Albert Einstein had an astute observation in the early days of the atomic age. He said unleashing the atom changed everything – except how people think. The election of Donald Trump has had a similar effect today. Despite the tectonic aftermath from last November, we’re more than eight months post-election and both the old Left and the old Right are stuck in an obsolete mindset.
Political campaigns, perceptions of media, the two-party system, and even the parties themselves will never be the same and most of the elites on both sides of the aisle are still unable – or unwilling – to see it.
The usually insightful Michael Barone, in opining on next year’s elections, is in sync with consistently crazy Howard Dean. They both believe that the midterms will not go well for Republicans. Dean publicly stated that he actually thinks the Dems are going to win back both the Senate and the House. Barone cites stats from the past 65 years that the president's party has managed to win most of the seats in an off-year election only four times. But neither are factoring in the advent of Trump and both have reached the wrong conclusion.
For anyone grasping the new reality, it's not hard to imagine an indefatigable president campaigning in state after state for candidates who promote his pro-America plans. What must be remembered is that Trump is all about winning. He produced massive crowds at his rallies last year and he’ll generate similar enthusiasm on the trail in 2018. Picture him on robo-calls and in TV ads and using social media to stump for like-minded candidates (even in the primaries), and gains for the Rs, even supermajorities, become a conceivable prospect.
Like a reverse neutron bomb, the Trump explosion is demolishing structures – parties, systems and media – while leaving people dazed but standing. Both political parties have been rocked, with the Dems further descending into derangement while the GOP has been split between the go-along-to-get-along group and a smaller but growing “drain the swamp” faction. The 19th-century “spoils system,” where the privileged in both parties alternate positions but always retain their benefits, is giving way to Trump’s Americans-first agenda.
Similarly, the Leftist media, especially the Counterfeit News Network, is flailing and in disarray. The current negative perception of them is nearly universal and began in earnest over a year ago when Trump branded them as “fake news.” That appraisal has not only stuck, but things have gotten pointedly worse, especially for CNN. The self-described “Most Trusted Name in News” has shown itself – on camera – to promote lies if they produce profits. And they’ve degenerated into an organization of thugs which can credibly be accused of criminal blackmail by the threatening of a teenage minor who simply produced a comical video.
The Never Trump coalition is also cracking. In a seismic shift, Charles Krauthammer, a charter member of the group, used the word Reaganesque to describe the speech Trump gave in Poland, if not the man himself.
The Donald was certainly reminiscent of The Gipper, articulating values of freedom, faith, family and foreign/American friendship, as well as those of small R republicanism. This, less than six months into his presidency, further establishes a conservative model from which it will be virtually impossible to deviate.
Are the Never Trumpers truly the conservatives they claim to be? Then events so far ought to be enough to soften their obstinacy. If the likes of George Will and Bill Kristol persist, they’ll be increasingly irrelevant, will continue to alienate their formerly large following and will show themselves to be part of the faction of big-government elites – which includes members of both parties plus the media – against Main Street America.
The era of Trump so far is becoming Reagan’s third term. In 2018, voters will determine whether the parties of big government and big government-lite will be headed toward, in Reagan’s words, the ash heap of history.