Tragically Trump

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

“Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered, but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change, given his megalomania and absolutist views of the human experience. In the classical tragic sense, Trump likely will end in one of two fashions, both not particularly good: either spectacular but unacknowledged accomplishments followed by ostracism when he is out of office and no longer useful, or, less likely, a single term due to the eventual embarrassment of his beneficiaries, as if his utility is no longer worth the wages of his perceived crudity.”   —The Case for Trump (2019)

After the midterms, the Republican Party and half of the conservative movement are now furious with Donald Trump. Their writs are many—even though the party establishment shares much of the blame. More importantly still, American elections have radically shifted to mail-in/early/absentee voting rendering Election Day a minor event. The predictable result is that any close race undecided on Election Day in subsequent days usually is won by the Democrats.

On the eve of the midterm, Trump gratuitously attacked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was up for reelection, while all but announcing he would run for president.

That preview could have waited until the elections had passed. The pizzazz may have galvanized some Trump-haters to go to the polls. It might even have alienated perhaps a few thousand DeSantis Republicans who were not thus inclined to vote for Trump-stamped candidates.

Trump’s frantic fundraising efforts had amassed a huge sum in his PAC, geared to his future primary fights. But many felt he was far too parsimonious in spreading his largess to his own cash-strapped and outspent MAGA candidates. That stinginess might have helped contribute to their defeats in close House and Senate elections.

Those earlier rumblings were only amplified after the unexpectedly anemic Republican midterm performance. Trump sent out a disjointed, almost unhinged letter damning DeSantis as disloyal, without gratitude (to Trump), mediocre, and overrated.

The indictment was ill-timed to DeSantis’ landslide victory over Charlie Crist. DeSantis’ long Florida coattails fueled the only red tsunami of the entire evening. If Trump thought he would employ the battering-ram tactics of his first presidential debate of 2020, then he should remember they failed (in contrast to his effective second debate against Biden). And in reaction, DeSantis’ rope-a-dope silence is effectively designed to let Trump punch his way out and down to the low 30s in approval.

Trump further blamed some of the losses of his endorsed candidates on either their own shortcomings and lack of loyalty, or the bad advice from those who had persuaded him to back losers. New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc was deemed insufficiently denialist and so, according to Trump, was crushed in the New Hampshire race.

Former First Lady Melania Trump, of all people, was reportedly to blame for convincing the ex-president to back Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race.

Yet Oz turned out to be a tireless worker and a rookie but solid candidate. Still, he was easily outspent—and was fatally injured by the balloting blowback against the mediocre Trump-supported gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. The latter’s wipeout injured Oz and Republican congressional candidates once thought likely to win.

Worse still, Trump highlighted his self-obsession over party concerns by weirdly celebrating the loss of fellow Republican senatorial candidate Joe O’Dea of Colorado. His RINO crime was spurning Trump’s support. Stranger still, Trump attacked popular Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin for supposedly having a “Chinese”-sounding name.

But these were sins of commission. There were also those of omission. Trump had not issued an ecumenical call to head to Georgia, to forget intramural squabbles, and to rally money and time on behalf of Herschel Walker—Trump’s own endorsed candidate.

Even if the Senate is now lost, Trump should issue such a call—if keeping his person clear of the Georgia mess. In 2021 his loud whines to supporters that Georgia’s voting was rigged kept his base home, while offending swing independents.

That one-two punch ensured the surreal victories of two neo-socialist Democratic senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The duo ensured Democratic control of the entire Congress, guaranteeing the disastrous first two years of the Biden Administration. It takes effort to ensure that Georgia now hosts the two most radically left-wing senators in the entire Senate.

Even before the midterms, there was a latent feeling among half of Republicans that Trump, given his age, and the animus he incurs among the rich Left and touchy independents, might retire to the role of kingmaker, rather than try a third presidential election. Trump’s eruptions, coupled with DeSantis’ stunning and singular midterm success, ensured that such prior latent conservative unease is now overt.

Indeed, in near hysterical fashion, Trump became stigmatized and scapegoated as the culprit for nearly every Republican race lost. Yet many of his endorsed candidates won. And some who lost did so quite independently of anything Trump said or did. Tiffany Smiley, Tudor Dixon and Lee Zeldin were good candidates and their opponents feeble. But not even Abraham Lincoln could have gotten them elected in bright blue Washington, Michigan, and New York.

On the other hand, there were also lots of RNC-approved candidates who likewise lost narrow races. And Senator Mitch McConnell sent millions of dollars to RINO Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to defeat fellow Republican and genuine conservative Kelly Tshibaka, more to protect McConnell’s own leadership role than to ensure a more reliable Republican vote in the Senate.

As the disappointment over a red ripple began to subside, many found some long-term good: the winner Ron DeSantis was empowered. The now cocky but still demented Joe Biden is delusional, convinced he could be a winner in 2024, And Donald Trump now must either settle down or settle up.

An unspoken paradox arose among many that Trump’s vital MAGA agenda might be better continued and advanced by those others than its creator—even as Trump insisted that there can no more be a MAGA party without him than there could be sunshine without the sun.

