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Did Trump Lock-Up 2020 In One Speech?

Trump at CPAC
President Trump’s speech to CPAC was one for the ages as the President went on a two-hours long marathon review of his conservative record and in the process dismembered the new Far-Left Democratic Party and the bitter-end remnant of the #NeverTrump faction of the GOP.

For those of us who backed Ted Cruz or were otherwise Trump skeptics during the 2016 Republican primary season, who then made the decision to give Donald Trump our full backing once he wrapped-up the GOP nomination, the President’s record and policy successes have more than vindicated our decision to go all-in for him in 2016.

But that is all in the rearview mirror, what matters is what’s ahead between now and the 2020 election.

Yes, there was some whispered and some open discussion of a potential primary challenge to President Trump, but it was certainly not from the Right or the conservative movement.

It was all in the context of would a moderate Republican opponent be a useful sparring partner (or punching bag) to warm-up the President for the General Election.

Our view is that while it might be a good idea in theory it would be bad in practice. Since no Republican (even a self-proclaimed moderate like Maryland Governor Larry Hogan) would mirror the Far-Left Democrats’ Socialist platform, the campaign would inevitably devolve into slash and burn personality attacks, which would not enhance the President’s re-election prospects.

So, the President’s speech was not aimed at fending off a primary challenge from the Right but teeing-up the themes for his re-election in 2020, and, as usual, Donald Trump exhibited an unerring eye for the Democrats’ weaknesses and a sharp ear for the views of the American heartland.

To the extent that the GOP’s congressional “leaders” were present their bland and predictable remarks were the perfect foil for Trump’s rowdy conservative populism.

As a result, President Trump’s speech united the conservative movement behind one overarching theme: We must stand in the breach and stop the Democrats’ drive to make America a socialist country in its tracks.

"We believe in the American dream, not in the socialist nightmare," he said to boisterous applause, later adding, "America will never be a socialist country."

Trump, often engaging in his trademarked mockery, portrayed the Green New Deal touted by the new Far-Left Democratic Party as a socialist plan that will devastate the fossil fuel and automotive industries.

He also said, correctly, that socialist “Medicare for All” healthcare legislation would "lead to colossal tax increases," and accused the Democrats of having "totally abandoned the American mainstream" on issues such as immigration and abortion.

“These people are sick” Trump said to raucous applause.

The President’s political team also exercised an all too rare measure of message discipline with Vice President Mike Pence on Friday, warning that Democrats are taking a "hard left turn" ahead of 2020.

"Under the guise of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, Democrats are embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the last century. That system is socialism," said Pence.

Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow told the crowd CPAC that he wanted to put socialism on trial and wanted them to "convict it."

While the Republican Party’s official “leaders” on Capitol Hill are likely to be as useless as usual in accomplishing that goal, the leading congressional conservatives and the grassroots leaders of the conservative movement are already hard at that task.

“This whole embrace of socialism—we could mock it, but it’s also quite serious discussion, when you look at the Democrats who were lining up to be our next President,” ACU and CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp said in a discussion with Representatives Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan. “We’ve never seen this before. Other Democrats who have achieved the Presidency—they ran as centrists.”

Schlapp introduced a five-and-a-half-minute video, which as the New Yorker’s Osita Nwanevu described it, “boomed like an action-film trailer” and established that theme not only for the rest of the conference but for the Republican Party ahead of 2020: socialism is on the march.

The video featured darkly tinted clips of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who are both self-proclaimed democratic socialists, and also of Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, who have moved to the left in the early stages of their Presidential campaigns. The video also highlighted support on the left for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the new wave of left-wing activism, both on and off campus (labelled “mob intimidation”); criticism of Israel and AIPAC by Representative Ilhan Omar (labelled “anti-Semitism”); and Democratic controversies, including Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal and Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry.

At practically the same time President Trump was speaking at CPAC, Socialist Bernie Sanders was speaking at a campaign rally in Brooklyn.

Sanders gave an outline of his agenda: to push for single-payer Medicare for all, create jobs with infrastructure projects and, among other goals, fight climate change.

"The principles of our government will be based on justice: economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice," the Vermont senator told the cheering crowd at Brooklyn College, according to reporting by Armando Garcia and Soo Youn of ABC News.

President Trump correctly identified the issues at bar in 2020 as the American dream versus the socialist nightmare, and Democrats are already helping President Trump put their socialism on trial by embracing socialist candidates, such as Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, and Senators Booker and Harris and by ratcheting-up the socialist rhetoric in Congress and on their primary campaign trail. It is up to us conservatives to work tirelessly between now and Election Night 2020 to make sure Trump obtains the conviction.

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