way things are with the ruling class.
The “danger” that is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus is constantly presented as though walking outside and facing the wrong direction will earn you sickness and a run to the hospital. This isn’t downplaying the seriousness of the situation — the mounting death total and skyrocketing hospital rates testifies to its true nature. But facts are facts. Most people who have the virus don’t even know it, or suffer a short period of debilitation. Life can and should go on.
To others, the genuine “danger” is the possibility President Donald Trump will stay in politics beyond January 20, 2021. Though the electoral college still hasn’t voted, and various lawsuits are ongoing, it certainly appears as though Trump will be a private citizen again in the near term. In a piece titled, “The danger Trump poses to Republicans,” The Washington Examiner’s Hugo Gurdon wrote, “Trump is flirting with the idea of running in 2024, which he’d be entitled to do as he will have served only one term. It’s true that when voters cast their ballots in 2024, he’ll be several months older than even Joe Biden is now, but he is nevertheless suggesting it…
“No wonder elected Republicans are signaling that it is time for Trump to bow out. No wonder that, while desperately trying to avoid enraging him and prompting damaging retaliation against the party, they are praying for his departure. It isn’t true, as many Democrats and erstwhile Republicans claim, that the whole GOP has spent the past few weeks trying to steal the election from Biden. Most of them have spent it wondering if they can get beyond Trump without irreparable damage.
“If you’re wondering what’s meant by irreparable damage and you want to give yourself the heebie-jeebies, just try out the following phrases and see how they sound: ‘President Kamala Harris,’ ‘President Adam Schiff,’ ‘President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.’”
Ah, the establishment worrywarts are at it again. Danger ahead! Danger ahead! Danger ahead!
Yes, any of the scenarios Gurdon presented in his final paragraph would be truly frightening. But it’s a similar line of needless panic to four-plus years ago when Democrats, the media and Donald Trump’s detractors (a group that included me and most conservatives I know until we recognized the lack of an alternative and decided to give Trump a chance) gleefully forecasted a “President Hillary Clinton” if the New York billionaire reached the November ballot.
It’s easy for anyone to project into the future, the problem being that the forecasts rarely come true — especially in politics. Venture to see a soothsayer peer into her crystal ball and predict what’s to come. It’s fun stuff, but I wouldn’t bet the house and my retirement savings on any of it coming to pass. Just because something appears certain in late November of 2020 doesn’t mean it’ll achieve fulfilment in November of 2024.
Think about it. On the day after the 2016 election, did many people foretell that Trump would receive ten million more votes than he did against Hillary Clinton — and still lose? The Democrats’ nonstop onslaught against Trump was easily foreseeable, but who would’ve successfully guessed there would be an economic boom, impeachment and a worldwide China-inspired pandemic that somehow got blamed on the president?
What’s the danger in Trump remaining in the public fray? Next to none at present. If anything, it would be more calamitous for Republicans if he followed the example of the most recent GOP presidents and almost completely disappeared from view. Imagine a President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris assuming control of the executive branch and undoing all of the positive outcomes from the past four years (which you know they will do). Will this alone make Trump a pariah in GOP circles?
The Republican Party would revert to its old ineffective ways if Trump exited politics
There are several reasons why Gurdon is flat out wrong. First, presidents always become more popular once they leave office. Once the intense pressure is relieved, reasonable people return to assessing problems in a more rational manner, which includes looking at a president’s tenure with some degree of objectivity and fondness. And this certainly will include Trump.
Though liberals and Trump’s few remaining Republican critics won’t long for the days when Trump labeled his opponents with catchy nicknames, they will appreciate the fact Trump got a lot of things done despite encountering seemingly impregnable barriers. The media won’t be reporting as intensely on Trump’s latest act or deed that purportedly proves he’s a racist and there won’t be periodic battles with congressional leaders to move legislation or agree to another continuing resolution. These problems will be placed at the feet of the incoming administration and the leaders in Congress.
In other words, rather than presenting a wide bullseye for slings and arrows, Democrats and liberals must confine themselves to picking on (hopefully) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and, to a lesser extent, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, neither of which is particularly intimidating. More attractive for news coverage will be Nancy Pelosi’s internal battles with her own caucus. It’ll be hard for Democrats to preach “unity” when they can’t even get their people to rally behind watered-down legislation that falls short of shackling citizens’ rights to live their lives.
Trump won’t need to wait long to ask, “Do you miss me yet?” Sometimes in professional sports the player fans love to hate is still one of the most popular in the league. Think politics is any different? Far from “danger” of a Trump comeback, chances are there’ll be a real hankering for his return not too long from now. How’s that for a prediction?
