April 30, 2018

From The Middle East To Korea, Trump Has Been The Transformational President

One of media’s favorite tropes describes President Trump as “transactional.”

“This president is no ideologue; he's transactional,” pundit groupthink declares. We are to understand this is, of course, negative, as critics solemnly note “the limits of transactional politics” or the dangers of a “transactional” foreign policy.

But those who were wrong so many times before miss the point once again.

Or, they miss the trans: President Trump is not simply transactional — he is transformational.

Whether it’s Korea, the Middle East, China or here at home, President Trump has transformed realities that “the experts” considered immutable.

The sachems of the foreign policy establishment began digging bomb backyard shelters when President Trump tweeted “fire and fury” and “little Rocket Man.” Now, North and South Korea are taking unprecedented steps to end a conflict that has gone unresolved for decades. Our president eagerly — and wryly — awaits advice from the experts who were unable to solve the problem.

You can see an equally dramatic transformation regarding China. The wise men of Wall Street and Washington, indeed around the world, confidently told us commercial engagement with China would lead to peace and prosperity for everyone. President Trump dared say the emperor had no clothes, pointing out China’s naked theft of military and trade secrets and flagrant violation of accepted norms.

Despite much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth by the usual suspects, the elites have had to admit “Donald Trump is right” — China does not play by the rules, it poses a threat to the west, and past attempts to deal with its cheating have failed. No less an establishment authority than the Financial Times, the High Church of Free Trade, endorses the restrictions on Chinese overseas investments that President Trump champions. President Trump has transformed the very concept of “the global economy.” China now tries to portray itself as the defender of globalization — whose rules it is universally recognized as violating.

The president recognized reality when he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — and he transformed Middle Eastern politics in the process. Washington no longer makes believe Israel will trade away the eternal capital of the Jewish people in return for an uncertain peace guarantee, and Arab nations have taken note. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman now says Israel has the right its own land, and its neighbors see the benefit of working with Israel, the region’s economic and technological leader.

President Trump has transformed domestic economics and politics as well. He upended liberal orthodoxy with a quadruple whammy of tax reform, trade reform, immigration reform and regulatory reform. Rather than bringing Armageddon as Nancy Pelosi predicted, President Trump’s medicine reinvigorated the economy.

His immigration and trade policies are having a dramatic effect on the American body politic. A recent Harvard-Harris poll found some 64 percent of black Americans and 81 percent of Hispanics support President Trump’s plan to reduce low-skill immigration by building a border wall, ending chain migration and the Diversity Visa Lottery program. The same survey shows sixty percent of black Americans believe free trade deals are responsible for massive job loss in America, the most unfavorable views of free trade of any demographic group in the U.S. We don’t know if the pollsters surveyed Kanye West. 

Hillary Democrats have responded to President Trump’s transformational policies with a mindless mantra of #Resistance. In doing so, these self-styled progressives have in fact become paragons of stand-pat-ism, defenders of a system that was clearly broken.

This is a familiar stance: Democrats act like they have something new while delivering more of the same old same old.

President Obama ran on change with a capital C, but in response to the financial crisis he did his best to restore the status quo ante. Hillary promised to “build on the progress” of the previous administration. But under Obama, millions of Americans saw their incomes stagnate, home values, pensions and opportunities shrink or vanish entirely. More of the same didn’t cut it.

President Trump is delivering the transformational change others only promised. On the world stage, ancient enemies are coming together, and our modern rivals are recognized for what they are. Here at home, a new dynamism infuses the economy, with rising investment, opportunity and wages for Americans.

The Hillary/Pelosi Democrats like to call themselves progressives, but in reality they are defenders of a failed status quo. Economically, it failed working Americans; diplomatically it failed America internationally, and politically, it has failed to solve America’s pressing problems. Everywhere outside the Beltway, Americans knew it failed, and they elected President Trump because he promised to Make America Great Again.

To fulfill that promise and keep the transformation moving forward, it is crucial that Republicans keep control of the House and the Senate in November.

-- Thomas Hicks, Jr., Chairman of the Board for America First Policies

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