By J.B. Shurk
No group of Americans has been more misunderstood by the political chattering class than the alliance of Trump voters. Until Donald Trump stepped onto the political stage, this voting bloc didn’t exist. Now that it exists, it will not go away. A quiet revolution has occurred in America.
For too many decades, the political parties have carved up Americans into separate and often vying camps based on region, race, and class, while never articulating a message that unified Americans as one. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, politicians have largely discarded the lofty battle between American individual freedom and socialist state control. They have cynically used American patriotism to hold foreign battlefields while decrying patriotism as unhealthy and xenophobic at home. They have played up Americans’ differences and distorted their common history until Americans became strangers to one another.
Every election since the Cold War has been about “change,” but “change” has proven to be a cheap principle. Free trade politicians pushed NAFTA as a way to discourage illegal immigration by increasing wages south of the border but managed only to destroy millions of American manufacturing jobs while doing nothing to slow down unlawful border crossings. Washington politicians elevated Communist China to the world’s chief manufacturer with the promise that international trade would subdue the dictatorship’s human rights abuses and hostilities toward its neighbors; instead, only Wall Street has profited, while China commits ethnic genocide on a scale not seen since WWII and parlays American investment dollars into territorial expansion that threatens global peace. After 9/11, Americans briefly remembered how important America’s existence is to the world, but then they got lost in a twenty-year commitment to bringing “democracy” to the Middle East and Asia, while letting workers languish at home. Obama responded by selling “hope” to voters, but all Americans got for the price was the slowest economic recovery in American history and a front-row seat to an emerging class of Marxist Democrats intent on intruding into Americans’ lives, expanding government power, and barreling the nation right to the edge of a socialist cliff. A quarter-century after the Cold War, Obama and the Democrats sought to flip the outcome.
Then this non-politician with a big personality and even bigger ideas for America pointed out something that Washington politicians had been missing for entirely too long. “Change” is meaningless without concrete direction. It promises nothing; it aspires to nothing; it achieves nothing. Generic “change” isn’t a goal that can be measured; it doesn’t put food on the table; it doesn’t send Americans to Mars or inspire Americans to greatness.
He asked many uncomfortable questions. Why shouldn’t America have the best blue-collar workforce on the planet? Why doesn’t America have the world’s best airports, bridges, and roads? Why is America’s military protecting foreign borders around the world while America’s borders remain porous? Why should Wall Street’s wealth matter more than Main Street’s survival? Why should we enrich Communist China with American dollars and sacrifice American independence to international institutions that wish to rule us from afar? Why should some religions matter more than others? Why should the lives of unborn Americans matter less? Why would we want to run away from the accomplishments of Western civilization? Why should the federal government stick its nose into every nook and cranny of American society? Why are federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies influencing political elections? How is it not a danger to free speech for all of the multimedia news conglomerates and Silicon Valley tech monopolies to be run exclusively by one political party? Why shouldn’t every American be self-sufficient enough to own a firearm?
For every question Donald Trump posed, Washington was silent, but more and more Americans began listening because they had been asking those same questions. Donald Trump was an outsider arguing for common sense, and Washington hates nothing more. For the elite in Washington to believe that only they are fit to govern after destroying American industry, crippling America’s culture by diminishing her history, sinking America into insurmountable national debt, and sacrificing America’s bravest for endless wars with questionable goals, common sense must be strictly forbidden. It is derided as “populist” (a counterintuitive insult coming from a political class always babbling about “democracy”) and “nationalist” (as if anything good for the United States must be inherently bad) because what Democrats lack in argument and reason, they make up for with name-calling. At the end of the day, though, Donald Trump’s policy proposals made too much sense for too many people, and the MAGA Era began.
Along the way, the most remarkable thing happened. A lot of Americans stopped thinking of themselves as separate interest groups with competing problems and discovered there was more connecting them as Americans than they had been led to believe. It matters to all Americans that good jobs come back home. It matters to all Americans that the value of wage labor not be artificially sunk by importing more foreign workers than jobs available. It matters to all Americans that we never suffer through another 9/11 again, but it matters just as much that when America commits to war, the objectives for victory be clear. It matters to Americans that everyone be afforded equal treatment under the law, regardless of political power or affiliation, and it matters that the lives of police officers are valued as much as those they protect.
When you pursue policies that respect these simple truths, their appeal cuts across all demographic barriers used to separate us. It should not be a revolutionary insight that most Americans from all backgrounds want a healthy, wealthy, and free America to call home, but in a world where language is increasingly controlled and success is increasingly shamed, Donald Trump’s presidency has been nothing short of revolutionary.
Real leaders behave with purpose and determination and fearlessness. Nobody trusts a country that leads from behind. Nobody follows a coward into battle. But at all times, President Trump’s successes have been less about “letting Trump be Trump” than about “reminding America to be America.”
Few generations have a chance to change the future, yet this election is ours. When you look past the online censorship actively hiding the good news of this presidency, it’s difficult not to conclude that a silent majority has come to the same conclusion. I saw it when members of the 1980 “miracle on ice” men’s Olympic hockey team victoriously took to the stage at a Trump rally earlier this year. I saw it when a group of Phoenix Trump-supporters carried a hundred-year-old wheelchair-bound WWII veteran down the arena stairs of another packed Trump event. I see it when I rewatch Lloyd Marcus and his choir, the Deplorables, rally Americans to “get on board the Trump Train.” And I see it every time there’s a “Tractors for Trump” parade across entire counties of farmland or a boat parade so immense you could hop from vessel to vessel without ever getting wet or a Trump caravan that winds down highways for thirty miles.
We find ourselves in a moment of history when we can begin to rectify a long train of government abuses with a single vote. As essential as President Trump has been to bringing this moment forward, this election will shape the years well past his presidency. This is our chance to prove that the Covfefe Revolution is real, that it is not going away, and that it remains glorious.