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What If Donald Trump Represents A ‘Return To Normalcy?’

Joe Biden promised normalcy. His presidency has made everything worse.

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A recent CBS News poll finds that 65 percent of Americans remember the economy under Donald Trump fondly. Only 38 say the same about the Joe Biden years.

The media, naturally, has begun reminding Americans that the Trump years were actually terrible. The New York Times contends that a ‘collective amnesia’ has gripped forgetful voters. And Joe Biden will reportedly draw a “sharp contrast” between his term and Trump’s during the State of the Union.

Now, without diminishing the weirdness and political chaos that marked the Trump years, I strongly suspect that most voters don’t share this emotional and psychological trauma with the political class.

All of this will seem counterintuitive to experts in Washington, D.C., considering their hysteria over “MAGA extremism”— not to mention Trump’s often hyperbolic, conspiratorial, and severe rhetoric. But in almost every way that matters to the average voter, Trump is more moderate. And maybe that’s an underappreciated reality of the 2024 presidential race.

Yes, the Trump era was filled with crazy pressers and constant upheaval in DC, but most of the daily media hyperventilation was centered around the ginned-up Russian interference conspiracy theory invented by Democrats. At this point, only a deeply cynical or credulous partisan will contend that Trump is a Russian asset.

And sure, Democrats also had meltdowns over entirely mainline conservative issues: across-the-board tax cuts, tepid deregulation, the exit from an unconstitutional climate treaty, a less active foreign policy, the nomination of justices who take the Constitution seriously, and enhancement of border security. You can disagree with policies, but they aren’t especially peculiar or unpopular.

Even MAGA’s trade protectionism, which is hardly alien to Democrats, is pretty popular (unfortunately).

Stripped of all the bluster, Trump’s policy agenda is largely a hodgepodge of traditional populist center-right items. This is true on economic and social issues. Even Trump’s position on abortion (restricted after 16 weeks) is more in line with the public than Biden’s position (legal from conception to delivery). The media does everything it can to hide this truth from voters.

A person could argue, as I do, that Trump’s lack of ideology, especially his openness to big government, makes him less conservative than the traditional candidate. And even if you believe, like I do, that “national conservatism” is a dead end for the GOP, Trump’s problems have largely stemmed from his personality and nature, not his policies.

While the pre-Covid years of the Trump administration featured a relatively hands-off approach, the Biden era has been marred by technocratic and cultural intrusions that have made American life more tumultuous.

Biden has benefited greatly from false perceptions about his outlook. He doesn’t have any. The president has always been a craven opportunist. At this point, the differences between Biden and Bernie Sanders are philosophical rounding errors. Biden likes to spin homespun patriotic tropes and conflate his evolving positions with decency. But draping the White House with rainbow flags while defending child mutilation and porn in school libraries is hardly normal.

Nor is printing trillions to fund a slew of progressive pet issues, even as economists are warning you that it would plunge the nation into an inflationary spiral. Signing a slew of executive orders that limit fossil fuel exploration to placate the fantastical “zero emission” goals of the progressive left is not the action of a judicious leader.

Dismissing border security during a crisis (according to Pew, 78 percent of Americans refer to it as a crisis or major problem) to prioritize funding the Ukraine war (an issue that barely shows up in a list of voter concerns), telegraphs not only a warped understanding of your responsibilities but also political incompetence.

Biden seems obsessed with placating leftists. Take his newest efforts to appease the hard-left/pro-Palestinian faction of his party. A number of “uncommitted” voters in Democratic primaries have expressed anger over Biden’s alleged position on Gaza. This has become a major topic with the media, which sees everything through a left-wing prism.

But what about the millions of normie independents who are more worried about the United States than Hamas? Only 36 percent approve of Biden’s handling of the economy. Only 28 percent approve of his handling of immigration. Only 33 percent approve of the president’s handling of foreign policy. And 30 percent of voters — most still pro-Israel — approve of his handling of the Middle East.

And what of normalcy? There is little of it. Biden is perhaps the first president to regularly and openly vilify opposition voters as Fifth Columnists. Trump says a lot of crazy things, sure, but he never put on a crimson-drenched prime-time speech to accuse the Americans of being “semi-fascists.”

Surely, many fair-minded voters have noticed that the democracy-saving Democrats have a habit of abusing the power they warn us Trump is primed to snatch should he ever return to the White House. The lawfare. The attempted disenfranchisement of voters. The federal mobilization against political opponents. The censorship. None of that is normal. Sometimes, the only thing standing in the way of these unprecedented abuses is the Supreme Court that Trump helped build.

The Trump post-election hissy fit should not be forgotten. But then, the four-year election-denying hissy fit of Democrats should not be forgotten either. The left has staked their entire political case on the contention that a few hundred political rioters threatened the future of “democracy” and that every Republican is now accountable. I’m skeptical that most voters believe this, either.

Biden vs. Trump is perhaps the worst rerun in American political history. There is nothing “normal” about our political situation. But elections are a choice. And, in most ways, the moderating choice is Trump, which is something I never thought I’d write.


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