Early last year, in “The Party of Bad News,”1 I reviewed how Democrats have used bad news to spook voters into supporting their party and policies – even when things were going pretty well, economically, as in 2006. As I said in that article, when a Republican is president, it’s all bad news, all the time.
Democrats stoked disquiet about the long Middle East war to convince voters that the country was heading in the wrong direction and needed new leadership. Dems also used weather-events to convince voters that we had to do something to stop climate-change, even though many scientists are convinced that changes in the climate are largely driven by the sun and by terrestrial events like earthquakes and volcanic activity.
Democrats’ bad-news campaign won them both houses of Congress in 2006. Their successful strategy became a textbook example on how to convince voters to elect Democrats to furnish relief from a strong economy. After gaining control of the Congress, Democrats used the Community Reinvestment Act and other legislation to push banks into lending risky mortgages that financed as much as 100% of a home’s assessed value.
Thus, when the housing “bubble” burst and real estate values collapsed by 31% in 2006-’08, many owners found themselves “under water,” with mortgages above their property’s value. Some chose to simply walk away from their over-mortgaged homes, producing a flood of foreclosures that triggered the bank-crisis of 2008 and crashed the stock market.
Alarmed by the frantic trading of mortgage-backed securities, banks stopped lending to each other. This disrupted commerce and tipped the financial boat over. Hundreds of banks failed, frightening voters, panicking politicians, and guaranteeing the election of Barak Obama, who had campaigned on a promise to “fundamentally change” the country.
It was our greatest financial crisis since the bank failures of the Great Depression, with the most disastrous political results. Sensible policies might have righted the economic ship, but Mr. Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, his determined assault on fossil fuels, and his flood of business-retarding regulations depressed the economy during his presidency.
Ironically, the 2016 election saw the bad news strategy turned against Democrats and their heir-apparent, Hillary Clinton. Even Hottentots in Africa knew that Obama’s economy was a shambles, and that the “natives” (i.e., American voters) were restless. So Democrat pooh-bahs decided that Mrs. Clinton’s only hope was to distract voters away from economics by pushing a two-pronged strategy: identity-politics and trashing Donald Trump.
On the “identity” prong, Mrs. Clinton pandered to every imaginable racial, ethnic and sexual proclivity group, while characterizing Democrats’ once-dependable working-class constituency as “Deplorables.” Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) ruthlessly denounced Mr. Trump as a racist, a liar, a cheat, a crook, an idiot, a tyrant and a really nasty person. They said he was “temperamentally unsuited for the office.” Rumors were even circulating that he had “matriculated” as a teen. (Dear god, not that!)
Media sycophants bravely proclaimed that St. Hillary – who Mr. Obama called “the most qualified candidate ever” – had the election in the bag (94% certain), but somehow they either ignored (or didn’t notice) that the voters weren’t buying. Crowds thronged Mr. Trump’s rallies, while the Clinton campaign staggered to the finish-line. At 9 PM on November 8th, the “stuff” (as they say) finally hit the fan. Once again, economic bad news – this time, actual bad news that wasn’t invented – had elected a president.
Mr. Trump’s resounding electoral victory shocked the media and our political “establishment” – driving both Democrats and Never-Trump Republicans to the ramparts to wage the most determined war of slander, innuendo, lies and accusation on a sitting president since Abraham Lincoln. The rule book – if there ever was one – has been thrown away. It is a fight to the death. In nearly seven decades of observing politics I have never seen the like. On and on goes the bitter battle, the clear objective of which is –
- Depose the president; or
- Smear and weaken him so badly that he cannot be re-elected.
Soon after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, a Special Counsel investigation was launched on the premise that Mr. Trump and his campaign must have “colluded” with Russian agents to throw the election his way. The political and media consensus was that he could not possibly have won in any other way. The two-year investigation roiled the political waters enough to cause 39 Republican representatives to retire – thereby throwing those House-seats up for grabs and allowing Democrats to regain control of the House in 2018.
Without the presidency, and in control of only one chamber of the Congress, Democrats have reprised their tried-and-true bad news strategy to try to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. Even if the news isn’t truly bad, their media compadres spin it to look that way. Cheering for disaster and ruin is now the stock-in-trade of FDR’s once confident and optimistic party.
The special investigation, which has been the centerpiece of Dems’ bad news strategy against Mr. Trump, has produced no evidence that he or his campaign committed any crimes. But House Democrats, refusing to accept that clear conclusion, have launched a blizzard of committee-hearings in which they have threatened the president’s business-associates and administration officials with legal action and financial ruin, hoping that they will deliver “evidence” that destroys Mr. Trump. A child could see how this perverse construct corrupts honest jurisprudence. It is a slow train-wreck that might end up damaging our political system beyond repair.
During Mr. Trump’s first half-term our armed forces have defeated ISIS, so an endless war against Islamic terrorism can no longer be used to make voters feel uneasy as the election approaches. Iran is doing some sword-rattling, but its provocative actions don’t seem to spook voters now – probably because Mr. Trump seems more inclined to stand up to foreign bullies and keep a lid clamped on their activities. Knowing that an actual shooting war would probably hurt Mr. Trump’s re-election prospects, Democrats have tried mightily to push him into war with Iran. But the president is not biting.
With nothing else working for them, Democrats have seized on uncontrolled illegal immigration as a weapon to wreck Mr. Trump’s presidency. By denying him the funds to stop the flood of illegals thronging our borders, they hope to repeat their electoral success of 2006, when they persuaded voters to ignore a strong economy by making them anxious about the Middle East wars. This time, though, it’s a war of their own making – a war without end that they hope will spook exhausted voters into not supporting Mr. Trump for a second term. Essentially, they are telling voters: get rid of this guy or we’ll give you a war you won’t believe…
This is the way the game is played now. The trouble is, it’s not a game. It’s deadly serious. In fifteen months millions of voters will step into voting booths to choose the leaders who will determine the country’s direction. By that choice they will decide if they want higher taxes, hordes of illegal aliens flooding their communities, a cultural war against traditional American values (including marriage and the sanctity of life), gender-confusion, and a once-prosperous economy wrecked by socialism and a Green New Deal. Or not.
Americans are smart people. I’m (fairly) confident about how they will decide. But if I’m wrong, they’ll show that they’re a lot dumber than I imagined.