In this installment of Weekend Conversations, PF Whalen of The Blue State Conservative and Parker Beauregard of The Last Best Hope explore the consequences of a second term for President Trump. What could be accomplished not only politically but culturally as well?
Parker: The 2016 election might have prevented a permanent leftist takeover of the United States, but the 2020 election still has as significant a role to play in American politics. I see it as two-fold; first, there are obvious political ramifications that go along with a Trump victory. He will be able to continue pushing legislation that is desirable to conservative causes such as border control and healthcare reform. More on that as our conversation unfolds.
Equally significant, however, is the cultural message that his victory conveys. My greatest fear of a Biden surprise in November is it essentially signals to both terrorists and citizens alike that violence and suppression, when perpetrated by the “right” cause, have legitimacy. After all of the silence from the left with regard to the looting, rioting, and attacking, how else can this be taken? Without question, those brave enough to stand up to BLM and Antifa goons will face additional aggression, whether corporeal or related to the destruction of businesses and homes. At the same time, the brazen censorship on display at Facebook and Twitter this past week will only intensify. They might perhaps even be encouraged by the Democrats in power. What other news stories will be shadow banned and blocked from dissemination? Will there be a crackdown on conservative news sites like Daily Wire, Breitbart, and others?
This entire episode is beyond comprehension. For years, the press has cried foul when President Trump correctly labeled them as fake news. They said his speech was a danger to democracy. Now, without any hint of irony, Big Tech literally bans their users’ abilities to share breaking news stories, and not one iota of concern is heard. In fact, the left supports the suppression of what it deems misinformation. A Biden victory will promote endless campaigns of silencing dissenting voices. A Trump victory will go after Big Tech in ways not just healthy for conservatives, but for democracy.
PF: I agree that accountability for the Left and their accomplices will be a big part of a Trump 2.0, particularly if Republicans retain control of the Senate. If not, however, I fear that we’ll have gridlock not just on that issue, but across the board. Let’s cross our fingers. Part of that accountability will almost certainly include further investigation into Spygate and the origins of the Russia Investigation, and hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of things once and for all.
You mentioned the signals being sent to terrorists, and I would add the signals to foreign governments. Trump’s handling of China and Iran has worked well, and the progress on those relationships in a second term would be fascinating to watch. I suspect both relationships would remain mostly adversarial, but he might surprise us with steps towards peace.
Domestically, I think Trump will continue with his pro-growth agenda with limited government intervention into the public sector, and that should be terrific for the economy. I would expect the administration to aggressively ensure fair trade agreements are reached, and existing agreements are adhered to. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dow Jones Industrial average reach 33K during his second term.
Parker: Economically, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that America will continue to thrive. The stock market is one indicator of that success. Conversely, I expect a market sell off under Biden, and it makes me wonder how anyone with assets doesn’t see this? The only explanation I can offer is TDS. There are also the trade deals that Trump can continue to emphasize. Our partnership with China is a necessity, but no one before Trump had the chutzpah to stand up to the communist regime to work out a fair deal. We could expect continued success along that front.
I also expect our arrangement at the Southern border to improve. Border security is national security. While Trump has quietly built, or rebuilt, hundreds of miles of improved security measures, more is still needed. A wall serves the additional purpose of deterring would-be migrants from crossing a dangerous desert. It is dangerous both in terms of the terrain and climate, but also in terms of the human traffickers that prey on desperate people.
To be clear, a wall is a moral imperative. No nation has existed or currently exists without a strong national identity. It is absurd to even have to say it; a nation without an identity is not a nation. With unfettered and unchecked immigration, the American identity will dissolve not because the racial makeup is different, but because the value system will evolve. The reason so many people want to, and die trying to, come to America is because of what we offer. A political system free of oppression and an economic system available to anyone to strike it rich, as well as the mindset of liberty and individualism, created America. As soon as enough people believe this is what makes us the bad guy, it will all come crashing down. If we are so bad, what is the alternative? How does anyone have improved outcomes when America fails? These questions are never answered.
PF: Excellent points on border security, and I suspect you’re right; it will continue to be one of Trump’s primary policy objectives, and I think we’ll see major improvements.
