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100 Days of Trump: The establishment will fight Trump well beyond his first 100 days

Today is the 87th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. We haven’t even passed the undeservedly heralded “100 Day” mark in the Trump era and already people are weighing the president’s prospects for a second term, beginning with a look at his fundraising numbers.

Kenneth P. Vogel of Politico reports, “President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is off to a quick start, pulling in $13.2 million through a trio of committees in the first three months of the year, while paying an unusually large staff of about 20 employees, according to records filed Friday evening with the Federal Election Donald TrumpCommission.

“Nearly 80 percent of the cash raised by the three committees — Donald J. Trump for President, Trump Victory, and Trump Make America Great Again Committee — came from small donors.”

Of course the Politico article maintains that a sizable portion of the money was paid to Trump friends, 2016 supporters and even Mike Pence’s nephew, all of whom are working for the campaign. And since the main organization’s office is located in Trump Tower, Trump’s companies and golf clubs are profiting from the political business as well.

As always, it’s a matter of full disclosure, right?

The fact nearly four-fifths of the money was raised from small donors is typically a healthy sign for a campaign, revealing the grassroots remains happy with the president and is likely still onboard with his agenda. Trump hasn’t done much to squelch their enthusiasm despite the media’s constant drumbeat of negativity towards his administration.

The news is good for the national party, too.

Anna Giaritelli of the Washington Examiner reports, “Trump raked in $42.6 million between the Republican National Party and two joint fundraising committees from Jan. 1 through March 31. Former President Barack Obama and his Democratic counterparts raised $15.8 million in the first quarter of his first term in 2009, according to new Federal Election Commission filings and party officials…

“…Trump and his fundraising groups received 250,000 contributions from new donors.”

Pundits and experts will spend gobs of time debating whether the dollar figures truly constitute a boon for Trump or if it’s just something to be expected when something “new” hits the Washington scene. Whether you agree with Trump’s presidential actions or not, you must admit the atmosphere surrounding the capital has been considerably different than what was there before.

People are on their toes knowing there’s a new game in town. You never know what the president is going to do next, which in many ways is a refreshing feeling.

Regardless of what the elites say we’ll be hearing a lot in the next two weeks about that “First 100 days” period. Liberals and Democrats will no doubt argue Trump has been a failure thus far due to the ongoing intrigue over Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the president’s failure to pressure his fellow party members into passing an Obamacare repeal measure and the Republican Congress’s turtle-like pace in sending him bills to sign.

Meanwhile these same people will highlight their own successes in stalling the confirmations of Trump’s appointees (including his final three cabinet members) and forcing the senate GOP leadership to use the “nuclear option” in order to get Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmed. Lastly, they’ll crow over the fact so few of Trump’s political people are in place, leaving many Obama holdovers to extend the previous president’s legacy well into Trump’s first term.

Republicans will counter these claims by emphasizing the significant dent that’s already been made in cleaning up the regulatory state, the successful confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and the visibly improved relations with several high-profile world leaders, including China’s Xi Jinping. There’s also Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ great work in enforcing the immigration laws which has already led to a vastly reduced number of border crossings.

There are no winners in this dispute over accomplishments. What’s done is done and what’s left undone is merely awaiting some future action. There’s little doubt Trump will eventually get to every item on his agenda since the man literally does not rest.

So how much does the first 100 days really matter in the scheme of things?

Pundit Jeff Greenfield wrote at Politico Magazine last week, “Take two steps back from the ritual, and it’s clear that making any solid judgment about a new president based on the first 14 weeks is like … well, you choose the metaphor; predicting a basketball game’s outcome three minutes in? Calling a presidential election 18 months out?...

“The list of the utterly unpredictable is stunning. Did Nixon’s first 100 days offer a clue that he would be toasting the health of Mao Zedong in Beijing a few years later? That Ronald Reagan would be strolling through America with the leader of the Soviet Union? That Barack Obama, who led his party to a smashing triumph in 2008, would preside over the implosion of the party at every level over the next eight years?...”

In his piece Greenfield remarks how the Trump team is putting a lot of stress on the first 100 days and is planning measures to “turn things around” before April 29 (Trump’s 100th day in office).

Knowing how image conscious the president can be, I’m sure there’s some truth to it.

But day 101 will arrive in two weeks and there will still be the same amount of urgency to “Make America Great Again” that there was on day one. Trump has shown some frustrating stubbornness in certain areas (staffing his administration) and evolution on others, but there hasn’t been a president in memory, except for maybe Ronald Reagan, who was so singularly focused on keeping the promises he made when campaigning for the job.

Trump knows the media will make a big deal out of his first 100 days, but he also understands that his is a critical presidency in the history of America – and it will take years to implement real reform. Simply put, if Trump fails to break the stranglehold the political establishment has on Washington there will never be another “outsider” elected to the White House.

The political class will have won; Trump will be seen as a failure…and a loser. Of all the things that motivates Trump, “winning” is probably number one. “Loser” isn’t in his vocabulary.

The struggle will continue. The establishment will battle Trump every step of the way. There will be fights over the budget, foreign policy, cultural issues and the way Trump handles his job.

The fundraising numbers are encouraging, but we’ve only just begun, folks.

If “Trumpism” does exist what does it really mean?

While supporters of Donald Trump will certainly be heartened by his very early re-election campaign fundraising success and will similarly make all they can out of his first 100 days as president, it’s safe to say political observers are still trying to figure out what fuels the phenomenon of Trump the man.

Americans watched in awe as Trump dominated the country’s politics for most of the past two years. The media’s non-stop coverage of Trump, his campaign and now his presidency has been something to behold. Trump is the centerpiece for many a conversation; find two people who like him and it’s a friendly exchange. But if you match two people with opposite perspectives it can be rather awkward if not tense.

