The following article appears first and formost on the hill.com
Donald Trump’s battle with the bipartisan post-Reagan American political establishment is settling determinedly into its third and, presumably, final round.
Trump astounded the world in 2016 when he won the first round and the presidency.
His opponents then rallied with extraordinary ingenuity and perseverance, taking advantage of Trump’s many imprudent statements and lapses of judgment to mobilize a mighty counterattack at all levels. They maintained their stranglehold on most of the national political media, too, which cast aside the entire basis of journalistic professionalism — the separation of reporting from commentary.
Nevertheless, Trump defeated the nonsense of "Russia collusion" and the Ukraine-based impeachment that succeeded it. All polls indicated a year ago that he had a commanding advantage in the eight-month run-up to the November election. But then the COVID-19 pandemic descended, and Democrats — with objectively impressive determination — saw the exposure of Trump’s political jugular and lunged at it.
They accused him of being "anti-science" in order to push him into the arms of scientists who demanded the country’s complete shutdown. They accused him of xenophobia when he halted direct flights from China.
They accused him of everything, from all sides.
And in the absence of early data on those most vulnerable to the coronavirus, as well as through the support of a largely anti-Trump media, they were able to represent Trump as trivializing the proportions of the threat and the gravity of its victims’ fate.
The former president didn’t help himself when he suggested early on that it all might be a hoax, after which he was falsely accused of championing quack remedies and then, when he expressed reservation about a continued shutdown, was accused of monetizing lives.
It's now clear that he was doomed, as Democrats and their supportive friends in the media shrieked of a new "Black Plague" threatening the life of every American.
Although he made other serious tactical errors, he received no credit for the one response that ever was going to be effective — the swift development of an effective vaccine. He wisely set up a blue-ribbon panel loaded with scientists and chaired by former Vice President Mike Pence — but he could not resist shouldering Pence aside, taking over the press updates himself and allowing the media to turn those into president-baiting exchanges.
On one of many such occasions, a journalist chirped, "Do you apologize for your lies?"
Such indignities helped to destroy Trump’s presidency, much as the worst moments of Vietnam destroyed Lyndon B. Johnson’s or the worst of Watergate destroyed Richard Nixon’s.
Simultaneously, and as their ultimate assault, Democrats tinkered with the electoral process in many states. They ignored the constitutional assignment of election supervision to the state legislatures, and in key swing states, when they couldn’t legislate, they obtained executive or judicial change orders in the name of accommodating voting rights in the midst of the pandemic.
Yet, once again, Trump assisted his enemies by warning of what was coming but failing to rebut it as it occurred — followed by a helter-skelter legal effort and absurd claims of having won the popular vote.
The U.S. Supreme Court then ducked key election challenges, presumably to spare itself from political pandemonium if it overturned the election results and to be ready to deal with Democrats’ efforts to assure their permanent incumbency through open borders and the federalization of state election processes.
The Never Trumpers came snorting out of the post-election closet with indecent haste and in large numbers, audibly delighted by Trump’s defeat.
Trump returned the favor by doing little to prevent a Democratic victory in the U.S. Senate via two special elections in Georgia. Perhaps he reasoned that hostile Republicans should taste the fruits of their treachery by losing power in Congress and that the country itself should learn just how pernicious the newly empowered Democrats could be.
So now we are in the third round, with President Biden as a virtual figurehead atop the socialist platform championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders's, I-Vt., wing of the Democratic Party.
But the game may be turning, given cascading news reports out of Washington.
The open southern border is the ruptured artery of America, and the Biden administration’s endless lies about it are slowly revitalizing the long-anesthetized sense of self-preservation among the national political media, leading to unfriendly questioning by some reporters.
In several interviews, CBS News effectively raised anew questions about whether China unleashed the coronavirus by a lab leak rather than some animal-to-human transfer.
And The Washington Post gave Biden four "Pinocchios: for his dishonest attack on Georgia’s election reform law — the ominous start of a rockslide to which this administration is extremely vulnerable because of its untruthfulness on practically every issue.
Trump’s relative silence through all of this will deprive the Democrats of their Trump-hate backstop. And without it, they will be in free fall as events continue to unfold.
Most Americans are anti-socialist, just as very few of them are racist; they are proud of their country, though not uncritically so, and feel they owe it profound allegiance.
Thus, the wheels inevitably will come off the Biden administration’s and the Democratic Congress’s Sanders-variety economic and social policies.
Inflation is almost inevitable, too; it already has begun with gasoline, propelled in part by Biden’s insane energy policies.
The Chinese have signaled that they are about to try to displace the United States as the world’s leading country; the secretary of State is apologizing for America’s shortcomings, and the secretary of Defense is trying to indoctrinate the armed forces with critical race theory.
The United States is, in fact, a much stronger country than China, and Beijing will discover — as Berlin and Moscow did in decades past — that heaving the Americans out of the world’s driver's seat is not like falling off a log.
Yet a somnambulistic America, led by its current president, is sleepwalking into troubled waters, and when the proportions of this administration’s policy disasters become clear, Round 3 will go to Trump, or to someone endorsed by him. Getting there, however, will be very difficult.
CONRAD BLACK’s latest book is Donald J. Trump, A President Like No Other. He can be reached at email@example.com. @conradmblack
Conrad Black is a financier, author and columnist. He was the publisher of the London (UK) Telegraph newspapers and Spectator from 1987 to 2004, and has authored biographies on Maurice Duplessis, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Richard M. Nixon. He is honorary chairman of Conrad Black Capital Corporation and has been a member of the British House of Lords since 2001, and is a Knight of the Holy See. He is the author of "Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other" and "Rise to Greatness, the History of Canada from the Vikings to the Present." Read Conrad Black's Reports — More Here.
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