July 14, 2019

Trump: Gliding to a Machiavellian Victory in 2020.

by Hal Gershowitz

Comments Below

Barring a scandal, the likes of which we’ve never seen in American politics, President Trump seems, to us, to be gliding to an easy victory in the Presidential election now only a year-and-a-half away. 

Three reasons: First, we are in the midst of the strongest populist and nationalist movements in the United States in our lifetime. Populist because the elected and administrative ruling class in America has seemed detached from the people they were elected or appointed to serve, and millions are still angry. Trump, many see, as challenging the old order–fighting their fight.

Second, nationalism is alive and well in America. Millions of Americans who proudly wear their MAGA hats seem willing to embrace the Administration’s policies, not because of what these policies may do, but, instead, no matter what they may do. And, perhaps, most significant, from an historical perspective, the Democrats who have lined up thus far to oppose President Trump are, instead, campaigning as though they are in a Machiavellian conspiracy to re-elect him.

The reader may recall that the Italian diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, knew a thing or two about politics. He wrote that if a politician can’t be both feared and loved, that it was better to be feared. Machiavelli knew that few people really knew the depth of a politician, so they were always ready to embrace what he or she appeared to be—in President Trump’s case, appearing to be the hard-knuckled champion of the common man. And, finally, Machiavelli taught that the best way to judge the wisdom of a ruler was to study the men (or women) around him.

We won’t dwell on the likes of Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, or others, many of whom were dedicated antagonists to the very agencies they were appointed to administer, or Ben Carson, a good man who seems to know nothing about the agency he runs, or Mike Pence, the man who would be President were misguided Democrats ever to succeed in impeaching (and convicting) President Trump.

But President Trump’s real secret weapon is that the campaigns being waged against him also run against the grain of public opinion. That doesn’t mean they are wrong.  It just means they aren’t going to be effective. A good example is the controversy over the census question about citizenship. The President lost this one in the judicial courts but has scored a huge victory in the courts of public opinion. Polls show that sixty percent of Americans, including “a majority of voters from all demographics” and a plurality of Democrats (49%), agreed with President Trump. One survey conducted in conjunction with The Economist found that 53 percent of Americans wanted the question asked versus just 32 percent who didn’t.

When Democratic presidential candidates or other prominent Democrats call for decriminalizing illegal border crossings, or providing free healthcare for all, including undocumented immigrants, or removing existing border barriers, or not erecting new ones, or eliminating ICE, they enhance the President’s re-election prospects by embracing issues that are simply the opposite of voter sentiment today.

Then we had the spectacle of Kamala Harris taking poor Joe Biden to task for his years-ago position against federally mandated busing. What was she thinking? What portion of the American electorate does Kamala Harris think wants to revisit the era of school busing today.

The Democrats should also think twice about running around the country promising to repeal the Trump tax cuts. Most Americans who pay taxes, pay less in taxes now because of the Trump tax cuts. Yes, the very wealthy pay much less, but nearly all American taxpayers now keep more of what they earn. So, while the Democrats promise to do away with the Trump tax cuts while simultaneously promising free college, free health care (even for undocumented immigrants), and even free college, not to mention college debt retirement, millions of Americans are going to be very wary of these Democrats offering a grab bag of giveaways at their expense. And make no mistake about it, Trump will itemize what these “political perks” are going to cost the taxpayers who recently got some semblance of a tax break.  Promising to tax only the “very wealthy” will wear very thin. Voters will recognize that, as Margaret Thatcher used to say, “sooner or later, we’ll run out of other people’s money to give away.”

President Trump must go to bed at night after watching the circular firing squad that has become the emerging Democratic primary passion play and drift into peaceful slumber.  

All comments regarding these essays, whether they express agreement, disagreement, or an alternate view, are appreciated and welcome. Comments that do not pertain to the subject of the essay or which are ad hominem references to other commenters are not acceptable and will be deleted.

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11 responses to “Trump: Gliding to a Machiavellian Victory in 2020.”

