Victor Davis Hanson
The Left may not wish to admit it, but the fortunes of a once moribund Donald Trump of January 2021 have now largely recovered—even before the stunning gubernatorial victory of Republican Glenn Youngkin in Virginia.
How and why?
One, Joe Biden did not, as dishonestly advertised, prove to be good Ol’ “Lunch bucket” Joe. He was no moderate from Scranton. Instead, Biden has served as the clueless gun barrel through which hard-core leftists fired off the most unpopular agenda in memory.
Open borders, huge deficits, the Afghanistan catastrophe, looming stagflation, empty shelves, bottlenecked ports, soaring energy prices, toxic critical race theory, the disastrous previews of the Green New Deal, a weaponized federal government, and the addled decline of Biden himself have done more than just collapse support for the president and his policies.
More importantly, Biden’s string of catastrophes endangers the very stuff of life, from the ability to afford gas to finding goods on the shelves.
Two, for 10 months, Donald Trump has been stripped of all his social network outlets. The progressive Silicon monopolies thought they had silenced the once omnipresent Trump.
But their muzzles had unintended consequences. The less Trump was on social media, the more the public remembered his good policies rather than his controversial tweets.
Three, Donald Trump was as responsible or not responsible for COVID-19 deaths as is Joe Biden. On Biden’s watch, more have died each day on average from the disease than during Trump’s tenure from the start of the pandemic.
Contrary to Biden’s ungracious boasts, Trump is to be credited with the successful vaccination rollout. And the Florida model of Governor Ron DeSantis, not the New York and California model of ongoing near-complete lockdowns, did far less economic and social damage with no more—and in some cases fewer deaths per capita.
Four, Trump’s low point—the January 6 Capitol rampage—was not, as the Left propagandized, a preplanned conspiratorial “armed insurrection,” and the evidence against that narrative is now becoming apparent.
The FBI found no conspiracy at the heart of the violent entry into the Capitol.
No one inside the Capitol itself was arrested for the use or possession of a firearm. Officer Sicknick tragically died of natural causes a day after the riot, not at the hands of Trump supporters as was claimed.
The initial headlines of five dead due to the “insurrection” were completely false. Four died of either natural or accidental causes. The fifth, the diminutive, unarmed military veteran Ashli Babbitt, died due to the questionable decision of an officer to shoot an unarmed suspect.
Five, Trump’s supposed rantings often proved prescient rather than mad. Radical iconoclasts really did move on to attacking the monuments and statues of Jefferson, Lincoln, and Washington.
The Russian collusion hoax really was a massive fraud. The only collusion was between the media, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and the FBI to destroy a Republican presidential campaign.
Joe Biden’s family really was engaged in a grifting enterprise that used Biden’s office to leverage quid pro quo money from foreign governments.
Hunter Biden’s laptop was really his own—and not a product of “Russian disinformation.”
As a result, a resurgent Trump is considering another presidential run. Most Republicans want him to run. They welcome a return of his successful pre-pandemic policies and a leader who does not fear the unhinged Left. They believe Joe Biden reversed the Trump agenda and brought misery. Trump promises to restore it and bring back prosperity.
But Youngkin showed that he could push Trump’s populist agenda, keep the MAGA base, and yet also win back independents—mainly as a Trump-like candidate, but one who gets even with, rather than mad at, the Left.
So, at the crossroad of the Republican pathway back to power, there are plenty of known unknowns.
Would possible presidential candidates like Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, former Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, or former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advance the MAGA agenda, but without the fireworks and distractions?
Or would they prove similar to a once impressive Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker—who nonetheless fizzled on the 2016 campaign stage?
Or would a battle-scarred and wizened veteran Trump now outsmart rather than merely outrage his enemies by picking his targets more carefully?
Can Trump, like Youngkin, win back suburbanites and independents to achieve a 51 percent majority—something no Republican presidential candidate has achieved in 33 years?
Or could his less carnivorous rivals of the status quo be able to keep the Trump base from sitting out the election as they did in 2008 and 2016?
Would Trump ever be content with becoming the senior statesman basking in the credit of rebooting the Republican Party from a stereotyped wealthy white corporate party into a populist-nationalist movement of the middle class of all races and ethnicities?
