To stand Sherman’s famous quote on its head: If nominated, he won’t be allowed to run. If he runs, he won’t be allowed to win. If he wins, he won’t be allowed to serve. If he serves, he won’t be allowed to survive the experience. As I’ve said before, Trump’s smartest move at this point would be to buy himself an isolated Caribbean island, establish a secure perimeter, install some crew-served weapons, post well-armed guards under shoot-to-kill-on-sight orders, and hie himself thither with a quickness. He did what he could for the betterment of his nation and his people, an abominable crime for which the vicious, foaming-at-the-mouth Leftard rabble will never, ever forgive him. The recent godawful J6 farce is but a foretaste, a mere sample of what they have in mind for the poor man. No reasonable person could blame him if he just washed his hands of the whole sorry mess and dedicated his remaining years to seeing to the needs, happiness, and physical security of himself and his family from here on out.
The people who really run the United States of America have made it clear that they can’t, and won’t, if they can help it, allow Donald Trump to be president again. In fact, they made this clear in 2020, in a series of public statements. Simply for quoting their words in an essay for The American Mind, I was mercilessly mocked and attacked. But they were quite clear. Trump won’t be president at noon, Jan. 20, 2021, even if we have to use the military to drag him out of there.
If the regime felt that strongly back then, imagine how they feel now. But you don’t have to imagine. They tell you every day. Liz Cheney, Trump’s personal Javert, has said that the 45th president is literally the greatest threat facing America today—greater than China, than our crashing economy, than our unraveling civil society.
That’s rhetoric, of course, but it isn’t merely that. It’s safer, and generally more accurate, to assume that your adversaries mean what they say. If you doubt this, ask yourself: When was the last time they acted more moderately than they talk?
And just what is so terrible about Trump anyway? I get many of his critics’ points, I really do. I hear them all the time from my mother. But even if we were to stipulate them all, do Trump’s faults really warrant tearing the country apart by shutting out half of it from the political process?
Love him or hate him, during Trump’s presidency, the economy was strong, markets were up, inflation was under control, gas prices were low, illegal border crossings were down, crime was lower, trade deals were renegotiated, ISIS was defeated, NATO allies were stepping up, and China was stepping back (a little). Deny all that if you want to. The point here is that something like 100 million Americans believe it, strongly, and are bewildered and angered by elite hatred for the man they think delivered it.
Nor was Trump’s record all that radical—much less so than that of Joe Biden, who is using school-lunch funding to push gender ideology on poor kids, to cite but one example. Trump’s core agenda—border protection, trade balance, foreign restraint—was quite moderate, both intrinsically and in comparison to past Republican and Democratic precedent. And that’s before we even get to the fact that Trump neglected much of his own agenda in favor of the old Chamber of Commerce, fusionist, Reaganite, Conservatism, Inc., agenda. Corporate tax cuts, deregulation, and bombing Syria: These are all things Trump’s base doesn’t want, but the oligarchs desperately do, which Trump gave them. And still they try to destroy him.
Again, why? I think it’s because, while Trump’s core MAGA agenda is decidedly not outside the historic bipartisan mainstream, it is well outside the present regime’s core interests. Our rulers’ wealth and power rise with open borders, trade giveaways, and endless war. Trump, at least in principle, and often in practice, threatens all three. The old America—the one in which Republicans cared about the heartland and weren’t solely valets to corporate power, Democrats were pro-worker and anti-war, and Bill Clinton and The New York Times could advocate border security—is in the process of being replaced, if it hasn’t already been, by one in which there is only one acceptable opinion on not just these, but all other issues.
Anti-Trump hysteria is in the final analysis not about Trump. The regime can’t allow Trump to be president not because of who he is (although that grates), but because of who his followers are. That class—Angelo Codevilla’s “country class”—must not be allowed representation by candidates who might implement their preferences, which also, and above all, must not be allowed. The rubes have no legitimate standing to affect the outcome of any political process, because of who they are, but mostly because of what they want.
Complaints about the nature of Trump are just proxies for objections to the nature of his base. It doesn’t help stabilize our already twitchy situation that those who bleat the loudest about democracy are also audibly and visibly determined to deny a real choice to half the country. “No matter how you vote, you will not get X”—whether X is a candidate or a policy—is guaranteed to increase discontent with the present regime.
People I have known for 30 years, many of whom still claim the label “conservative,” will no longer speak to me—because I supported Trump, yes, but also because I disagree on trade, war, and the border. They call not just my positions, but me personally, unadulterated evil. I am not an isolated case. There are, as they say, “many such cases.” How are we supposed to have “democracy” when the policies and candidates my side wants and votes for are anathema and can’t be allowed? How are we supposed to live together with the constant demonization from one side against the other blaring 24/7 from the ruling class’s every propaganda organ? Why would we want to?
More to the point: How are we supposed to get through the next two and a half years?
Depends entirely on how we answer a couple of simple questions: Do we intend to prevail? Or will we continue to settle for merely slip-sliding along, scuttling about with our heads carefully ducked down and eyes averted, quietly yielding the battered remnants of our liberty and our self-respect, hoping to escape the notice of the loathsome, brutish Power that seeks only our subjugation and, ultimately, our demise? Do we carry on as cooperative junior partners in our own degradation and abuse, or will we at long last rise up on our hind legs like men and say Enough!
Speaking strictly for myself and absolutely no one else, I see but one feasible way of getting through the next phase of this rapidly escalating conflict more or less intact. Our survival depends on a strategy that might best be expressed in the idiom of attitude and comportment: Boastfully. Aggressively. Obnoxiously, obstreperously, and ruthlessly.
The only way we get through the next two and a half years is NOT to draw in our fangs as we always have, but to bare them as menacingly as we can possibly manage. It should be made abundantly clear to our adversaries that, far from feeling either reluctance or dread at the prospect, our most burning desire has become to sink those fangs deeply into their flesh and sinew—to rend, tear, and gnash at them until we are bathed head to toe in their very life’s blood.
Figuratively speaking, of course. No need to close bodily with the filthy swine when we have such a wealth of projectile weapons at our disposal, right?
Henceforth, no more mincing about on tiptoe; from now on, we swagger. Speak softly? Whatever the hell for, when there are so many big sticks for us to swing at their empty skulls just lying around? Be it hereby resolved: As of today, we no longer ASK, nicely or any other wise. We TELL, in no uncertain terms.
Anton asks “why would we want to” live cheek by jowl with our tormentors? Frankly, we don’t. Nor should we. That’s no more than right, meet, and just. They don’t like us, they don’t respect us, they don’t “get” us. Fine and well, so stipulated, whatevs. Now understand me, and understand me well: we are under no obligation to care whether they do or do not. At this time, in this place, our sole obligation, our sole allegiance, is to ourselves and our posterity. Respect us, like us? Pish tosh. Let them fear us. T’is enough, t’will serve.
The excerpt above is from another most excellent Michael Anton piece, of which you will surely want to read the all.