  1. ELIEZAR BENJAMEIN. aka Leonard Sherman says:

    Thank you for your prediction that my friend is going to be reelected, my friend is a good friend of my friend and although I disagree with what my friend says and does from time to time, he is the best friend of my friend and the best friend for america

  2. Robert borns says:

    I wore my MAGA hat into Costco and Walmart to see the reaction and got so many thumbs up and positive comments and smiles that I was quite pleasantly surprised. Just a limited anecdotal poll but telling.

  3. Ellen Gittelsohn says:

    Sadly, very sadly, I fear you are right.

  4. Roberta Conner says:

    Thank you for a most compelling and comprehensive review of the current state of American presidential politics. You are right on. Americans have longed for success and this non-politician president is giving us record levels of success in nearly all critical categories. It is obvious that he loves his country and that emotion has a positive effect upon his supporters and rational foes alike.

  5. susan duman says:

    No, I don’t agree that he loves his country. He loves himself.
    That being said, your assessment of where we are, I believe, is right on.
    You are preparing me for the inevitable.
    I guess I’m grateful. At that point it will only be four more years.

  6. Mike says:

    I value these commentaries because they provide something that is missing in today’s political discourse Dash a reasonably balanced discussion about important issues.

    That said, occasionally, there are some comments that require further clarification.For example, when you say that the wealthy did quite well with the changes in our federal tax code, that is not necessarily an accurate statement. With the $10,000 Cap on SALT, if you happen to be living in a Blue State like California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, or Connecticut, suffice it to say that the changes in the tax code were not positive unless you we’re among the uber wealthy a.k.a. making more than 7 to 8 million dollars annually.

    And with the changes in the Code affecting travel and entertainment expenses, if you own a Sub S Corp the changes in the Tax Code were not positive. Add it all up and I’m paying more in taxes as a result of these changes. And living in a state like Illinois, where you have a combination of high property taxes and now a likely increase in state income taxes after the November, 2020 election, the changes in the tax code will have a negative impact on more people than the press is willing to talk about.

    Having said all that I agree with the premise of your commentary. It isn’t that Trump has been all that effective – with the exception of having a pointed some capable Supreme Court Justices, but when you see almost all of the Democratic candidates raise their hands in favor of providing free health benefits to illegal immigrants, and abolishing any type of border security, it’s easy to conclude that the alternative to Trump would be much worse.

    That may be hard for some people to fathom, But in case they think that is a far-fetched, apocalyptic vision, they can always look at Venezuela and see where all of this “free” stuff does In destroying countries.

  7. Perry says:

    After viewing the “Circular Firing Squad as you so accurately
    describe the Democratic debaters it is imperative we re-elect
    Donald Trump once again. Attacking the only possible viable
    candidate with insidious and slanderous accusations has been the norm . The fiery rhetoric and hateful accusations against
    Joe Biden did not go unnoticed. I love the current administrations Foreign Policy achievements and his willingness to tackle difficult scenarios. Trump 2020……………No Retreat.

  8. Chris says:

    Hal, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for a comprehensive and reasonable assessment of what is TRULY happening in America. Also, thank you responders for your reasonable and honest comments. I believe that most, if not all, American citizens do not appreciate President Trump’s style of communicating, but he is the best choice of candidates for keeping us safe and sound. (All of us must research the history of Venezuela,)

  9. Cydney says:

    Ditto to Chris. Right on, Chris. Trumps methods irritate us but take away the vicious press and be happy he is our President.

  10. Michael gong says:

    How can you get your message to the DNC?

  11. Andrea says:

    Yes, I believe you have presented a fair assessment of the current state of the DNC. I also believe that all of the commotion will shake out and a viable candidate will emerge, one who will beat Mr. Trump. Let’s not forget that he didn’t win the popular vote last time around and were it not for the millions of petulant millennials in mourning for Bernie Sanders, Clinton would be in the White House. I doubt they will make the same mistake again.

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