Or will Trump redo 2016, bulldoze to the nomination, go for the jugular of the now hard-left Democratic Party, clobbering his way to a 2016-like Electoral College victory—or a defeat that others who copied his agendas might have avoided?
17 thoughts on “Trump Nearing the Crossroads”
Very intelligent and insightful man.
Hope Trump runs in 24.
However, if Trump doesn’t run, who will you support for President in 24?
I want and trust President Trump. Best president ever. ❤ A real man. He has the brains, insight, intelligence, heart, soul, conviction, guts, goodwill, courage, honesty, forthrightness, is plain speaking and direct, is sharp and more. I love his tweets and his personality. He exposes villains. The attacks and criticisms come from those who are afraid of him disrupting their ongoing corruption and treason. He has been working non stop, behind the scenes for us. Anything a Republican says or does that is good for us and our country is due to President Trump instructing and guiding them. Strategizing. Where were they before him?? I didnt hear them speaking out and calling out crooks, or stopping destructive policies. Or rallying other republicans around policies to rescue our country and people from the jaws of the greedy, psychopathic traitors who have been undermining us for decades. I love President Trump.❤ Lets Go Brandon!
Your perspective time frames against now historical events that were all witnessed by the “Deplorable’s”, let’s us all know who ever it ends up being that candidate…That individual needs to be a street fighter who never gives up…!
The obvious question would a Trump candidacy polarize and split the electorate, or consolidate a decisive majority. IMO a candidate who supported the MAGA policies and is Charismatic, articulate, genuine, and insightful would stand a much better chance of winning the presidency.
Remember what the left did to President Bush, who refused to respond to the years of heinous attacks against him personally. How did that benefit the American people? The leftists will always, always go for the jugular. Just remember what Nancy Pelosi’s daughter said about her mom who would ‘Cut Your Head Off And You Won’t Even Know You’re Bleeding’. https://thepoliticalinsider.com/nancy-pelosi-daughter/ How civilized exactly is that? Remember the Obama years of escalating violence and threat groups: Occupy Wallstreet, BLM, Antifa, the burned buildings, violence, thefts, and murders especially in the summer of 2020. I submit we must stand. President Trump knows how to stand and he does not lie as we note the things he says are proved true over time. Wishy-washy will not keep us safe.
Trump has proven to be correct about almost all the big issues as you so eloquently point out
I believe he’s also mostly correct about the 2020 election.
You’ve been reluctant to talk about it
Do you have any comments
Also New Jersey is looking pretty suspicious
Seems to me blanket mailins need to be banned as they are in Europe
MAGA folks will have none of your suggestions but DeSantis who will win easily if backed by Trump.
You are wrong about one critical point, Most Republicans and certainly a vast, vast, vast majority of independents do not want him to run. They want his policies not the disruptive bombast he engenders.
Critically, he is not the only one who can deliver on those policies. By the end of 22 there will be at least two data points that will prove the theory; DeSantis’ reelection with his ongoing highly visible accomplishments and ability to effectively spar with the press, and the economic and educational success in VA with Republicans in charge that most assuredly will happen
Finally it will be up harder for Trump to bully loyalists who worked for him or he supported, e.g., DeSantis, Pence, Haley, Pompeo. I strongly believe that the new cohort of parents that Republicans have found combined with the appeal to real issues that effects minorities will allow younger candidates to prevail.
The country desperately requires and I believe recognizes the need for competent thoughtful executive leadership and management. Those are not Trump traits. In 2024 we want to run against the horrific calamities of the Dems and not allow them to bring up the ghosts of elections past. Remember Trump lost because of his persona not on his policies. We need to move on while acknowledging the major contributions Trump made to reenergizing the Republican Party.
VDH is an amazing man. Thank you SIR for all you do … WE the PEOPLE deserve better than what our nasty, Incestuous Cesspool of a government gives us. We DESERVE better. THEY work for US!!!
I believe Haley and Pence are weak and would continually compromise with the left. I think Pompeo would be a much stronger, but perhaps dangerous, President. I can’t see him dismantling , or reconstructing, the FBI and CIA. My guess would be that he will increase their power. If my life depended on it, the horse I would ride into battle would be a Trump/DeSantis ticket. In that order , of course.
