Gloom is always annoying and almost never the best response to even the most upsetting developments. It’s always psychologically better and a more efficient response to negative facts to try to design around them and get back to a positive sequence of objectives, no matter how tortuous and challenging.
Sometimes reflexive and uninformed cheerfulness is useful as a momentary palliative, but it swiftly descends into a make-believe optimism that is bound to be disappointed. That seems to be where much of the Republican response to the midterm elections has settled.
Those of us who are appalled by the weakness, incoherence, corruption, and hypocrisy of the Biden administration would do better to recognize the implications of the disaster in the midterm elections and the extent of the task that confronts those—apparently a significant majority—who believe that Bidenism is a straight boulevard to catastrophe.
Whatever else may be said of Donald Trump, he represented a shaped-up Western alliance fully armed and determined to prevent continued Chinese advance at the expense of the West; effective opposition to North Korea and Iran as nuclear powers; and a determination to reverse the erosion of America by the admission of countless millions of migrants partly masking the smuggling in with them of unfeasible quantities of lethal drugs. He also represented the celebration of the unifying American nationality over atomizing inflamed groups protesting multifarious forms of victimhood: self-serving nihilists gnawing at the bowels of America and denigrating virtually all of its characteristics and traditions.
Trump supported rational limits to the treatment of climate change: He continued to compel the reduction of environmental pollution while eliminating oil imports and recognizing the economic insanity of excessive and over-hasty promotion of energy sources that are deemed to be sustainable but are, in fact, inadequate in themselves and economically profoundly unsustainable. America has apparently chosen Biden over Trump twice, a grievous self-issued verdict.
It was widely believed prior to the midterm elections that the fact that three-quarters of Americans believed the country was headed in the wrong direction under the current administration, and disapproved of that administration by a substantial majority, would assure that a sharp course correction would be imposed by the voters.
The principal fact to emerge from these elections was that the well-founded disapproval of this hapless and, at times, malevolent administration was effectively equaled by a confected, defamatory fear that a return of Donald Trump would plunge the country into chaos, violence, racism, and intolerable indignities.
It seemed a reasonable hope that the failures of the Biden administration in almost every field and the alarming trend of the most obvious indicators—economic breakdown and soaring crime rates—would motivate the country to seek a different result in the event of a presidential election rematch between Biden and Trump. The evidence of the midterm elections is otherwise, and the Republicans have only managed to accustom themselves to the dangerous practices of ballot harvesting in some states and not in others.
Unless Trump can, as he gave some indication of doing in his announcement of his campaign for renomination, convince a substantial number of voters that he’s a seriously renovated and less erratic political personality, there’s no reason to think he will do better in 2024 than he has in the last two elections.
He can still meet these criteria, but it will require diligence and self-discipline.
For the majority who still believe in the traditional America, sensibly updated and cleansed of discrimination, the country is entering mortally perilous times. The midterms were a wake-up call, but has anyone awakened?