Conventional wisdom among involved conservatives since the election and aftermath in 2020 has been that Donald Trump, like him or not, appreciate him or not, believe in him or not, was no longer electable. Sure, he could still win the Republican nomination but would surely lose in November. The unrequited claims of election fraud in 2020 and the specter of January 6 riot footage playing in a loop around the clock during the 2024 election campaign were thought to be sufficient impetus for Republicans to move on, grateful for the Trump era but now in search of a less combustible standard bearer. And the meteoric rise of Ron DeSantis – effectively Trumpism without Trump – provided a ready and plausible alternative.
Yes, at least privately if not publicly, most Republicans believed Trump’s best days were well behind him, soon to be replaced by the wildly popular ally-turned-adversary from the Sunshine State. And when the former president uncharacteristically receded into the background after announcing his third run for the White House before a sparse gathering of only his fiercest loyalists at Mar-a-Lago, the media all but wrote off his chances for a second term in the Oval office.
But a funny thing happened. Go ahead, call it a Trump winning streak.
How is that, you say, when the same cannons that fired at him for four years and brought him down the last time around are still aimed directly at his heart – and he faces all manner of legal peril? Well, if you stop, consider, and place into context everything that has transpired in recent months, the Trump naysayers actually have an increasingly hard case to make – as reflected most explicitly in his continued dominance in primary polls across the spectrum and neck-and-neck results in a rematch with Biden. And while Trump’s reversal of fortune may have peaked with the recent narrative-shattering footage from January 6 unveiled on Fox News, the events leading up to it were already laying the groundwork for a Trump revival.
The Donald Trump Rebound
It all started with the raid on Mar-a-Lago, when the FBI took exactly the type of action which buttresses the long-standing suspicions and outright claims of Trump supporters – and millions of more disinterested citizens – that their man is being singled out for persecution by a corrupt political establishment. Put together with Trump being called before a grand jury in the latest Stormy Daniels-related spectacle, the picture of Trump the persecuted paints itself. He has left his enemies with a holy conundrum. If they prosecute Trump, they turn him into a martyr. If they don’t, they appear weak and fearful. Furthermore, Joe Biden was in turn found to be holding a boatload of classified documents, shattering the “reckless and irresponsible” label the left tried to pin on Trump.
Then there is the war in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin started massing Russian troops along the Ukrainian border shortly after Joe Biden took office. Biden took no preemptive action to stop what has turned into an increasingly divisive, grinding war of attrition, with no end in sight. By upping the ante in promising that the US will never leave nor forsake the embattled Russian neighbor, Biden now fully owns the war. In striking contrast, Trump stands as the only president in this century not to engage in a new foreign conflict. And he can plausibly claim Putin would never have started the war if he was still in the White House. He is armed with the fact that the Russian strongman’s invasions of Georgia, Crimea, and now all of Ukraine happened during other administrations, whereas Putin quieted his drums of war when Trump was president. Trump can easily hammer home the fact that, unlike him, Biden cannot be counted on to keep us out of war.
But can Biden keep us out of a recession? That also seems ever more unlikely with the fed raising interest rates like it’s going out of style – and inflation continuing to haunt Americans in their every transaction. None of this happened during the Trump years. And there was no Trump-era banking crisis causing lost sleep across the land as it is now following the collapse of multiple banks. It is a truism that, absent war, voters always care most about money, meaning the broader economy and their own finances. There is little question about which president exercised more effective stewardship of the economy – at least until the pandemic hit and ruined Trump’s best-laid plans.
Likewise, the most recent border incident, a thousand illegals storming the bridge connecting the US and Mexico, has magnified the undeniable truth of a dissolving border – and the fact that, as even a child of three can see, Trump’s border policies were obviously far more effective than those of Biden. The sole imperative of the current president was never to secure the border, only to reverse most everything Trump had put in place without regard to the consequences. The Foundation for Immigration Reform reports that, as of last October, more than five million people have crossed the border illegally since Biden took the oath of office. And no less than the head of US Border Control admitted before a congressional hearing on Wednesday that his agency has lost “operational control” of the border, the most damning admission such an official could make. Again, only the most mindless partisans could defend Biden’s record on immigration, especially when compared to Trump.
Meanwhile, as the GOP ramps up to the presidential campaign, as many as a dozen or more potential contenders have reportedly considered a run for the big prize. Other than the recent attention-seeking J6 scolding by Mike Pence, all of them have refrained from criticizing Trump – except one of the most outspoken Never-Trump Republicans of recent vintage, former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. But Trump caught yet another break when Hogan, paradoxically citing the likelihood that a more crowded primary field would benefit Trump, decided to stay out.
At the same time, the full truth about Hunter Biden is coming to light in a slow drip through Republican House investigations. And while elite leftist media predictably ignores the story, the cascading revelations about the Biden family’s naked influence-peddling and deep business entanglements in China and beyond will not stop. This will not only place an electron microscope on Joe Biden, but will make it that much harder for the 46th president to attack his predecessor as morally bankrupt.
So if you take away the moral argument and the insurrection narrative, and add inflation, recession, war, and a border crisis, what does Joe Biden have left? This time around, he will have to actually run on his own record instead of castigating Trump from the sidelines at no cost. And whether his current winning streak continues or ends, come what may, you can bet 45 is chomping at the bit to compare and contrast his record to that of 46, confident as always that the American people will pull him through one more time.
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