I am going to preface this post by saying that if Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024 I will support him without hesitation. I won’t just vote for him, I’ll actively support him.
I will never even consider voting for a Democrat, ever. The Democrats are not a political party, they are a gigantic mafia-like crime syndicate. The Democratic Party exists solely to enrich its primary donors and interest groups, and all policies it enacts are either for the financial benefit of its various client groups or to strengthen the party’s grip on power.
This is not to say the Republican Party is good, however. The GOP is awful. Truly awful. In many ways, it’s worse than the Democratic Party because it pretends to oppose the Democrats, but usually just capitulates. The Republicans talk a big game, but when they’re in power, all they ever fight for is corporate tax cuts. The Democrats will at least look you in the eye and then jam a shiv under your ribcage; the Republicans wait until your back is turned and then stab you.
But policy-wise, the only thing worse than the Republican Party is the Democratic Party. That’s the way I view things. The Republicans may be horrible, but at least we actually have a chance with them in power. The Democrats are fully hostile to freedom, truth, peace and prosperity.
At least with the Republicans there are some decent politicians in the party. And the grassroots of the party is somewhat capable of asserting a degree of control over the primary process and carrying non-establishment candidates to power.
I also have gone on record saying I prefer Ron DeSantis for President in 2024, but I don’t know if he’s the answer either.
The boomers have been in control of this country for long enough. It’s time to move them out of the picture and hand the reigns of power over to a new generation. I don’t know if the next generation will be better stewards of the country than the boomers, but it’s also pretty much impossible for them to be worse.
It is wrong that this country’s government is controlled by very old people. Biden is 79, Trump is 75, Pelosi is 81, McConnell is 81, Fauci is 81–no more old boomers. It’s time for them to be shown the door.
But what I really want to discuss here is not just whether Trump 2024 is what this country needs, but whether any candidate like Trump is what this country needs.
Let me explain. What Trump represents is the candidate who tells it like it is. The rebel. The outsider, the party crasher. He’s the breath of fresh air—the politician who isn’t actually a politician.
Other politicians are phony, controlled and robotic, just spitting out talking points and rehearsed speeches. But Trump isn’t like that: he’s authentic. He speaks the truth no matter who it offends.
I have said several times on this site that as much as I like Trump, the fundamental problem with him is that he inspires just as much visceral hatred against him as he does loyalty and love among his supporters.
Supporters may dismiss this as brainwashed people being told what to think by the media. Trump supporters refuse to entertain the idea that there are people out there who legitimately despise him for real reasons. They think that if not for the media and its lies, Trump would get 80%+ of the vote.
It might be true to some extent that a lot of people out there only hate Trump because they’ve been trained by the media to hate him. And that if the media was honest, Trump would have way more support.
It’s also true, however, that if the media was honest we wouldn’t need a candidate like Trump in the first place.
Ever since the advent of cable news in the late 1980s, Republicans’ electoral fortunes in this country have eroded. Since the 1992 election, Republicans have lost 7 of 8 popular votes and 5 of the 8 elections overall. Democrats have dominated national politicians over the past 30 years, and the rise of the modern news media has a lot to do with that.
Prior to the 1990s, Republicans dominated national politics dating all the way back to the civil war. It’s true. From the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 until 1992, 14 Republicans won the presidency: Ulysses Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.
Over the same time, only 7 Democrats won presidential elections: Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter.
This country has had a natural and inherent Republican lean dating all the way back to the end of the civil war. Only under unusual or extreme situations were Democrats able to win the White House prior to the 1990s. The natural state of affairs in this country for well over a century was for Republicans to be in control.
But not anymore. The media has changed all that. The media has altered the political landscape of the country so that the default or natural state of affairs is for Democrats to be in power.
Now, you may argue that vote fraud in big blue cities is the main reason Democrats have such an inherent electoral advantage, but Democrats have controlled the big cities for many many decades. Vote fraud by the big city Democrat machines is nothing new.
