“You’ve forced me to do it.”
It’s something every parent or on-the-job-boss has said at some point in their years overseeing their children or workers. Giving the impression, authentic as it may appear, that you don’t derive enjoyment or satisfaction from doling out punishments is the best way to ensure that the kids or employees learn the lesson you’re conveying without generating fierce resistance. After all, the rule breaking party is the one who caused the kerfuffle, right?
Former President Donald Trump has been talking a lot lately about the state of the country he led for four controversial (to the media, at least) years, all the while dropping hints regarding his intention to run for a second term at his first opportunity. That would be 2024, which is still three years in the future, but planning for such an endeavor starts now. Though Trump won’t come right out and say the words, it’s almost as though president senile Joe Biden’s bumbling train wreck of a presidency is forcing him (Trump) to do it.
“Former President Donald Trump teased a 2024 run at the White House, alluding that the decision to run might not be up to him. ‘I don't think we're going to have a choice,’ Trump said. ‘It is disgraceful.’...
“Arguing that the administration is ‘divisive,’ the former president said the Biden White House is hypocritical in calling itself open to all. ‘They keep telling everyone how they want to get together, to be inclusive — they're not inclusive,’ Trump said. ‘They are very, very dividing and divisive.’
“Trump has made no pronouncement as to a 2024 bid. Still, when a law enforcement group asked about his intentions at a 9/11 event, the 45th president supposedly issued a simple reply. ‘I think you're going to be happy,’ he is cited for having said.”
Trump has said similar things in the past -- at least the part about being “happy” after his upcoming announced decision. He also indicated he’s already made up his mind about the subject but can’t spill the proverbial beans at present because of Federal Election Law. The standard seems different here. Democrats talk all they want about intentions and coming in “to restore the soul of the nation”, yet if Trump says something the smart set thinks is out of line, they call in the lawyers.
I don’t recall Trump framing it as “I might not have a choice” on whether to run, but was his flippancy just Trump being Trump or does the electorate really feel the same way? Biden’s approval numbers are falling through the floor and the current White House occupant can’t do anything right -- including his handling of public relations -- but there are a number of capable Republicans who could fill the 2024 GOP ticket and leave Trump to do what he does best, which is market his platform and frame a message.
At the same time, few, including liberals, would dispute that Joe Biden’s stumbles -- I was going to say ineptness, but then Democrats would abandon a truthful notion as divisive rhetoric -- have helped Trump look better in the eyes of the voting public. Or should I say, the eyes of American voters who are open to recognizing politics the way it is rather than the way they want it to be. Put another way, it's doubtful that hardened socialism-loving, gun grabbing, abortion proffering, “woke” culture pushing “progressives” would ever see the former president as a viable political alternative now, next week, next year or next decade.
The same goes for the Bill Kristols and Lincoln Project rejects of #NeverTrump world who wouldn’t concede an inch even if they’re down to their last breath and the tide is rapidly rolling in to swamp them for good. Style over substance knows no political loyalties.
But these aren’t the voters Trump is trying to reach. He’s hoping that Biden’s clear incompetence along with the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” emotional phenomena will morph into the perfect combination of political viability and opportunity, especially with independents. What would’ve been unthinkable eight months ago -- or even three or four months ago -- is starting to look not only possible but desirable.
How to tell? People are losing their inhibitions about expressing their fondness for Trump, almost turning him into a sympathetic character. At a boxing match this past weekend, for example, the crowd began chanting “We love Trump!” as the former president and his son, Don Jr., commentated before the fight. Such displays of affection were common during Trump’s campaign rallies, but would’ve been rare and possibly reputation-damaging if among the wrong company in a general setting.
When did anyone shout “We love Joe!” or “We love Biden!” or “We love Kamala!” or “We love Hillary!” at any gathering? The “Big O” drew adoring audiences during the 2008 campaign with his lofty “Hope and Change” rhetoric, but Democrat politics these days is mostly made up of angry and discontented people seeking revenge or retribution or recompense for some long past perceived slight or wrong. Liberals would be more likely to yell, “We want blood!” or “We want money!” or “We want a jury verdict with punitive damages!” or “We want reparations!” or “We want abortions!” or “We want to take your AR15!” or… “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” (Justice for what, exactly?)
And it’s not as though Trump is trying to tone down his hard-edged personal style to win folks over, either. During last weekend’s 9/11 commemorations, President Biden and the non-Trump former presidents all individually issued a standard pre-approved “unity” message, but not Trump. The current and former presidents produced boilerplate calls for people to come together in the spirit of cooperation and brotherly love, despite the multitude of divisions in the country.
For his part, Trump chose to criticize Biden (and later on in the week chastised George W. Bush) as well as express condolences to the families of 9/11 victims. Biden botched Afghanistan, which left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth on the 20-year anniversary of the attacks. Why sugarcoat it? Is there anything Trump could’ve said that would’ve brought about a sense of “unity”?
These are serious political differences that can’t be solved with these canned “unity” pleas. The NFL can perform the “Black National Anthem” before games -- and then play the “real” National Anthem -- but it won’t foster a feeling of togetherness. Everyone knows it won’t be long before another leftist group complains that they’re being discriminated against or ignored and they’ll drag NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell into the conversation and then there’ll be a half dozen “anthems” before every game, each with a specific nod to a particular ethnicity or religion.
Do you think the Chinese or Russians see it as “unifying” that a major sports league bows to interest group demands?
Perhaps the NFL would do well to query Taliban leaders as to what song would promote good relations between America’s transgender “woke” geeks and the Islamic fundamentalist world. But then again, the Taliban doesn’t allow music (they execute people for singing) and doesn’t care in the slightest about “unity” to begin with.
Besides, isn’t there too much recognition of non-unifying features already? As one of my law school friends used to comment about textbooks that had been over-highlighted by some hyper ambitious student, “He who highlights everything, highlights nothing.”
Couldn’t today’s politicians better promote “unity” and patriotism by emphasizing that the very same American flag, national anthem and traditional songs that most people recognize gets everyone singing the same tune and sharing positive thoughts and common values and emotions rather than dividing us into factions? Would most Americans of all types rather hear a Sousa march or the “Black National Anthem”?
Can’t we all be different in most ways but the same in others? George W. Bush made a donkey of himself -- again -- by all-but comparing the Trump supporters who were at the Capitol building on 1/6 of this year to the human vermin who hijacked four commercial airliners and killed thousands of people on 9/11/01. Are they comparable?
Establishment politicians from both parties will continue talking about a mythical “unity” and decrying the fact that there isn’t any such thing today, mostly due to an erosion of political and cultural values. Donald Trump doesn’t step around the hard issues -- and he pins blame where it belongs -- and then they label him the “divisive” one.
If they keep it up, they’re only inspiring Trump to get in the 2024 race and prove them wrong, once again. If it does indeed happen, Trump can honestly claim, “they forced me to do it.”
2024 presidential election
2024 GOP presidential field
January 6 protest
January 6 detainees
NFL Black National Anthem