It had been so long since we had an American president, many people had forgotten what it was and should be like. And after decades of anti-American, cultural Marxist indoctrination in American schools and popular culture, others thought it was a terrible thing. Neo-Dem Never-Trumper William Kristol tweeted: “I’ll be unembarrassedly old-fashioned here: It is profoundly depressing and vulgar to hear an American president proclaim ‘America First.’”
A foundation of the Democrats’ 2020 platform was the party’s vow to return America to its place in the world, i.e., to stop putting America First, and to go back to being the world’s beat cops and ATM. Now, however, after four years of Trump, some Americans see how the American president should put America first, and they’re not going to forget when Dotty Old Joe hits the White House basement, or when Kamala Harris moves her socialist, internationalist clown show into the Oval Office.
Yes, Trump was a braggart and a blusterer. Yes, he insulted people. Yes, he was often inarticulate. Yes, he showed none of the polish to which we have become accustomed from those who claim to be “experts” in how our government, and our daily lives, should be run. He was derided as an amateur, a non-expert, and he was: for some, that was one of the most important bases of his appeal. For Trump, unlike every other president going back to Reagan, and unlike most others before that going back to before Woodrow Wilson, dedicated his every act as president to putting Americans first and bettering their lives, and he wasn’t afraid to go against the conventional wisdom and decades of precedent to do so.
This often paid spectacular dividends. In June 2016, Barack Obama ridiculed Trump’s pledge to attract U.S. companies that had moved out of the country back to the United States, asking Trump, “What magic wand do you have?” Trump’s magic wand was an unprecedented initiative to cut regulations on businesses and drastically lower taxes.
It began to work immediately. Harry Moser of the Reshoring Initiative, which tracks jobs returning to the U.S. from companies that had relocated elsewhere, stated, “I’d say 300, 400 [companies], at least, announced in 2017” that they were returning. They brought jobs with them. In 2019, unemployment was at 3.5 percent, the lowest it had been since 1968. The Trump administration also set record lows for unemployment among blacks and Hispanics and record highs for the stock market. Trump proved the point that had been made in the 1920s and subsequently forgotten: lower taxes and fewer regulations mean that businesses can prosper, and when businesses prosper, so do the Americans whom they employ.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump called the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “the worst trade deal ever made” and vowed to replace it. He did: in November 2018, he signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which mandated much more favorable terms for the United States than NAFTA did.
In foreign policy, though he was derided as “isolationist,” Trump brought about stunning and unprecedented peace deals between Israel and Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, and Morocco. John Kerry had smugly warned that no peace in the Middle East was possible without first setting up a Palestinian state and reducing an already tiny Israel; Trump once again proved the “experts” wrong.
There is a great deal more. Donald Trump became president when the nation had lost its way. He made herculean efforts to bring it back to what the Founding Fathers had intended it to be: a bastion of freedom. As Trump said: “I never forget, that I am not President of the world, I am President of the United States of America. We reject globalism and we embrace patriotism. We believe that every American citizen, no matter their background, deserves a government that is loyal to them. The Democrat Party and the extreme radical left are trying to abolish the distinction between citizens and non-citizens.”
Now they will do so. But there are still Americans, and now they have experienced the governance of an American president. If free elections are still possible in 2024, which admittedly is by no means certain, they’re going to want another president who puts them first. For another benefit of the Trump presidency is, paradoxically enough, its untimely and unjust demise. Most Americans assumed that when Trump became president, he would be able to implement his own agenda insofar as he could secure the cooperation of Congress, as other presidents had done. But Trump encountered an entrenched coterie of bureaucrats at all levels who were determined to thwart his every move. Never before had a president been subjected to such a concerted and criminal effort to remove him from office, first by framing him for a crime he didn’t commit, then by impeaching him for a second crime he didn’t commit, and finally by massive, carefully organized voter fraud.
This story has an unhappy ending, except now free Americans know what we are up against in a way we never would have known if Hillary Clinton had been elected in 2016 and America continued its long, slow, and seemingly inevitable decline into socialist internationalism. Now Americans know what is going on. Some of them are going to resist it and fight, by all legal means, to defend our freedoms.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.