The mainstream conservative press here is busy writing off Trump and preparing us for a Biden presidency. They argue a Biden presidency would be better, both for America and Britain. Trump is too dangerous, too unreliable, too divisive. Biden would work better on the international stage, repair alliances – especially with Europe. Trump’s response to Covid has been a disaster, revealing his insensitivity and grotesque ego, all of which is reflected in the polls, which put Biden well ahead.
Freddie Gray writes in the Spectator that Americans now want an end to the madness, a return to normality, even if that spells an ‘Obama restoration project’. Kate Andrews, formerly of the free market Institute of Economic Affairs, writes that she will even be voting for Biden. It is Trump’s sheer ‘nastiness, unkindness, the racism and misogyny’ that has done it. The ‘social fabric of America is coming undone’, and it was Trump who proposed a ban on Muslims coming in (which, incidentally, half of Americans supported).
But aren’t global liberals who would restore the status quo – global free trade, open borders, mass immigration, cheap labour, multiculturalism etc. – forgetting a few things?
Trump was elected because he was an ‘anti-politician’ who talked the talk of ordinary Americans, the people Hilary Clinton famously termed ‘the deplorables’, an unashamed patriot, who would stop America being ripped off, and defend the American dream. When he pantomimed conventional presidential behaviour at a rally in Florida, walking stiffly up and down the podium and speaking in a monotone, the crowd went wild.
With the culture wars raging, America is under existential threat as never before, and Trump is the only one calling out the BLM critical race theorists, refusing to take the knee, and standing up for Martin Luther King’s dream that no-one should be judged by the colour of their skin – a view that now counts as ‘whitesplaining’, the denial of white privilege.
Trump cited King in his Independence Day address at Mount Rushmore, in which he paid tribute to ‘the titans’ carved into the granite face of the rock – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. He argued, ‘We believe that our children should be taught to love their country, honour their history, and respect our great American flag. We stand tall, we stand proud, and we only kneel to Almighty God.’ And he hammered the ‘racial ideology’ of those whose aim is ‘not a better America’ but ‘to end America’.
No wonder the Guardian was in a state of shock. One suspects that with Biden and ‘the radical Left’ in power (no-one expects Biden to last past two years before power passes to Kamala Harris) it won’t be long before the Mount Rushmore sculptures, already condemned by BLM as depicting slaveowners and racists, are dynamited Taliban style. Yet the steadily growing support for Trump among minorities suggests that Trump’s claim to stand for all Americans regardless of race has universal appeal.
And who called out China? The plain fact is that there is only one country standing between China and world domination, and that is America – or to be precise, America under Trump.
True, the presidential debates were dismal, but then no-one expected anything else. True, Covid has not been Trump’s finest hour, but neither has it been Boris Johnson’s. And though making light of the virus may have lost him votes early on, Trump’s personal Regeneron-assisted bounce back from Covid and his anti-lockdown anti-mask quips may now be playing to his advantage.
It certainly helps his rallies, where many have commented that Trump has never looked better. Even his tan looks more natural. While poor ‘sleepy’ Joe Biden is guided, bemasked, to the podium, closely accompanied by an aide, looking for all the world like a geriatric patient out for a walk with his nurse, Trump (no mask) strides out onto the podium like the conquering hero.
Do take a look at the hilarious ‘Trump rallies versus Biden rallies’ video on YouTube [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYzHo1dkVj8] in which Trump is surrounded by cheering supporters, all having the time of their life – while poor Biden delivers barely audible statements to handfuls of bystanders in half-deserted shopping malls and car parks. The social distancing has been so effective that no-one has bothered to turn up at all.
But the rallies are revealing. Trump is a master, a natural, a showman. He takes his time, applauds the crowd, points out the placards, responds individually to the hecklers with ready quips, and always remembers to compliment the local football or baseball team.
Most of all, he looks like he is happy to be there, and is among friends. He tells the crowds at Erie, Pennsylvania, that descending the steps from Airforce One, which has parked right next to the stand, is like walking off a three-storey building.
He plays with them: ‘No-one likes me. The drug companies don’t like me. The Chinese don’t like me. The Iranians, THEY don’t like me. Oh – you like me in Erie!’ The crowds love it. Walking off, he punches the air to the sound of ‘YMCA’. Trump would never pass muster at an Oxford Union debate (one opponent gets described as ‘a son of a bitch’), but then that is his appeal.
Trump berates the ‘fake’ media for not showing the crowds at his rallies, which he claims are bigger than ever. Melania, he tells the crowds, says that the media footage only shows his face. Does he have a point? Are the polls wrong? Most pollsters got it badly wrong last time, but a notable exception was the Trafalgar Group, who tailored their polling techniques to getting Trump supporters shy of openly expressing their opinions to reveal them – for example, by asking ‘how would your neighbours vote?’ and then comparing the answers.
Robert Cahaly, Trafalgar’s chief pollster, argues that this time round, Trump supporters are shyer than ever of revealing their views. In an interview with Arutz Sheva of Israel National News, he remarks, ‘Four years ago, Trump supporters were called deplorable. That’s the nicest thing they might be called now.’ Older Americans especially feel threatened by the growing ‘cancel culture’. Cahaly’s prediction? – a Trump win.
Come 3 November, the global liberal conservative establishment could be in for a shock.