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The Trump Test

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Bryan Woolston

George Gilder, in his book The Israel Test (2009), bottom-lined his test with a quote from American-born Israeli columnist Caroline Glick: “Some people admire success; some people envy it. The enviers hate Israel.”   


When you dig beneath decades of violent anti-Semitism, especially in the Middle East, the primal gunk driving the push to “cleanse Palestine of the filth of the Jews” is raw resentment for the superior performance of a people who literally made the desert bloom.

Bottomline: In an extremely dangerous world, the Israel Test asks whether individuals, groups, and nations can suppress envy sufficiently enough to recognize their dependence on the superior performance of a relatively few men and women, Gilder wrote. Not only in Israel but anywhere.

“The real issue is between the rule of law and the rule of leveler egalitarianism,” he wrote, “between creative excellence and covetous ‘fairness’ [equity], between admiration of achievement versus envy and resentment of it.”

Admiration of achievement and resentment of achievement are two fundamental foundations on which systems of morality are built, wrote Robert Scheaffer in Resentment Against Achievement (1988).  

When morality dominates, society flourishes.  When resentment dominates, it declines.

That decline accelerates when elites are guilted into believing that their own achievements are somehow wicked and that the resentments of non-achievers are a “higher morality,” Scheaffer wrote.  These “naïve achievers” – transformed by guilt – elevate those who’ve achieved nothing as the “most worthy” in society.


No one succeeded in dignifying resentment against American achievement like Barack Obama, the man who vowed to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.”  His global apology tour, backward-looking views on race, and validation of fringe leftist groups and policies steered the American ship toward a civilizational iceberg.  

To beat back the crazies, voters turned to Donald Trump.  He was the guy with the bat, sludge hammer, and an unapologetic passion for winning, and he screamed what other candidates dared not whisper.  

After Trump’s 2016 win, all hell broke loose.

Fixating on Trump’s unorthodox style, socialists and career politicians ignored his performance and poisoned the public discourse with the most psychotic brand of political hatred.  

For sure, Trump markets himself with the braggadocio of Muhammad Ali, but as Ali once said about his own big-mouthed style, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”  Against tremendous opposition, Trump, like a political Ali, backed up his big mouth and roared to his supporters, “I kept more promises than I made!”  

Some people admired Trump’s success; some envied it.  The enviers hated him even more.  

I thought about the Israel Test as I watched the surreal spectacle of Trump making his way through crime-infested Manhattan to surrender to authorities last week.  


As deeply as he loathed it, Trump surrendered to the rule of law. Alvin Bragg – ensuring unequal justice under the color of law – surrendered to the rule of “equity,” a resentful brand of injustice that evens all scores in the game of life by lifting law-breakers above the law and pushing law-abiders beneath it.

With so much more of this stuff to come over the next year, the 2024 election cycle presents what could be called the Trump Test.  

Bottomline: In an extremely dangerous world, can we suppress envy, fear, and political exhaustion sufficiently enough to recognize the country’s need for the highly unique, now battle-tested, political skills and instincts of Donald Trump?  More importantly, can we fix the “utter mess” of an election system that was boobytrapped to “get Trump” sufficiently enough to make sure we have a clean vote in 2024?  

“Trump is the perfect man for these times,” said Thomas Klingenstein, Claremont Institute chairman, in his speech, Trump’s Virtues (2020). “Not all times.  Perhaps not most times, but for these times.  Trump was born for the current American crisis – the life-and-death struggle against the totalitarian enemy I call woke communism.  The ‘woke comms’ have seized every political, cultural, and economic center of power in the country from where they ruthlessly push their agenda.  That agenda rests on the conviction that America is thoroughly bad (systemically racist) and must be destroyed.”


What haters are doing to Trump is so unprecedented that what we decide to do with him this election cycle will expose how all the craziness of the last few years has transformed us.  Are we as determined as never before to do the hard things it takes for America to flourish?  Or are we now so longing for “normal” at any price that we will allow resentful revolutionaries – disguised behind “social justice,” “civil rights,” “class struggle,” and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” – to drag us deeper into decline?

This is the Trump Test.


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