ELECTIONS 2020: ANSWERING FREEDOM’S CALL
by Gennady Shkliarevsky
The enigma of the Donald Trump phenomenon has puzzled many. Polls and pundits in unison predicted his defeat in 2016. Yet Trump was able to pull off a remarkable upset to Hillary Clinton—the candidate who was widely regarded as the favorite in that race. Many of the same people favor Joe Biden today. Again, according to polls and pundits he runs ahead of Trump. The progressives vow not to repeat the mistakes of 2016. They are determined to fight this one out to a victorious end.
The recent set back sustained by the Trump campaign in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has put some wind in progressive sails. Many MSM sources are celebrating this defeat, calling it the beginning of the end of the Trump phenomenon.
Indeed, President Trump seems to have lost his most important weapon in this war—his signature mass rallies that attracted thousands of supporters in the campaign of 2016. This time around the left seems to have found the way to sabotage the Trump campaign and force it back to the drawing board. There is a growing realization in the Trump camp that fighting new wars with old weapons may very well be a prescription for defeat. Hence there is an intense search in Trump’s camp for a new winning strategy and issues that can carry the President and his party to a victory in November.
Re-examining past successes is integral to creating new solutions. The success of Trump’s mass rallies in the past was not merely a result of a clever publicity stunt. They were Trump’s intuitive response to the popular revolt against elite rule that involved millions of common Americans who felt excluded and disempowered in their own country by elite rule.
Moreover, the liberal elites showed their utter contempt for the suffering Americans. The liberal establishment denied them any respect and simple human dignity by calling them contemptuously “deplorables.” That was the reason millions of common Americans gave an enormous boost to the Trump campaign and helped it to win in the elections.
Trump’s rallies were an eloquent and very visible rejection of the attitude demonstrated by the liberal elites. For many who attended these rallies, they were a tangible affirmation of their human dignity. These rallies enacted a direct connection between the people and their leader.
Those who took part in these rallies felt empowered by the very presence of Donald Trump in their midst. What many progressive liberals contemptuously referred to as “populism” was a powerful demonstration of the unity between voters and their candidate. Progressive liberals could not offer anything that would even come close to the effusive exuberance of Trump’s rallies.
This time around, the left seems to have found a response to counter Trump’s success with his signature rallies. Their networks with uncanny inventiveness have found the way to sabotage Trump’s rallies and have forced the Trump campaign back to the drawing board. The success of this counterattack shows that new tools and weapons are in order to ensure success in November. However, in devising new strategies and inventing new approaches, the Trump camp would be well advised to keep in mind what made the victory in 2016 possible.
The primary reason for the success in 2016 was not this or that clever tactic or publicity stunt. The victory was due primarily to the yearning for freedom and democracy, for human dignity and respect. For the first time in many decades, common Americans felt their candidate listens to and hears them; they knew that this time they are included and empowered. These same aspirations to be included and empowered are as much valid today as they were back in 2016. Whatever the Trump campaign will come up with in the remaining months before November, these aspirations should constitute the bedrock of their strategy.
None of the clever maneuvers and manipulations of the liberal progressive camp can match the appeal of the simple truth that many Americans share—a simple belief that all humans are created equal. The Biden campaign can offer only more of the same elite domination. Biden may not use the proverbial term “deplorables” this time around but he sure means every letter of this term.
The flirting with socialism by the progressive liberals will not bring much vaunted equality. In all its guises, socialism is little more than just another form of elite rule and, as history shows, one that is much more ruthless than any other in its inhumanity.
The Trump campaign must relentlessly drive this point home. Biden’s victory means will restore elite domination. It will enforce obedience of Americans to elite rule. One can easily glean the future under Biden and the progressives in what we see in America today: suppression of dissonant voices, violence against those who disagree, the enforcement of political correctness in the form of public shaming, and most likely purging of all who pose the even slightest challenge to domineering of elites. In a word, the domination of the progressives will spell the end of freedom.
Common citizens may get some crumbs from the table of their masters but at the cost of being corrupted, excluded, despised, and disempowered. This critique of socialism—not only as a threat to capitalism, but as a threat to human dignity, equality, and freedom—should undergird all specific issues that President Trump and his campaign will be raising in the next four months.
Socialism disagrees with Americans. It contradicts the American tradition that emerged in the early period of this country’s history. This tradition includes independence, rejection of authority, recognition of human dignity, self-respect and respect for human life, and, most importantly, the awareness of the cosmic universal power that has shaped and continues to shape our life and the life of the universe; and that is the source of American values. The progressives reject the American tradition. That is why they hate America. They replaced it with command-control rules and procedures that ensure hierarchical domination and destroy equality.
Although the liberal elites have done all they could during the decades of their domination to suppress the American tradition, this tradition is not dead. It still survives in the depths of American society and culture. We still see this tradition alive in our municipal self-government, in our jury trial, in rules and customs that guide Americans in their daily life and interactions with each other. In his electoral campaign President Trump should appeal as much as possible to the American tradition that has helped this country to survive to the present day. He should never be tired to point to this tradition as the most important guide into our future. He should advocate its preservation and further development into a comprehensive practice that would embody this tradition as a dynamic principle of universal inclusion and empowerment that will sustain this country into an indefinite future.
This new practice will be a sure guarantee that no American will ever be subjected to the infamy of exclusion and the indignity of disempowerment. Trump’s rallies have been only one effective form of this practice. The setback in Tulsa merely shows the importance of the practice that includes common Americans into the decision making process. No doubt rallies are not the only form of such practice.
It behooves to President Trump, his campaign, and those who support him to find new forms that would represent this fundamental unity between Americans and their leaders. These new forms will embody the pledge and serve as the assurance to all Americans that their views, concerns, desires, and aspirations will not be neglected, that they will always be an integral part of the most important and most general decisions that this country will be making in the future.