Trump is still the only one. The only. now more than ever

In American politics, there is Donald Trump, and then there are all the others.

No other figure, including the sitting president, comes close to Trump’s outsized political influence. This is doubly true in the Republican Party, which Trump single-handedly redefined with his America First populism. Since 2016, Trump has dominated the party like a colossus, despite endless attempts by the united party to stop him. The fact that he’s still standing has given him a certain sense of invincibility, which will be nearly impossible for any Republican challenger to overcome.

The GOP primary battle has now been joined by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who trailed Sen. Tim Scott, former Gov. Nikki Haley and star investor Vivek Ramaswamy. All are highly accomplished and talented leaders. But there’s a big difference between being a successful governor, legislator or entrepreneur and running for president. And that’s another thing to run for president against Donald Trump. In the political ring, he is unlike any other fighter, as the graveyard of his former GOP opponents attests.

In an attempt to beat him, the current candidates will argue on two main points: First, they will argue that unlike Trump, they could win a general election. Second, they will claim that if elected, they could advance his America First policy without being weighed down by his distracting baggage.

But none of these claims hold water. When it comes to eligibility, a large chunk of Republican voters think there was enough shenanigans in the 2020 election to make its outcome problematic at best; we now know, for example, that former acting CIA director Mike Morell was tricked by then-candidate Joe Biden’s presidential campaign into rallying 50 colleagues to sign a letter they knew was fake, alleging Hunter Biden’s genuine laptop was Russian disinformation. In light of this and other emerging facts about how Trump has been targeted, many voters are happy to see him leading everyone in the current polls, including Biden, in some cases by significant margins.

As for the general election, approval for Biden’s job is at an all-time low as a growing number of Democrats and independents reject his abysmal presidency. His re-election is far from certain, and if Biden does eventually step down, the GOP will need a bona fide warrior to take on whoever Democrats ultimately appoint.

Former US President Donald Trump
Robert Perry/Getty Images

As for the claim that there can be “Trumpism without Trump”, many GOP politicians talk about an America First game, but only Trump brings the kind of disruptive energy needed to shatter the corrupt status quo and we get back on track.

He has, after all, a proven track record. As president, Trump achieved an economic boom through pro-growth policies such as tax cuts, regulatory relief, energy independence and fairer trade deals with China, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. The result has been robust economic growth, 7 million new jobs, a dramatic increase in middle-class family income, a return of 500,000 manufacturing jobs, and unemployment rates at or near historic lows for every demographic group.

When the pandemic hit, Trump mobilized a whole-of-government effort to get Americans through it, then presided over the fastest economic recovery from a crisis ever.

He secured the southern border and largely solved the problem of illegal immigration; appointed three Supreme Court justices and a historic number of justices to the federal bench; expanded school choice; fought the opioid epidemic; and law and order enforcement.

He restored American leadership abroad by confronting China, striking unprecedented peace agreements in the Middle East, destroying terrorist organizations, forcing NATO allies to pay their fair share, withdrawing from the disastrous Iranian nuclear deal. He also supported Israel, left the sovereignty destroying World Health Organization and rebuilt our military.

Incredibly, Trump accomplished all of this while fending off a barrage of bogus investigations and relentless attacks from a fierce Democratic opposition, irresponsible shadowy actors, subversives in his own administration and party, and a press. eternally hostile.

He was a political Ginger Rogers: he did it all while dancing upside down and in heels.

Trump also has a huge advantage over the rest: his organic emotional connection to voters. He spoke directly to the forgotten men and women whose families, jobs and communities were shattered by America’s latest globalism and who were outraged that they had become second-class citizens in their own country, but ignored by the contemptuous elites of both parties. Trump promised to put them first. And instead of letting them down once elected, he actually delivered on those promises. He has not forgotten them and they will not forget him.

That’s not to say Trump doesn’t have vulnerabilities, as all leaders do: His no-prisoners style and conduct, his china-shop bull style and conduct, and his endless legal challenges have put off some voters. But the country is hanging by a thread because President Biden undid much of what Trump had accomplished. So the next president must restore everything Trump has done And meet all of America’s new challenges. Trump has learned a lot over the past eight years, and those lessons will prove to be his most critical asset.

What we need is not more polished rhetorical style, but trained muscles and seasoned experience. We don’t have time for on-the-job training.

Since we now know what our dangerous adversaries are capable of, Republicans cannot afford to appoint someone who is naïve and unprepared for the inevitable attacks from the same forces that targeted Trump. Russia’s hoax will look like winks compared to what they are planning to destroy the next GOP nominee.

We have to go with the ultimate fighter, the one who walked through the fire and came out stronger, the guy who made America great once – and who will again.

Trump is – still – the one.

Monica Crowley is the host of the Monica Crowley Podcast and served as Assistant Secretary to the Treasury from 2019 to 2021.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.


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