Nearly three years after his presidency ended, and after years of relentless pounding by the media and the political Left, Donald Trump still enjoys broad support among traditional middle Americans. Drive across the prairies and plains from Minnesota and Montana to Texas, across the Midwest and the South, and one still commonly finds Trump 2020 signs. Middle American Trump supporters are deeply patriotic, and one often finds a Trump sign mixed in among American flags across the countryside, towns, and cities. This show of support will increase now that Mr. Trump has announced his candidacy for 2024. Visiting souvenir shops or T-shirt shops in places like South Dakota or Tennessee as I have in the last year one will find numerous items supporting Mr. Trump and disparaging the current president and vice-president. A great segment of the citizens of our country continues to long for the Trump presidency.
Who are these people? Except for the populace in the dozen or so of the largest metropolitan areas, they may be a majority of Americans. They are the descendants of the silent majority of fifty years ago and the Moral Majority of forty years ago. Many of their grandparents and parents listened to Paul Harvey commentary on the radio each day, their parents and they themselves listened faithfully to Rush Limbaugh. Middle Americans are those who Barak Obama belittled for clinging to guns and religion, Hillary Clinton disparaged as “deplorables,” Joe Biden darkly criticized as “MAGA extremists.” Like their grandfathers, fathers, uncles, and brothers they often proudly served in the military. They hold a deep respect for America, its founding fathers, and the governing documents the founders left us. Many, like me, are people of deep faith, often evangelical Christians of one sort or another. And they are deeply concerned for the future of the United States. They see the unprecedented societal collapse that is now occurring with a mixture of anger and fear.
Traditional Americans know that their country is in grave peril. And they know that Donald Trump understands this. He “gets” them.
Middle Americans are at best skeptical of human-caused climate change and see a deeper agenda at work behind the “green” energy movement. They understand that the United States has tremendous energy resources and wish the country to continue to use those resources. Free-market capitalists in their disposition, they want to pay their own bills and build their own businesses, provide for their own families and save for their own dreams and do not want the continued economic drain of myriad taxes, fees, and regulations. Middle Americans know that running up trillions of dollars in debt can do nothing but destroy the prosperity we enjoy. “Entitlement” is a dirty word to them, just as “welfare” was to their parents. They are compassionate, but don’t want a welfare state. That compassion extends to valid refugee and asylum claims but they view with alarm the continued overrunning of the country by illegal immigration. They are beyond tired of charges of “racism” or some other newly invented “ism” at every turn, tired of victim mentalities and the failure to prosecute criminals, tired of the normalization of sexual perversion. Though most middle Americans do not likely understand much of the philosophic Marxism being pushed on the country by the Left, they are opposed to the various manifestations of it that they observe in government, academia, and the media.
Saul Alinsky was an influential twentieth century American Marxist, often cited as an inspiration to left-leaning politicians like Barak Obama. One of his celebrated principles in his work “Rules for Radicals” was to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.” Few middle Americans have ever heard of Alinsky but understand that the disdain of the left for Mr. Trump is really a disdain for traditional America. Mr. Trump is the “target” that has been personalized. Those who are the most disparaging of Mr. Trump are those who hate America as it has been known.
What of Donald Trump himself? The failings and shortcomings in his personal life have been well documented in the press, even amplified. “You’re hired. You’re fired. You’re a (bleep)“ is no way to run a business, let alone the highest levels of our government. Many of his presidential appointments were excellent; some were almost puzzling and poor. His constant degradation, put downs, and feuding with those who should be his allies is concerning and ultimately counterproductive; this may be his biggest failing as a political leader. He often is simply too focused on himself rather than the interests of the country. His age is an issue – should he be elected again, he would be seventy-seven when he would assume office; the current president is a barely-walking demonstration that such advanced age is not ideal for a president.
There are likely better potential presidential nominees for middle Americans to support. Others can carry the populist and libertarian themes Mr. Trump often articulates and are certainly better able to articulate conservative policies and themes. The Republican party has a couple of governors, a few senators, and a few former Trump administration officials who would make a strong president. But if Mr. Trump does indeed secure the nomination, against any conceivable nominee of the party of the Left, most traditional middle Americans like myself will vote for Mr. Trump in a heartbeat. He gets us.
Ultimately, human government will fail. Those of us who are Christians are reminded in Scripture (Isaiah 9:6) that
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
More than a better America, we long for the eternal Kingdom of the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.