Trump Considered

One explanation of the Trump dilemma is that like all classical tragic heroes and western gunslingers, Trump solved problems through means unpalatable to those in need of solutions beyond their own refinement. It is the lot of such tragic figures to grate and wear out their welcome with their beneficiaries—but only after their service is increasingly deemed no longer needed.

In this moment of wishing the wounded Shane would ride off into the Tetons and leave the more civilized alone, we should remember Trump’s four historical accomplishments that will only grow in light of Biden’s subsequent disastrous four years.

One is partisan. Trump utterly destroyed the 30-year Clinton grifting and quid pro quo machine in general, and Hillary Clinton’s endless and often toxic political career in particular. It was characterized by the despicable Uranium One sale, the foreign shake-down contributions to the Clinton Foundation, her destruction of subpoenaed emails and devices, and her blatant violation of State Department rules of personal communications.

Clinton’s failing campaign and eventual collapse in 2016 was so shocking that it all but crushed her very psyche—to the point that she had funded a foreign ex-spy to systematically and illegally destroy her political opponent. She ended up denying the very legitimacy of the election she lost. Then she topped that off by urging Joe Biden not to accept the 2020 verdict should he lose the popular vote.

Hillary Clinton is physically, psychologically, and spiritually spent—and never recovered from her ill-fated collisions with Donald Trump.

Two, Donald Trump recalibrated the Republican Party to become more populist and nationalist. Previously it was shrinking and offered the Left an easy stereotype of a small club of aristocratic white corporate elites.

Yet Trumpism did not renounce prior Republicanism, at least not entirely. Rather, Trump sought to save it by recalibrating the party. He demanded toughness with China, attacked illegal immigration, addressed the crisis of the deindustrialized American interior, and adopted a Jacksonian foreign policy. That was all in addition to embracing Republican policies of low-taxes, small-government, deregulation, traditional values, and originalist justices.

Three, Trump’s actual four years of governance were characterized, before the advent of the pandemic, by robust growth, low inflation, energy independence, low unemployment, a rebuilding of the U.S. military, eventual curbing of illegal immigration, the Abraham Accords, and forcing NATO to spend far more on defense. Trump saved the Supreme Court and lower federal courts for a generation.

Four, in his furious counterassault against a vicious administrative state, bankrupt media, and crazed elite bicoastal class, Trump survived and ended up exposing and discrediting them all. Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, which monitors media coverage, found that after just a few months in office, Trump was the subject of the most biased coverage in modern presidential history.

While the media both thrived on him and yet sought to ruin their greatest source of income, it committed suicide through its hysteria and fixations. Trump’s “fake news” attacks were crude. But they resonated precisely because he was correct that the media had become utterly corrupt and a mere extension of the progressive project.

Trump in his current state is an object of derision. But that he is still standing is a miracle in itself, given the abuse he endured that was predicated on lies, myths, and venom. In the first year of his presidency, partisan House members filed articles of impeachment. Foreign Policy printed an essay 11 days after his inauguration calling for his removal through either impeachment, the 25th Amendment, or a military coup.

It became a progressive parlor game to publicly dream of his assassination by explosion, decapitation, stabbing, incineration, hanging, or shooting. Joe Biden on three occasions bragged of his desire to physically beat him up.

That fisticuffs trope was amplified by everyone from Cory Booker to Robert De Niro. His National Security designate, General Michael Flynn, was framed by the efforts of the FBI and remnants of the Obama Justice Department through an ambush interrogation aimed at reviving the ossified Logan Act.

For nearly three years he was smeared and slurred as a Russian collaborator. That was a false charge and it devoured 22 months of his presidency, until the Mueller investigation imploded. Frenzied leftist hysterics followed this implosion. His first impeachment remains a stain on democracy.

Trump, remember, did not cancel aid to Ukraine. He was prescient in warning about the serial corruption of Hunter Biden and his father’s family syndicate. He was far tougher on Vladimir Putin (greater sanctions, flooding the world with cheap oil, leaving a flawed missile treaty, hammering Russian mercenaries in Syria, sending offensive weapons to Ukraine that Obama-Biden had forbidden, beefing up military spending, etc.) than his predecessor. Putin did not invade other countries under Trump’s tenure, unlike during prior and subsequent administrations.

In its politicized efforts to get Trump, the FBI blew up its reputation as a competent, professional, and disinterested investigatory bureau. A good argument can be made that three consecutive directors, Mueller, Comey, and McCabe, either under oath misled a House Intelligence Committee inquiry or simply flat-out lied. Retired four-star generals systematically violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice with impunity as they slandered their commander-in-chief variously as Nazi-like, a Mussolini, or analogous to the architects of Nazi death camps.

Congressional representatives grew so desperate to end Trump’s presidency that they called in a hack Yale psychiatrist to declare him, quite unprofessionally and without an examination, non compos mentis and deserving of a forced removal from office. Do we remember “Anonymous” who bragged in the New York Times of a covert and concerted effort inside his administration to destroy it?

A common denominator with all his critics—Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Dr. Bandy X. Lee, the CNN cadre, Andrew McCabe, Robert De Niro, Adam Schiff, Howard Stern, Peter Strzok, and a host of others—was that their anti-Trump obsessions either diminished their careers or empowered Trump, or both.

