Trump Nearing the Crossroads

As 2024 approaches, what will Trump do?


The Left may not wish to admit it, but the fortunes of a once moribund Donald Trump of January 2021 have now largely recovered—even before the stunning gubernatorial victory of Republican Glenn Youngkin in Virginia.

How and why?

One, Joe Biden did not, as dishonestly advertised, prove to be good Ol’ “Lunch bucket” Joe. He was no moderate from Scranton. Instead, Biden has served as the clueless gun barrel through which hard-core leftists fired off the most unpopular agenda in memory.

Open borders, huge deficits, the Afghanistan catastrophe, looming stagflation, empty shelves, bottlenecked ports, soaring energy prices, toxic critical race theory, the disastrous previews of the Green New Deal, a weaponized federal government, and the addled decline of Biden himself have done more than just collapse support for the president and his policies.

More importantly, Biden’s string of catastrophes endangers the very stuff of life, from the ability to afford gas to finding goods on the shelves.

Two, for 10 months, Donald Trump has been stripped of all his social network outlets. The progressive Silicon monopolies thought they had silenced the once omnipresent Trump.

But their muzzles had unintended consequences. The less Trump was on social media, the more the public remembered his good policies rather than his controversial tweets.

Three, Donald Trump was as responsible or not responsible for COVID-19 deaths as is Joe Biden. On Biden’s watch, more have died each day on average from the disease than during Trump’s tenure from the start of the pandemic.

Contrary to Biden’s ungracious boasts, Trump is to be credited with the successful vaccination rollout. And the Florida model of Governor Ron DeSantis, not the New York and California model of ongoing near-complete lockdowns, did far less economic and social damage with no more—and in some cases fewer deaths per capita.

Four, Trump’s low point—the January 6 Capitol rampage—was not, as the Left propagandized, a preplanned conspiratorial “armed insurrection,” and the evidence against that narrative is now becoming apparent.

The FBI found no conspiracy at the heart of the violent entry into the Capitol.

No one inside the Capitol itself was arrested for the use or possession of a firearm. Officer Sicknick tragically died of natural causes a day after the riot, not at the hands of Trump supporters as was claimed.

The initial headlines of five dead due to the “insurrection” were completely false. Four died of either natural or accidental causes. The fifth, the diminutive, unarmed military veteran Ashli Babbitt, died due to the questionable decision of an officer to shoot an unarmed suspect.

Five, Trump’s supposed rantings often proved prescient rather than mad. Radical iconoclasts really did move on to attacking the monuments and statues of Jefferson, Lincoln, and Washington.

The Russian collusion hoax really was a massive fraud. The only collusion was between the media, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and the FBI to destroy a Republican presidential campaign.

Joe Biden’s family really was engaged in a grifting enterprise that used Biden’s office to leverage quid pro quo money from foreign governments.

Hunter Biden’s laptop was really his own—and not a product of “Russian disinformation.”

As a result, a resurgent Trump is considering another presidential run. Most Republicans want him to run. They welcome a return of his successful pre-pandemic policies and a leader who does not fear the unhinged Left. They believe Joe Biden reversed the Trump agenda and brought misery. Trump promises to restore it and bring back prosperity.

But Youngkin showed that he could push Trump’s populist agenda, keep the MAGA base, and yet also win back independents—mainly as a Trump-like candidate, but one who gets even with, rather than mad at, the Left.

So, at the crossroad of the Republican pathway back to power, there are plenty of known unknowns.

Would possible presidential candidates like Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, former Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, or former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advance the MAGA agenda, but without the fireworks and distractions?

Or would they prove similar to a once impressive Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker—who nonetheless fizzled on the 2016 campaign stage?

Or would a battle-scarred and wizened veteran Trump now outsmart rather than merely outrage his enemies by picking his targets more carefully?

Can Trump, like Youngkin, win back suburbanites and independents to achieve a 51 percent majority—something no Republican presidential candidate has achieved in 33 years?

Or could his less carnivorous rivals of the status quo be able to keep the Trump base from sitting out the election as they did in 2008 and 2016?

Would Trump ever be content with becoming the senior statesman basking in the credit of rebooting the Republican Party from a stereotyped wealthy white corporate party into a populist-nationalist movement of the middle class of all races and ethnicities?

Or will Trump redo 2016, bulldoze to the nomination, go for the jugular of the now hard-left Democratic Party, clobbering his way to a 2016-like Electoral College victory—or a defeat that others who copied his agendas might have avoided?

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump and the newly released The Dying Citizen.

November 5, 2021 | 11 Comments »

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  1. Donald Trump is a man consumed with grievance against people he believes have betrayed him, but few betrayals have enraged him more than what his attorney general did to him. To Trump, the unkindest cut of all was when William Barr stepped forward and declared that there had been no widespread fraud in the 2020 election, just as the president was trying to overturn Joe Biden’s victory by claiming that the election had been stolen.

    In a series of interviews with me this spring, Barr spoke, for the first time, about the events surrounding his break with Trump. I have also spoken with other senior officials in the Trump White House and Justice Department, who provided additional details about Barr’s actions and the former president’s explosive response. Barr and those close to him have a reason to tell his version of this story. He has been widely seen as a Trump lackey who politicized the Justice Department. But when the big moment came after the election, he defied the president who expected him to do his bidding.

