Scott Morefield, My column week before last was quite critical of former President Donald Trump’s role in the creation and propagation of Covidstan. It was, in my opinion, tough but fair, notwithstanding the barrage of (expected) criticism it received from a majority of commenters. I don’t care. For all the good he did – and he did do a LOT of good – there’s a part of me that will never forgive him for the part he played in the madness of the past year and a half as well as the insanity that’s still doubtless to come thanks to the noxious, liberty-killing precedents we set.
Even as he continues to boast about how vaccines and blocking visitors from China early-on somehow ‘saved’ us from “1917 Spanish flu numbers,” or something (insert eyeroll here), the former president continues to undermine everything Team Reality has stood for from the beginning of this ridiculous charade. This was no Spanish flu. Not even close, and sorry, I’m not about to pretend we dodged some sort of massive bullet just to prop up Donald Trump’s overly inflated ego.
Hence, as of now, I will not be supporting the former president to win another GOP presidential nomination, and I have solid reason to believe there are plenty of others who won’t as well, for similar reasons. And before you go there, this is not a NeverTrump ‘muh principles’ and ‘but but but, mean tweets!’ argument, but rather an acknowledgement of the extraordinary damage those who implemented, gave credence to, and enforced useless COVID restrictions have done to our country and the entire world.
“Is there anything Trump could do from this point forward to change your mind?” you ask, being kind enough to pretend we live in a bizarro world where the former president cares what I think. Great question! Being the magnanimous person I am, I would be in the wrong to not at least offer a path of redemption, a way that he could perhaps regain the trust of myself and others who think like me on these issues. So, in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, here are four things Donald Trump could do to win back the staunch support of this column for the GOP primaries.
Acknowledge his mistakes on COVID
I presented a handy, though not nearly exhaustive, list of them two weeks ago. Any or all of those would be a great place to start. Even a recognition that this virus wasn’t nearly as deadly or dangerous as advertised and that lockdowns, business closures, and forced masking did little to nothing to stop or even curb what did happen would go a long way toward regaining trust on this issue. How about a promise to ban all lockdowns, vaccine mandates and forced masking at the federal level for this (because while COVID-19 has subsided for now, it isn’t ever going away) or any future pandemics without the consent of Congress?
As mentioned above, undermining data and science-based Team Reality arguments by pretending his actions ‘saved millions of lives’ from ‘the literal plague’ is the exact opposite of what we need. Covidstan, and all its trappings, needs to be relentlessly repudiated from now until the end of time, and that starts with the man who founded it in this country.
Convince us his judgment on personnel has improved
If you are still somehow under the illusion that Donald Trump, business mogul extraordinaire, had any penchant whatsoever for surrounding himself with competent people who wouldn’t undermine him at every turn, you somehow had your head under a rock the entire Trump presidency. This is the man-in-charge who, if you’ll recall, apparently thought no dysfunction would occur when he allowed – wait for it – OMAROSA to work in a White House staffer position. What could have possibly gone wrong? And whose bright idea was it to make Anthony Scaramucci the director of White House communications anyway? Do we really need to go on?
Indeed, from John Bolton to Rex Tillerson to H.R. McMaster to what certainly seemed like countless others, predictable turnover (I mean, who didn’t see most of these coming as soon as the hirings were announced, amirite?) – and the subsequent incompetence and backstabbing – crippled Trump’s presidency and agenda almost from the beginning. Has he learned from this? How, should he be fortunate enough to win another term, will he make better hiring decisions going forward? Because if we’re going to be in for another four years of Trump, wouldn’t you like them to be a productive four years?
Convince us this isn’t all about him, and that he really can drain the swamp
Is Trump running again because he wants to make the country better and he genuinely believes he’s the best candidate to accomplish this, or is he simply out to avenge the disaster that was 2020? For all his greatness, let’s face it, we also had four years of a narcissist at the helm. Millions of us, myself included, put up with it because we knew Trump’s policies were better for the country than the alternative. However, was even one measly inch of the proverbial ‘swamp’ drained? Nope, and it’s even worse now than it was then (if you need a hint about a key reason why, see the point above).
I, for one, am not interested in a band-back-together ‘Trump personal vindication tour’ followed by four years of pandering and fecklessness. And I’d like to know that the former president is more interested in getting things done for the country than he is in settling personal scores.
Convince us that another four years of Trump would be better than eight years of Ron DeSantis (or whoever)
This one is a doozy, even for the staunchest Trump supporter. In a country with an electorate loathe to give too much control to one party, there are trade-offs to winning the executive branch. One of those is what is (hopefully) about to happen next year when Republicans are favored to take back the House of Representatives. Off-year elections tend to favor the party out of power. While we would have certainly preferred a Trump win in 2020, had that happened, Democrats would likely have been favored to retain the House and win the Senate outright (even if they had held on to it in 2020).
Given those realities, even if Trump miraculously wins the 2024 general election, his polarizing presence alone would almost certainly guarantee that Democrats take at least the House in 2026. Then, a brand-new candidate would have to take the GOP reins in 2028 with the deck stacked against him or her, because, among other reasons, it’s always more difficult to win after someone in your own party has been term-limited out.
In other words, it’s time to think long-term. If we can limit the damage from here on out, 2024 is set to be a golden opportunity for Republicans to make hay while the sun is shining. Democrats, no longer pragmatists but idealogues who genuinely believe their disastrous policies are the answer, have done and will continue to do everything possible to wreck the country, and Kamala Harris, whom they will be stuck with, is a remarkably incompetent and unlikeable figure who should be easily beatable.
Would four more years with Donald Trump at the helm be better for the country than a possible eight years of someone like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has all of Trump’s positives and few if any of his negatives?
Should he choose to run again – and I’m hoping he won’t – I have serious doubts that the former president will adequately address any of the issues raised here. But I’d love to be wrong.