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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trump’s Quiet Victories

Conrad Black on Trump's ability to drive his enemies mad.

Donald Trump has not just been a distasteful opponent, as the D.C. political establishment generally considered Nixon; or a convivial Californian outsider like Reagan, who changed economic and strategic course but didn’t attack pillars of Washington incumbency. Nixon and Reagan had contested numerous elections as Republicans, and despite the odd rhetorical flourish, weren’t going to do more than make course corrections from their Democratic predecessors, Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.

But Trump was different. He launched a movement, paid for his own campaign, (no ghastly fund-raisers with the dumb, opinionated rich), dismissed the Bushes, McCain, and Romney as Clinton-Obama sound-alikes, and frontally assaulted Wall Street, Hollywood, the national media, the lobby system, and every adult in Washington D.C. (which voted 96 percent against him).

Trump’s crushing victory in the Republican primaries was attributed to the weakness of the other candidates―he would hit a stonewall with Hillary. His victory over Hillary was a freakish product of the vagaries of the electoral system (from which John Quincy Adams, Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, JFK, and George W. Bush also benefited), and of Russian interference via Wikileaks and otherwise, and the conduct of FBI director James Comey. (Comey was at first praised for his “integrity” for recommending against indictment of Mrs. Clinton after recounting a sequence of her likely illegalities.) As was foreseen, the response of the solid anti-Trump press after the election was not that public grievances against Washington must be based on something, but rather that there were more racist, sexist, gun-happy, Bible-thumping, lager-lout philistines than had been appreciated....

The bizarrerie of the intellectual right is illimitable. My dear and esteemed friend George Will, after an acrobatic exercise in the columnar snobbery that Trump was unaware that Andrew Jackson died 16 years before the start of the Civil War, (Jackson was concerned about the danger of civil war throughout his presidency, as George knows and Mr. Trump was alleging), has fled into the television embrace of Rachel the Madd and Mika Buzzfeed at MSNBC, the most astonishing flight since Joachim von Ribbentrop went to Moscow. They have all walked the plank; President Trump has induced self-destructive political bilharzia in the deranged effigies of once-serious and important people. I still love them, but I grieve for them....

The self-targeted Democratic torpedoes, which Trump had the tactical intelligence to goad and then to consign to due process, were the lies about collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, and the challenge to the president’s constitutional authority over immigration, (reinforced by ninjas smashing and burning at Berkeley, and the mobbing of travelers at airports around the country and overseas). The torpedoes will come home on those who launched them in the next few months, warhead-first and at high speed. Then, frenzied partisanship will start to give way to the instinct of self-preservation, and the locked-arm solidarity of the Never-Trumpers will start to break up. The party of Jefferson and FDR is unrecognizable, but it can still be distinguished from a liberal ISIS. The president’s shortcomings are overly notorious, but his enemies are no longer of this world. He will win, and change the nation for the better.

Read the whole thing.

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