Many claim ideology doesn’t play a role in Trump’s day-to-day operations. These people suggest Trump thrives on his cult-of-personality and rouses the masses by throwing them the red meat they’re craving to consume. This is “Trumpism” as I’ve come to understand it.

These same people say even when Trump goes against a campaign promise the people still eat it up.

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg observed over the weekend, “Trump’s strike on Syria was breathtakingly hypocritical. It was also the right thing to do (I think). But the relevant point is that it was popular.

“Suddenly, true believers in a Trumpism-that-doesn’t-exist are in a similar predicament many of us were in during the election. They’re condemning Trump for breaking their (hastily minted) orthodoxy of True Trumpism. More vexing, they’re discovering that Trump’s popularity isn’t all that connected to his program. This is partly because of his cult of personality and partly because a lot of people are simply invested in his presidency for a slew of patriotic, partisan, and personal reasons.”

Goldberg was a prominent #NeverTrumper during the campaign and wrote often last year about how Republicans and conservatives were constantly trying to get him to change his stance on the 2016 race -- but he refused to do so.

Therefore it’s not surprising that even someone as intelligent as Goldberg thinks Trump can do anything he wants and people will still support him. I’m not sure if this is what “Trumpism” means but that’s its end result.

There is no question Trump’s celebrity contributes a great deal to his popularity. Every time he steps to the microphone and speaks in his unique, supremely-confident manner it generates warm feelings among his backers. Just his mere presence in the White House makes driving into Washington feel different, knowing there’s at least one person there who doesn’t care a lick about appeasing the special interests and will do whatever he can to reverse the strong tide of decline the country has experienced the past two decades.

But those who callously dismiss Trump as all orange hair and no substance fail to remember Trump was one of only a few true message carriers in last year’s election. All candidates campaign on “change” but only a token few can truly bring it about. Trump’s campaign was fueled just as much by his anti-establishment message as his quirky mannerisms and odd non-politically correct statements.

Trump’s non-intervention in the Middle East policy was a big part of that message. Contrary to appearances, the fact he broke his word a week and a half ago and sent cruise missiles into Syria was not roundly dismissed by many who supported him early on.

Traditional conservatives aren’t about to let “Trumpism” cloud their judgement. The strike may have been popular on the surface but if Trump moves too far away from what earned him the presidency in the first place – his America first message – his base will erode.

With the help of close associates like Vice President Mike Pence, President Trump has mostly stuck to his message and worked hard to keep the promises made to his voters. That’s why people continue to support him even when the media makes it sound like the sky is falling (which is basically every day).

If there really is such a thing as “Trumpism,” it’s tied to his core message. If Trump should wander far from it, there will be political consequences waiting for him.

Tax return protests prove the left isn’t getting any closer to accepting Trump

With the senate’s act of confirming Justice Neil Gorsuch a week ago last Friday and then going out of session, congressmen and senators headed back to their districts/states for a “work period” and brief respite from politics during the Easter holiday.

But just because Congress is on hiatus doesn’t mean liberals decided to take a break of their own. This past weekend the craziest of all leftists organized tax-day protests across the country purportedly to object to President Trump’s continued withholding from public release of his tax returns. In the process, many of them brought up other crazy notions in addition.

Naomi Jagoda of The Hill reports, “Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) renewed her call for impeaching President Trump during Saturday's Tax March in Washington.

“’I don't respect this president. I don't trust this president. He's not working in the best interests of the American people,’ Waters said.

“’I will fight every day until he is impeached,’ she added, before leading the crowd in chants of ‘impeach 45.’”

Not content to settle for mere calls of impeachment Waters also hit Trump on his tax returns, his proposed tax cuts (though he hasn’t announced specific details yet), his weekend taxpayer funded trips to his Florida property and the administration’s announced intention to not release the White House visitor log.

In other words, Waters threw everything she had at Trump. I doubt the California congresswoman will be inviting Trump and family over to her special interest money funded bungalow for drinks and chit chat anytime soon.

Beyond the utter nuttiness of Maxine Waters appearing at a leftist rally to spout venom, what were liberals doing protesting the day before Easter about Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns?

Granted it was a beautiful spring day in the nation’s capital and there were probably still a lot of budding blooms to gander at, but why would anyone be wasting their time complaining about Trump’s tax returns of all things?

Could it be that the Russia issue has all but died out, they no longer have Justice Neil Gorsuch to kick around and Trump is beginning to show an aura of “normalcy” in his presidency?

As long as they’re going to dig down deep for something to hit Trump with, why don’t they dredge up the infamous audio recording of Trump talking to Billy Bush while they’re at it?

It’s sad. As of Saturday Trump’s Real Clear Politics average rating was roughly 41 percent approving, 52 percent disapproving, down about four points from the high mark of his presidency. There isn’t exactly a groundswell of disapproval, the kind that would be necessary to begin serious discussions of impeachment.

Unfortunately Maxine Waters’ own job approval numbers aren’t widely available and I’m guessing there isn’t a single nationally recognized Democrat still in office whose approval rating is significantly higher than Trump’s.

No matter how much they protest, the left is stuck with him. They’d better get used to it, too. PJ Media’s Roger L. Simon thinks Trump is going to win “bigly” in 2020. Won’t that make the liberals happy?

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Trump's Syria Strike

Time will tell whether or not President Trump in fact broke his campaign promise not to get involved in a Middle East war with his missile strike on Syria. Some things cry out for a military response, and a poison nerve gas attack is one of them. There is a world of difference between giving a foreign leader a spanking and conquering his country. Time will tell.