Those who lament the rancor, pettiness, name-calling and puerility of the presidential debate (I am among them) should realize that this nastiness has existed for several decades and pervades election campaigns at all levels, and especially targets people nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court by Republican presidents. It is not ending anytime soon. Gone are the days when politicians bickered by day and drank together in the evening. President Trump doesn’t drink.
It is inconceivable that the President should win re-election, and I write that as an unabashed supporter. Most indicators point towards his defeat, even if his policies have been a boon to the American economy and a boost to its spirit. President Trump certainly has a compelling case to make for his re-election but he is often not the person best equipped to make that case.
Unfairly, he will be blamed for the pandemic’s havoc in American life and its high death toll. No one really knows what to do; there is no panacea. Israel is now locked down for two weeks, one month, two months – no one knows for how long or why anything should be different whenever society reopens. Joe Biden’s suggestions were all implemented, and the most effective ones President Trump introduced were the ones Joe Biden opposed. The United States, like Israel, has yet to decide whether it will live with the virus, come what may, or live for the virus, upend civil society, ruin children’s lives, and put life on hold until something that no one can truly anticipate happens.
Nevertheless, the buck stops with the President, fair or unfair.
Consequently, pandemic aside, Democrats will tendentiously point to the cold, hard statistics. They will ignore the Trump boom, record low unemployment, a recovery of manufacturing and improved foreign trade conditions – all before the Coronavirus entered the American bloodstream – and simply advertise this: measuring from the day Trump took office until today, unemployment is way up, manufacturing is way down, the GDP has taken a major hit and the deficit has skyrocketed. Forget the reason and the fine print; those are the cold facts.
It is inconceivable that President Trump can win re-election with those numbers. And, it should be added, Democrats are more skilled at election cheating than are Republicans (witness the Minnesota Senate race in 2008, four formerly Republican congressional seats in California in 2018, and continued shenanigans in the last year). Democrats will stop at nothing to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. One has to be naïve to believe that fake ballots filled in by the tens of thousands do not already exist in six key swing states, ready to be trotted out a day or two after Election Day, as needed by the Democrats, to be tallied and (oops) tossed out. That alone would make a Trump victory in 2020 even more shocking than in 2016.
And yet, it is inconceivable that Joe Biden can be elected president of the United States. It seems patently clear that his mind is no longer sharp, and his verbal and intellectual stumbles are conspicuous. He has had a lackluster career – literally, a career politician – without any
significant or enduring accomplishment as a Senator (unless you consider his inauguration of the execrable custom of persecuting, in personally degrading terms, Supreme Court nominees of Republican presidents, which he did as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman by the borking of Robert Bork and the high-tech lynching of Clarence Thomas).
He has run away from major bills he supported (the crime bill and NAFTA of the 1990’s) and, as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote, Biden has been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy decision for the last forty years. While Trump may overwhelm foreign leaders (and others) with his braggadocio, he intimidates them with his unpredictability and shocks them with his unconventionality. Conversely, it is hard to imagine any foreign leader taking Biden seriously, and he has long confused knowing a leader with having any influence or real dialogue with them.
He is devoid of achievement, essentially winning social promotions every few years, except if you consider that Biden almost singlehandedly put the kibosh on the #Metoo movement as those activists were forced to ignore Biden’s predations. And while both men seem incapable of expressing complete thoughts in grammatically correct sentences, Trump’s mind seems to work too fast, Biden’s too slowly. Biden’s zingers are programmed, his policies an amorphous mush concocted by others and not fully digested by the candidate, and he communicates facts and fictions indiscriminately, and with equal gusto.
If it is inconceivable that either man should win, what is a voter to do?
Being a New Yorker myself (born and raised) I always sensed that the rest of the country would have trouble relating to the brashness of a typical New Yorker like Donald Trump. (An ABC executive infamously rejected Seinfeld claiming it was “too New York” and would never resonate elsewhere.) Somehow Trump pulled it off, and I am reminded every few days of Salena Zito’s insightful observation of several years ago that Trump’s enemies take him literally but not seriously, while his supporters take him seriously but not literally.
Take his policies seriously – and their effect on the America that its citizens love. That is not the America that is incurably racist, born in original sin and hopelessly evil. That is not the America that plays the identity politics games that demand that Biden appoint a “woman of color” as his running mate, and another “woman of color” as a Supreme Court justice – as if people are to be ultimately defined by such external, minor characteristics. Rav Soloveitchik wrote very tellingly that, as opposed to other creatures like animals, “Man…is individually valued. Secularists, who reject man’s metaphysical pretensions, implicitly impair his claims of individual worthiness…If the individual is significant only by virtue of his being part of the collective, then man may be legitimately exploited and abused if it serves some presumed higher social good. This is statism, the total empowerment of the state at the cost of individual liberty.” He might not know or even intend it, but this is Joe Biden’s America.
Trump’s America is not one that promotes the forced redistribution of wealth, rewards sloth, blackmail and violence and penalizes individual initiative and entrepreneurship. What is Trump’s America? A country that celebrates freedom, especially of speech and worship, rejects the cancel culture created by fascists and respects the value system and moral yearnings of the faith communities. Trump’s America liberates the creative, commercial energies of its citizens, encourages free enterprise, and has greatly expanded the black middle class. Isn’t it racist to consider blacks – as Biden does – permanent wards of the state incapable of self-help? And yet it is Trump who is routinely called a racist because he treats blacks as equals, not as special-needs cases, and has benefited their lives immensely through prison reform and economic opportunity zones. Nonetheless, it is the blacks, like the Jews, who will inexplicably vote for the Democrat whoever he might be and whatever she might say.
It is unequivocal – beyond debate – that President Trump has been the best president for Jews ever. Ever. Whatever his personal baggage, Trump respects the moral commitment of Torah Jews, has welcomed them into his inner circle and has enacted numerous policies that aid Jews and all people of faith.
And on Israel? There has been no stauncher ally and friend of Israel than President Trump. He is not just a relative friend, to be compared favorably to the hostility of Obama-Biden who rewarded Iran, effectively subsidized its global terror, and befriended other dictators like Castro. Trump did things that no other President did, most of whom realized that Jews were content with saccharine rhetoric and soothing promises even if they went unfulfilled. The Trump list is long and well known, and partially includes: recognizing Yerushalayim as the capital, moving the embassy, recognizing the Golan Heights and the legality of Israel’s settlements in the heartland of Judea and Samaria, preempting the Iran nuclear deal, backing Israel unequivocally in the United Nations, spearheading peace agreements with other Arab states, marginalizing the Palestine terror entities, defunding them and expelling them from the US and from being players in world and regional diplomacy, etc.
One former Obama official wrote recently that Trump is really anti-Israel because he has done little to further the two state illusion. Well, if that defines one as anti-Israel, then most Israelis today are anti-Israel as well.
What to do in an election between two candidates when it is inconceivable that either should win? Buckle up – and vote for the candidate who will strengthen America, its standing in the world, its virtues, its deepest aspirations, and its commitment to individual liberty.