The main obstacle nowadays for Republicans is the media. It is the single greatest impediment to Republican electoral success at the national level. Obviously there are other ways people in this country get their heads filled with lies and misinformation: public schools, Hollywood, corporations, social pressures, etc. But the news media is the main one.
This is not to say the media only became liberal in the late 80s/early 90s, because there’s lots of evidence that the media’s liberal bias stretches back to at least the 1960s, possibly even the 1940s. Richard Nixon’s Chief of Staff HR Haldeman, in his 1978 book “The Ends of Power,” said that even through FDR, the New Deal and WW2, the media in this country leaned conservative, but that began to change after WW2.
I’m not saying the media became liberal in the early 1990s. I’m saying that the liberal media gained a lot more power due to the rise of cable news around that time. While TV was prevalent in this country going all the way back to the 1950s, I think it was really about 30 or so years ago that America truly became a “TV-centered culture.” And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that around that same time, the American electoral playing field started tilting to the left.
So the question then becomes, who in the Republican Party is best able to overcome or even neutralize the lying and hostile media?
Trump was able to win in 2016 in large part because he ran against not only Hillary but also the media as well. He was the first Republican to explicitly call out the media as a bunch of lying Democratic Party advocates.
And it caught the media by surprise. The media’s initial reaction to Trump back in 2015 was to give him tons of coverage, and to try to promote his candidacy. The media believed Trump stood no chance against Hillary, and so the media saw Trump as the candidate to promote to take out Republican candidates who were perceived to be greater threats to Hillary in the general election, like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The media wanted Trump to be the Republican nominee in 2016.
Obviously the media was way wrong and massively underestimated how popular Trump truly was, and he ended up winning.
But now the media won’t make the same mistake again. The media is now fully aware of just how strong populism is in this country. They are not going to allow 2016 to happen again.
So the debate we now have to have is whether or not the GOP should go in a populist direction in 2024. Is Trump the answer?
I happen to think the answer is no, and the reason is not because I disagree with the populist agenda Trump represents. I’m fully on board with his agenda, at least most of it; the problem is the presentation. I simply don’t think he can ever get enough support to earn a resounding mandate to enact sweeping changes. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ll explain why.
For one thing, he’s never going to be able to take the media and the establishment by surprise again. The idea that Trump can win again because he won in 2016 relies on the assumption that the corporate-controlled media and its Democratic Party allies have not made any adjustments to their gameplan.
I believe they have, and as a result I’m not sure Trump is the proper candidate to run in this new post-2016 environment. I don’t think we can win running the old playbook.
Second, populism is inherently divisive. It comes off as angry and, if not “lower class”, then definitely working class and lower education. It’s perceived to be destabilizing and set on upending the status quo, which is why it should be no surprise that the Democrats have become the party of wealthy white people over the past 6 years.
Trump is basically seen as the leader of a peasant revolt. Many in the professional and upper-middle class reject any whiff of populism. People in the upper middle class aspire to be in the upper class. The system as it stands is working pretty well for them, and they see populism as a reckless attempt by the lower classes to topple the whole system, and that’s something the aspiring rich don’t want.
And so the fact that Trump is an inherently divisive figure plus the fact that the media in an effort to stop Trump has completely abandoned all pretenses of honesty, truth-seeking, fairness and objectivity, I’m having a hard time seeing how Trump can ever build a large enough coalition to not only win but also permanently change the electoral landscape of this country (and overcome the margin of fraud.)
Trump is not the first populist in American history. He’s just the first populist that has won a Presidential election since Andrew Jackson in 1828.
Way before Trump, we had William Jennings Bryant, a populist Democrat who won the party’s nomination three times (1896, 1900, 1908) but never made it to the White House. You had Huey Long, Democratic Governor of Louisiana in the 1930s, but he was assassinated by a political rival in 1935 at the age of 42. You also had Ross Perot in the 1990s, who ran for President twice and in 1992 got over 19% of the popular vote.