Two, Joe Biden will fail as president. Though it could be argued Grampa Joe is skilled at establishing one-to-one relationships, the talent doesn’t extend to mass audiences. If you doubt it, look at the way people responded to Biden during his six terms in the senate. The Delaware pol didn’t ascend to leadership positions; nobody wanted to be closely associated with him. The only thing Biden gained a reputation for was unfairly grilling judicial nominees — and lying. “Uncle Joe” could’ve just as easily been “Mean Joe” if the nickname wasn’t already attached to a football legend.
Whether Trump’s critics admit it or not, Trump was a very effective communicator and he understood how to take questions and answer them. Biden isn’t nearly as practiced at deflecting criticism, and, as he’s shown throughout his career, has a very thin skin. Obama wasn’t great at receiving direct challenges, but Biden is truly awful at it. Plus, Biden is dumb as bricks.
Grampa Joe won’t get away with saying “if you don’t agree with me, you ain’t black” and who’s willing to wager that he’ll label someone “fat” or a “dog faced pony soldier” when times get tough? Biden’s staff must be on pins and needles, constantly waiting for him to crack at a moment’s notice. The president can’t be scripted forever. Sooner or later Biden’s crusty old personality will reveal itself. Watch his favorability ratings plummet when it happens.
Third, liberals comfort themselves that the era of Trump is “over,” but the rest of the world is chomping at the proverbial bit to see whether the Republican’s successor is as steadfast in representing his country’s interests abroad as Trump was. Will the Iranians expect Biden to revive Obama’s horrible Iran Deal? Will Israeli leaders welcome working with Biden as he reinstitutes the Democrat tradition of giveaways to the Palestinians? Will the Chinese figure they have enough dirt on ol’ corrupted Joe to make him dance to their tune?
Lastly, with Trump out of the White House, the Republican Party lacks a clear leader. When George W. Bush boarded Air Force One for the final time in January, 2009, most of the country was glad to see him go, including his own party members. Conservatives weren’t wild about the prospect of an Obama presidency, yet it wasn’t because they longed for an extension of the Bush dynasty. Bush returned to Texas, took up painting and hardly anyone gave him a second thought after that.
It’ll be different with Trump. Tens of millions believe he was prematurely turned out of office, saddled with blame for the CCP virus as well as the leaky and fraudulent mail-in voting system. Republicans now have the perfect justification to insist on systemic elections reform to foster accountability and accuracy. They’d better take it. And Trump will lead the way in staying on top of the issue. If he does run in 2024, expect voting particulars to remain in the discussion.
Whether his haters like it or not, Trump has assumed the role of leader of the GOP. He changed the foreign policy direction of the party. He changed it from the party of big business to one that represents the middle and working classes. And he instigated a possible political realignment for all of America, which includes anti-establishment minority voters and libertarian-minded people. Does anyone think Joe Biden and his wagon full of government programs will attract new followers? Or make them long for the good days under Trump?
Are we in danger? Not if Trump continues to lead us. Republicans can rest easy — Trump isn’t going away.
If Biden and the media counted on Trump rolling over, they counted wrong.
Virtually since the end of the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump warned that Democrats would pull out all the stops to prevent him from winning a second term. He said it numerous times in the lead-up to this month’s election when he railed against the vulnerabilities of mail-in balloting. Trump bashers didn’t take him seriously. And now, it’s almost as though they expect him to capitulate and simply concede, “You were right all along! Time for me to go! Bye!”
Morgan Chalfant reported at The Hill, “Allies do not expect Trump to ever formally concede his defeat, though he this week relented and allowed the transition process to move forward after weeks of delay. The president has taken an antagonistic approach to his successor, Biden, which raises questions over how smooth the transition will be even as the president-elect and his team send signals of encouragement about the process thus far…
“Trump has continued his inflammatory rhetoric on the election after expressing approval of his administration cooperating with Biden on the transition…, following the decision by the General Services Administration to recognize Biden as the apparent winner of the election about three weeks after Election Day.
Is this the “danger” that Gurdon wrote about above, that Trump will continue to be himself? It’s absurd for anyone to presume Trump should simply curl up into a little ball in the fetal position and allow Joe Biden to “govern” after the latter called him a racist and he and other Democrats insulted Trump supporters the way they did? What do they truly expect? That Joe Biden will heal the nation simply with a wave of his liver spotted hands?
Is the “soul of the nation” restored because Biden says it’s so? What a joke.
If Donald Trump’s critics really wanted him to go away, the best way to accomplish it would be to compliment him on his many successes and vow to continue on the path he created to Make America Great Again. The tactic to guarantee that he stays in the fray is to keep lofting the same nasty personal bombs as they’ve done for four years. Don’t some people ever learn?
Published with Permission of conservativehq.com