OK, I admit I am a bit behind on my reading as I recently perused the April 30th edition of The Wall Street Journal. Albeit accidentally, it was a good exercise as I read David Greenberg’s extensive column comparing the Republicans’ situation on that date to that in 1976, to wit: “But as in 1976, there is ominous talk today that the GOP is in crisis — possibly headed for extinction, like the antebellum Whig Party.”
However, in short order, the Party supposedly headed for “extinction” won the Presidency, kept control of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, gained control of 33 out of 50 governorships, and won control of both chambers of the legislatures in 32 states (with Democrats controlling both chambers in only 5 states).
I’m not sure what the future of the Democratic Party is if the above-described status of the Republican Party might indicate it is “headed for extinction.”
As I continued to catch up on my reading, on July 28th, the WSJ’s Colleen McCain Nelson reported, “Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager… challenged Donald Trump’s statement that he could be competitive in Democratic strongholds, urging the Republican nominee to stump in traditionally blue states.”
It looks like Trump took Robby Mook’s arrogant “advice” — proving Trump didn’t need Vladimir Putin’s help when he had the advantage of the expertise of both his own campaign manager and his opponent’s campaign manager. Evidently, Kellyanne Conway was not as magnanimous or overconfident when it came to sharing her expertise with the opposition.
These examples should encourage us to look back on the 2016 Presidential Election and track the prognostications of the “experts” who predicted Trump did not know what he was doing, would stumble at the start of the Primary season, then would not get over 25% of any state’s primary vote, then would not get over 33% of any vote, then would not get 50% of any vote, and then would be soundly vanquished by Hillary Clinton.
One of the latest predictions given far more credence than it deserves is that of American University Professor Allan Lichtman, who predicted Trump’s victory. Now Lichtman is predicting Trump’s impeachment. With Republicans solidly in control of the House, it is highly likely Lichtman’s prediction will be yet another false one by another “expert.”
Even if Trump were impeached by the House, the odds of the Republican Senate convicting President Trump are infinitesimal. Perhaps the good Professor would make a wager with me about his prediction? I’ll even give him 10 to 1 odds!
Instead of pivoting after securing the Republican nomination, Trump maintained his personal turn to the Right on a wide range of issues and surprised the pundits by winning anyway — just one more example of the success of his unorthodoxy.
Post-election, however, he then pivoted by saying (1) he would not want his Administration to pursue Hillary Clinton, (2) Climate Change needed to be examined after all, (3) “The Wall” might partially consist of fencing and electronic segments, and (4) his focus would be on deporting undocumented criminals in the United States rather than going after all 11 million undocumented residents. These and other statements moderated much of the post-election criticism of Trump.
However, Trump’s appointments laid the foundation of a very conservative regime intent on dismantling much of the legacy of President Barack Obama and his predecessors — consistent with what he said he would do. Appointees such as Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Reince Priebus, Michael Flynn, Wilbur Ross, Betsy DeVos, Tom Price, Ben Carson, Mike Pompeo, James Mattis, and Scott Pruitt, among many others, leave little room for doubt.
So the moderation in verbiage is being more than offset by Trump’s assembly of a team which only can be described as for what Trump promised and wants — a truly conservative purebred. His nominees are the people who will be doing the work of the Trump Administration.
And when one to three Supreme Court Justice nominations are added to the equation, the impact of the 2016 elections will resonate for decades. New predictions anyone?
Aaron Harber, a graduate of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, is the host of “The Aaron Harber Show,” seen on Channel 3 KCDO-TV, ION Television KPXC-TV, Comcast Entertainment Television, and on all Comcast systems in California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan and Utah.
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