Kurt Schlichter, Time for some real talk. There are a lot of Republicans with doubts about President Trump running again in 2024, and you hear it often when conservatives gather together.
They worry that him going Grover Cleveland could spoil a sure thing, but that’s not necessarily so. Whether you love Donald Trump, or whether you doubt him – if you hate him, shut up and go back to the Bulwark offices with the other losers – you need to look hard at the facts. We’re not progressives who let our feelz control us, and we must ruthlessly assess our own potential courses of action when it comes to replacing that desiccated old pervert masquerading as our president.
We must look at his downside, but also his upside – and he has one. The fact is that Donald Trump 2024 has a reasonable chance to beat anyone the Democrats launch at him – hell, in ’16 he defied the conventional wisdom to crush Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit, the Smartest Woman Ever Was, and there are a lot of reasons why he might well pummel whatever pea-brained nimrod the Dems deploy against him in 2024.
Let’s look where all smart tacticians will look first – at logistics. Trump has money, oodles of it, and his supporters now have two campaigns worth of experience instead of the none they had in 2016. He also has his own social media outlet, as well as friendly conservative media, and Twitter may even be under free speech advocate Elon Musk by then. They can’t shut him up again.
Then there is the opposition. He faces a clown for an opponent – Grandpa Badfinger is the only guy dumb enough to forget how to ride a bike – and some polls already show Trump beating Biden in a head-to-(empty)-head race two-plus years out. None of those who will be seeking to shiv the Crusty-in-Chief and send him off to Sunny Acres so they can grab the Dem nom is a bigger threat. Kackling Kamala? Supply chain chump Pete Buttigieg? Maybe AOC will run – voters will love her. Perhaps Hillary will step into the ring to get humiliated yet again. All of them are potentially beatable by DJT in 2024.
But there is more. Critically, a lot of people really dig Donald Trump. And it’s not because he somehow bedazzled them with his magical power to make the Jesus Gun People fall in love with him that the ruling caste seems to think he wields. As I write in my forthcoming book, We’ll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America: “Could Trump save us again? … His vision for this country is simple and correct, all about making America great again and putting America first.” Just compare the Democrat vision of empty shelves and bank accounts with Trump’s vision of America prosperous, proud and strong, instead of one dropping abandoned allies off of C-17s.
That’s what people love about him, and it’s not just the people with DJT tatts and red hats. Even conservatives who have doubts about Trump going for Round 3 tend to respect him and his achievements. Trump brought a whole bunch of people into the Republican Party who had been repelled by stiffs like Mitt Romney and blunderers like George W. Bush – guys who incidentally never had a job that involved them sweating and certainly looked like they despised anyone who had.
Trump nearly singlehandedly turned the GOP into the party of the working man because, despite his flamboyance and his gold-plated bidets, he genuinely respected guys who built things, who drove things, and who fought wars. It wasn’t fake – he grew up on construction sites. The toffs and puffboys with their Ivy League degrees scoff at that notion, as if they would ever dirty their dainty paws working, but you can’t fake that – not for seven years. Working folks saw him and saw an (unlikely) ally, and that meant we Republicans suddenly had access to voters Miracle Whip Mitt could never attract. You look at the GOP stampede of Latinx voters – who hate that stupid word with a passion – and you have to understand that it would not be possible without Donald J. Trump.
But it is not just his personality that built that loyalty. It was his performance as president. Just look at the guy’s record, a record that rivaled even St. Ronny’s. Trump presided over the first expansion of wealth for working people in decades, reversing the stagnation that saw the coastal blue elites growing richer and everyone else growing poorer. He cut taxes for small business, jump-starting economic growth. Gas prices were low, the stock market was high. Compare and contrast his economic record with that of this ridiculous dust puppet we are stuck with now. We didn’t have to worry that there would be no baby food on the shelf when Trump was in office. Now you need to take out a mortgage – at much higher rates than under Trump – just to fill up your F-150. And just a couple years ago the stock market was booming, instead of failing like Brian “Tater” Stelter on Tinder.
In a few weeks, SCOTUS decisions tossing out Roe and upholding your right to keep and bear arms will vindicate Donald Trump yet again.
Trump began the process of rebuilding our military, wrecked after decades of fruitless wars, and most importantly, he did not get us into any new ones. That matters, because the people who like him tend to be the people who either have to actually fight those wars or send their sons and daughters to do it – see if you can imagine a Cheney in uniform without laughing at the absurdity of a member of that clan actually personally participating in one of the myriad wars they love so much as anything other than a distant spectator. But it’s not so funny when it’s your kid coming home in a box. And Trump got that when no one else in the GOP seemed to.
Oh, and Trump – aided by some outstanding appointees like Ambassador Ric Grenell and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien – brought peace not just to the intractable Kosovo conflict but to the Middle East. Remember how Mid-East violence was a staple on the nightly news for most of the last century? Trump fixed that when all the geniuses of the establishment couldn’t. Now Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together, if you can wrap your heads around that, at least until President Numbskull screws that up too.
Trump put America first, not the interests of the ruling caste, and for that our alleged betters cannot forgive him. This brings us to the last reason Trump should run. We deserve a chance to have a real Trump presidency, and so do our enemies – they need to pay. Their Russiagate lies and stupid impeachment onanism wrapped-up the administration for years when Trump should have been free to do even more than what he accomplished despite the establishment’s full-court press to disenfranchise his voters by neutralizing him. Moreover, the shameful 2020 election – you do not have to believe that the outright fraud, which did exist (I saw it helping the legal effort in Las Vegas working alongside future Nevada senator Adam Laxalt) – with its unlawful legal hijinks and regime media interference (“Trump is down 17 points in Wisconsin!”) was fundamentally unfair. Trump personally deserves vindication from that unfair fiasco, but more importantly, the people who voted for him deserve vindication too. And the people who hate Trump deserve four more years of suffering under his reign of mean tweets.
Anyone who tells you that Trump cannot win is wrong. He can. He has powerful winds behind him, some of them of his making, some historical, and he has a fantastic record that contrasts starkly with the legacy of bungling of his successor. Trump has been blessed with incompetent opponents who have made everyone hate them. So, a win is not out of the question. Trump has real reasons to run, if he chooses.
But a win is not assured. Because he can realistically run does not necessarily mean he should. There is a case to be made that we Republicans need to thank him, hand him a gold watch, and move on. And that’s why my Thursday column – pending some breaking news or my attention being captured by some other politico-cultural squirrel – will be The Case Against Donald Trump 2024.