Continuing a theme that was explored a few days ago, in part one of this two part series on the realities of supporting president Trump, this article will explore the final three. First some context is in order. These articles are meant to explore a drain of enthusiasm that I have noticed among some Trump supporters. Of course, any decline in energy among in a segment of voters makes them more likely to abstain from voting for their previous choice in the next round. With the presidency on the line, any falling away in the president’s support will endanger his 2020 bid. Because of this, it is only prudent to examine the causes of this waning enthusiasm. This article expresses my personal frustrations with the president as well as those that are often expressed in conversation with other conservatives. As a disclaimer before the analysis begins, barring any unforeseen developments, I will vote for Trump in 2020 though the enthusiasm to do so has decreased.
4. Trump is the face of conservatism
Whether we like it or not, the president has taken the reigns of the Republican Party and the conservative movement at large. He is the face of it and its undisputed leader. This can be shown in a few ways. For one thing, he takes the brunt of the acid from the media and the leftists. Being opposed to Donald Trump is shorthand in the media and even in everyday conversation for opposing conservatism. Rarely when discussing politics with an average person will they say something about the ideology of conservatism as opposed to focusing on its personification. Another mental exercise to show his dominance in the GOP, imagine for a moment that Trump resigns tomorrow and leaves politics for good. Who then will replace him? Obviously Mike Pence would become the president but who would become the authority figure of the party? That is not quite as clear cut. VP Pence is a great man but he lacks the force of personality and charisma of the president. Due to this, him becoming the flag bearer of conservatism is not guaranteed. Other figures would come out of the woodwork just as they did in 2016 to vie for the position of leader of the right. Donald Trump monopolizes the party like Reagan or Goldwater did in their days and without him, there is no clear leader of the movement or the party.
5. The GOP cannot split in the general election
Some Republicans are interested in primarying Trump. Perhaps this can be chalked up to his coarseness, his assorted small scandals or his agenda items left unfulfilled. The reasons some right wingers seek to unseat the president are entirely immaterial. Whatever they are, doing so would be sinking any chance the conservatives have of holding the White House in 2020. Bill Weld who was last seen running as Gary Johnson’s VP in 2016, is currently seeking the Republican Party nomination. It is unlikely that the disconnected New England republican could pose a serious threat to Trump but the possibility remains of him becoming a spoiler. Since only a few years ago he ran as a libertarian, what rules out him running in the generals in 2020 when the GOP denies him the ticket? If he garnered enough disaffected but short-sighted conservatives there would be a rerun of the 1912 election where Theodore Roosevelt running as an independent ruined William Howard Taft’s re-election bid. The lesson of the day is that whether or not we love Taft (read as Trump in contemporary politics), he can’t be passed up in favor of the independent Roosevelt (read as Weld or any other libertarian/ conservative willing to run in 2020) or we will get Wilson instead (read as whatever socialist the democrats want).
6. Re-election will be just as hard as 2016
The left has made it abundantly clear that they utterly despise the president. Few people expected Trump to win a few years ago and the campaign was so hard fought then. Those few years since then loom large in Washington and the President has not done much to warm the left’s opinion of him. If anything, the democrats’ collective opinion of him has chilled over time. With the birth of groups like the women’s march, the resistance, the spread of militant ANTIFA thuggery and the like the left’s opposition to him has crystalized. One can expect widespread leftist grass roots activity in this election cycle. No one can be certain until the primaries begin and vote tallies can be measured if the Trump coalition is still functioning at 2016 levels. For the reasons outlined in part one of this article detailing negative aspects of his administration and him as a candidate, it may not be. If considerable chunks of said coalition are gone in 2020, then the election is lost. But either way, the conservatives have their work cut out for them this time around.
In part one of this series, the negative aspects of the president were analyzed, in this last part of the series, the realities of the political climate in regards to him were. What this all boils down to is that Trump is not perfect. He is not an intellectual and that irks no shortage of people. He has not accomplished all that he said he would and because he is under siege from the left to the extent that he is, getting a whole lot more done looks improbable. All those things are true but at the same time, the political reality that he is the face of conservatism, that splitting the right wing vote would make everyone but the leftists lose and that the re-election will already be an uphill battle, abandoning Trump is not in the cards. Everyone has qualms with the president but if Republicans would like to keep a socialist radical out of the White House those must be set aside. This is not abandoning principles, it is accepting reality. It is not reality as we wish it were, it is reality as it is.
Image credit: CNN “Donald Trump isn’t learning from his mistakes (opinion) – CNN”
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