While Democrats and their wingmen in the media are falling over themselves to make superstars out of shiny new socialists such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, the unapologetic capitalist in the White House is achieving something much more monumental. He’s delivering a booming economy that is bringing increased prosperity, opportunity and freedom to every demographic group. That, in turn, is generating growing support for him and his policies, including, most significantly, from constituencies critical to the Democratic Party.
These inroads into traditionally reliable Democrat voting blocs are giving rise to a developing existential threat to the party and its policies. And it’s all happening right under the noses of the Democrats and the press, who are too consumed by their anti-Trump extremism to see the tectonic shifts taking place.
When those policies inevitably produced what socialism always produces — hardship and sluggishness — we were told to suck it up and accept the “new normal.” Anemic economic growth, bad trade deals, the death of manufacturing, the end of fossil fuel-based energy, stagnant wages, stubbornly high unemployment and low labor participation — all unavoidable, immutable facts of life in the 21st century.
Obama and his team spun this falsehood for years, hoping the American people would simply shrug over the waning of capitalism and embrace the old/new redistributionism. Forward! — as the Obama campaign slogan (and traditional communist slogan) demanded.
During the 2016 campaign, Obama mocked then-candidate Trump’s promise to bring back jobs to the U.S. “How exactly are you going to do that? What exactly are you going to do?” Obama asked. “He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ How exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is, he doesn’t have an answer.”
Turns out, Trump did have an answer and it wasn’t Harry Potter wizardry but common-sense, proven economics: tax reform, deregulation, unleashing the energy sector, renegotiating those damaging trade deals and dismantling ObamaCare.
The results came right on cue: More than 4 percent GDP growth in the second quarter, with third quarter estimates at an incredible 5 percent. The stock market up more than 30 percent since Trump’s inauguration. Black, Hispanic and female unemployment at or near record lows. Manufacturing jobs roaring back. The European Union blinking on tariffs. NAFTA renegotiation completed perhaps by Labor Day. Energy production booming, with the U.S. set to become a net oil and gas exporter within four years.
And Trump’s done it all with the special counsel’s Russia investigation hanging over him. Imagine what he’ll be able to do once the cloud is gone. (Perhaps that’s another reason Democrats want it to continue forever.)
The blockbuster economic expansion has done the one thing the left most feared: It has put the lie to the Obama-era socialist nonsense. A limping U.S. economy is not and never has to be the “new normal,” redistributionist policies do not and have never worked, and we don’t have to put up with economic weakness. And one more thing: The American engine of economic growth is alive and well; it just needed the right leadership and policies to revive it.
The success of the free market is again patently obvious — and it’s the left’s worst nightmare. Democrats know they cannot sustain even marginal hemorrhaging of support from their core constituencies and remain viable. But those groups are benefitting from the Trump economy and are increasingly giving him and his party credit for their improving economic picture.
Recent polling reveals the trend lines: Trump’s job approval is in the mid to high 40s, or even as high as 50 percent, depending on the survey. Rasmussen Reports shows black support for Trump doubling to 29 percent; Harvard/Harris reports a 10-point jump in support among Hispanics; and IBD/TIPP records optimism about the economy surging significantly among millennials and independents.
For all of the drama swirling around Trump, it appears that most Americans are focused on how their lives are improving under him. There are other variables, of course, and these trends could evaporate quickly if the economy falters (particularly if tariffs disrupt growth) or an unforeseen event occurs. It’s also true that Democrats appear to enjoy an enthusiasm advantage heading into the November elections. So Trump has to keep the economy humming and Democrats have to try to undermine it.
But here’s the bigger point: In a short year and a half, Trump has been able to deliver what Obama couldn't — wouldn’t — in eight long years. Through his economic success, Trump is showing that his predecessor was the “emperor with no clothes’’ — and his leftist policies were equally naked.
So while the left and media glamorize socialism, the American people are now fully aware of its false promises and prophets — and they want more of what Trump is giving them: full-throttle capitalism. And that, perhaps more than any other single thing, is what will continue to drive the Trump revolution and change the political landscape.
Monica Crowley is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, based at King’s College in New York City, which examines national security, energy, risk-analysis and other public policy issues.