    Barr’s betrayal came on December 1, over lunch in the attorney general’s private dining room with Michael Balsamo, a Justice Department beat reporter at the Associated Press. Also in attendance were the DOJ chief of staff, Will Levi, and spokesperson Kerri Kupec. Balsamo was not told the reason for the invitation. When Barr dropped his bombshell between bites of salad, he mumbled, and Balsamo wasn’t sure that he had caught what the attorney general had said.

    “Just to be crystal clear,” Balsamo asked, “are you saying—”

    “Sir, I think you better repeat what you just said,” Kupec interjected.

    “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Barr repeated. This time Balsamo heard him.

    David A. Graham: Trump’s coup attempt didn’t start on January 6

    Balsamo’s story appeared on the AP newswire shortly after lunch ended: “Disputing Donald Trump’s persistent baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared Tuesday the U.S. Justice Department had uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.”

    The story blew a hole in the president’s claims. Nobody seriously questioned Barr’s conservative credentials or whether he had been among Trump’s most loyal Cabinet secretaries. His conclusion sent a definitive message that the effort to overturn the election was without merit.

    The last paragraph above sums up my views. I would just add the election result will never change no matter how long or how incensed some are about it. I wished Trump was POTUS but unfortunately it is Biden, a man I can NOT stand.

  2. Bear, like you we share surnames(Klein). Unlike you, I have nothing but contempt for Barr. If you search Ruby Ridge, you should find how then AG Barr, was a,”fine mensch,” during what was an unjustified killing of a young housewife. He was never partial tk Trump, likely against.

  3. I revert to former Attorney General Bill Barr view were to paraphrase NOT quote he thought there was not enough proof to overturn the election.

    He was on the inside and a loyal royal GOP and conservative and a very rationale man. I took my cue from him and moved on. I understand many commentators here and Ted, believe strongly otherwise.

    ” Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.”

  4. @Bear
    I totally disagree with you assesment of why Trump “lost”. The election was stolen, not lost.

    To believe otherwise, such an opinion either comes from malice (which I don’t believe you have) or ignorance.

  5. @Bear
    “Biden had less negatives and Trump motivated Democrats to vote in large numbers plus lost independents and ALL Democrats. ”

    I really never realized that you actually believed Trump honestly lost the election. From your comment here, correct me if I am misreading it, I take it that you actually believe the senile codger actually gained 80million votes, or at least more votes than Trump – serious question if you will indulge me.

    Not to challenge your views, but I am trying to reflect upon your assessment here and I have a question, if you would indulge my curiosity. I find this remarkably unlikely, given Trump 2020 beat Trump 2016 votes by >10million additional votes. I can appreciate that some would believe the mantra that Trump repelled independents, and that the unheard of crowds don’t equate to actually unheard of vote tallies, but this is all irrelevant to the realities of the election results. Trump gained more votes than any politician in history, with the single exception of the one that did not actually campaign, and whose campaign did not actually canvass for votes – which is how Obama is claimed to have achieved his blowout victories in 2008-2012 – which might suggest they did not need the vote-gains associated with canvassing. The lack of opposition as Basement Biden(cloistered with only momentary nonsensical interviews where he commonly lost track of the conversation and said some of the oddest things in political history) suggests that the election was a run on Trump running against Trump in 2020, so to speak, where his negatives fueled a greater support than his supporters could offset. Consequently, the proposition that he actually lost in 2020 would then require us to believe that those who despised the president were more motivated than those who loved him, which could be possible, though I would argue this was not true. We would also have to believe the fraud, including hundreds of thousands of votes in multiple states, were irrelevant to the outcome of the actual election, which is clearly not the case as shown in AZ and which is pretty substantially supported in the other contested states, even before we look at the actual ballots. The state of FL, which is not in contest, has recently been shown to have~200,000 fraudulent/ghost vote via canvassing – just on canvassing without pursuing the ballots.

    But if your suspicion that Trump’s negatives with voters actually threw the election to the Dems in 2020 is true, and the fraud is true, this would create an odd box of square pegs coincidentally fitting round holes, so to speak. As I see things, the halting of vote counts coordinated across multiple states, all of which were among the key contested states, at nearly the same moment, in which victories are razor thin and the number of questionable to absolutely fraudulent votes are in the thousands to hundreds of thousands greater than needed to swing the state would dispute the view Trump actually lost in 2020. I know this was not the focus of your comment, but the basis of your view is that Trump’s negatives were the demonstrative focus that lost the election in 2020, again correct me if I am misreading this, and this would be relevant in future elections.

    Not to debate the topic, your beliefs are your own, and it is not my intent here to challenge your perspective, but, your record of electoral predictions not withstanding (I have my own record with baseball outcomes at the world series 🙂 ), I am curious if you would share how you reconcile these facts? Few who I know hold this view and those who do are irrational and unpleasant conversationalists, frankly, and I recognize you do not routinely conclude to an opinion without serious consideration. So if you would extrapolate your views on how the outcome was not related to the fraud, your interpretation in any case, as I really am curious, I am interested in your view – it’s not a point of rhetoric, but I really disagree with you and am curious how you square these findings with your view that Trump actually lost in 2020 while the Reps largely swept across the country despite the mail-in/drop box frauds opposing them.