There was also George Wallace in 1968, who was in many ways the Donald Trump of his era. While Wallace is popularly known as being “the segregation candidate,” his appeal was based on more than just that. He was a populist in every sense of the word, and his broadsides against the political and economic elite were what made him as nationally popular as he was (despite being primarily a southern candidate, Wallace actually sold out Madison Square Garden in NYC for a political rally—he had lots of fans all over the country). Have a look at some of his famous quotes and tell me he doesn’t sound familiar:
In 1968, Wallace pledged that “If some anarchist lies down in front of my automobile, it will be the last automobile he will ever lie down in front of” and asserted that the only four letter words which hippies did not know were “w-o-r-k” and “s-o-a-p.” Responding to criticism of the former comment, Wallace later elaborated that he meant such a protester would be punished under the law, not run over. This type of rhetoric became famous. He accused Humphrey and Nixon of wanting to radically desegregate the South. Wallace said, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats”, a campaign slogan that he had first perfected when Lurleen Wallace defeated James D. Martin.
Many found Wallace an entertaining campaigner. To “hippies” who called him a fascist, he replied, “I was killing fascists when you punks were in diapers.” Another notable quip: “They’re building a bridge over the Potomac for all the white liberals fleeing to Virginia.”
Populism generally tends to be driven by righteous anger directed against a corrupted elite, and as such it is generally very divisive, inspiring many loyally devoted followers, but also a lot of fierce opposition. “Straight talking” populists tend to be very popular with some people, but they offend and alienate just as many people as they attract.
There’s a reason that political correctness exists, and it’s not just to censor dissidents and suppress “Wrongthink.” Politicians have adopted a sanitized and deliberately inoffensive and platitude-heavy rhetorical style for a good reason: because unfiltered “straight talk” and “telling it like it is,” while popular with some people, unavoidably offends others.
The inherent problem with populism is that it’s generally based off of a righteous anger directed at some other subset of the population, but that other subset of the population also gets to vote, too. While George Wallace won tons of loyal supporters by ripping into black people, hippies, anarchists, politicians and white liberals, the problem for him was that all those people got to vote, too. And naturally, they hated Wallace. His attacks on them motivated them to vote against him just as much as his supporters were motivated to vote for him.
Trump isn’t quite as inflammatory as George Wallace was–Trump generally doesn’t attack subsets of the American population (although he certainly has), he mainly attacks politicians and other people in power–but he still through his rhetorical style and tone turns off a lot of people who view him as cartoonish, undignified and unpresidential.
But this doesn’t mean that Trump and all his ideas are worthless and ought to be discarded. In fact, just the opposite. I think Trump generally has the right message and ideas (if not always the right policies), but I think he’s the wrong messenger when it comes to appealing to the largest possible number of Americans.
Similarly, while George Wallace never had a realistic chance of appealing to a majority of Americans and becoming President, many argue that his ideas were eventually refined and integrated into the Republican Party platform, and resulted in a great deal of success:
In Wallace’s 1998 obituary, The Huntsville Times political editor John Anderson summarized the impact from the 1968 campaign: “His startling appeal to millions of alienated white voters was not lost on Richard Nixon and other Republican strategists. First Nixon, then Ronald Reagan, and finally George Herbert Walker Bush successfully adopted toned-down versions of Wallace’s anti-busing, anti-federal government platform to pry low- and middle-income whites from the Democratic New Deal coalition.” Dan Carter, a professor of history at Emory University in Atlanta, added: “George Wallace laid the foundation for the dominance of the Republican Party in American society through the manipulation of racial and social issues in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the master teacher, and Richard Nixon and the Republican leadership that followed were his students.”
In a similar vein, a more refined and “toned-down” Trumpism–along with a few important tweaks–may just be the key to breaking the political stalemate that has crippled this country for years, and assembling a broad, national coalition that enables real, sweeping watershed reform.
