As #NeverTrump conservatives, we have to show some humility. We were wrong. We thought Trump would lose, and he didn’t. We have to recognize that many blue collar whites who aren’t very conservative are fed up with the status quo, and saw Trump as their vehicle to change it. Make no mistake about it, this was the revenge of baby boomers on our country’s institutions, which they feel have turned against them. They believed Trump would keep his promises to them, and I didn’t. However, as someone who’s survived a near death experience, I’ve learned to always see the bright side of things, the silver linings if you will. The following are some of the potential silver linings I see in a Trump presidency:
1)If Trump ignores Congress, as Obama did, and oversteps his Constitutional authority as president, it would incentivize Republicans in Congress to grow a spine and stand up to him. Maybe they can get Paul Ryan’s agenda passed, while using the power of the purse to limit Trump’s attempts to increase spending, as both Bush and Obama did.
2)Trump could lose in 2020, simply due to his incompetence, and how divided the country will be. He could very well be Nixon 2.0. What happened after Nixon? It gave us a liberal in Jimmy Carter, but after his failed policies, it led to the Reagan Revolution. So yes, we will have to wait until at least 2024 for another conservative president, but as conservatives, we have to play the long game. Everything that’s done through executive order can be undone by executive order.
3)Republicans now control the Senate and House. They could win even more seats in 2018, which could give them a veto-proof majority, which means we could finally get some conservative bills passed.
4)Hillary’s failure is a result of at least three things: a)Minorities didn’t show up to vote b)young people didn’t show up c)working class whites will vote Republican if they can relate in any way to the nominee.
All these groups are politically homeless now. They were Democrats in the past, but they know the Democrats have taken their vote for granted and haven’t done anything to help them. Trump’s victory is as much a repudiation of Obama’s policies and Democrat leadership as it is an affirmation of Trump’s brand of nationalist populism.
Trump ran an absolutely horrible campaign and still won. This tells me a conservative can win in 2024. Conservatives can reach out to different groups and bring them into our movement. Maybe not with Trump as president, but in the years to come. We have to play the long game. It took over 10 years to go from the corruption of Nixon to the successful revolution of Reagan. Nixon wasn’t much of a conservative either, but Americans eventually decided they wanted one. If we can show these groups that conservative policies and ideas work, we can build a winning coalition for 2024 and beyond.
5) Trump won because baby boomers turned out for him in force. But they’re a dying generation. At least millennials didn’t turn out in force for either him or Hillary, which means they realize both were horrible choices for president. Hopefully they’ll also be able to recognize good candidates if the GOP can give them that choice in the future.
6)Hillary was a terrible candidate, and because Democrats and their liberal supporters in the media and entertainment worlds tried to shame people into voting for her, it appears liberal identity politics took a big punch to the gut. I don’t think it will die because liberals will always pander to various groups, since they can’t win political debates on the merits of their policies, which have largely failed.
However, due to the fact that progressives in both parties and in the broader culture have pushed their agenda on average Americans for years, we saw a backlash at the voting booth this year. Whether it was boycotting Mozilla because their CEO was against gay marriage, arguing that people who are biologically male should be able to use women’s restrooms, suing nuns for not paying for contraception in their health insurance plans, or forcing a polite and unassuming Christian couple to bake a cake for a gay couple, the left has over-reached in its attempts to shove their progressive “values” and ideals down our throats. The pendulum swung back to the right, and there’s a possibility that it will stay there, at least for a while.
7)Trump’s presidency will make it hard for people to be objective and stay politically independent. Thus, he’ll unintentionally expose the hypocrites and phonies on the left and the right. Such people will either reflexively defend him, or reflexively attack him, no matter what he says or does. Instead of being “fair and balanced”, these partisan hacks will be unfair, and unhinged in their attempts to use his presidency to score political points, and advance their own agendas and ambitions. Reasonable and honest people will give Trump and officials in his administration credit when they deserve it, and will be critical of them when they show incompetence, or engage in corrupt activities. Thus, Trump’s presidency will provide us with clarity in politics, and reveal both the frauds and the honest brokers in our midst.
Worst Case Scenarios with a Trump Presidency, and the Good That Could Come From Them
For those of us who opposed Trump vigorously and passionately from the minute he entered the presidential race, his victory on election night was a bitter pill to swallow. It’s easy to let it get us down, and to give into fear and despair over what the next four years might bring. That’s why it’s important to at least try to imagine some good that could come from a Trump presidency. It’s always good to think of a best case scenario in any given situation, if for no other reason than to give ourselves hope, and to prevent negativity and anger from clouding our judgment.
