President Donald Trump has every right to challenge the preliminary results of the 2020 presidential election, and it is still possible that he will overcome Democrat Joe Biden’s leads. However, Biden remains likely to prevail. In either case, Republicans would be foolish to reject the populism Trump brought to the party.
In 2016, Republicans favored Donald Trump’s straight-talking, non-politician approach. Trump was not afraid to cut through political correctness, to make bold pledges like building a wall on the southern border, to take on radical Islamist terrorism and the ideology behind it. Trump countered the leftist bias in the legacy media, and he found innovative ways to get his message past those who would censor him.
I found Trump’s style off-putting, but even in 2016, I could understand how some conservatives saw Donald Trump as a tank, ripping through the establishment to shake up politics as Americans knew it.
I couldn’t support Trump in 2016, but his record as president brought me around. He bucked the established wisdom time and time again and proved the experts wrong. Experts warned that if Trump moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and pulled out of the Iran deal, those actions would spark a war. Instead, they inspired peace in the Middle East. Experts warned that if Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords, it would bring disaster. Yet America’s carbon emissions decreased more than those of countries that stayed in the accords.
Meanwhile, the rhetoric on the Left became increasingly unhinged. Not only did Democrats repeatedly insist that SCIENCE supported climate alarmism and extreme regulations in order to save the environment, but they also rejected biology in staking out ever more radical positions on abortion and transgender ideology. Not content to live and let live, Democrats want to force taxpayers to fund abortion and force Americans to celebrate sexual identities that go against biological sex.
The best science actually undercuts the climate alarmist, pro-abortion, and transgender narratives, but much of the commanding heights of American culture — from universities to the legacy media to Hollywood and even scientific associations — have rushed to embrace them. Big donors and activists have infiltrated medical associations to turn them into a transgender industrial complex.
Meanwhile, many of America’s cultural institutions have embraced Marxist critical race theory, even as rioters inspired by notions of “systemic racism” wreak havoc in American cities. Riots disproportionately hit black communities in Kenosha, Wisc., Minneapolis, and Chicago. The riots destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 26 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.
When President Trump issued an order directing federal contractors to avoid “white privilege” trainings that claim the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist, based on Marxist critical race theory, the backlash proved deafening.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce united an extremely broad coalition of business associations to join with liberal groups in condemning Trump’s executive order. Associations representing American hospitals, physicians, and nurses warned that the order “would effectively reverse decades of progress in combating racial inequality.” The Business Roundtable joined the Chamber of Commerce and many others in condemning the order as “having a broadly chilling effect on legitimate and valuable” training.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, American Association of Advertising Agencies, HR Policy Association, and other business groups have opposed the order, as have the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Council of Nonprofits, which helped the Chamber assemble its coalition.
Meanwhile, legacy media outlets like The New York Times champion Marxist critical race theory through the “1619 Project.” Big Tech and the legacy media teamed up to censor increasing evidence of Joe Biden’s corruption that emerged on Hunter Biden’s laptop, even though they made no such efforts to clamp down on unverified claims of Trump-Russia collusion for years.
The Left’s radical and destructive ideologies have penetrated deeply into America’s political and cultural classes. As Marxism, climate alarmism, transgender ideology, and abortion radicalism spread their rot into America’s institutions, Americans are right to turn to a force like Donald Trump to combat them.
Conservatism is being excised from the public square, and it seems only populists like Donald Trump can help preserve the truths of America’s goodness, the reality of biological sex, the humanity of the unborn, and more.
Sometimes, it seems Trump is his own worst enemy. Many of his attacks distract from the important truths that he rightly defends.
Yet the president’s rhetorical style and his willingness to buck established wisdom are key assets from which Republicans should learn.
Even if Trump loses the 2020 election after all serious concerns have been addressed, his populism is here to stay in the Republican Party — and that’s a good thing. Populism is a key strategy to trumpet conservative truth against the stifling leftist orthodoxy, and Republicans cannot afford to abandon it in a post-Trump Republican Party.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.