The way I look at the political situation in our country nowadays is that there is a great majority of Americans who have completely lost all faith in the system and believe it is beyond saving. That includes both Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats have a Trump of their own–Bernie Sanders–but the Democrats have been able to rig the last two presidential primaries against him and prevent him from taking over the party.
When you take the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party plus all the Trump supporters in the country, you have well over a majority of Americans. I’d say it’s probably more than 60% honestly. Maybe even 70%.
Now, while obviously Bernie and Trump don’t agree on a whole lot, what they do have in common is that they are both anti-establishment figures who represent populist uprisings in their own parties. They represent those who feel like the whole system is rigged and the corruption is out of control. They represent the people who have lost all faith in the system and believe it needs to be dismantled down to the studs.
And so I believe there is a golden opportunity for a candidate to come along and appeal to both the Trump supporters and the Bernie supporters. Such a candidate would be basically unstoppable, and he would have such a clear and decisive mandate that the Deep State would be largely incapable of sabotaging his agenda. The reason the Deep State was able to sabotage Trump so effectively was because they knew there were a large number of Americans who would actively support such efforts.
The key to uniting both the Trump and Sanders movements is to rail against both big government and big business as the source of all the nation’s problems. The Trump supporters are half right in pointing to big government as the root of the problems, but they largely overlook the equal (if not greater) role big business plays and has played in getting our country into the present mess (although there are a great many Trump supporters who are fully awake to the fact that big business is just as much the enemy as big government).
The Bernie supporters are the opposite: they correctly realize that big business is greedy, corrupt and completely indifferent to the plight of the average American. Big business will shut down a factory, move operations overseas, and completely wreck the economy of an entire town if it means more profits. Big business is evil.
But what the Bernie supporters and Trump supporters both miss is that big government and big business are two sides of the same coin; they’re working together to oppress and plunder the average American. There would be no big business without the enabling of big government, and at the same time, big business often dictates what the government does.
Big government and big business are the problem. Focusing on just one gets us nowhere. The first step to winning any war or battle is to know your enemy, and until we get a political leader who understands that, we are never going to make any progress in this country.
Sun Tzu said that if you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. Most people have heard that quote. But what they haven’t heard is the rest of it:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
That second part is key. “If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.”
Trump won in 2016, but lost in 2020. For every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
Until people correctly identify the enemy, we will never make any real progress. People on the right have been so focused on vote fraud in Democratic cities they neglect the fact that Facebook and Big Tech spent millions of dollars buying votes in key swing states in the 2020 election.
Conservatives have done a pretty good job of gumming up the works of the federal government over the past decade or so. Once the Republicans took over Congress in the 2010 midterms during the Obama era, they effectively ground all liberal policymaking to a halt. All of Obama’s accomplishments came in his first two years when the Democrats had control of Congress.
With Biden, although Republicans don’t control Congress, the margins in both chambers are slim enough that Republicans–along with a few moderate Democrats in the Senate who have shown a propensity to break ranks with their party–have been able to stymie a lot of the radical legislation Biden and his handlers are trying to push through Congress.
But guess what? The government has outsourced much of its tyrannizing to the corporations. Free speech is being eroded by the day in this country, but it’s not being done by the government. It’s being done by Facebook, Twitter and Google.
Even if the Supreme Court strikes down Biden’s illegal and unconstitutional OSHA Vaccine™ mandate this Friday, that still won’t prohibit “pRiVaTe bUsInEsSeS” from imposing vaccine™ mandates of their own.
Republicans are ever-vigilant against the excesses of big government, but they have a massive blind spot when it comes to the pernicious influence and power of big business.
We need a political leader who can successfully make the argument that big business and big government are in bed together, and that you cannot successfully oppose one without opposing the other. That is how you unite the Trump and the Bernie factions in this country.
Of course, there would have to be some compromise between the two sides. One I can think of off the top of my head is border security in exchange for universal healthcare. Border security is one of the main concerns of Republicans, and Democrats have been demanding Medicare For All even before Obama was elected. Somehow, a compromise must be made here. Maybe it doesn’t have to be single payer healthcare, but a promise of universal healthcare would go a long way toward winning over a lot of the Bernie supporters.