In response to all this, and often in preemptive fashion, Trump became obsessed with the historic injustice of it all. He yelled to high heaven that the Russian collusion charge was an utter hoax. He hammered the message that the COVID pandemic never originated naturally in a wet market but was birthed in a Wuhan virology lab. He screamed that the Hunter Biden laptop was authentic and a window into the Biden family’s systemic and lucrative corruption. Trump was right on all these counts, but, like mythical Cassandra, the more he rattled off the truth, the less likely he was to be believed given the coarseness of his protestations.

To push through his agenda, and to strike back at the Democratic-media fusion, Trump stooped to battle nonstop with minor and irrelevant enemies—and often his own allies. He wrongly encouraged January 6 demonstrations at the Capitol at a time of volatile passions—missing the story of the 2020 election that was lost far earlier in the spring through altered voting laws.

We will never quite know why the media became obsessed with Trump to the point that it is now a mere caricature of its former self. Was it Trump’s supposed crudity, both physical and vocal, that so shocked their sensibilities, from his orange hue and combover flop to his Queens accent? Was it MAGA estrangement from both Republican and Democratic hierarchies? Was it his deplorable base that had earned an entire vocabulary of hatred from the Obama-Clinton-Biden nexus (clingers, deplorables, dregs, chumps)? Or was it Trump’s own Ethan Edwards-like 360-degree, 24/7 constant obsessive combativeness?

After all, it was not Trump but his enemies who weaponized the CIA, FBI, and Justice Department. Trump, unlike Obama, did not spy on journalists. And unlike Biden, he created no ministry of truth. His supporters did not call to junk the Electoral College, pack the court, destroy the filibuster, or opportunistically add two new states. They did not radically change the voting laws through means that undermined the authority of state legislatures to end Election Day as we had known it for over three centuries. They did not turn balloting into mostly a mail-in/early voting phenomena that saw the usual rejection rate of ballots plummet even as the number of non-Election Day ballots soared.

So, Kingmaker, Scapegoat, or Outlaw?

A good argument of “ifs” concerning Trump and the recent Republican midterms can be made: if he had stayed out of picking candidates; if he had helped all Republican candidates including those who opposed him; if at his rallies he had advanced positive “Commitment to America” solutions rather than litanies of his own past hurts and grievances; and if he now pivoted and raised money for the conservative agenda rather than having trashed rivals who nonetheless have advanced his shared cause.

By 2022 even hard conservatives thought Trump was expendable, his liabilities growing larger than his assets, his future potential deemed less than his past achievements, his don’t tread-on-me pushbacks to the Left overshadowed by his cul-de-sac and gratuitous spats with irrelevancies, and his former remarkable perseverance in the face of historic and unjust attacks overshadowed by his current preemptive squabbles.

So, will Trump rest on his considerable laurels and ride out gracefully to Mar-a-Lago? And there, as a kingmaker/elder statesman, will he work to institutionalize his MAGA agendas while raising money for any presidential candidate who embraces it?

Or will a subdued candidate Trump now pivot, grow quieter, and let the people vote in the primaries to decide whether they want him anymore—and whether Ron DeSantis sinks as a 2016 Scott Walker on the national stage (a similarly talented and successful governor), or assumes the mythical status of Ronald Reagan?

Or will an unapologetic Trump instead now escalate his slurs, bray at the moon, play out his current angry Ajax role to the bitter end, and thus himself end up a tragic heroappreciated for past service but deemed too toxic for present company?

 

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75 thoughts on “Tragically Trump”

  1. It’s possible 45 has hit a ceiling of support.
    I was remembering how you advised 45 to stop complaining about the 2020 election.
    We’re going to have to live with mail-in ballots, Americans love convenience enough to never give them up. So that’s one subject we’ll need to drop from future complaints.
    We’ll also need to stop complaining about FBI and other govt shenanigans. No one cares because Americans have demonstrated time and again they don’t care about the rights of people they don’t like.
    We should also disabuse ourselves of the notion that left hatred will subside once 45 is no longer in play.
    Team blue has found a formula that works, and will keep using it until it stops working.
    Our main problem seems to be an over-reliance on tools that belong to the enemy.

  2. Victor I read your articles and listen to your podcasts. I think you are one of the most influencial conservative commentators that we have today. However you need to acknowledge that you, like a lot of pollsters, got this election completely wrong.

  3. imperatorcf@gmail.com

    I voted for him, but alas, his handling of Georgie and cruel political realities will tell us all we need to know as to what Trumps future is in politics………….please, what I dont want to see is some cut rate Downfall bunker episode where Trump rants against everyone as unworthy of him etc..

  4. The GOP is going to have to deal with mail in voting. It is not going away. Democrats go through the voter rolls looking for registered Democrats who have not voted in the last election. They then contact them and follow up. GOP needs to do the same. Also need to get a green candidate into these races. The libertarian always draws votes away from Republicans and a green candidate draws votes away from Democrats. The GOP MUST come up with a DETAILED health care plan. Trump promised an ” amazing ” health plan but there was none. GOP must address the young voter. The Democrats beat the Republicans in the 18 to 24 age group by almost 30 points. The plan for America that McCarthy came up with was vague at best. It should have been a plan with details as to how the GOP will solve inflation, the supply chain, crime, the border, energy policy. Just pointing fingers at the Dems will not work. Lastly need to leave the 2020 election behind. We cannot change it. I believe there was cheating but its over and we cannot go back in time.

