Donald Trump, feeling his oats with one poll after another showing him leading Joe Biden, has begun openly trolling the corporate media that so famously despises and fears him. With the Fourth Estate establishment now marching in lockstep, issuing their warnings that Trump will be a dictator if he wins again, the 45th president joked in his appearance on Fox News this week that he would only be a dictator on day one – and then he would become a “normal” president on day two.
Oh-so-predictably, as if on cue, the hysterical headlines recommenced even in allegedly neutral news services such as the Associated Press – “Trump declines to rule out abusing power to seek retribution if he returns to the White House” – falling right into Trump’s trap. Apparently, despite their own professed guilt about providing the former president billions of dollars of free “earned media” that contributed greatly to his shocking victory in 2016, they remain unwilling or unable to resist his trolling. News outlets still fall for it every time. They choose to overlook that so many of Trump’s uber-outrageous promises – most notably the one about plans to “lock up” Hillary Clinton or publicly asking Russia to send him intel on Hillary – were merely theatrics. But the self-serious journalists-cum-partisans treat his trolls with a stern rebuke anyway, still taking literally what Trump loyalists and most conservatives know better than to take seriously.
Is Anything the Left Says About a Second Trump Term True?
That said, is there any truth to what leftist news outlets, following their pied piper, The New York Times, are saying about Trump’s plans for his second term? Well, he is not going to suspend the Constitution, throw all of his political opponents in jail, or call off the 2028 election – the most extreme, fear-inducing talking points espoused on the left. However, there is one particularly bold move Trump is clearly intent on making. And we know he will because he already did it once, but had it cancelled by Joe Biden after the 2020 election. And while it sounds like an innocent, bureaucratic-sounding initiative, it is anything but that.
It’s called Schedule F. And if Trump wins and follows through with implementing it, he will be able to literally drain the Swamp of what he believes are its most deeply embedded and corrupt personnel who now enjoy the overwhelming protections provided to the civil service. Trump would amend the status of tens of thousands of such employees, making them political appointees serving at the pleasure of the president, thus clearing a path to dismiss the ones he finds wanting.
The huge upside, of course, is that Schedule F would trim the dead weight and gristle from a ridiculously oversized and overreaching bureaucracy with the hidden power to ignore or even reverse presidential initiatives. What defines the civil service and its more than two million civilian employees in the eyes of so many Americans is its permanence, the fact that it is almost impossible to fire such taxpayer-funded employees. Trump plans to change all that.
On the other hand, there is a serious downside to the plan. Trump would only be able to serve one term. If he fires or demotes a mass of public employees, what is to stop the next Democratic president – perhaps as early as 2028 – from filling the civil service with leftists even bolder in their assertion of power than the bureaucrats which currently populate it? Given the increasingly radical nature of the left, witnessed most recently in its tacit or even explicit support of Hamas, you can bet the Democrats would return fire and recreate an even more powerful deep state the next time one of their own is elected president.
We saw the impact of a short-sighted decision when Democrats under then-President Obama passed a rule requiring only a simple majority of the Senate – as opposed to the previous 60 votes – to confirm all federal judges except the Supreme Court. When the GOP next gained control of the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) immediately exploited the opening and passed a similar 51-vote rule for Supreme Court nominees – allowing the trio of Trump appointments to the high court to be confirmed when they almost certainly would not have been under the old rules. But despite setting a risky precedent that could backfire on Republicans in the years ahead, Trump is focused on the here and now, believing the addition of Schedule F will force permanent structural change on what has effectively become a fourth branch of government, namely the administrative state.
Democrats and Trump: Different Year, Same Playbook
As sure as the sun rises in the east, Democrats will continue to pin their hopes for 2024 on the same strategy they employed in 2016 and 2020: scaring the bejesus out of voters about Trump. But it is not going to be nearly as effective this time for the simple reason that Donald Trump already served as president for four years – and the country somehow did not devolve into an authoritarian state. What-ifs don’t work well when the subject of complaint already has a clear record in the job to which he again aspires.
Democrats have been stripped of almost all their primary talking points from 2020. Barring a most unexpected turn of events, there will be no pandemic allowing Joe Biden to blame Trump for hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 deaths or riots in the streets stoked by BLM neo-Marxist extremists bent on destroying the Trump presidency. And Joe Biden is no longer a theory – he now has an actual and broadly unpopular record to defend. As we head into 2024, it increasingly seems like only a time machine could enable Mr. Biden to recover whatever mojo he at one time possessed. Indeed, this time around, much to the chagrin and fury of the left, the national referendum in November of 2024 will not be about Donald Trump and his supposed plans to exert supreme authority. It will be about Joe Biden, and his capacity to even perform his job.