Change the cast, but not the script
Although Trump lost the November election, there are many reasons for Conservatives to maintain hope in the coming Biden years.
Editor’s Note: This column was originally carried out The American ConservativePrint January / February before the Georgia Senate runoff elections.
In the endless hours leading up to November 3rd, I turned to the wisdom of the ancients for consolation. The words of a certain old man seemed particularly prophetic as the gasping rhetoric escalated on both sides.
The old one in question? William Claude Dukenfield, better known by his stage name W.C. Fields. The wisdom? A line he delivered in an early talkie playing a crooked gamer masquerading as a missionary:
“There will be a flood in human affairs, my dear blubber,” intoned Fields through his huge, purple echo chamber of a nose, “when it becomes necessary to grab the bull by the tail and face the situation.”
Faced with a forced choice between two badly flawed candidates, a reluctant electorate took the bull by the tail. Now is the time to step back, scrape the dirt off our shoes and face the situation.
Things could be a lot worse. This wasn’t a choice that took into account all winners. As I indicated on these pages many months ago, the top of the ticket was less about Battling Titans than Dueling Dorks. Many voters struggled to decide which of the two presidential candidates was the least unacceptable. With Joe Biden hiding most of the campaign in his basement, most eyes were on Donald Trump. His smug, erratic performance at the start of the campaign meant that even many who voted for him lived in constant fear of his next tweet.
Back in the basement, Joe Biden could rely on the mass media to ignore the scandals surrounding his family and his own rather shabby record as a plagiarizing politician from a small, corrupt one-party state and to expose Trump to a constant barrage of hostile, often inaccurate reporting. By the time Trump finally got his act together, outperforming Biden in the second debate, and hammering his core message home, too many citizens, including some dead, had already cast early ballots.
Even so, Trump came very close to what Harry Truman had done in 1948: despite the opposition of big money and coastal elites, winning a surprise by successfully targeting ordinary citizens.
As with so many controversial leaders, Donald Trump’s strengths and weaknesses were hopelessly entangled. He reminded me of a cocky “natural” athlete, fast, agile, with lots of strength, energy and moxie, but who neglects his training, ignores his coaches, rarely learns from his mistakes and often alienates his own teammates and fans. Trump never seemed to fully understand the difference between the undisputed head of a private economic empire and the election to the “First Magistrate” under a complex system of checks and balances in which three different branches of government were involved.
If we didn’t know that Donald is not a big bookworm, we might be tempted to attribute his style of government to Sultan Selim I, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to 1520.
Sir George Young described how “Selim” the Grim was a parricide and fratricide; but his cruelty was characteristic of his age. A picturesque “poetic justice” in his sentences appealed to public opinion. He was not unpopular and was known in Turkish history as “the righteous”. Corrupt judges, for example, had to sentence themselves to death. During the eight years of his reign he beheaded seven grand viziers. . . ”
Since tweets had not yet been invented, Selim occasionally took his frustration out in poetry. As merciless as he was towards others, his self-pity was bottomless:
Still alone, a lonely stranger, in strange lands I roam
While I am around me, the sullen guards of grief, pain and care march.
By the time I read the riddle of life, I have emptied his nine jugs to the end
I, Sultan Selim, will never find a loyal friend on earth.
If Donald Trump, like Joe Biden, was in the habit of stealing other people’s lines, he might be tempted to “adapt” that verse.
Ironically, the same election that ended the Trump presidency may have positioned the Conservative movement and the Republican Party better for the future under a Biden presidency. Across the country, even in deep blue states, voters rejected radical referendums and political initiatives favored by many democratic politicians and the liberal media. Although Mike Bloomberg and other left-wing billionaires pour millions of nongovernmental contributions into Senate, Congressional, and state legislative races, the GOP is the favorite holding their majority in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi has suffered unexpected losses in the house, and Bloomberg and Corporations failed to turn a single state assembly over.
Donald Trump may have lost his offer for a second term, but his truth continues. Large numbers of solid constitutional judges, opportunity-based prosperity, and pragmatic military, diplomatic, trade, and immigration policies that protect American interests and borders should support Conservative candidates in the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential contest. The Trump message can continue to gain momentum even after the messenger leaves the stage.
Aram Bakshian Jr. is a former adjutant to Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. His writings on politics, history, gastronomy, and the arts have been widely published in the United States and abroad.
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