On a related note, I think we’ll also see a significant push on the rule of law by addressing rogue organizations such as Antifa. If Trump wins, and if Republicans keep control of the Senate, Trump will rightfully view those results as a validation of his approach and a mandate to continue with it. I get the sense that Bill Barr will likely want to step down as AG at some point, so perhaps his successor will be left to handle the initiative. But I think we’ll likely see a full-court press by Trump in confronting domestic terrorists like the Antifa assholes.
Speaking of cabinet openings, like every president who wins a second term, I’m sure Trump will have quite a bit of turnover. If Barr does step down, I hope Trump appoints someone equally tenacious (Trey Gowdy, perhaps?) to fill his big shoes. And as much as I hate to say it, we should expect to see a new face as Secretary of State. Mike Pompeo has done a great job, and I hope he stays, but he’s been there for a while and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him step down and backfilled with someone like Marco Rubio or Nikki Haley. I think the most critical cabinet member, however, is Steve Mnuchin in the Treasury Department. He’s done a fantastic job but has been mostly overlooked. If Trump keeps anyone on board in 2021, I hope it’s him.
Parker: Cabinet positions are often overlooked or under-considered. Trump has some powerhouse names he could offer, which could boost recognition come 2024. It will be exciting to see who he selects as his heirs apparent, as it were. Just to play this idea out, who fills a Biden cabinet? O’Rourke, Warren, Sanders, and Rice? I don’t even want to think about it.
We would also be remiss to not have one final Supreme Court conversation. Stephen Breyer is currently the most senior justice in terms of age, with 82 years of life experience informing his decisions on the bench. Another four years of Trump would bring him into his late 80s, and while there are currently no whispers of a needed retirement, a lot can change in four more years. It is quite possible that Trump could have a 4th appointment that sets up an unimaginable 7-2 conservative slant. Many pundits discussed the judicial implications of voting Republican in 2016 (which have been marvelous) but I have not heard the same fervor for the courts in this reelection battle. This alone should be enough for Never Trumpers, RINOs, and traditional liberals to reconsider their hesitation. Short of packing the court to 15 justices (which would obliterate the United States as we know it), conservatives should have a majority for the next several decades.
We have spent a lot of time discussing the court system, but it bears worth repeating. While talking about a 7-2 conservative slant, what that really means is there are seven justices who generally just interpret the Constitution and other laws as written. Why is this such a hard concept? Should there not be a 9-0 split when it comes to deciding legal matters? The law is the law. The fact that there are any divisions says more about the insertion of political agendas guiding the justices than legal interpretation. I would trust the court in the hands of nine Amy Coney Barretts in a heartbeat; individuals that recognize their limitations as arbiters of existing law and see the role of judge as a referee and the role of a legislator as one of lawmaker is a welcome respite from the activism displayed by the late RGB and others who adjudicate based on feelings and not on facts.
PF: Good points on Breyer and SCOTUS, and I would add Clarence Thomas to the mix as well. He’s currently 72 years old, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him step down under a Republican president. If that happens, it solidifies that 7-2 conservative slant you referenced for that much longer.
I think one of the more interesting aspects of a Trump reelection will be the reaction of the mainstream media and the impact to our culture.
Trump has succeeded in significantly damaging the MSM’s credibility, and another four years might result in its total destruction. Polls on America’s confidence in the press are at an all-time low, and it will just get worse if he’s reelected. One thing I’ve been hoping for is for one of the major networks to shift a bit to the right. If NBC, CBS or ABC were to stop the nonsense and simply become moderate news outlets, I think they would separate themselves and their ratings would skyrocket. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it, but it’s interesting to consider the possibility.
As for the culture, what will be the impact? Will we become even more divided, or will fences start to mend somewhat? If Trump wins, and Republicans retain control of the Senate, I think we’ll see at least a portion of the Democratic Party shift to the center and abandon the radical leftwing of their party. That could have a dramatic impact on the culture. Continuing to depict AOC, the Squad, and the rest of the radical left as mainstream would be impossible, and perhaps the culture would come to its senses to some extent. We can only hope.