Skip to content

The Future of American Politics, Part 2

January 9, 2022

Four: Post-Election 2020

Despite Donald Trump’s odious character flaws, nothing was gained and much was lost by the election of Joe Biden: 

1. Biden did not reject the ideology of democratic idealism;

2. Biden rejected Trump’s nationalism visible in the theme “Make America Great”;

3. Biden did not admonish our allies in NATO to defend themselves from measures to reestablish a Russian Empire;

4. Biden’s hatred of war stops with willingness to go to war to advance the “Democratic Project”;

5. Biden raised taxes;

6. Biden opened our borders to Muslim and other immigrants;

7. Biden is seeking better relations with Communist China;

8. As for his judicial appointments, every Leftist with a law degree will stand with Joe Biden.

In other words, the Biden administration is reviving 60’s Liberalism sixty years after all its faults were exposed.

Despite those eight good Trump Administration policies, former-President Trump did not understand the character of the “administrative state,” nor how government agencies can be brought to a grudging acceptance of a conservative Republican chief executive elected by the voters. 

And President Trump lacked an essential skill for government service:  President Trump reads with difficulty and has difficulty reading legislation and intelligence reports and prefers to learn from listening and watching radio and television. This President of the United States most probably suffers from Dyslexia.

His understanding of market economics is limited also, as is his understanding of the mechanism of Tariffs, and Trump lacks previous government service. Most important, he lacks knowledge of persons who approve of his policies—except for fellow New Yorkers Rudy Giuliani and Larry Kudlow.

Lacking knowledge of persons of similar beliefs, the Trump Administration did not have a functioning Office of Presidential Personnel and after President Trump left office, he did not leave a legacy of former appointees to advocate his policies. 

Those nominated for leadership of government agencies in the Trump Administration tended to be the wealthy (Betsy DeVos), current and former military professionals (Mike Pompeo), and an odd assortment of friends and family of GOP politicians.

Of course, President Trump’s appointment of members of the Trump family to service on the White House staff or as diplomatic envoys was a mistake.

Add to that inadequacy, his intolerance of staff who brought him ideas that were not his (Steve Bannon) and his consistent attacks on journalists unnecessarily hurt his Administration.  “Never attack anyone with a printing press” is a maxim based in common sense that Donald Trump violated.

In addition to this list of transgressions was Trump’s appointment of pro-Russia political operator, Paul Manafort, as his campaign manager and his curious subservience to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and you can see why American voters chose Joe Biden, a politician with substantial government service.

But Biden’s 60’s Liberalism causes him to prefer policies that cater to a minority of the electorate. His choice of a woman of color and radical political inclinations as his Vice President plays to that by giving in to racial and gender policies that can only further divide, not unite, American society.

The best that can be said about the elections of 2020 and 2021 is that, despite fraudulent ballot counting endemic to elective politics, Republican gains of a Virginia governor and election to the House of women candidates inched the GOP toward a possible House majority in 2022.

That’s the good news, and that is due to the common sense of the American electorate—Donald Trump notwithstanding.

What then is the future of American politics?

Election results in 2020 did not suggest an endorsement by voters of far-Left “Progressive” elements in the Democrat Party.

That election presaged contests between the House Speaker (age 80) and committed utopian socialists including Alexandra Ocacio-Cortez (age 31). Their many radical, hyper-active proposals will weary observant voters, and give the GOP time to recover from the Trump presidency.

During the next three years, Donald Trump is the wild card who has signaled that he will seek election in 2024, but his dominant influence is engendering a search for new leaders.

“The” problem facing the GOP,  however, can be attributed to a long line of “Internationalist” presidents from Eisenhower to Obama who were committed “Wilsonian idealists.” In that historic combination, Presidents of both parties imbibed the Kool Aid of democratic idealism—until Donald Trump reintroduced a form of “nationalism” that gave priority to America’s interests over “the Democratic project.” That concept–“the Democratic project”—is a manifestation of modern political religion—an ideology that places a commitment to “Democracy” before the national interest. That is evident, even today, 29 years after the demise of the Soviet Union, when otherwise intelligent observers refer to the United States as “Leader of the Free World.”

We do have foreign enemies but they do not represent a unified force against a “free world.” The concept of a “free world” is an anachronism from the Cold War and a deeply held belief for those ideologically committed to what they call “the Democratic project.”

“The Democratic project” means pursuit of policies not directed toward our national interest but to expanding democratic idealism in every part of the world—by war if necessary.

During 105 years from America’s entry in WW I through 2020, the lives of Americans have been disrupted by wars. Wars are disruptive of lives and attitudes that sustain tradition, stifles creativity, misdirects material assets, destroys lives and divides members of civil society.

In World War I, American citizens of German descent were careful to avoid notice by speaking German and sauerkraut was renamed “Liberty cabbage.”  In World War II Americans of Japanese descent were placed in “camps.”  And during the war in Vietnam students of draft age disrupted campuses, burned draft cards and went into exile in Canada. Those who were drafted and returned were spit upon as “baby killers.”

We can compare the 105 years of turmoil from 1915 to 2020 to the 147-year period from 1033 to 1180 in Western Europe when an exuberant culture of Christianity celebrated itself as successor to the order of ancient Rome.

Historians call the 700-year period from the fall of Rome in 410 AD to 1200 AD–“First Europe.” Persons who lived during those 700 years from the fall of Rome suffered in ways that occur in every period of social disorder and wars.