When Richard Nixon lost the campaign for California’s governor, he quietly whistle-stopped around the country for state and local candidates, took a low profile at the Goldwater convention and talked issues that Reagan, Rockefeller and Goldwater would all approve. It was said that after the 1964 nomination he knew the name of every Republican county commissioner, the name of his wife, his line of work, and all his local issues. Now imagine if Don did the same. Keep the ralleys but quietly press the flesh between spotlight publicity events. Imagine if he did Rogan, Cowen, Rubin, Peterson talking up the silent, unsung heroes of America.
Powerful, as always. I love the “clueless gun barrel “ reference. Having read this several times, I still laugh each time. So, TRUE!
Thank you, Victor
Scott Walker’s flameout in 2016 was foretold by his failure to discipline those who staged a 13 man, armed raid on the St. Francis No Kill Pet Sancuary in August of 2013. A state game warden had word that a fawn was being held in the sanctuary, and on a Monday he arranged for an aerial surveillance of the sancturay. Photographs showed the fawn grazing in a fenced area. On Tuesday, Four county deputies in full SWAT team assault mode forced the staff members into a pasture, and prohibited photos or phone calls. Then nine game wardens captured and killed the fawn. This is a preposterous misuse of force. I suppose we should be grateful that none of the staff were arrested or shot for failure to comply with the massive force arrayed against them. But wouldn’t it have been better if the game warden had simply put on his best uniform and knocked on the door on Monday and talked ot the staff? When Walker failed to even take note of this event, let alone fire all the state employees who participated in this raid, I knew he lacked the integrity that we need in our leaders. He was also rather passive when it became known that the Milwaukee County prosector had raided his supporters across the state in the early hours seizing their computers and threatening them with jail if they spoke of this outrage. Politician who align their view based on nothing more than focus group trends may be good demagogues, but they are empty vessels of no use to honest citizens.
Trump as an elder statesmen/king maker is the best option for the Republican Party going forward in my opinion.
Donny T brings a lot of baggage to the table that will be hard for people to ignore in 2024. The country will be in a poor position against a weak Dem Party after 4 years of Joe Hidin, which should result in lower turnout among Dems and Dem leaning independents. One way to increase that turnout would be to put Trump on the top of the ticket for Republicans, making what should be a straight forward campaign much more challenging.
A MAGA candidate that is a fresh face and does not have the history is the best option to win the 51% and electoral college. No doubt the media and Dems will use the same smear tactics against whoever the nominee is but a more targeted/diligent messenger of MAGA should help keep the toxicity level down that caused Mr. Trump issues, such as bickering with LaVar Ball and the numerous other petty fights Donny was susceptible to.
Maybe I’m mistaken, but I think Trump & DeSantis cannot run together since they’re from the same state. My vote for Trump was an anti-Hillary vote, & in the end, I was truly impressed by his policies & his savvy in restoring our nation. BUT, I do not want him to run again. I agree that Pence & Haley are too weak to avoid destructive compromise.
Personally, I’d love to see DeSantis be the nominee, possibly paired with someone like Carol Swain. If Trump ran in his district, he could enter the House & take the Speaker’s position. DeSantis is smart & capable of defending his position without the temper & insults. Carol Swain is a serious thinker & would bring a lot of depth & wisdom to the ticket. Then, with Trump as Speaker…
We could get this sinking ship turned around & back to port before the crazy far left has a chance to blow up their life rafts.
A girl’s gotta dream… Thank you, Dr. Hanson, for sharing your intellect, knowledge, & wit during a time when there is a dearth of all three in the public square.
I would prefer Trump to run interference, make the Democrats assume he was the candidate and thus their target, then endorse DeSantis for the run at the last second and churn out MAGA for him by barnstorming like he did in 2020. Trump did so much as president. He just sucked at personnel. Might have been getting better toward the end but he still shoots himself in the foot by wanting to engage the Democrat partisan media when he knows they will never treat him with anything like respect or approach his record fairly.
Either way I hope populist republicans win big in 2022 and 2024. We need to break and then reassemble vast swathes of America’s institutions. Tabula rasa barely describes what needs to happen with the DOJ, DOE and various other bureaucracies.