This George Will column is called “Republicans, are you tired of winning yet?” Oddly, Will makes no real effort to assess the extent to which, from a conservative Republican perspective, America has been winning under President Trump.
Instead, Will devotes the first part of his column to complaining that America is having difficulty managing the mechanics of voting. But this difficulty is due to the challenges of a pandemic, coupled, in my view, with efforts by Democrats to use the pandemic to loosen requirements that safeguard election integrity. It has nothing to do with whether Trump has kept his promise to Republicans about winning.
The rest of Will’s column consists mostly of random reflections about the history of presidential elections involving incumbents and the electoral difficulties Trump faces this year. Again, he says nothing about conservative Republicans winning or losing during the Trump administration.
Trump might well lose this election. I believe he probably will. However, it’s also clear to me that conservative Republicans have been winning consistently during Trump’s tenure.
For example, we’ve won on the courts, with (1) the likely addition of three Justices who believe in interpreting our laws and our Constitution as written, not as an instrument to affect change and (2) the filling of lower court judgeships with judges mostly of the same bent.
We’ve won on the economy with lower taxes and a less oppressive regime of government regulation. Trump overstates the amount of credit due him for the smashing economic success we experienced before the pandemic, but there was plenty of winning. Some of it was due to Trump’s policies.
We’ve won on North American trade. Trump substantially improved our trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. Even most Senate Democrats voted in favor of the improved deal.
We’ve won, from a conservative perspective, on health care. The oppressive Obamacare individual mandate has been repealed.
We’ve won against ISIS. Arguably, Trump overstates the amount of credit he’s due for this accomplishment. The tide had started to turn against ISIS under the Obama-Biden administration. However, it was the Trump administration that destroyed the caliphate.
At this point, we may not have won the fight against China’s unfair and harmful trade practices, but progress has been made under the Trump administration. The Obama-Biden administration was largely passive in the face of China’s improper behavior.
From the perspective of most Republicans and conservatives, we’ve won on matters pertaining to Israel and the Middle East. Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved our embassy there. Similarly, he has recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel. And he has stood up against anti-Israeli international organizations like UNESCO, from which the U.S. wisely has withdrawn.
The administration has stood tough against Iran, ending the flow of American dollars to that terrorist, anti-American regime. In the process, Trump has leveraged regional fear of the mullahs into growing friendship towards Israel by previously hostile Sunni Arab states.
We haven’t won on immigration nearly as much as Trump promised we would. However, his administration has done a better job than its predecessor of removing illegal immigrants who commit non-immigration related crimes, and of combatting new illegal immigration through physical barriers and the hiring of new agents.
We have lost against the Wuhan coronavirus. But so has every other nation with whom it makes sense to compare our performance.
If, on this record, Will wants to taunt Trump for saying we’d tire of winning under his administration, that’s his right. However, it would have been better if he had bothered to analyze the record.
It would also be nice if he would compare the amount of winning conservative Republicans can expect in a second Trump administration to the amount that’s likely to occur if Joe Biden wins. The latter amount is approximately nil.
Instead, we can expect non-stop losing, including, quite possibly, a packed Supreme Court and the end of the Senate filibuster. These measures would give Democrats almost limitless ability to enact left-wing legislation with virtually no hope of having the unconstitutional portion of that agenda struck down by the courts.
It’s futile to ask most Never Trumpers to recognize this reality. To most of them, it’s more important to signal their distaste for a distasteful president than to focus on the policy implications of defeating Trump. And the worst of them have already switched their positions on key policy matters, anyway.
In one way or another, they have sold conservatism down the river.