This was the big one. This was the one Donald Trump had to get right, this nomination to the Supreme Court. And when he selected Judge Neil Gorsuch, the mounting debt owed to this President by the Republican Party grew by leaps and bounds.
It would have been enough for Donald Trump to simply rescue the Supreme Court from the grip of progressive thought for a generation. It would have been more than sufficient to simply not be saddled with another advocate of “the living constitution” swinging the balance of the court in the wrong direction. But the president accomplished something far greater than that with his nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the highest court in the land.
He selected the single most natural successor to the venerated Antonin Scalia. He identified a man who appears destined to not just write significant opinions on critical issues before the court, but like Scalia, leave a lasting imprint with his unwavering devotion to an originalist view of the Constitution and unquestioned intellectual heft.
Of course, this is exactly what candidate Trump promised to do. You can add it to the laundry list of promises made and already kept by the 45th President.
Indeed, when you consider just the fact of his election and denial of a de facto third Obama term, and add it to everything Trump has done since then, it becomes increasingly clear that the Republican Party owes this President an overwhelming debt of gratitude.
This is why we should never forget that while candidate Trump was predictably attacked by the left and their mouthpieces in the elite media, he was doubted, diminished and scorned by the Republican establishment in general and the #nevertrump crowd in particular – George Will, Bill Kristol, Bret Stephens and their ilk. They persisted to the end in their scorched earth assault on the bombastic billionaire, asserting that Trump could never be taken at his word on the issue of the court, or any other issue for that matter. These #nevertrumpers begged voters to assist in assuring that Trump lose all 50 states, and implied, if not stated outright, that Hillary Clinton would be a safer choice. And just to remind you, these are conservatives we’re discussing here.
Of course, the George Wills of the world will never admit the error of their ways. Or ever apologize for serving as useful idiots, stooges for a savage media intent on disqualifying Donald Trump at any cost. But all these people have accomplished is to reduce their own relevance to that of a fly on an elephant.
Forget for a moment Trump’s selection of a cabinet universally praised in free market circles as both first-rate and the most conservative in history. Forget even the landmark nomination of Judge Gorsuch. Then consider the seismic shift in policies emanating from the Trump White House: building of the border wall, strengthening enforcement of immigration laws, defunding sanctuary cities, extreme vetting, the clarity with which he has defined and promised to destroy ISIS, drastic reductions in regulations on business and the size of the federal workforce, and forceful reiteration of his support for the abolition of Obamacare and major tax reform.
All in the space of a fortnight.
These are all things demanded by an electorate which gave up entirely on politicians in 2016. Primary voters rejected sixteen of the best candidates the GOP could offer in favor of this crude, disruptive outsider, and the rest of the nation followed, turning their backs on the embodiment of the status quo in the general election.
President Trump has accomplished nothing less than saving the GOP from themselves. He turned them from losers to winners with the strength of his convictions, undeniable connection to the common man and unparalleled independence from the control of special interests. He gave his party political cover to do so many things the GOP base has demanded for years, but which were never fulfilled by the timid, fearful GOP leadership on Capitol Hill.
In short, he grew them a backbone.
Remember the hysterical talk in the weeks before the election that Trump would not only lose, but lose big and drag the GOP down the sinkhole with him? Well, could the politicians and chattering class possibly have been more wrong if they tried? It turned out that Trump was the one who dragged enough Senators across the finish line to assure a surprising retention of the GOP majority in the Senate, and an overwhelming majority in the House.
Beyond that, and more significant for the long-term, is the demographic composition of the voters most responsible for putting Trump in the White House: the working class behind the great blue wall of the heartland.
Because of Donald Trump – and the ongoing self-destruction of a Democrat Party reduced to rubble – the GOP could now actually become the party of the working man. Who’d have thunk it?
Of course, the GOP has often been its own worst enemy, so the permanent consolidation of the white working class into a party traditionally dominated by moneyed interests is hardly inevitable. But this enormously significant shift is now within the Republicans’ grasp. All because of Donald J. Trump.
When the historians write the story of the 2016 election and the Trump triumph, there will be sharp disagreement on the merits of his actions. But there will undoubtedly be agreement that Trump singlehandedly changed politics forever.
There should be no less doubt that he saved the Republican Party.