POLLAK: November 9 Was the Day After Groundhog Day

Kellyanne Conway, Election Night (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)
Joel Pollak / Breitbart News

The left has yet to wake up from November 9, 2016.

They have never accepted the fact that Donald Trump won the election. They cling to conspiracy theories about Russian collusion, and share dystopian nightmares of authoritarian dictatorship, against which the so-called “Resistance” is meant to be fighting.

They have retreated into an un-reality, not just to avoid the fact that Trump is the president, but to avoid accepting the country’s verdict on their own ideas.

Here is how I woke up on November 9, 2016:

I was referring, of course, to the repeated experience of watching Republican candidates lose presidential elections. But we had seen Republicans win the House in 2010, and the Senate in 2014. So what was new?

What I was really savoring was the fact that a Republican candidate had finally beaten the media, and the Beltway pundits. It was, and is, a new world now, and there is no going back to the old.

The mainstream media look back at the past year and see a divided country. In part, that is because they helped to divide it. They were openly pulling for Hillary Clinton to win, and they have pushed vigorously for Trump to be brought down ever since.

Yes, President Trump widens those divisions with some of the things he says, or tweets, often violating the norms of presidential behavior. But invariably, Trump does so in response to being attacked.

Republicans who have behaved the way the media now pretends it wants all presidents to behave have almost always been defeated — or, worse, surrendered to the left while in office. The media also overlooked — or even cheered — many of the things Barack Obama did to divide the country.

At his best, Trump is capable of uniting Americans, as he did during his address to Congress in February, one of the finest speeches ever given there.

There have been disappointments. But most of those have been Congress’s fault. The failure to replace Obamacare, for example, revealed just how poorly Republicans had prepared for the task of governing.

Other misses have been Trump’s own, such as his decision to delay moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in undue deference to a corrupt Palestinian leadership that shows no interest in preparing its people for a future of peace.

Yet these are overwhelmed by Trump’s achievements, which go far beyond appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Trump has revoked dozens of regulations that the Obama administration failed to report to Congress. He cut illegal border crossings by some two-thirds, even without the (still-awaited) wall in place. He withdrew boldly from the Paris Climate Accords, attacked Syria for using chemical weapons, and routed the so-called “Islamic State.”

Unlike his predecessor, Trump has shown deference to the courts and the Constitution. When Trump talks about wanting the Department of Justice to pursue the Democrats, his critics wail about an assault on the independence of law enforcement. But no one else does, for the simple reason that Trump did not come to office with the goal of “fundamentally transforming” America’s institutions. Obama did — and November 9 was his belated comeuppance.

The past year has been a tough civics lesson for Democrats. They have learned that executive orders might only last until a change in the executive. They have discovered that those they mocked as “Tenthers” had a point about state powers. They have learned the importance of the free press under the First Amendment.

Their fears are silly, but at least they have finally cracked open those pocket Constitutions they bought when Khizr Khan waved one at Trump.

It has also been a lesson in humility for the NeverTrump crowd, who savored the prospect of Trump’s certain defeat and looked forward to purging the conservative movement of all who supported him.

Some still do. Yet others have made their peace with this presidency, and some have even found their way into working for his administration — in contrast, at times, to Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp.” (The “swamp,” alas, still holds many levers of power.)

The conventional wisdom is that the past year has been extraordinary, a constant barrage of the unprecedented, the exhilarating, and the outrageous. That is true, to an extent.

But on a deeper level, the past year has seen a return to what was once “normal.” We have a president who puts America first, who guards the borders, who obeys the law, who cares about the economy.

For all his quirks, Trump has brought back a sense of balance. And it’s only one year.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.