It’s not such a terrifying thought. Most developed nations in the world have some form of universal healthcare. The US already has a partial single payer healthcare program, Medicare, which is available only to seniors. And seniors love Medicare–in polls it consistently gets over 80% approval. The simplest proposal for universal healthcare out there is to simply expand Medicare to cover everyone in the country, not just seniors. There are obviously some issues to work out if we were to agree to implement a “Medicare For All” policy, but again, it’s not as if tons of other countries haven’t figured out how to provide universal healthcare.
Opposition to Wall Street should be a no-brainer unifying issue between both the Trump and Bernie wings.
One area where compromise is also possible is student loans. Liberals hate the student loan industry and want all their debt forgiven. Republicans are generally inclined to oppose this, but they shouldn’t be. The way the current system works is that 17-18 year old kids are duped or pressured into taking on $100,000+ in debt for a degree that may ultimately prove to be worthless. High schoolers are told their entire lives that they must go to college or else they’ll end up digging ditches their whole lives–the only way to have a successful career is to go to college. They are under enormous pressure to go to college, which is an incredibly consequential financial decision, at a young age when they don’t fully know the reality of the situation. If college cost something like $10-15k a year, it wouldn’t be such a huge decision for them. But college costs today are outrageous.
Student debt is crushing the younger generations and stands in the way of homeownership and starting a family for many young people.
I don’t think Republicans should simply get on board with the whole student loan forgiveness movement without getting any concessions in return, however. Republicans have their own laundry list of complaints about the higher “education” system in this country, starting with the fact that it’s heavily biased toward the left. You also have tens of thousands of “diversity coordinators” on university payrolls (glorified political patronage jobs) who are driving up college costs like crazy. College is one big gravy train for liberal professors and administrators, who know that they can keep jacking costs up year after year because most student loans are backed by the government, and because it’s impossible to default on student loans.
Somehow a compromise must be made between wiping out all the student debt, taxing the endowments, and reigning in out-of-control costs. College should not cost $50,000 a year. That is outrageous.
In terms of foreign policy, I think there have been some great strides made there over the past several years, and it’s one of the few areas where I think the average Republican and the average Democrats are in alignment: both are sick of foreign wars. It’s really just the elite that push for wars nowadays; they no longer even have the support of Republican voters. Foreign policy is an easy one: anti-war, anti-imperialism, no more world policing. That would be a hugely popular position.
The two biggest obstacles, however, are race and Covid-19.
These are the two biggest “wedge issues” that the media has successfully leveraged to bitterly divide the country.
The biggest problem with Trump is that the media has convinced a large chunk of the country that Trump is a racist. Underlying this is the fact that the media has also convinced a large chunk of the country that racism is one of the biggest problems facing America today, and that race relations are arguably worse than they were in the 1960s.
The whole racism narrative is central to the Democratic Party’s ability to win elections. The media convinces people that white supremacism and racism are running amok in the country, and that Republicans are the party of white supremacism and racism. It makes the GOP a no-go for not only most minority voters, but for virtue signaling, self-loathing white liberals.
Republicans will get nowhere by simply ignoring the race issue. Most Republicans feel like it’s a waste of time because it’s clearly a media psyop based on a lie. But there is actually a golden opportunity here for Republicans to flip the script and go on offense on the race issue. All they have to do is zero-in on the fact that Democrats have not actually done anything good for minority communities. I know Republicans have tried to do this in recent years, but where they’ve gone wrong is in using the phrase “Democrat plantation.” You are not going to appeal to minority voters by calling them slaves on a Democrat plantation. That’s idiotic. Plus you by definition limit your message to only black voters, and neglect Hispanic and Asian voters. It’s doubly idiotic.
