This weekend the LA Times released its first and second pieces in a four-part assault on President Donald Trump. Entitled, “Our Dishonest President,” the editorial board has (potentially unintentionally) placed its finger on the pulse of the Left’s long-run strategy to win the battle of ideas in 21st century American politics. The strategy: Associate conservative policy with Trumpism, thereby conflating the two and poisoning the well for future conservatives at every level of politics.
In its opening paragraph, the Times uses hyperbolic words like “unprepared” and “unsuited,” calling his presidency a “trainwreck.” For the Times (and the Left) however, this trainwreck is far different from the conservative perspective of failing to keep conservative promises from the campaign trail. Rather, the Times purposefully conflates the President’s unpredictability with rather standard conservative policy prescriptions.
Before discussing Trump’s mind, the editors chose to link the president’s nascent presidency with Obama-era climate change rollbacks, school choice and healthcare reforms, citing that “In a matter of weeks, President Trump has taken dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart, foul rivers and pollute the air, intensify the calamitous effects of climate change and profoundly weaken the system of American public education for all…His attempt to de-insure millions of people who had finally received healthcare coverage and, along the way, enact a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich has been put on hold for the moment”.
This is important and warning light for conservatives. By intentionally conflating conservatism with Trumpism, Liberals are sowing the seeds for political victories for future generations.
In my first piece for the Resurgent, I argued that if Trump accomplished a full repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, navigated a conservative through the Supreme Court confirmation process, and funded the border wall, he would cement his place in the pantheon of American conservative successes. Why would he be successful? Because, conservative policies, when enacted, grow the economy, increase freedom and build America’s confidence in itself. Reagan wasn’t popular until his policies were in full swing and Americans began to reap the fruits of the President’s labor. Likewise, for Trump to be successful, Americans have to see, feel and taste the fruits of the Republicans’ labor.
If Trump and Congress fail to pass a meaningful ObamaCare repeal and replacement (which is becoming all but certain), if Congress fails to secure the border, (which, as of Thursday, is looking more and more problematic), and if Trump can’t get through meaningful and sweeping tax reform, (which has been already called D.O.A.), Americans will never be able to experience real conservative reform. They won’t feel richer, they won’t feel freer and they won’t feel confident. Moreover, they have only one party and one ideology to blame: Conservatism and Republicans.
How does this fit back into the LA Times hit pieces on Trump? By purposefully conflating conservative reforms and Trump, those on the left may be able to permanently break the link between the ideology from Reagan and conservatism as a recipe for American success, thereby binding it to Trump and failure. The time of the teenage/twenty-something millennial is over. Millennials are beginning to settle down and have children of their own. They don’t remember a world born from Reagan’s conservatism. Today’s thirty year olds have truly only seen two Republican presidents. One of them is completely defined by war and economic downturn. The other is Donald Trump. It is on the president’s shoulders to show America that conservatism works. The battle for ideas depends on it. He can’t fail.