For a moment, let’s assume Trump will refuse to listen to his cabinet on major decisions, and that the advice he does get is inadequate at best, and as a result, his presidency is a disaster. I’ve believed for quite some time that we’re reaching a point in this country where we’ve become so selfish, and our collective conscience is so dead, that only a tragic situation that affects all of us will wake us up. One could see how such a situation could arise during Trump’s presidency. If he starts a trade war with China, or any other country, it could raise the prices of goods and services significantly. Combine that with his proposed infrastructure spending, and his refusal to reform entitlements, and we can see how his policies could lead to an economic recession.
It’s also possible that racial tensions will get worse during his time as president due to the policies he implements and the statements he makes on racial issues. What would the effect of all this chaos and suffering be on a generation of adults who aren’t used to such things?
My sincere hope and prayer is that it will force both Christians and non-believers alike to start thinking about things that are bigger than themselves. Maybe it will lead more people to discover the Church, and cause Christians who’ve fallen away from the faith to find it again. Such crises will force us to either tear each other apart even further, or begin to find common ground, and come together for the sake of the nation.
If things really fall apart under Trump, it could scare average Americans enough to take a hard look at their lives, and to think about what they need to change in themselves, and then what they can do to strengthen and rebuild their families, churches, and communities. These institutions are the backbone of society, and they’ve been rotting from the inside for decades. If our government and our politicians fail us, that could provide the incentive and motivation many Americans need to begin the process of rebuilding those institutions. Maybe we’ll finally begin to realize that we shouldn’t be putting all of our faith in one man, but in God.
If a national crisis provoked many Americans to change their mindset that they can and should rely on the government to solve their problems, that would be a good thing indeed.
There’s also the possibility that Trump won’t listen to any advice on foreign policy and national security. A number of problematic consequences could result from this. Our relationships with other countries could drastically deteriorate, affecting our economic transactions with them, as well as our strategic national interests. Furthermore, we could have another major terror attack during Trump’s time in office, especially if he doesn’t reform our intelligence agencies. If we disappear from the world stage, and allow the fires in the Middle East and elsewhere to burn, it would give radical Islamic terrorists the safe haven they need to plan and prepare for another attack on us.
All of these problems would make it quite clear that when America is weak, and uninterested in making the world a safer and better place, the rest of the world suffers as a result. Hopefully, this would make other countries realize how much they need us, and this could lead to better relationships with those countries in the future, when they have a president they believe they can work with.
Finally, if Trump doubles down on his populist policies, and increase government spending, it could lead to the birth of a new conservative party. This has been a long time coming for conservatives, and we may have needed a direct threat to the conservative movement to overcome the political inertia that was preventing us from making that leap. Trump has given us every indication that he doesn’t respect the Constitution, and will issue as many executive orders as he can get away with. My hope is that this will reawaken a newfound respect and appreciation for the Constitution on both the left and the right. If we don’t defend it when it’s under direct assault, will we ever defend it?
One possible outcome of Trump’s authoritarian decrees is that it could bring together a broad coalition of Americans under the banner of federalism. The GOP has been failing both fiscal and social conservatives for years, and simply hasn’t represented us well. Likewise, Republican presidents like Bush, as well as Republicans in Congress, have been too interventionist on foreign policy for many conservatives and independents alike.
If the GOP becomes the party of Trump and his populist supporters, that would be a signal that it’s time to start a new party that could potentially unite conservatives, moderate liberals, and libertarians. We wouldn’t have to agree on everything, just that we want the government out of our lives, and that the corruption and incompetence that’s been running rampant in it for decades must be ended. If this coalition came to fruition as a result of Trump’s presidency, then our longstanding opposition to him, and what he represents will have all been worth it in the end.
Now, are all, or even any, of the things I proposed likely to happen? The chances are that some will, and some won’t. I think it’s safe to say that with the amount of tension and unrest among the American people, it’s impossible to predict what they’ll do in the future. That being said, I didn’t write this piece to make predictions, or to paint a rosy and unrealistic picture for you. I wrote it to give my fellow conservatives some hope, and to help them see some potential good that could come from Trump’s presidency.
Newton said that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. I believe this is often true in politics as well. As someone who believes in free trade, free markets, limited government, the Constitution, and maximum freedom, my hope is that Trump’s failures lead to an awakening among the American people. Maybe I’ll be wrong about every scenario I’ve described here, and we’ll descend even further into the abyss, with increasing debt, cultural decline, and violence, both in our country and around the world.
But I prefer to at least try to envision a brighter future for my generation and the generations to come. I encourage my fellow conservatives to do the same, and look for the silver linings in Trump’s presidency.