Shannon column: Why voters like Trump in spite of his failures
Donald Trump is remarkably cheerful for a man sitting in the smoking ruins of his presidency. He promised to get tough with China and end our trade imbalance. This week, the Department of Commerce reports our trade deficit is $621 billion, much higher than the level that existed during the Obama administration.
Trump’s second summit with North Korean nuclear maven Kim Jong-un was less successful than the first inconclusive gab-fest.
Worst of all, after frittering away two years when Republicans controlled the Senate and the House, Trump’s promise to build a wall and end illegal immigration is in shambles. Illegals currently pour across the border at a rate that will more than triple that of the Obama regime. Trump’s call for a “Deportation Force” may have vanished beneath the swamp, but he’s building a “Space Force” that will apprehend any illegals who achieve low earth orbit.
The budget bill he signed after shutting down the government is worse than the bill be refused to sign before the shutdown. Trump’s “victory” bill has a tiny $1.3 billion dollars for his wall and that pittance is limited to constructing 55 miles of “bollard fencing.” That will make it harder for gas-guzzling SUVs to cross the border, but won’t stop any of the zapato traffic.
Trump hasn’t even managed to scrounge up a ballpoint pen to sign the executive order banning anchor babies he promised way back in November of 2018.
Administration apologists claim Trump’s judicial appointments, the tax cut and regulatory reform are more than enough reason to re-elect him, but that’s like praising a super hero for simply owning a cape.
Any of the 2016 GOP presidential aspirants would have done the same and that includes chronic fatigue sufferer Jeb Bush.
What separated Trump from the rest was his hardline stance on illegal immigration. One might make a case that the tipping point for immigration occurred when businesses began ordering callers to “Press 1 for English,” but Trump promised to reverse the tide.
His repeated immigration failures will make it very hard for this deplorable to vote for him in 2020, but I may prove to be the exception.
Trump may win in spite of his repeated failures.
A politician who doesn’t have a genuine personal connection with his voting base lives or dies politically according to his performance in office. Bush the Elder and Nixon before him are prime examples. Trump has that invaluable personal connection, and it supersedes his lack of accomplishment on his signature issue.
The iconic image from his recent speech at CPAC proves my point. After a brief introduction Trump entered from stage right, and before he walked to the podium he turned and embraced the Stars and Stripes.
The picture went worldwide in an instant. It will be the mental image most voters retain from his endless two-plus-hours speech. You look at him holding Old Glory and you know and he knows that he’s mugging. But it’s inspired, patriotic mugging.
No media consultant or speech preparation expert suggested he do it. The gesture was a spur-of-the-moment impulse that instantly connected with every member of his base and resonated with anyone who still loves the USA.
Can you imagine any Democrat doing likewise? That party has an almost biblical view of the flag. As the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross” says in another context, the left views our flag as “the emblem of suffering and shame.”
Hillary might have grabbed a flagpole to keep from falling down, but not out of any affection for the flag or what it represents.
Trump’s gesture bonds with the average patriotic American. Beato, the Texas flavor of the month, thinks being quirky equals a personal connection with the electorate. Skateboarding into an appearance or livestreaming your colonoscopy may appeal to immature trend surfers in the media, but it’s not presidential. And it’s not lasting.
Spontaneous patriotic symbolism is not something one associates with the humorless apparatchiks that compose the Democrat presidential field.
Trump is impulsive, funny and he loves our country. The combination may be enough to earn him four more years.
Michael Shannon can be reached at email@example.com.