    1. Excellent comment. We need another Jill Stein as you point out. We need an energized GOP that learns that fighting dirty d/n have to be illegal but it must be done. And it must go back to grassroots foundations and grab every available person to harvest and bank ballots like the democrats. It’s won’t be as easy Bc we are not in as many cities but there are enuf lazy ppl out there who will gladly oblige even the GOP harvesters… and those ppl are the young. The eager. The excited. For a detailed plan that the GOP must learn to produce.

  5. I suppose this is as good a case as could be made in favor of Donald Trump, and it is a case worth making: Trump, as president, did indeed do certain things quite well, and Trump continues to be popular among some Republicans. Of course, one could also cite any number of matters where Trump’s actions were disappointing (e.g., healthcare reform) or downright harmful (his actions on 1/6/20). But where Professor Hanson disappoints, is in his failure to mention the extent to which Mr. Trump has alienated people: not just Democrats or independents, but people who usually vote Republican. I believe I speak for a large number of people who consider themselves Republican or Libertarian and who would never vote for him again, for president or for dog catcher.

  6. President Trump was sabotaged by a cabal who understood him and who would stop at nothing. We’ll never know if that cabal conspired with the PRC in late 2019 to release the Wuhan Lab virus, killing millions. That virus upended U.S. Presidential election ballot counting, which elected Biden. A bonus to the cabal was how Pres. Trump became unhinged as he realized what had been done to get him out of the way.

  7. I think Dr Hanson’s final paragraph is the most likely. Trump is about Trump, and like an angry young child it would seem he feels a toy has been taken from him. You can’t turn Liberty Valance into Shane.

    Whether you benefited during the Trump years or not (and I benefited), it should be obvious to conservatives by now that you can’t win with him.

    1. Agreed! Trump is his own worst enemy and now the Republican Parties also too. My vote will be for DeSantis. In his speech after he won re-election, he used the word ‘we’ when he spoke of accomplishments made in Florida. Trump only uses the word ‘I’ in his speehes. Enough!

  8. Dear Dr. Hanson:
    Mr. Trump is and always will be Trump! Whatever the consequences, he will remain true and be himself. I am thankful that he as dragged the corruption out into the light of day for all to see. We as a nation now have the choice of what to do about it!? Politicians on both parties have shown themselves to be no more than professional projectionist. So, do we send Mr. Trump back to finish the job or elect others to do so? Or do we just go back to sleep and let the swamp creatures slide back into slimy lairs? I am having trouble seeing anyone who wants the mess and the work required to solve any problem. It is my hope and prayer that we as a country will not just spend and talk until, we have to question the end.

  9. Unless McCarthy, McConnell, and McDaniel are replaced and the Dem ballot stuffing operation is destroyed with universal same day voting and voter ID, Trump will lose in 2024.

    If it is fixed, he’ll win and the Democrat party will end up like they are in FL, destroyed for a generation to the benefit of all mankind.

    Candidates don’t matter, issues don’t matter, the R votes are there and always have been. The rest is eyewash.

    1. Thank you for pointing out the elephant in the room that all previous commenters, including VDH, refuse to admit and talk about. Our elections are corrupted and results fraudulent. Trump won in a landslide in 2020 and if the elections mess is cleaned up for good he will again in 2024. Our current crop of election fraud deniers on both sides of the aisle need to be tossed out. The people want Trump. Does anyone have the guts and political will to clean this mess up?

  10. All may be true, but you still have not seen the ad DeSantis ran in Florida for Governor that could be called the first punch at Trump. If they don’t both call a truce, the country will suffer.

  11. I fear the latter and pray for the first. Unlike the D’s, the R’s have a stable full of youth and talent and they need to be free to run.

  12. The Republican power structure, led by McConnell, has worked to remove Trump since Jan. 21, 2017. They have succeeded, but they’ve done great damage in the process.

    I’d say Trump has brought onto himself the nemesis that always follows hubris. (I learned that from you, Dr. Hanson.)

  13. Mary Louise Miner

    I have made up my mind about former President Trump. I am voting for a new, fresh start and hope that former President Trump will “behave” and ride off into the sunset and let history declare his victory.

  14. Victor, thanks for your thoughtful analysis of Trump. Moving forward Republicans must decide if Trump is a liability or an asset to our future. The MAGA movement is still strong. It will survive with or without Trump. Trump is his own worst enemy. The leadership in Republican Party is dismal. The Party needs new leadership that puts Americans first. The mid-terms were disappointing. The party needs a cohesive message going forward. We need to solve problems and stop the divisiveness.

  15. My dear Professor, thank you for another masterpiece!
    However, regarding your synopsis, we must keep uppermost a glaring distinction that unlike the narcissistic egocentric Trump, the humble and mild mannered Shane came to a rational decision that he indeed did not belong in those particular surroundings and he subsequently disappears into the night.

  16. Either Trump will win in 2024 or a democrat will. DesHontis is clearly seen as GOPe MAGA poison similar to how Romney played the traitor in 2012 to the tea party. The MAGA base+Hispanics+ blacks IS the Republican Party for the moment and the GOPe and RINOS are the minority but still hold power by their silence thereby siding with the demonrats as the Uniparty. The next two years will determine if the Republican party even survives.

