Feehery: The corrupt bargain
In 1824, Andrew Jackson won more votes for president than any of the other candidates running against him, including John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay. But he didn’t win enough electoral votes to win the presidency and the election was thrown to the House of Representatives to be decided.
During the vote swapping that entailed, Clay cut a deal with Adams that delivered the White House for the famous son of our nation’s second president and the secretary of State job for the proud Kentuckian.
Jackson and his partisans were rightly furious at the insider trading and he soon branded it a “corrupt bargain.”
Old Hickory never truly conceded the election, nor did he attempt to heal the nation.
Instead he channeled his anger and the anger of his supporters into a furious campaign that resulted in his overwhelming election four years later.
Andy Jackson was the nation’s first truly disruptive president. He dismantled the Second National Bank, wiped out the national debt, and made America safe for deplorable Westerners who had little interest in participating in the election process before he arrived on the scene. And in the process. he made the Democratic Party a dominant force in American politics for a generation.
Donald Trump is America’s second disrupter-in-chief. There was an obvious reason that official Washington cheered so lustily for Joe Biden’s victory. It’s the same reason that Wall Street supported the Biden campaign overwhelmingly while big tech and the big media worked so hard to tip the scales in favor of the former vice president.
The political/media/financial establishment has little interest in disruption. They are doing just fine with the status quo and have almost no interest in the troubles that have befallen the working class. They blame the deplorables for creating their own problems. The elite dislike the cultural values of the proletariat, find them uncouth in their slavish devotion to tradition, find their lack of education insulting, all the while finding their own progressive values to be enlightened, morally just and ethically superior in every possible way.
The truth of this election is that there was a lot more support for Trump than the progressive left could ever imagine.
Had Trump handled Covid better, had he not bombed the first debate, had he had a sharper focus in his messaging, he would have won the election hands down.
There may or may not have been wide-spread fraud in this past election. I don’t have any direct evidence that there was, but some of these results are fishy enough to raise legitimate concerns.
To Trump partisans, there doesn’t have to be overwhelming evidence of voter fraud. After all, what Henry Clay did for John Quincy Adam was fully legal. It just didn’t smell right.
For the last couple of years, pundits have been wondering who will be the next Trump? Nobody plays Trump better than Trump.
The Republican establishment probably doesn’t want to hear this, but here it goes: Trump is not going away.
With the right coaching, the right planning, and the right strategy, Trump could use the passion stirred up by this controversial election and mount a comeback in four short years.
Joe Biden will be a caretaker president, hoping to make America calm again, safe for the political establishment. But he will enter the White House with a hostile Senate, a resurgent Republican House minority and geriatric House Democratic leadership that totters on the edge of irrelevancy. Major accomplishments seem unlikely and it is highly likely that Mr. Biden will not run again, given his advanced age.
So that opens the door for the current Oval Office occupant to mount a comeback.
Trump might be down now, but I don’t know if we can count him out for the long run. His base still loves him and doesn’t necessarily blame him for his loss, an unusual result in presidential elections.
If he plays it right, Mr. Trump could return, stronger than ever. That won’t make official Washington very happy, but it could give some hope for those who still proudly wear their red MAGA hats.
Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).
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