The American Postliberal believes that Donald J. Trump remains the man to serve the interests of the common good, the common man, and put our country first.
“In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you. I’m just in the way.”
In 2019, soon after his first impeachment, President Donald J. Trump, like usual, took to Twitter. He posted a meme — except this one was different. This meme, shaded in black and white, depicting that eerie statement, and with Trump at its center, depicts the entire message of the Trump movement — they, the liberal regime, are after us.
Today, as the 2024 primary season begins and we enter the Iowa Caucuses, The American Postliberal would like to take a moment to analyze the state of the race and offer our thoughts as to what it will require to win back the White House from Joe Biden this November.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has tried to take up the mantle of Trumpism and has been influenced by the intellectual upheaval ushered in by the Trumpian realignment. His campaign has focused on his many successes as governor of Florida, from COVID measures, protecting children in schools from the predations of critical race theory, as well as sexual and gender ideology.
Indeed, DeSantis has advanced many substantive policies that we admire and believe should be applied nationwide. Many of his supporters see him as a “purer,” more focused, and effective version of Trump. That said, his attempts to differentiate himself from Trump and build a coalition of former-Trump and moderate voters from the right have failed to materialize in polling, enthusiasm, and support, largely due to DeSantis’ lack of charisma and disposition.
DeSantis does not command attention the same way as President Trump. Establishment figures lament that we live in a “country of laws, not of men,” yet, this betrays the misunderstanding that the country as currently constructed is rather the reverse. The success of a presidential administration is determined by the gravitas of the man who occupies the Oval Office. Simply put, DeSantis does not have the “it” factor, which in our regime, will have consequences for his ability to lead.
Vivek Ramaswamy’s core pitch for why he should be the nominee instead of President Trump reflects as much. Trump, he says, has been a great leader, and though the show trials being waged against him are unfair, they may work because of the vitriol of the Regime against Trump. Thus, Vivek argues, we need an America First patriot who is not in the crosshairs of the Deep State as Trump.
However, this argument confusedly mistakes the brazenness of our regime foes; if the Deep State will openly seek to prevent Trump from assuming the Presidency a second time, why would they suffer any qualms about taking out a much smaller figure in Vivek? And why would we want a regime-approved candidate? Therefore, we do not need a less prominent (but equally committed) candidate such as Vivek.
Vivek Ramaswamy would, besides some questionable policies (including immigration), in a vacuum, be a decent solution to this problem. However, one must also take note of Trump’s recent criticisms of Vivek, in which he declared he was “not MAGA.” For all it is worth, Vivek and DeSantis are merely Trump-lite. Judging the candidates simply on how they are aligned and given that Trump is the standard for political acceptability on the right, it leads to the conclusion that the nominee should actually be Donald Trump and not some copy of him.
Nikki Haley and other establishment candidates also each individually lack the “it” factor. However, that downside is dwarfed when compared to their political program. On issues of economics and foreign policy, they are nearly indistinguishable in their neoliberalism from Joe Biden and the Democrats, barring some noted deviations into the destruction of social services (see Nikki Haley’s bid to increase the retirement age).
As for social issues, they only differ from Joe Biden insofar as they have stuck their fingers into the wind and determined it electorally viable to do so; their dismal polling has shown the futility of this strategy. It is time for America to officially fire this brand of “conservatism” — which has worked to conserve precisely nothing — once and for all. Therefore, these anti-Trump candidates merely represent a return to the status quo of the regime, which is why we need Donald Trump’s return more than ever.
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Donald Trump & Realignment
Where better to begin an analysis of Trump from where it all began: the golden escalator of Trump Tower in 2015. Trump’s presidency was not supposed to happen. His election was not just the catapulting of the famous New York celebrity to the highest office, but it was a crack in the liberal imperium.
The decades leading up to the 2016 election were dominated by a politics of both right and left liberal consensus. The end of the Cold War was supposed to usher in the “end of history,” in which free trade and open borders would become the future of the civilized world. There was supposed to be a new era of peace and prosperity. Alas, this vision failed spectacularly. While post-Cold War America became dedicated to advancing interests abroad, domestic America decayed, even when the political disasters of 9/11 and the 2008 recession foreshadowed what was to come.
For decades, while the Democrats marched along with selling out America, where were the Republicans? Marching right alongside them. The uniparty’s stranglehold on the American order exacerbated the decline of the nation. If you voted for John McCain — you got a war in the Middle East. If you voted for Barack Obama — you got a war in the Middle East. If you voted for Donald Trump — you got peace in the Middle East.
