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Trump the Transformer

His presidency may well be among the most consequential in history—but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

It’s been said that nobody ever got in trouble for agreeing with the boss, so I’m not exactly going out on a limb when I say that our fearless leader Erick Erickson is spot on with his recently announced support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence for 2020. As a guy who robustly supported Ted Cruz in the 2016 GOP primary, I nevertheless cast my vote for Trump without hesitation when the general rolled around—and not just because the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency was too horrifying to even contemplate.

Going in, I knew that Trump was no ideological conservative—but he seemed passionate about advancing a conservative agenda, as he seemed to understand on an instinctive level that conservative policies were the only way to fulfill his campaign promise to Make America Great Again. Eight years of relentless government expansion under Barack Obama had saddled the country with more debt than ever before, crushed the economy under the weight of regulations, chased away American manufacturing and consigned millions to unemployment and food stamps. Republicans, meanwhile, seemed content with just holding the line where they could, or trying to slow the leftward lurch when all else failed.

And conservatives? We saw precious little out of Washington that could be construed as a victory—even after handing control of Congress back to the GOP. For me and others like me, taking a chance on Trump was a no-brainer. Sure he was rude, crude and obnoxious, but it’s not like the opposition was any better. Republicans with their Marquess of Queensbury rules were no match for street-fighting Dems with their switchblades and stilettos. In Trump we saw someone who wasn’t afraid to fight them on their own level, or to call out the media for the liberal toadies that they were. If we had to put up with some ill-advised tweets and less than savory dalliances—well, that was just the price of admission.

And so far, that bet has paid off in tangible ways. Erick has already given you the highlights, so there’s no reason to rehash the subject here—but suffice it to say, if you’re a person who suffered chronic unemployment under the Obama administration, chances are pretty good that Trump administration tax and regulatory policy has changed your life for the better. Moreover, Americans—instead of hearing a constant drumbeat of how economic gains are a thing of the past, and how they better get used to settling for less—are daring to dream big again. People have greater confidence in their financial prospects, and are generally more hopeful for the future. That’s quite a contrast with the empty hope and change of the Obama era.

The Trump presidency, however, has rendered another useful service in that it has done more to expose the extremism of the progressive agenda than I ever thought possible. More accurately, Trump has driven progressives to expose themselves, as they go harder and harder left to show their #Resistance bona fides. Democrats, for example, have gone from supporting abortion as a procedure that should be “safe, legal and rare” to advocating infanticide as the official party platform. Almost every one of their announced candidates for president is on record supporting the Green New Deal—an agenda so radical and redistributionist, it jumps the frying pan of socialism straight into the fire of communism. The mask of moderation has slipped, and the face that lies beneath would give the likes of Freddy Kruger a start.

At the same time, Trump has pushed the national news media to all but abandon even the pretense of objectivity. Time and time again, reporters have seemingly bent over backwards to get things wrong or to spread fake news—so long as those stories advanced the Trump is Terrible narrative. From Russian collusion to the Steele Dossier, from Brett Kavanaugh to the Covington kids, the rush to make Trump look bad—and to berate the deplorables who support him—has repeatedly blown up in the media’s faces, with the “mistakes” always seeming to fall on the side of unfavorable coverage.

Of course, this has been the media’s standard operating procedure for Republicans in general, but at least in past years they cloaked their bias in plausible deniability. With Trump, on the other hand, all that has gone out the window. The media are now openly gunning for him, and they don’t seem to care who knows it. Even better, Trump calls them out for it. For those of us who lived in constant frustration at George W. Bush for refusing to defend himself against scurrilous media attacks, this is tonic—enemy of the people rhetoric notwithstanding.

That said, would I rather our politics be kinder, gentler and populated by classy people who, while they may disagree on the details, truly have America’s best interests at heart? Certainly. But that politics hasn’t existed in my lifetime, assuming it ever did—and if things are gonna be rough and mean, I’d much rather have it all out in the open and know where people really stand, rather than having them put on a show for all the rubes.

So Democrats, let your socialist flag fly—because isn’t that what you wanted all along? And media, just quit pretending you’re neutral brokers of information—we’re on to your game anyway, and we’d all be a lot happier if you didn’t play us for fools.

The rest of us, meanwhile, can thank Donald Trump for making it happen. He may be a blunt instrument, but times such as these require one.

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