    Demonrats are truly insane and only win elections by criminal acts. Get rid of machines and they will never win an election anywhere.

    1. You’re not going to get 18-30 year olds to vote Republican without the Republicans ditching MAGA principles and becoming Democrat Light. The youngsters were educated by leftists pretty much from pre-school all the way through grad school. The left owns every institution in the US.
      Those who control the machines control the vote. The Republicans need to focus on getting state voting laws changed back to the way it used to be and get their people into boards of election all over the country. Until progs are pushed put of education and elections, nothing is going to change much.

  17. Janet Adams Croghsn

    Thank you again for your succinct and reasoned review of recent history. Our nation’s collective forgetfulness requires astute observers, such as you, to remind us of what we must remember.

  18. Thank you again professor for defining like a snapshot of Trump today but in writing what we see.

    And I don’t know to just relate or be disappointed that you’re joining us in this cliffhanger. Predictions can disappoint bitterly. Like Abraham Lincoln that we know or William Tecumseh Sherman as you explained in your book will he rise from his fall or be like most who’ve faded away, what is the next chapter? Trump rose up from mega bankruptcies to become President of the United States.

    What is the reward and price of loyalty? The battle is competence vs crudeness. The suspense is great.

  19. I voted for Trump twice because he was the lessor of two evils. Before he ran for President, I saw him on the cover of supermarket tabloids, a NYC guy. Did not like his name calling nor his political style. He’s always been about himself and not the country. But I loved his policy. He had some good people around him developing his policy.

    But we can have his policy without his baggage. I would be very happy to see him ride off into the sunset.

    We have a great potential candidate in Ron DeSantis. I’m eager to vote for him.

  20. Much as I like Trump, with all his warts, rough edges and combativeness, I think he should retire to Mar-a-lago and play a lot of golf. The dems/leftists/media will not be satisfied until they see him publicly drawn and quartered. Even tho’ he was a great president, with an excellent program, and was right about all the big things, I don’t see how he can win fighting against most of the leftist world. If republicans couldn’t easily win the majority of elections this mid-term, and dems were willing to elect brain-addled candidates like Fetterman, I don’t believe he can win in 2024. My wife and I will continue to vote for republicans, but I’m afraid the dems/leftists and their media and union allies have so brainwashed 51% of Americans (including felons and voting illegal aliens) that the USA is going to be mostly turned into one big California. (I’m an 86yo Arizona voter.)

  21. Gilbert Schwartz

    Being a regular listener to your pod casts, and member of your website, all of these beautifully merged facts are again brilliantly presented. I will try to send this one to every one I know. Thanks again

  22. Very inciteful analysis and recap. Right before reading to the concluding 2 paragraphs it suddenly hit me as to what may ultimately cost Trump substantial viability in his inevitable bid for presidency 2024 – his anger. When he first started in 2015, he had virtually no real skeletons in the closet of his political career, he had superb media instincts for the landscape AT THAT TIME, and his speech was relaxed and casual with an air of comical. 7 years in politics has reversed all of that. Back then he didn’t have the political success as he would 4 years later, and that’s become a very corrosive bargaining chip he holds over other republican candidates – so he gets snappy and turns on his own. He’s clearly incensed by the 2020 fallout, and I think he views those who don’t publicly commit to his narrative surrounding that election as ingrates and traitors. Time will tell what’s in store down the road, but I don’t hold a lot of optimism for the Republicans in 2024 if Trump can’t reel himself in and get out of his own way

  23. Another great piece by VDH and I love Trump but I think he’s becoming more Captain Quieg rather than Ethan Edwards. A real shame.

  24. As usual I agree with VDH. I have to admit I was skeptical of his prediction of the red wave. Being a mere peasant when compared to VDH in terms of formal education, (comprehensive major in Econ) I yield to the majority VDHs positions. Far greater than the formal education is the practical knowledge gained from a career in sales that spans 5 decades. I know the problem of the republicans, I have been screaming at the top of my lungs for what seems like forever. The issue is right in front of their eyes, 99% of my party is content saying how bad the other side is, vilifies the Dems. The messages resonates with the base, me, but fails repeatedly with independents and god forbid what’s left of the “blue dog democrats”. Any successful salesman worth his salt can’t say “my product is better” without proving it and or creating a plan that is specifically designed to address the other guys message or product. You can’t just say the others guys bad.,

    I have thrown away heaps of flyers, that made their way to my mailbox, the message is the same wether it be local rep or national race, other guy is bad, vote for me or world falls apart. Until the party recognizes their problem how the message is presented we will waste colossal sums of money and have the same result.

    Trump has not a clue, the business community has left him. He is no Reagan, he needs to play ball with his party, espouse the policies that got him elected, shut up, go play golf and let us pick a winner, DeSantis.

  25. “One is partisan. Trump utterly destroyed the 30-year Clinton grifting and quid pro quo machine in general, and Hillary Clinton’s endless and often toxic political career in particular. It was characterized by the despicable Uranium One sale, the foreign shake-down contributions to the Clinton Foundation, her destruction of subpoenaed emails and devices, and her blatant violation of State Department rules of personal communications.”

    Dear Mr. Hanson:
    If you want to be good political hack, try not to be so blatant about it.
    You are getting lazy.