When it comes to racial issues, the way it works these days is that the Democrat is presumed to be Non-Racist and the Republican is presumed to be a Racist. It usually devolves into the Democrat candidate and the moderator calling the Republican a racist, then demanding he prove he’s not a racist, and then ultimately dismissing any protestations made by the Republican over the charge of racism.
Moderator: “Mr. Democrat, do you believe your Republican opponent is a racist?”
Democrat: “Why yes I do, in fact he’s a racist Hitler fascist white nationalist racist who does racism.”
Moderator: “Mr. Republican, how do you respond to that?”
Republican: “Well of course I’m not a racist, that’s ridiculous.”
Democrat: “Yes you are. The media says you are, so it’s true.”
Moderator: “Well, that’s all the time we have for that issue, let’s move on to something else…”
Republicans need to go on offense on race. You cannot win by constantly trying to refute the left’s bad-faith accusations that you’re a racist. You will be on that treadmill until they eventually destroy you.
I’m not saying the solution is to try to paint the Democrats as the “real racists,” because that’s unlikely to succeed. But what you can do is simply make the case that Democratic policies have failed minority communities. Hammer that point over and over and over again. Make Democrats answer for the fact that their policies have ravaged black communities.
And try to steer the debate towards the importance of law and order, and how the Democrats are against it. Talk about how crime is so bad in this country even rich liberals in Beverly Hills are stocking up on guns because Democrats won’t let police do their jobs. Talk about how it’s minorities who are affected the worst by Democratic policies that are soft on crime.
Law and order is a winning issue; Republicans just have to have the stones to champion it. It is a very small but vocal minority on the far left that wants to empty the prisons and let crime go unpunished on the streets.
However, you have to have some nuance and acknowledge that there are some dirty and corrupt cops out there. You can’t just be one of those dogmatic Republicans who maintains all cops are perfect and gets all mad when anyone criticizes cops.
I also think it would be much more difficult for the media to portray a younger Republican as some sort of monstrous racist–at least way more difficult than it would to smear an Old White Guy as a racist.
A great many Americans may now be brainwashed into believing race relations today are worse than they were in the 1950s, but I think most Americans intuitively understand that race relations have gotten remarkably better over the past few generations. And while it might be somewhat plausible to believe the media’s claims that a politician in his 70s or 80s is a racist (many younger white people in this country have heard their grandparents use the term “colored” to describe a black person, for example), it would be much harder for the media to convince the public that a politician in his 40s or 50s is some sort of secret megaracist.
You do not want to give the media any extra ammo in the “racism” department. The easier it is for them to portray you as a racist, the more they will do it. This is another reason I think we need to go younger.
The final obstacle nowadays is Covid-19. Covid-19 has overtaken race as the single greatest wedge issue in American politics. Nothing currently divides this nation more than Covid-19.
This would be the thorniest issue and the most difficult to unify a large majority of Americans on.
However, there are a few Covid-19 policies that in my view are absolutely non-negotiable:
- No vaccine mandates, ever. Not by the government, not by private businesses, not even in the military. The Covid “vaccine” isn’t even a vaccine. It should not be treated as if it one.
- No lockdowns ever again.
- Get kids back in school ASAP–and no mask mandates for kids.
- Masks are completely optional.
Obviously I’d love to say we’ll have military tribunals for Big Pharma execs and Anthony Fauci, but those are unworkable public positions.
I think the way to tackle Covid-19 from a rhetorical and political perspective is to be calm, rational and understanding. It’s simply a fact of life that tens of millions of Americans have been brainwashed the the point of extreme paranoia and anxiety. This is to be expected during any sort of global pandemic–it’s not unique to our society or our era of history.
Do not attempt to scorn these people, dismiss their concerns or “talk sense into them” as, again, they are not behaving rationally. You cannot reason with a person who is gripped by fear and panic.
The tone to strike regarding Covid is to be realistic about the government’s (in)ability to “shut down” the virus, while also being understanding the fact that a lot of people are absolutely terrified right now.