But by the year 1200 AD, persons living in “the West” experienced an outburst of artistic, cultural and philosophic accomplishment. That was evident in the achievement of origination of many Monastic Christian contemplative religious orders and the efforts of four intellectuals who lived from 1033 to 1180: St. Anselm, Roscelin, Peter Abelard and John of Salisbury.

It is in that historical context that we should look at Donald Trump’s commitment to keep America out of war and his redirecting foreign policy toward pursuit of the American national interest. And we should worry, therefore, that political commentators now look to President Joe Biden or those elected after the Biden Presidency—Democrat or Republican–to revive “the Democratic project.”

And finally, we have a higher education problem, what Dr. James Piereson in 2005 called a “Left University).[1]

As early as 1910 our law schools were invaded by “Progressives,” an ideological movement of utopian socialists who argued for a Constitution unburdened by limits on the power of the State that changed with the times. During the Great Depression classical liberalism was replaced by advocates of utopian idealism, and during the period from 1968-1973, curricular requirements were abolished and replaced with “cafeteria style” education accompanied by the exclusion of political conservatives from academic employment.

A “Left university” is now dominant and families live in fear that by sending their college age students to college to earn a college diploma their children will be turned against them.

This is not the 1960s, however, and increased numbers of Republican House Members and the likely regaining of control of the U.S. Senate suggest that there is still a vibrant future of American Politics—thanks to the common sense of the American people.

 Five: The GOP After Trump

President Trump challenged the GOP by adopting policies contrary to the “Internationalist” direction in which the nation had been directed by both parties since World War I.

Finding answers to that lesson will be painful because every Republican President from Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower through Bush 43 supported the ideas embodied in Woodrow Wilson’s political religion[2]—until the election of President #45, Donald J. Trump.

Election of a political novice whose overall actions defended tradition, in contrast to 1960’s “Liberalism,” set Donald Trump apart from John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Ted Cruz and others like them.

After the January 6, 2021 mob attack on the Capitol of the United States, Democrat members of Congress and many Republican members blamed Donald Trump for an insurrection. That act of sedition assures that President-Elect Joe Biden’s control of the federal government by the Democrat Party will be assured as long as Democrats can constrain the most radical impulses of their Left-wing.

For Republicans who seek to restore the GOP’s place in the politics of the American nation, finding a way to overcome the damage done by the mob violence of January 6 will be painful. And in some ways, that is unfortunate.

Every Republican President from Dwight Eisenhower through Bush 43 supported the ideas embodied in Woodrow Wilson’s political religion. Donald Trump did not and only his incompetence reversed what he had achieved between 2016 and 2020.

The future of American politics is uncertain but not unknown—if former President Donald Trump’s ambition is to become leader of a post-Constitutional Republic.

Organizing a gathering of followers of something he calls “the Trump movement” on January 6 and inciting them to march to the Capitol and stop certification of the 2020 election was an act of sedition.

Having demonstrated that he is ignorant of the limits placed on the Chief Executive by the Constitution of the United States, can we expect Trump to organize his followers to achieve power? If so, his first attempt will be by organizing a campaign for President and,  failing that, seizing power by force.

Had the Senate Impeached and convicted Trump and banned him from seeking office, we may have cut to the chase and witnessed the marshaling of Trump forces to seize power now—not in 2024.

If that effort to institute a “post-Constitutional Order” occurs, it will be resisted and we will experience another civil war of citizens killing one another, with mobs targeting opponents and the organizing of resistance leading to grave destruction, riot and violent death.

Readers who tell me that Trump was the greatest President in American history are as numerous as those good, but misguided, citizens who gathered on the Ellipse on January 6 believing that fighting in this manner was the only remedy available to protect Constitutional freedom.

Democrats believe that the former President is irresponsible, should have been Impeached and convicted and Republicans are of three minds about that.

The Republican Optimist

There is lots of decay — moral, muscular, and otherwise — in and around the Party, but there is nothing new about that.  A Reagan moment is a Brigadoon phenomenon;  it mysteriously appears once every hundred years or so and a few very great things happen; and then, the country coasts for decades on the strength of that spiritual energy while the craven and the ignorant carry on with business as usual.  The most important features of our permanent  political system are Mr. Madison’s checks and balances and our Anglo-Saxon habit of taking the rule of law seriously. There is much deep Doo-Doo affecting American politics, but, as Ronald Reagan’s favorite joke had it, there must be a pony in here somewhere.

The Trump Enthusiast

Donald Trump rescued the Republican Party from its capture by the Establishment – especially corporate America which is overtly and explicitly pro-business but protectionist and, essentially, hostile to freedom of enterprise. Had Trump not prevailed in the 2016 GOP primary, any other GOP nominee would have lost, and Hillary Clinton would now by finishing the job Obama started, effectively destroying freedom in America.

Instead, freedom is rising.

Republican Realists

The “Two Party” system inaugurated in 1800 when Vice President Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party and defeated incumbent President John Adams of the Federalist Party will be subject to realignment. There are some signs already that the United States will experience a multi-party system:

When realignment occurs, our Two Party system will feature four parties:

  1. The “New“ Democrats—aligned with Neoconservatives and some Trump working class Democrats. Look for Bill Kristol and Neoconservatives to take the lead.
  2. Progressive Democrats–pursuing gender, racial and immigrant voters.
  3. A traditional GOP aligned with East Coast internationalists, Chamber of Commerce businesses, some Neoconservatives and Liberal Republicans who think fondly of Nelson Rockefeller and G. W. H. Bush.
  4. A new National Conservative Party.

[1]  https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/the-left-university

[2] See my discussion of political religion: https://voegelinview.com/modern-political-religion

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: