We have heard a lot from some Democrats about why they cannot “normalize” President Donald Trump, because he is apparently so much of a radical departure from political norms. We must never allow someone like Trump to rise again, they say. But this is not really about “normalizing” Trump. This is about shrinking the Overton Window to exclude Trump voters – 63 million people.
How do we know this? Because we have heard over and over how Trump supporters will be “judged by history” with some more radical Leftists ominously warning about a “reckoning” once Trump leaves office. Trump supporters are mocked as clueless white trash. This is why people applaud when Trump tweets out a meme saying “they’re after you, I’m just in the way.”
Look, let’s be real here. Donald Trump did not wreck politics. Our politics was wrecked long before Trump came down the escalator.The norms were smashed a long time ago, if they ever existed. Trump is not the cause of incivility. He is a symptom of that. Republicans (especially conservatives in “flyover country”) have been taking it on the chin for so long and have been so frustrated with leaders that don’t fight back that the answer in 2016 was this: “OK, this is how the game is played? Fine. I am picking a brawler. I am voting for Trump.” The loyalty that his supporters had in the primary then spread through most of the party.
Trump is certainly a departure from past Presidents as he is much more brash and crude than they have been, but we should not pretend that he is anything new. It was Barack Obama that talked about bringing a gun to a knife fight and others have used vicious rhetoric for years. Trump knows what our political system has become and he is one of the few who is honest enough to call a spade a spade. Do I wish he would be presidential, or at least display some professionalism? Yes, I do. But Trump would not exist without decades of ruthless political warfare by the radical Left.
Finally, on policy Trump has been pretty standard among Republican nominees and past Republican Presidents. He has been pro-life, protected religious freedom, pushed for tax cuts, pushed for deregulation and has been a strong ally of Israel. Trump represents a large segment (probably a majority) of the GOP which for years has called for more strict restrictions on immigration and stronger measures to stop illegal immigration. Trump’s policy positions were “normalized” decades before Trump became a Republican and ran for President. Trump’s policy agenda is extremely similar to what the rest of the 2016 field promised to do.
The one thing where Trump has been abnormal on is government spending. Republicans have always broken their promises to discipline federal spending, but Trump has just openly admitted he does not care about it. But while he is far from the self-proclaimed deficit hawks we have had in the Republican Party since the 1990’s, on policy Trump has not been different from the Republicans who promised to discipline spending and did not. Is that a good thing? Absolutely not. But it is not exactly unusual.
So no, this is not about Trump. This is about excommunicating Trump voters once Trump is gone. And that is why Trump voters are not going to abandon him, and why Trump has converted former “Never Trump” and Trump-skeptical voters. We know this is political war, and we know Trump is the bulwark in the White House against the schemes of the radical Left.