Leave Trump Behind And MAGA On

In the aftermath of a complete betrayal, it is very hard to focus on any silver linings. And 'betrayed' is just the word for how many Trump supporters feel after the second bombing of Syria. It's just the latest of a string of policy reversals: he's open to amnesty and gun control, there's no wall, he's funding Planned Parenthood, and he's even contemplating rejoining TPP. Trump's core supporters are asking themselves whether he is compromised, simply not up to the job of changing Washington, or simply lied to get elected. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Trump is a lost cause. Trying to decipher his latest move or tweet is now a waste of time. Defending him against Mueller, the Deep State, or the Mean Media is just a waste of energy that could be better used to advance the MAGA agenda. So I say: forget Trump. It's time to look for our silver linings and focus on the future.

Although Trump still has a little under three years left in office, I am willing to go out on a limb and say that his greatest achievement will be defeating Hillary Clinton. Her election would have been a mop-up operation for the globalists and there would have been no turning back. I completely reject the argument that any Republican would have beaten Hillary, given her inherent weaknesses. The reality is that Jeb!, Rubio, and Cruz would have performed no better than Mitt Romney. They presented the same stale Republican policies as Mitt did, and there is no reason to believe they could have flipped enough blue states to win the presidency . None of the other Republicans could have broken through the blue wall with their strict adherence to free trade dogma. Trump bought populists some time. It may not be enough, but at least we now have a window of opportunity.

Whenever Trump veers away from what he campaigned on – a routine occurrence at this point – the bitter dead-enders, still upset that their candidate lost to a reality television star, begin their “toldjasos”.  The common refrain from my colleague Alex Knepper and others is: "If only there had been some sign that Trump is a con artist!" Oh boy, are they ever proud of themselves. According to them, I should have voted instead for a candidate who flatly opposed my policy preferences because Trump couldn’t be trusted. Sorry, but I just don’t buy into the approach  that the best way to advance a policy agenda is to vote for candidates who oppose it -- call me crazy. It doesn’t matter whether Trump was lying or was completely sincere: the issues and the proposals he made are now on the table and cannot be ignored.

Let’s use Trump’s signature issue, the wall, to illustrate my point. Of course, I would prefer if construction were underway. I could even take a trip to the border just to see the big, beautiful wall rise from the Sonoran Desert.  But there is a silver lining to this saga. The wall now symbolizes security – or the lack thereof – in the minds of all American voters. No longer can politicians like Pelosi and Schumer pretend they favor border security by mentioning drones and sensors.  Anything less than a wall will be seen by voters as insufficient. Americans who never pay attention to politics except every four years and only after Labor Day now are aware of sanctuary cities and the danger they pose to public safety.  Trump has forced the media to cover the crime associated with illegal immigration – even Andrew Cuomo has been forced to acknowledge that M-13 gangs are ravaging Long Island. Limits on legal immigration and travel bans are now on the table. None of this could have happened if a “respectable” candidate like Jeb! or Hillary had won the presidency. Their election would have been portrayed as clear evidence that Americans want their borders wide open and think every illegal immigrant is a Dreamer.

Despite the deep frustration and, yes, anger I feel about Trump’s decision to bomb Syria again, I am very heartened by the reaction by many of his supporters.  Other than Sean Hannity, who is a total shill, the reaction even on Fox News what not the usual uniform cheering, flag-waving, and general orgasmic gushing whenever America displays its military might. When Trump first took to Twitter to threaten “Animal Assad”, there was such a strong pushback from Tucker Carlson, Michael Savage and others that the president hesitated. However, he had boxed – or tweeted – himself in and he had to strike or be just like Obama. After the bombing, even Alex Jones, of all people, who had excused all of Trump’s backtracking, flipping and flopping, finally threw his hands up and said “Eff Trump!” I realize that Alex Jones is considered a joke among polite society, but the reality is that he has millions of followers whose vote counts as much as the vote of those who read The New Yorker and listen to NPR.

As I said, Trump is the past. We need to look to the future and toward ways to advance the MAGA agenda. Paul Ryan retiring opens up the opportunity to appoint a Speaker who will advance a more conservative populist agenda. Expect the president to back Kevin McCarthy for no other reason than that he has been caressing Trump’s ego for months - complete with having a staff member select pink and red Starbusts as a gift to the president. We must promote someone from the Freedom Caucus. Mark Meadows or Jim Jordan are equally acceptable. Having a Speaker who will push the MAGA agenda will force McConnell’s hand in the Senate.

Don’t lose heart. Focus on the silver lining. To use a favorite phrase of the neoliberals: “we are on the right side of history”.  Remember that the globalists declared populism in Europe over when Merkel and Macron won their respective elections. A year later, populists triumphed in Hungary and Italy.