Jenkins: What will drive voters in 2020?

By Paul Jenkins |

A  friend with inexplicable liberal tendencies was wallowing in a blue funk about the state of, well, anything and everything Trump — his prickly insanity, his boorish, endless tweeting, his outrageous gaffes — when he sighed and said wistfully, “Well, it will all be over in about two years.”

Do you really believe that? I asked. Trump’s base still is enamored of him, is still hanging in there, and two years, after all, is a very long time. You could be very wrong, you know? Remember the election? He is the comeback kid in the flesh. Mr. MAGA. Teflon Don. He did everything wrong a human possibly could do wrong during the campaign, and still won. Nobody was more surprised the day after the election than Donald Trump — unless it was Hillary Clinton.

Nah, he said, Donald’s poll numbers stink worse than week-old roadkill. His foreign policy is simple: Tweet us into World War III. He is tying the noose for an already suicide-prone Republican Party; his agenda, whatever it was, fizzled; his promises keep cratering, one after another. He is a lousy president, a laughable, unlikeable fluke, and Americans see it, he said. They will want — they will demand — change. They are afraid of this guy and what he might do.

And, he pointed out, his voice rising, those traitorous hordes of black and working class white boobs in the Midwestern hinterlands who abandoned Hillary Clinton in droves will switch back for the right Democratic candidate. In a heartbeat. You just watch.

The odds of my readily agreeing with a liberal about anything political are minuscule. Liberalism is, after all, a genetic defect. It gives its victims visions of grandeur — with your money. You can look it up. Best hot dogs? Whisky? Maybe we can agree. Cars? Motorcycles? Best fishing? Sure. Anything is possible. Politics? Ain’t likely.
[The choice is miserable, but it has to be Trump]

Mind you, like my friend, I, too, like my presidents a little less nutty, a little less hell-bent on picking unnecessary, unseemly fights, even taking the time to counter-punch crying war widows and such. It would be nice, too, if he — or she — were not an uncouth blowhard or an unrepentant sexist pig, but that may be far too much to hope for in today’s climate. A little dignity, without a hint of swagger, a little confidence without braggadocio, might be a nice touch, too.

But I wonder: Are Americans really fed up with The Don, or are they just sitting back, getting a kick out of his latest reality show, watching him gleefully twist the tiger’s tail just to hear it roar? He is, after all, a different kind of president, one not beholden to traditional Washington or its establishment power players. He has weaponized outlandish behavior, whipping it out to divert attention or change the page with the drop of a tweet. Sometimes it seems he is doing to the Washington elite and their media pals what many Americans would do to them if they just had the chance.

In bars and barbershop and groceries, do people really give a whit about his crazy nocturnal Twitter battles or his heated feuds with news organizations or celebrities or his seemingly on-demand wackiness? Or are they laughing? Do they believe he is the problem — or are they more ticked off at the media and a Congress that cannot get it right? Is he actually failing or being made to appear to be failing by those determined to resist his every move?

Trump’s all-but-ignored successes in getting conservatives back on the federal bench — and he will be able to choose more than any president in the last 40 years — and progress in dismantling the maze of economy-choking federal regulations are good examples. The third-quarter Gross Domestic Product growth rose to a three-year high of 3.3 percent, with the economy finally showing life, is another sign something is going right, not to mention there is hope for a tax cut.

It is more than possible my morose friend is dreadfully wrong; that the very same pollsters and pundits and political geniuses who blew it in the last election, are busy blowing it yet again; that Americans are not stampeding away from Trump. With an improved economy and even more jobs, he could be re-elected in 2020. And handily. Americans, after all, tend to vote their pocketbooks.

The deciding question in the next election, I told him, will be: If Americans have the choice of another Trump wackdoodle term or a return to the bankrupt, corrupt liberal system that propelled him into office in the first place, which will they choose?

It may turn out that it will not be over in two years.

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