Since the 1960s, the Republican Party’s objectives, both stated and implicit, have been nothing more than to expand the individual’s autonomy to do as he pleases. On economics? Tax cuts and free trade — let the market decide. On social issues? Leave the government out of it — it is not your business to tell people how to live their lives (with some half-hearted concessions on abortion and gay marriage over the years). On immigration? Immigrants grow the economic pie, and besides, America is a land of migrants anyway. Let’s let millions of them in — so long as they come here legally (or not). And finally, on foreign policy — any country that does not comply with the first three points needs to be leveled with a drone strike.
The results, predictably, have been devastating. The Republican Party has suffered cultural defeat after defeat, with its refusal to use the state for conservative ends effectively surrendering the levers of power to the left. Immigration and unfettered free markets have created great social and economic instability amongst the masses. And foreign wars have done nothing to make America safer but everything to divert money and the lives of America’s bravest to lining Raytheon’s pockets. It seemed as if American politics was to remain trapped in the dance with left and right liberals.
Trump’s initial start in politics was a bit jarring. Seen as the “joke” candidate, many pundits and politicians laughed at the idea of a Trump presidency. But, while the elites were laughing, the people were listening. Trump, the Diet Coke-drinking billionaire, represents the lost voice of America. By calling every aspect of our political life into question, Trump represented the American people against the liberal establishment. And so, our support of Trump comes down precisely to these three issues, the ones that animated his victory in 2016: immigration, trade, and wars.
American immigration policy has been backwards for decades. Since the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965, the United States has added millions to its population through legal immigration pathways. However, in prioritizing economic growth and the promise of bringing “the best and brightest” to America, this approach has weakened our nation’s cultural cohesion. America is more than an economic zone. Immigration policy cannot be viewed merely as a means of increasing GDP; it must also consider the necessity of preserving our cultural bonds and promoting a common life. Mass immigration, even legal immigration, comes at the expense of the ties which hold our political community together.
Prior to Trump, the Republican Party’s approach to immigration was stuck in the tired refrain of “more legal immigration, less illegal immigration.” The first Trump administration finally shattered this narrative by exposing the crisis at the southern border, addressing many of the biggest weaknesses of existing immigration enforcement, and prompting a larger revision of American immigration policy as a whole. Throughout his 2024 campaign, Trump has articulated a platform which both restores and builds on the immigration victories of his first term, including finishing the wall on our southern border.
Supporters of Biden’s policy — promoting as much immigration as possible — are outraged at the prospect of Trump’s policies being reinstated. But the videos of thousands of people crossing into Texas and Arizona every day do not lie; the border is overwhelmed. Current facilities operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) simply cannot hold the number of people who are arriving. In addition to restoring the successful “Remain in Mexico” policy at the beginning of his second term, Donald Trump has pledged to build facilities near the border to house unauthorized immigrants whose cases await processing.
While ending asylum abuse will be a crucial priority of his second term, Trump also plans to conduct large-scale deportations of individuals who have overstayed their work visas as well as to significantly reduce the number of visas that will be given out in the future. These policies will restore order to our country’s broken immigration system, the costs of which have been borne by American citizens for too long. Instead of providing a false hope for desperate newcomers, Trump’s immigration proposals will allow us to turn our focus towards taking care of those who are struggling here at home.
Trade & the Economy
The post-World War II consensus on free trade has trended towards globalization and consumption. Whether this liberalization is a function of the internal logic of capitalism per se or a betrayal of elites against the American worker is up for debate, but it is clear that Americans have not seen the net benefits of global free trade. Trump recognized this, and the rethinking of economic policy and political economy on the Right can be laid at his feet.
Not only has Trump’s tariffs and new trade deals benefitted America as a whole, but his breaking with other Republican economic orthodoxies on welfare, family leave, and strengthening the labor market have been oriented towards the common man and communities that have been harmed by free trade. Trump’s 2024 statements on trade, which include a universal tariff, are to the right of all other candidates in the field, but also of his views in 2016.
Similarly, Trump’s industrial policy reflects an understanding of the economic rights and priorities of nations as well as people. His family and worker policies demonstrate his commitment to marrying economics and the common good to reverse the privatization of economic goods championed by the left and right uniparty consensus. With this in mind, a top priority in 2024 will be the process of industrializing America.
His economic policies prudently combined some deregulation with measures aimed at protecting American jobs and domestic industry, leading to consistent increases in real wages. Along with this, of course, includes the support of families, which in a second term, he plans to go even further than his first, promising direct monetary assistance to families with children, recognizing that before issues of economics can be discussed, we must first secure the foundation of our society, the family.
