President Donald Trump can win re-election if he focuses on the task of rebuilding the country, emphasizing the things Americans can do if we work together, and reminding the voters that Democrats have rejected cooperation at every turn.
At the moment, Trump faces an uphill battle. The coronavirus pandemic caused major damage to the economy, and the ongoing unrest and rioting, accompanied by “woke mobs” purging dissent, have many Americans scared for the future.
None of it is Trump’s doing — and there is an argument to be made that he managed both crises well.
Trump steered the country through the pandemic with a uniquely decentralized approach that succeeded in producing necessary medical supplies like ventilators. He also provided stimulus checks and emergency loans to American workers and businesses.
The disorder continues in Atlanta and Seattle, but Trump’s “law and order” approach gave more timid governors and mayors space to call out the national guard and crack down on violence and looting, while allowing peaceful protests.
Trump has also avoided the two big mistakes past Republicans have made in moments of crisis, which made them one-term presidents.
George H.W. Bush won broad support for the Gulf War, but then lost it quickly when he appeared out of touch with Americans’ economic needs. Before him, Herbert Hoover — the last one-term Republican president before Bush (not counting Gerald Ford) — seemed reluctant to use government to rescue the economy. No one could accuse Trump of that. He has kept the U.S. out of war, and provided generous government assistance.
Still, the instability makes Trump’s argument for re-election in the fall more difficult than it otherwise would have been.
Democrats, however, have not provided an alternative. Joe Biden continues to hide in his Wilmington, Delaware, home. His own divisive record on race relations is leavened only partially by the fact that he served with Barack Obama.
Worse, a majority of Democrats have embraced the “defund the police” concept. The Democrats on Minneapolis’s city council voted to disband their police force; Los Angeles is cutting funds by roughly 10% and promising to redistribute the money in “communities of color.” While 55% of Democrats agree, 64% of Americans oppose “defund the police.”
The Biden campaign offered a rather feeble statement of opposition to the idea, but the rest of its platform is almost just as radical. Biden has had to shift to the left to appease the radical left-wing base of his party, and is now pursuing the “revolutionary” agenda that he once criticized, adopting many of the goals of former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
That was true even before the Democratic presidential primary ended. Biden joined the other candidates at the very first presidential debate in Miami in raising his hand when asked who would offer free health care to illegal aliens. In a country suffering double-digit unemployment, where unemployed American citizens are at risk of losing their health insurance, the idea of creating a new entitlement for anyone who crosses the border illegally is political kryptonite.
What the country wants most is stability. What Biden offers is more instability — especially given his age and evident frailty. His campaign will try to fix those problems with a solid vice presidential pick, but it is unclear who will emerge.
Meanwhile, Trump has a chance to reset his campaign. Before the coronavirus pandemic, he could run on the economy. Now, he will have to run on the comeback he envisions for the country. Fortunately, he has the right skill set for the job.
- Infrastructure. America needs a builder, and Trump should run on a pledge to build infrastructure. He has talked about doing so since the first week of his presidency, but he faced Democrat opposition and a bogus “Russia collusion” investigation. In a second term, he could start afresh with a new, Republican-held Congress, and rebuild the nation’s inner cities, its roads, its airports, and its broadband infrastructure, along with the border “wall.” He should provide a detailed plan to do so.
- Education. Americans also want to see inequality addressed. Though people are divided over the riots, there is a genuine will in the electorate to see something being done. While Democrats talk about “systemic racism” in the police, the real “system” that keeps minorities down is the public school system. Trump should make education reform a focus.
- Health Care. Americans are also acutely worried about health care. The system was a mess long before the pandemic; now millions who have lost their jobs are in danger of losing their health insurance plans as well. Health care is typically a stronger issue for Democrats, but Biden has been quiet on the issue, which divides his party between those who want “Medicare for All” and those who want to keep private insurance in place. Trump has a chance to offer a real alternative.
Americans do not want to see more radical upheaval in the system. Trump should point out all of the radical changes Democrats have embraced — from “defund the police,” to ending the fossil fuel industry, to adding Supreme Court justices so they can pack the courts. He should renew his pledge to enforce the country’s immigration laws and govern for the benefit of all American citizens.
If Biden wins, there will be more unrest. Democrats have shown that they cannot be trusted to govern their own cities. Giving them the country, now, would have disastrous consequences.
Infrastructure, education, health care, and the American way. Leave aside race, and history. Offer a better future. That’s how to win.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.