Rather, each week, you can expect what Jonah Goldberg terms “the whole whiplash-inducing spectacle: the unfiltered, impulsive tweeting, bizarre interview non sequiturs, glib insults, and distractions.”
Goldberg provides a list of recent examples of this spectacle, but suffice it to say that normal Trump fare is anything but normal. He is unpredictable, often confounding allies as well as enemies. Sometimes, unpredictability can be an asset—for example, it can force adversaries to weigh their challenges more carefully. Sometimes.
More than outlandish tactics, President Trump also makes some pretty outlandish claims. Earlier this month, the president morally equated the United States to Putin’s Russia. This is the opposite of boilerplate conservatism. President Obama—often lambasted for his moral equivocations on the international stage—never made such an audacious claim. It is an assertion worthy of bipartisan rebuke.
Yet this statement and others will inevitably be forgotten and opportunities to properly chasten President Trump will be missed. Why? Because statements like this are drowned out by the noise that our cultured elites and talking heads make over every Trumpgression.
They are so transfixed upon the president himself that they are constitutionally unable to parse his policies and strategically strike. Who cares about Trump’s moral equivocation when he very well may have been colluding with Russia to undermine the American electoral system? Such rhetoric tends to grow so extreme—Trump is a Russian “poodle” (as opposed to a puppet)—that we forget that he equated U.S. foreign policy to that of the former “Evil Empire.”
Take another example: the so-called “Muslim Ban.” President Trump’s executive order banned immigrants from seven countries, comprising a small portion of the Muslim world, for a total of 90 days. He did this in order to better vet immigrants who come from countries with insufficient vetting mechanisms. There is plenty of room for debating this executive order (which is currently not in effect due to an injunction).
That debate is not taking place, however, because we are debating whether or not a president can ban a specific religious group from our country. This religious red herring is ready for consumption by the anti-Trump base, but it does nothing to win over moderates who know that this order falls far short of a “Muslim Ban.”
Studied, substantive attacks on President Trump by the Left could prove highly effective. Instead, we are treated to nostalgia-inducing protests at Berkeley, tens of thousands of “p***y hats,” mainstreaming of the reductio ad Hitlerum, hypocrisy, and hyperbole galore. The Left and our cultured elites are so hysterical that they are making Donald Trump—Donald Trump!!!—look moderate by comparison.
Step back for a second—which voting bloc was most responsible for President Trump’s electoral victory? Reagan Democrats—blue-collar whites. They were tired of being dictated to and ridiculed by the coasts, so they delivered almost all of the Rust Belt to Donald Trump. They are used to being called ignorant, bigoted, racist, and sexist. When they see President Trump maligned in such a fashion, do you think that lessens his appeal with these voters?
It appears that these attacks are only hardening those who were already vehemently opposed to Trump. He’ll probably lose more votes in the urban and suburban enclaves of the coasts in 2020. Maybe he loses North Carolina as a result. At the same time, the attacks will likely backfire in the Midwest, solidify the Rust Belt behind Trump, and likely carry Minnesota over into the Republican column.
One rule governing warfare is the “Principle of Proportionality,” in which the severity of collateral damage is measured alongside the military objective. There are plenty of vulnerable and legitimate targets to wage war against in President Trump’s record and rhetoric. Somehow, the Left keeps finding a way to miss the target and destroy the barn house alongside of it.
Their attacks are exacting considerable collateral damage and they will only have themselves to blame when the American people re-elect President Donald Trump.