Not only is America in increasing danger, but the world under Joe Biden is quickly being engulfed in flames. His feckless, dangerous decisions have destabilized Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and both theaters have distracted us and worn us thin both in terms of matériel and willpower against the impending threats posed by China. His escalations in Ukraine and in the Middle East, including the most recent bombing of the Houthis, has made peace — the goal of any and all Christian statesman — less likely.
Trump’s first term, by contrast, ushered in peace unknown in the 21st century. ISIS was destroyed and its leader al-Baghdadi killed. Obama’s Iran Deal was destroyed and Qasim Suleimani killed, weakening Iran’s ability to dominate the Middle East. Afghanistan achieved stability with modest American involvement. The Abraham Accords created improved relations between Israel and Arab nations.
Not only was Trump the most successful foreign policy president since Reagan (if not more), but his rhetoric in the 2024 campaign reflects the general approach that we believe will make America more peaceful in our foreign relations. Christ says “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God,” and Trump recently evoked this important line and added, “I will be your peacemaker.”
We trust that Trump will end American funding Ukraine and negotiate a realistic peace agreement. Yet, Trump suffers no illusions about the necessity of using force rather than pursuing peace at any cost. He also recognizes the need to end our “forever wars” and scale back the American Empire in our age of weakness and instead engage diplomatically that plays to our — and often his personal — strengths.
A Vision for the Future
Many will say that they like Trump because of his policies, but that they find the man loathsome. While we refrain from calling Trump perfect, he is a virtuous character in our political order. He is courageous, patriotic, witty, and often optimistic given the state of the country and all of the forces conspiring against him. His candor and “politically incorrect” attitude allow him to reach his political base in ways that few others could hope to attain, which engenders loyalty in a political system that places gargantuan power in the executive, and for which personal loyalty is essential to effective governance.
While much of Trump’s first term is worthy of emulation again, it was not without its mistakes, and it is now important to go one step further. A return to constitutional government will require harnessing political power in a way that only a leader whose charisma and force of personality can mobilize the masses on behalf of his agenda. Although this is far from a complete list, priorities of the next administration should include: replacing federal bureaucrats with trained and effective loyalists to ensure the institutions of government are responsive to new leadership, mass deportations, and substantive advancement in culture war issues.
While often the subject of jokes, we remain optimistic and excited to see Trump’s plans for “Freedom Cities” and an “American Academy” — a testament to a forward thinking vision of what America could be again, while revitalizing our nation’s history and culture. Perhaps Trump’s greatest political virtue is his strength of character, though. He fights hard against anyone and everyone who dares to oppose him. And his strength carried over into his policies during his first term. We expect this and more in his second term.
Much has been made of the exact nature of Trump’s political philosophy — some describe it as populist, others as conservative, and a few, with great creativity, simply as “Trumpist.” While all three contribute to Trump’s persuasiveness, the regime does not hate him because of any ideological specifications, nor, as commonly asserted, his personality, fame, or even his mean Tweets. They hate him because he shattered this liberal consensus and stood for the common man. For all the talk of running America like a business, Trump was actually one of the first politicians who treated America not as a strip mall, but as a real country and a political community.
From the Russia hoax to attempts now to kick him off the ballot, Trump remains the target of the regime, making him the right leader going into 2024. No doubt, he will have much work to do to overcome any of the much expected electoral shenanigans, but we are confident in his ability to learn from 2020 and build a campaign with the tools necessary to win. Trump may not be the most avid reader of MacIntyre or Aristotle, but his political instincts clearly reflect a desire to place the bonds of God, nation, and family over the failed liberal order of the establishment left and right. In this way, he is his own kind of postliberal in our eyes.
Today, the Republican Party remains in crisis, whereby it is torn between the party elites who have lost every fight put before them but still hold the party purse and strings and the Great Disruption that Trump has brought. The elites are desperate to return to a party without Trump, hence their favorite candidate, Haley. In contrast, 75 million voters remain dedicated to Trump’s vision for the party.
What remains are only a few candidates who try to split the difference, and as a result, fail to meet the moment and address the party and national crisis before us. Voters will not accept the failed strategies of the Republican Party elites with half measures. The fact that there is only one standard must mean that there can only be one nominee. While he learned the hard way how to defeat our enemies within the beltway the first time, The American Postliberal believes that Donald J. Trump remains the man to serve the interests of the common good, the common man, and put our country first.
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