The only sensible Covid-19 policy to pursue is one that allows people who aren’t at high risk to lead normal lives, while taking steps to protect the elderly and most vulnerable subsets of the population. We don’t need a “one-size-fits-all” policy for every single American.
We need to simply allow the states to handle Covid-19 as they see fit. It’s the conclusion Trump came to over a year ago, it’s the conclusion Biden has now come to: there is nothing more that can be done by the federal government to “shut down the virus.”
This approach to Covid-19 is not going to be popular with the people who are living in a constant state of fear and anxiety, but it is the most sensible and realistic policy. Normalcy should be the goal here.
And more importantly, we cannot let the most neurotic, terrified and hysterical people dictate our Covid-19 policies. As Heather Heying put it, “We are catering to the delusions of the weakest and most confused members of society.”
We cannot continue doing that. In fact, we must stop at once.
But politically, it’s not smart to put in those terms. It’s too divisive and inflammatory. Again, while I may personally view the people freaking out over Covid-19 as brainwashed morons, politically it’s a non-starter to run a campaign on that viewpoint. It’s not smart to call half the country idiots, even if it might be true.
We have to understand that mass panic and fear among large subsets of the population is, while in this case certainly not rational or evidence-based, at least understandable and expected. There’s a new virus spreading around the world, and some people are naturally terrified. This should not be a surprise at all. People freaked out during the Spanish Flu, they freaked out during the AIDS era of the 1980s–viral pandemics simply cause mass panic. They always have and they always will.
Bringing this all back to Trump, and in light of all we’ve just discussed, I don’t know that Trump is the best candidate to rally behind in 2024.
Trump has already been defined, rightly or wrongly. There are a lot of people out there who think he’s a racist and will never change their minds on that. There are a lot of people out there who think he failed miserably in his Covid-19 policy and will never change their minds on that.
And because Trump is a populist–bombastic, unfiltered and unconventional–there will always be people who are turned of by his personality and rhetorical style. This is something Trump’s loyal supporters completely fail to understand, because they themselves love him. They don’t understand how people can hate him, so they chalk it up to people simply being brainwashed by the media. Trump supporters completely fail to realize that Trump is the epitome of a “Love him or Hate him” figure.
In my view, what we need is a more refined populism that successfully threads the needle and merges the best ideas from Trump and the best ideas from Bernie Sanders, and then–most importantly–presents them in an attractive, optimistic and non-angry manner. Populism without a populist politician, in other words.
There is a great deal of popular anger out there in this country. People on the left and right are fed up with Washington and the whole entire ruling class in general. American are completely disgusted with the old, corrupt and out of touch oligarchs that run this country.
The problem is that there hasn’t been any political candidate that has been able to appeal to both left-wing and right-wing populists. In fact, I don’t really know that it’s even been attempted.
We need to stop thinking in terms of left and right. Otherwise we’ll just keep going back and forth between Democrats and Republicans: Republicans win an election, Democrats get angry and vow to vote the Republican out at all costs, and then when the Democrats get in power, the Republicans get angry and vow to vote the Democrats out at all costs. Over and over and over again, while the elites continue laughing all the way to the bank.
Nothing will ever get better in this country until someone comes along and is able to transcend that left-right divide. And I’m not talking just rhetorically–all politicians talk about unity and transcending left and right. But when they get in power, they govern as dogmatic partisans.
I don’t know how this would work in practice, admittedly. Because we’ve seen that third party candidates have no shot at winning elections. You have to run in one of the two major parties, but in order to get nominated, you have to run as a partisan. In other words, you’re not going to win a Republican primary promising Medicare for All. (Although admittedly it’s never been tried before, so we don’t actually know it won’t work.)
The very structure of the two-party system is designed to keep the country constantly and bitterly divided, unfortunately.
The only thing I can think of is that you’d have to get elected as a partisan, but then govern as a refined populist who transcends left and right.
It’s not going to be easy to do, unfortunately. Either way you slice it, the odds are against any candidate who genuinely tries to transcend the left-right divide in this country.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or that it shouldn’t be attempted.