  26. Remember right after the 2016 elections when the Tech Giants vowed that Trump will be “A blip in history?” Running up to the 2020 elections Alex Marlow at Breitbart was sounding the alarm over and over again what Dr. Robert Epstein was saying, that Big Tech was censoring everywhere all negatives of the Left and suppressing Republican messaging to the tune of costing a good 17% of the Republican vote coupled with mail in voting as Alex referred to as “Cheat-by-mail.” And of course the voting laws changed prior to the 2020 elections in the name of Covid. Trump, I honestly believe, would be president today if not for these two factors, Big Tech censoring and mail-in-voting. Let’s not forget just months ago Mark Zuckerberg went on Joe Rogan’s show admitting the FBI wanted him to censor certain stories. I believe at this point in time our country is lost to the Far Left. How is it possible to overcome these formidable forces? Fredrick Douglas said, we have three boxes, if the ballot box stops working, go to the jury box, if it stops working, go to the ammo box.

  27. Warren L Myrfield

    One can’t help but yearn for the accomplishments of Trump again and wonder it DeSantis has the strength to do the same. Although DeSantis has done well for Florida and is likeable, it takes an unwieldy personality, much like your gun slinger analogy, to do what Trump did in his 4 years.

  28. VDH is such a brilliant historian.
    Unfortunately, he is also a terrible prognosticators. His future predictions are always wrong.

  29. Professor Hanson, I have been anxiously awaiting your account of what happened to derail the predicted “red wave” of the midterm elections. I must admit that I am disappointed in your assessment of what went wrong. In particular, what about the many locals you referred to in podcasts that are “sick of” the current economic situation, with inference that they would surely vote for conservatives to reverse it? Will those same locals now tell you how they voted and why? I hope so. That would be truly telling.

  30. Excellent analysis albiet lengthy. I would hope that Trump tampers down the rhetoric and becomes the ‘subdued candidate as this nation needs Trump to fight the corrupt left, and I include the faux republicans here, and the media. DeSantis has proven to be a very good if not great governor but he has yet to be slandered by the media as Trump has. Florida loves Ron but will the nation give him the same respect. The nation is in such a mess that our ‘Shane’ cannot ride into the sunset just yet. Trump should study how humble Shane was so we can loudly call out “Shane come back” and truly hope he does!

  31. Theodore W Branin

    All have missed Trump’s greatest gift: No war involving America. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.” Matthew 5:10.

  32. I forget the happy go lucky country singer ..no I got mit Mac Davis,I think sang the perfect Trump song…. Oh Its hard to be Humble
    Will take the Greek Tradegy over the Woke absurdity any day.Shalom

  33. I don’t think President Trump is electable anymore. There are just too many people that dislike his style more than tolerating the poor government we have today.

    And, with the democrats controlling the social levers and voting methods, I don’t see his candidacy being successful.

  34. Letter to President Trump:
    I do not want you to run in 2024. I am grateful for all you accomplished during your term and I know that you were always thinking and acting on what was best for the American people. But then you were focusing on the FUTURE. Today, you are focused more on the recent PAST. You have been treated terribly by evil others and I can understand how you feel. We need honest and thorough investigations to make sure this never happens again. Your fellow Republicans should do this if we regain power. But I must declare that I will not support you if you declare a run for President again.
    I cannot support your communication choices, your ire, the sarcastic comments about other Republicans (especially name-calling and threats toward Ron DeSantis during an election period! What were you thinking?!?) That is just bombastic, rude, crude, unnecessary, and harmful to the cause of all that I believe you stand for.
    Personal discipline simply seems beyond your reach at this time, and therefore it is clear to me that regaining the Presidency is also beyond your reach. To run again would be more a vanity project than something that would truly make American great again. Your policies paved the path, but now please step aside and let others more disciplined carry the flag. And I say this with respect and everlasting gratitude for your accomplishments during the four years that you served the American people and faithfully upheld our Constitution.

  35. “It’s a question of methods. Everybody wants results, but nobody wants to do what they have to do to get them done.” – Harry Callahan

  36. HEAVEN OR HELL?

    There’s a story about a man who passes on and his guardian angel prepares him for his meeting with the divine counsel to determine if he enters heaven or hell. The guardian angel asks the man to give an account of his life.

    The man says he always treated others kindly. Never had a fight, never incited hatred from others, never made an enemy, never made waves. Most important, he said if you ask anyone who knew him man during his life, not one would utter an unkind word about him.

    The guardian angel shook his head. He replied, “And that response will earn you the first ticket to hell.”

    If we genuinely bring positive change to the world, we make enemies. We must use our negative traits for the good, & use our positive traits for good. That brings positive change and enemies.

    The election was stolen. Period. Not one politician is strong enough nor in a financial position to resist the corruption & compromises that feed our personal agenda.

    Mr. Hansen, you have a personal agenda. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It merely means it’s not in your interest to call out the truth.

    And the truth is, it’s all corrupt and dirty.

    If you & the media stayed laser focused on this, it would shine the light & people would wake up.
    Trump cannot be bought. That tells you everything. He just wanted to see better ideas take hold in this country. He happened to have the ideas, and personality, warts to and all, to make it happen.

