As a voter who lives far away from the Beltway bubble, I increasingly find myself harboring an uncomfortable secret: I like Donald Trump, and think he’s the perfect president for these times.
Now, I know that’s a big no-no. In fact, I probably should keep it to myself. After all, the mainstream media has been working non-stop to make me and countless others hate the president and see him as Public Enemy No. 1.
I’m also decidedly not the kind of voter who is supposed to like Trump; in fact, all my intersecting identities are supposed to hate Trump with a vengeance: I’m a woman, a legal immigrant, a person of color (never liked the term), a former Democrat, and a third-party voter in 2016.
Liking Trump openly is very difficult these days, and it is not recommended that you do so. It’s especially difficult in the social circles I move in.
If you’ve noticed, even some Trump voters and Trump-supporting commentators say things like, “I don’t like Trump, but I like his policies,” or “He has flaws, but…” which is a neat way of putting distance between oneself and the president.
Enumerating the reasons Trump is alright is especially necessary because of the constant vituperation he faces everyday from different liberal quarters. Here are 10 reasons I like Trump.
First, he is sui generis, a singularly unique individual who has single-handedly transformed almost everything about American politics, by sheer force of his personality and ideas. Presidents dream of being transformational, and Trump has transformed politics in ways many presidents can only dream about.
He has transformed both political parties, the mainstream media, and the presidential campaigns, and moved the Overton Window on many issues. He has shown many of our institutions for what they actually are and for what we suspected them to be, and broken their brains in the process. His methods may not always be good, but the results have been okay.
Second, by loudly questioning everything in his unorthodox way he has made us re-examine many things: our bloated bureaucracy, some of our egoistic federal civil servants who believe they’re in charge of our republic, the much-vaunted liberal international order, our awful elites and the meritocracy that produced them. Most important, his foreign policy ideas and actions have generated a long- overdue discussion on America’s global policeman role and its unsustainable costs to our people.
Third, he loves America, and his love is genuine, palpable and almost retro. We could do with a little of that nowadays, swimming as we are in a sea of self-loathing, self-flagellation, and history-rewriting from the left. America, of course, has its flaws and sins, but it is refreshing to be reminded by our president that it still stands tall.
Fourth, he says what he thinks, is remarkably accessible, and is probably the only president who can’t seem to resist answering questions thrown at him. In this, he demonstrates a guilelessness and, shall we say, honesty quite unlike any politician, past or present. It gets him into trouble, of course, but also gets him admirers.
His rhetorical style is, to say the least, unconventional but often effective. By talking like a real person and not trafficking in platitudes and liberal pieties, he has made it difficult for conventional politicians to do their thing.
Fifth, he is clearly a non-ideologue and pragmatic, shown in spades in the way he has refashioned the Republican Party’s orthodoxies on trade, immigration, and foreign intervention.
Sixth, his care for American voters seems genuine, especially toward the people who voted for him and show him unflagging support. He is indeed an odd president: a Manhattan billionaire who has a “blue collar sensibility” and relates to voters who’ve suffered bipartisan neglect from D.C. politicians for decades.
And may I say that his rallies are a thing to behold: all camaraderie and affection between Trump and the crowd, characterized by his playful, extemporaneous riffs, funny and sarcastic, with the underlying theme being a conspiratorial partnership against the smug, self-dealing ruling class and media elites that need to be defeated. No wonder Democratic leaders are anxious about the 2020 election—they can’t compete with Trump’s offbeat charisma.
Not to mention that he’s funny, but you need a special sensor to appreciate it, which the dour, humorless left doesn’t have anymore.
Seventh, he has had the greatest influence, perhaps, in transforming how we talk about needless, endless foreign military incursions. He expresses in clear, succinct terms why America’s global policeman role is getting to be untenable, as in his press conference after the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when he stated, “But the United States taxpayer is not going to pay for the next fifty years (for endlessly staying in the region).”
One of his finer moments came when he mused movingly during a recent campaign rally about being present at Dover Air Force Base, seeing caskets return from war zones and witnessing the families’ grief. Would that we have more commander-in-chiefs caring—and publicly at that—about dead American soldiers more than gallivanting around the Middle East looking for civil wars to support endlessly.
Eighth, he has challenged China, our most important geopolitical threat, and done what hasn’t been attempted in our status quo politics so far.
Ninth, he says he’s “president of America and not president of the world,” and that American citizens have to be taken care of first before we take care of the world. What a novel idea. This should be said and practiced more often.
In a sane, common-sense world, Trump’s recent United Nations address touting these ideas would be lauded; instead they were pilloried as isolationist and dangerous. But that is the cognitively dissonant media world we live in now—what is pragmatic is framed as radical and transgressive.
Tenth and lastly, I like his chutzpah and pugilistic style, with its underlying theme of “Honey Badger don’t care.” It’s perfectly suited for this moment, where the overarching issue is: Who is really in charge in this republic, the voters or arrogant, unelected federal bureaucrats who think they know best and try to override the will of voters? He seems uniquely suited to take on the combined onslaught coming from many quarters.
Obviously, I don’t like or agree with everything Trump has said and done. Equally obviously, he has moral and ethical failings like many in D.C., but with a difference: he’s no hypocrite and has never pretended to be something he’s not, which can’t be said of his many critics and adversaries. But his flaws and missteps are small potatoes compared to the decades-long, monumental corruption and dishonesty of our ruling and media elite, and the contempt they have toward voters.
The most fun and illuminating part has been watching the mainstream media, academia, Hollywood, and the Democratic Party rip their tolerant masks off and show themselves for what they actually are: vicious, intolerant people who are dangerous when backed into a corner.
I’m now squarely in the camp who believes that Trump is alright, and that nothing he says or does is worse than what the ruling class and media elites do and are capable of. He is far better—or at least far less worse—than them. Truly, as someone said, the office sought the man.