Ted Malloch: Happy 2019 – The Reign of Trump Year Three
There are those who seek merely to decry Trump and there are those who are befuddled by him calling him “chaotic”.
His opponents truthfully want to destroy, perhaps even impeach him, now that he is winning. And some in the establishment and the old guard fear he has taken over the GOP.
Donald Trump and the political phenomenon he has created are most understandable and formidable. He is NOT going away.
How do you understand Trump?
Three kinds of people are involved in politics: theorists, unprincipled actors and principled actors.
Theorists of both the right and the left and many lesser minds in academia and in the media, conceive of politics as putting into practice a preconceived theory; an ideology which supplies in advance of the historical facts a formulated end.
To be educated into this ideology is to be taught how to expound, defend, and implement the strict ideology.
What it maintains is that what was previously carried out under the aegis of politics can now be accomplished through intellectual discourse alone.
Political actors who do not play this game are either fools or scoundrels. Theorists expect politicians to be imperfect but deferential versions of themselves.
The theorists like to be consulted, and although they pretend that they have no ego (it’s all about the theory), they are most devoted to their own prestige.
Republican theorists pretend that Reagan was one of them; he was great at giving speeches – but he did not write them; nor was he constrained by abstractions.
Lincoln could write and give speeches; but he too, was not constrained by any theory.
Politics, however, is not the application of theory to practice.
Politics is not about theory.
It’s about addressing and responding to current but inherited issues (not some timeless universal concerns); this is, by the way, a form of conservatism when it is principled.
At best, one hires theorists to write set speeches – speeches are rituals, not theories.
Politics can be practiced in one of two ways, principled or unprincipled.
The Clintons are unprincipled.
They lacked a vision, and when pressed to express one (e.g., make me the first female president) all they can say is that it’s all about me.
They have no life and no accomplishments outside of politics.
The game of politics is all they know.
They have little talent for anything else – and unless they are political winners or celebrities their life is empty.
So they will do or say anything to win.
They also make a living or a fortune in their case off of politics (pay to play schemes).
Principled political leaders do not see politics as an end but as a means – a means to create, maintain, or defend a way of life.
It’s the way of life that matters – they are achievers in the real world (poets, athletes, business people, engineers, whatever).
They do not need to be President in order to feel fulfilled; they have a life outside of politics (like our US Founders; not like our current permanent political class).
Donald Trump is such a principled political leader.
He has been successful at almost everything (not everything) he has done in the real world.
If he does not win, he will go back to that real world.
He has a vision: Make America Great Again (sounds corny to theorists who are too embarrassed by America’s might and potential achievement and it grates on the hate-America crowd and Obamaites, or those who think they are victims) – but it resonates with most Americans.
Trump exudes self-confidence, a confidence that comes in part from past achievement; his assertion of self-confidence is in what he has achieved – “I’m number one in the polls” is an achievement; the winner in his world is not the guy with the cleverest comment but the person who achieves the most; even making money is a sign of such achievement, not an end in itself.
He is appalled at most of the current practitioners and competitors (with good reason) and thinks he is better than the rest, especially the Dems.
Why run if you do not think you are the best?
More importantly, his medium is the message — his form and content are identical and he tells it like it is, which is refreshingly appealing.
This is a style that mere theorists do not understand.
To exude confidence not only inspires others but becomes a self-fulfilling act.
To make America Great Again one has to believe that one is a partial expression of that very greatness.
He wants all Americans to be included in that greatness which is why his reach extends beyond one party, class, race, gender or region — to all citizens.
He loves and welcomes the challenge – after all, he is essentially an entrepreneur.
What, then, are the current inherited issues that the American political actor must face in Year Three of what is a disruptive tenure in office. How could it be anything but?
There are three: the economy, security, and civilizational identity.
Watch each in order to understand Year Three in the Reign of Trump.
On the domestic economy, Trump has always been pro-business and free-market. His tax plans have proven competitive with any other Republican to hold office. Everyone agrees that infrastructure needs to be addressed. Trump is a builder – he rightly expects to get this done efficiently. Hasn’t he always? He also addresses the one economic issue that most Republicans like to avoid – the income gap. It’s also a serious social problem. Trump reassures blue-collar workers that he has their back; his tax plan takes this into consideration; his global economic strategy takes this seriously. Year Three will see an infrastructure bill on a bipartisan basis; personal income tax cuts; and, more economic growth to the benefit of all.
With regard to the global economy – He understands that being libertarian in a mercantilist world is stupid; the libertarians and even the neo-cons, may be correct in theory but the world has not caught up; the current issue is how to deal with the fact that others are taking advantage of US largesse and most of the world is not yet capable of being free. Articulate theorists from the developing world are not evidence against this – his policy is simply, AMERICA FIRST. This is not reactionary nationalism but a reasonable response to failed cosmopolitanism. It is what is expected of a US President! So too is border security as a first rule in national security. Year Three will see a standoff on border security and a compromise on building the wall or fence; a win on China trade; and, getting others to pay more of their far share.
On domestic security – Trump sees his responsibility as preventing dangerous people from entering the US; hence the southern border wall and Muslim visa prohibition. Trump is not counting on the votes of illegal aliens present and future, and is nor pandering to groups that see themselves as victims. He is instead the leader of all those who want to be successful. He is not anti-immigration at all; he wants immigration to be for the benefit of America and Americans; America has a successful and proven formula – if you want to be a part of it, then become American; come here legally to become American – not to turn the US into Mexico or live under sharia law. Year Three sees merit based immigration and law and order defeating the triple threat of jihadists, socialists, and the media—his enemy of the people.
On global security – Trump advocates an overwhelmingly powerful military. There are to be no foreign adventures, unless there is a clear practical objective that is obtainable (perpetual peace, world government, etc., are neither clear nor achievable in our foreseeable future). He does not announce DOCTRINES; why be hampered by abstractions. The US does not have to apologize for making the world free and prosperous; if it had not been for the US in WWII and the Cold War then no country in the world would be free or prosperous. Of course the US sometimes does dumb stuff – but the lack of overall gratitude and hostility should teach us a lesson. Year Three sees a roll back in Syria and Afghanistan; the resurgence of our military to new levels and sophistication, including a Space Force; and, the disentanglement of bad or wornour alliances and overextensions. America first, means American citizens must benefit.
The Middle East is no longer important economically – between fracking, renewable energy and new technology we are now the center of the energy universe; surely, the Saudis recognize this.
The old Cold War strategy is no longer applicable here. We should wish them well but not get bogged down in their perennial conflicts. Yes, we should support Israel more—our only ally but focus on US interests.
We come now to civilizational identity. In his book Who Are WE? The late Harvard professor, Samuel Huntington warned us about the ‘clash of civilizations.’ The greatest current threat to the US is radical Islamism, the jihadist attempt to win the conflict on who defines the coming global culture. This is the new version of the Cold War. Trump dares to voice his deep concern. He has the courage to stare down the political correctness crowd on this issue. He understands that we are citizens of the United States of America and not of the make-believe world of rootless, open-borders, cosmopolitan globalists or one-worlders.
Understanding Trump is not all that difficult.
He resonates with reality — not some worn out theory or ideology.
He is a dealmaker.
He is a real American.
He is actually making our country great again — is that not most laudable?
Watch Year Three unfold along the lines described.