    Now everyone bails. Cowards.

  37. the question should be — will the rhinos and other republ9icans stand together during the next 2 years and support whoever is the candidate for the president of the country? — as of now my choice would be trump or anyone else other then a rhino — rhinos are the slow moving cousin of the democrates — both want the same thing but one moves slower then the other hoping to fool the people —– neither good for the country ————–

  38. Great, and balanced article. Trump 2024!! It’s not tragic when you fight for what’s good, what you believe in, and what is yours. See you at the primary election.

  39. Policies affect me everyday and will affect my family and my livelihood. Don’t listen to Trump if you don’t like the man, he’s courageous and sincere; you take on the powers that we’re lined up against him and see if you come out clean! Armchair comments are just that. History won’t be reflected on for decades, but our civilization as freedom loving individuals will disappear if we leave it to the mild mannered RINOs. Support the disruptor or acknowledge that you contributed to our Constitutions’s demise. It’s happening right now in plain sight.

  40. Timothy Alexander

    Trump has been such a lightning rod for the vitriolic Left. I wish he would step aside and become an advisor on policy, campaign strategy, or something to that effect. I know that isn’t him. He has to win and be the “the one”. I even wrote something to that effect at donaldtrump.com. Needless to say, I didn’t wind up on their mailing list.

  41. “his former remarkable perseverance in the face of historic and unjust attacks”

    I wonder if Trump didn’t fight so hard, would he have even survived his term? The Democrat-media would not have stopped attacking him and they can hyperbolically exaggerate any irrelevancy into an impeachment, so I don’t think calling out the media would have worked. I also wonder how, or if, DeSantis or other Republicans can withstand the withering 24/7 attacks and can they win or persevere. I also wonder if The six-year quest to destroy Trump has instead destroyed our country.

  42. It’s very true that Trump has created a unique parade of sorrows for almost everyone in some way by this point.

    The surprise to me, however, is how many people (yourself included) are observing the optics of the political discussion and ignoring the mechanical failings present in our electoral system.

    I’m not contesting the electoral college, but the basis of voting. By all counts, it seems like every close match that matters is going to a Democrat come mail-in voting. A once-every-five-year census is in order, with a centralized state/federal ID database that all votes must be queried against.

    Without this, the Republican party may never win a majority or presidency ever again. From there, I see 50 constitutional republic provinces in tenuous states of alliance, moving ever-farther from each other as their constitutions slowly diverge from their source document. Texas tried it by itself, why not 30 states at once? The spirit of America will always live on, irrespective of its label.

  43. Thank you Victor, this is a wonderful piece. President Trump is a tragic character. Every human that has ever lived has experienced the exact same internal reaction to their pride being wounded. Albeit not on such a world stage. There is grace to to be had for him and all the rest of us too if we will just ask the right person.

  44. Brilliant, as always, but…
    The Bolsheviks are always a trick or two ahead of us: Roe v. Wade sat around for half a century and rose like the phoenix to save the day. 68% of unmarried women voted Democrat, says a CNN exit poll–the 007-like license to kill trumps all. The Left’s strategy of eliminating marriage and family will easily consumate the the conversion of the Democratic Party into the United States of Marxism. The communists haven’t fielded a presidential candidate since 1984, you know–they only take votes away from Democrats. –AGF

  45. Arnold Ray Bottoms

    VDH Thank you. Your analysis is needed and appreciated. We love the man and his accomplishment as President of our Republic. He is what he is. The American Dream of self-rule is at risk and will be tested in the coming months.

  46. I love this article! Well done Victor! I think Trump should go down as a tragic hero. He has come too far and endured too much. He deserves to run again to finish the job of draining the swamp. He didn’t realize how deep it was. If it wasn’t for Trump exposing the corruption in the government we would still be in the dark. I have my popcorn and I’m ready for the show!!!! 🙂

  47. Since our Constitution was ratified the day after the summer solstice in 1788, our democratic republic has successfully survived despite a civil war and with the help of several amendments. In the same period of time France has endured three kings, two emperors, and five republics. France employs same day paper ballots, enshrining integrity and commitment. I agree with the previous comment that (lazy)Americans love the convenience of mail in ballots, perhaps yet another manifestation of THE DYING CITIZEN. The result is that many votes are cast prior to debates and/or last minute revelations. Is it a crazy idea to consider one day voting by internet, assuming block-chain encryption security? My personal preference is same day paper ballots at designated polling places with VERY LIMITED EXCEPTIONS.

  48. Victor, Your article is well thought out and honest in its observations. The reality is Trump has lost any real opportunity to become a President in a lame duck second presidency. Regardless of his conservative credentials his personality is unacceptable to the Independent swing vote, an incitement to the Democrat vote which has proven itself willing to vote even demented people int office, and for many Republicans be they RINOs or simply folks leaning toward the mainstream. Trump has only Trump to blame. And any declaration to run for public office will simply prone in hindsight to have been a doomed narcissistic act of hubris.

  49. Comments mosty from squishy psuedo MAGAs & RINOs. They were probably rooting for the “fake news”. Trump personified the WWII Air Force idiom “If you’re taking flak…you’re over the target”.

    Based on the mid-terms, the country likes things the way they are. We really don’t deserve Trump.

