Imagine abandoning your principles because someone you loathe shares them. That seems to be the current state of political discourse, which has metastasized into disagreeing in order to be on the opposite side. Instead of finding common ground or even constructing an alliance on the issues, a growing number of people shift their values based on their enemy’s stance. It is a slight adjustment to the old Groucho Marx joke: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them … well, I have others.” Now it is: “Those are my principles, and if you like them … well, I have others.”
Free Trader Democrats
According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll, 64% of Americans agree that free trade is good because it opens up new markets and the United States cannot avoid the global economy. This represents a seven-point increase from two years ago and 13 points from 2015.
A little more than one-quarter (27%) think free trade is bad because it hurts the manufacturing sector and other important industries and does not produce better jobs.
What makes this survey especially fascinating is that more Democrats and independents support free trade than prior to the 2016 presidential election. But do not assume that leftists have discovered the writings of Henry Hazlitt, become disciples of Milton Friedman, or watched interviews of Friedrich Hayek. This is about opposing President Trump only for the sake of opposing him.
GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who co-conducted the study, assessed the left’s shift in support for free trade. Although he did not use the term, the change of opinion is an elementary case of Trump Derangement Syndrome, my dear Watson.
“If Donald Trump is for it and you’re a Democrat, you move in a very different direction,” he said.
A New Strategy for Trump
We have seen similar trends develop on a variety of issues, particularly on immigration, trade, and foreign policy.
In the past, nearly all mainstream Democrats advocated a border barrier and opposed illegal entry into the United States. Just turn on today’s debates and hear all the top-tier candidates endorse some form of open borders.
For years, the left shrieked to the heavens about corporations sending operations offshore, shipping jobs to foreign markets, and importing goods from China. Many Democrats even demanded the White House take action against the world’s second-largest economy over the trade deficit, market distortions, currency manipulation, and dumping.
Should Trump find that Republicans cannot get certain legislation passed, then he could take advantage of the TDS diagnosed in members of Congress. Here is a new strategy the president could employ: Say the exact opposite of everything you have advocated since running for president.
If the GOP wants to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, then Trump could just tweet how much he loves the organization and abortion is great. Almost immediately, the left would become pro-life and repeat everything conservatives have asserted about the nation’s largest abortion retailer.
Need additional funding for the US-Mexico border wall? Trump could deliver a message on social media telling everybody that illegal immigration is the only way to Make America Great Again and that outsiders should flood the country. Soon, the Democrats would call ICE enforcement personnel heroes and dismiss allegations that the holding facilities are like Nazi Germany’s concentration camps.
Want the left to tergiversate on climate change and the Green New Deal? President Trump could make announce that everyone has 12 years left to live because of global warming and that only Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) can save the world. Quickly, leftists would denounce the freshman congresswoman and ramp up attacks against former Vice President Al Gore.
Think the Second Amendment is under fire? Don’t worry. The president could cool down the rhetoric by telling everyone he wants to confiscate guns – all of them – and ban weapons. The Democrats would immediately turn to the National Rifle Association and demand its assistance to preserve the Second Amendment.
Ultimately, President Trump could enjoy bipartisan support on a host of issues. All he needs to do is just say the opposite of what he has uttered for the last few years and have the GOP put forward the same legislation. It is 4D chess at its best!
The entire Democratic platform can be condensed into one sentence, written by former thespian Robert De Niro: Hate Trump.
It is not that the left has discovered a new appreciation for free trade. Just look at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) tirade against snow globes manufactured in China. Democratic voters cannot accept that their views may, on occasion, align with conservatives, Republicans, or (gasp!) President Trump. People joke that Trump could cure cancer, but then he would be branded a job-killer and a human-rights violator. This poll is just further evidence that the nation is becoming intellectually bankrupt, independent thought and enlightenment are relics of the past, and the art of political discourse is extinct.
And why? Because too many are sore losers and cannot accept the results of an election that happened years ago.