  50. Outstanding as always, Dr. Hanson. In all the mix of goods and “others” with DJT, I have wondered why more don’t pinpoint the betrayal of the party (and maybe the country) in favor of his own narcissism in the George senate race runoff in 2021. That singular event is what we are living with and will continue to live with as it empowers the progressive movement. It is regrettable, but DJT is incapable of changing, and thus ought to be prevented from carrying the Republican/Conservative flag. If by his own actions he chooses to destroy it all rather than do the right thing (for example, run as an independent….Bull Moose-like) then so be it. It would be his final going-down-in-flames, from which we will have to then figure out how to survive. Again, Victor, you are the best there is. Thank you.

  51. He, we, the country and the world were robbed. I don’t like theft. Neither does PDJT. I want justice for all of the damage done. I want the thieves to never have a restful night when he wins in 2024. And just knowing for the next 2 years they have insomnia is a good start.

  52. Question for person doing the moderating –why did you not show the “comment” I made this morning?

    Longtime subscriber…
    Shirley B Gohner

  53. Dear Professor VDH:
    I agree entirely with your analysis. I had posted a comment, but either it was deemed unworthy, or I pushed the wrong button. Both are equally likely. I was, however, very interested in your response, so perhaps I’ll try again. As always I remain devoted.

  54. Excellent summation of Trump, the tragic hero. My only quibble is citing “independent swing voters” for poor results for Republican candidates in the midterms. This isn’t 1992 or even 2008. There are no more swing voters. Everyone has chosen sides and the country is polarized. The things the Biden administration has done during two years in office has crossed the rubicon. There can never be any unity or reconciliation. Many may not realize it but we are engaged in a civil war.

  55. In a letter response to this article dated November 14, reader CDHAYDEN struck a nerve. Instead of parroting the everyday-parlance words “election deniers”, the letter berated the current crop of “election FRAUD deniers”. Well said.! Let’s start using that phrase.

  56. All of you former Trump supporters who are now prepared to sacrifice him for “ the good of the country” should accept that the end is here. Only Trump was able to do what it took to fight the bohemoth forces of the left. No other conservative has the ability to defeat the multiple gathered forces of the evil left. They will do anything to win. We don’t have the guts to do what is necessary.

    I for one will no longer waste my time trying to prop up this dying nation. Most of its population is not worth the effort to save. All empires die. We are there.

  57. rgeistmd@comcast.net

    What is missing in all the comments is something of what you hint: Trump is a political colossus.

    Trump is a one-time nation Savior, and Survivor of ridicule by political pygmies from 2015 to November 2022.

    I wish he would exercise his political clout to advance the many very talented GOP young.

    Thank you VDH.

    Bob Geist

  58. After 2 impeachments, 3 special counsels, and various lawsuits against Trump, it finally sink in.

    “Surrender, Submit, and be Destroyed.” says the man

    “Sure, you first!” says our hero

  59. Nope. Wrong. Sorry.
    The no-longer-United States is now in the post-Constitutional Era. Those who have so long sought our reduction and eradication as a beacon of liberty and a land of opportunity have, at long last, had their way. And the sinking ship of state is damaged beyond repair. At such times of extreme, men like Trump will naturally come into play. He may be bitter medicine to you, but he’s medicine nonetheless. If there’s a single one of you reading this article that isn’t resigned to voting Trump in’24, then you’re voting for a Democrat. Period. For despite all Trump’s well known and oft-complained about personal style, the SUBSTANCE of his presidency was exactly what we needed, and we need it even more now. Too many effeminate repubs get the vapors when they think about him in the WH again because they ‘didn’t like his tweets’. DON’T READ THEM. Or didn’t care for his street fighting way. LOOK AWAY. Man up and use your eyes to see what he DID and will do again if you’ll only stop clutching your pearls and pull the dang lever.
    That is, after we all get super involved in ending the Democrat ballot harvesting machine. If not done now… there’ll never be another fair election nor a republican. EVER.
    And l believe this will never happen.
    RIPUSA

  60. William the rinos are busy trying to shift shape the maga movement, one post at a time. They have taken over for the democrats for 2024. Don surber, now VDH. Remember the democrats purchased Drudge outright last time, but this is more subtle and comes from the Uniparty.

    So it’s the maga people , the patriots -on DJTs side and everyone else ganged up against them.

    Yes DJT, warts and all, will not change nor can be bought. Incredible were his achievements single handedly against his enemies. In the boxing ring both hands and feet tied, while his enemies had guns and knives. He still achieved so much for, the country as if he was out of body. That’s is the greatness of the man that everyone who is not a democrat (and rino hacks and shills) loves. And that alone terrifies the Uniparty.

    More than Democrats the rinos are even more afraid of DJT after his 4 years in the WH. Most of them are into lucrative sources of wealth, don’t really care who is in the WH. This VDH hit piece, and the earlier one from Don Suber are the first glimpses of what’s to come. Wait for the slow turn of Fox hosts one by one- no one excluded- by next year against Trump. Also the dems will try to fix republican primaries with their “tech tools” will make any Republicdn candidate other that DJT become the nominee so they can crush him or her easily.

    I agree 100%. Cowards the lot of them. By trying to force DJT to stay positive in the campaign etc take some of his harder tools away.

    DJT is not

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