  6. I voted for Trump twice. However, I am analyzing politics for many years and have a very good track record of predicting elections before (not perfect but substantially higher than pollsters, yes not a big deal).

    Trump beat Hillary in part because of her super high negatives and many independents, plus some Democrats voted for him. Trump lost to Biden (which I had predicted ). Biden had less negatives and Trump motivated Democrats to vote in large numbers plus lost independents and ALL Democrats.

    The electorate is now made up of approximately 50% independents. Biden now is perceived very negatively but so is Trump except for the GOP. Trump is very popular among the GOP.. He is viewed negatively by independents and Democrats however. A GOP candidate with less negatives will have a better chance to win the election in my view. Someone who has very similar policies to Donald Trump but has less negatives. Perhaps Pompeo or DeSantis could be such a person. Though such a candidate would also need to appeal to the large very loyal followers of Donald Trump. His endorsement would help.

  7. @Michael

    I expect Donald J. Trump to run for President of the US in 2024, and to get elected.

    If we wait for 2024, I don’t believe it will be possible for him or any reform candidate to win. We would have to address the fraud, and to address the fraud we would have to examine the fraud. It has been a full year since the 2020 election and a single county has examined the fraud and we still have not obtained one arrest, one charge or one change.

    If there is no penalty for criminality, there is no crime. If we are not intimately familiar with the crime committed in each state, we can not address the criminality that is being ignored. If we are not intimately familiar with the now well established variety of fraud being perpetrated in each state, we can not reform the system to eliminate the fraud. If we can not reform the system to eliminate the fraud in the greatest election heist in world history, why would those who perpetrated the initial fraud and so greatly benefited from their non-criminal crime, not re-invest and improve upon their scheme while maintaining a grasp upon what they have already seized. We aren’t even certain of the crimes perpetrated in 2020 across the country. Meanwhile, they control the politicians, the courts, the legal authorities, the press, and the office of the presidency. The fraud is real, but it will take more than votes to see the return of the authority to the people from these self-appointed monarchs who laud their authority over the public. I just don’t believe Trump has as much chance of victory in 2024 as he did in 2020, if the fraud is not pursued and remedied.

    Fraud vitiates everything and certified fraud will become a systemic feature of the system permanently accepted beyond contest. Trusting the system will only allow the system to appoint a new tool. The public may even get to choose between a choice of system appointed tools, but it will not be Trump as he is nobody’s tool. He will not win if the fraud is not exposed, prosecuted and reformed. Just my thoughts, but it seems to me to be a fair analysis. What say you, and others?

  8. Trump exposed widely thirty years of collusion btw blue republicans and dems.
    Three more years to get rid of most rinos who have deliberately backstabbed the “deplorables”.
    Trump, the first president focusing on the plight of the minorities and providing solutions..
    The MSM, a cancer in need of a CURE! May already be too late.
    Trump exposed the enormous potentials of the American people for the American people, for the world and for peace. Peace through STRENGTH!.
    The W DC elito-kleptocracy (red and blue) fearful of the minorities defecting!
    The beginning of the end of a Stockholm syndrome? The rinos never had any interest for the minorities.

  9. Barring an act of God, I expect Donald J. Trump to run for President of the US in 2024, and to get elected. I don’t know what effect this will have on the world’s systemic failure.

  10. President Donald Trump is taking a stand against newly-authorized Covid-19 vaccines for children ages 5 and up in the United States.

    In a brand-new interview shared by his official spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, on Twitter, Trump responded to the question of whether or not children would be good candidates for the rapidly-developed, emergency-use authorized Covid vaccine. He stated:

    “I don’t think so. They’re strong…their immune systems are strong. They’re not affected like, especially, older people that have some kind of a problem, whether it’s diabetes or something. Those people I definitely really strongly recommend…but children are different…it’s just not the same problem with children. No, I would, generally speaking, not recommend it.”[sidenote, “older people” are among those greatest at risk of vaccine injury and a recent report demonstrates that diabetes among other disabling diseases are counter indicated for vaccination(]

    This comes on the heels of sweeping vaccine mandates in public schools across the country, specifically concentrated in radical blue states like New York or California. In fact, California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom announced in October that all children, whether they were in public or private schools, would be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to attend school as soon as the vaccine was authorized for use.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently gave emergency use authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 and up, claiming that it is “about 91% effective in preventing Covid-19 in children ages 5 through 11.”

    However, as Trump pointed out in his statement, children have historically been “different” when compared to adults in the pandemic landscape.

    Interestingly enough, in a study done by researchers from Yale and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2020, while Trump was in the White House, they found that children have a much more distinct immune system response to viral Covid infection. In other words, children have hearty and robust natural immunity, which is generally why they are hardly considered a “high risk” category in terms of contracting the coronavirus.[innate immunity]

    As more Democrat leaders across the country roll out tyrannical mandates in schools and for children, it looks like parents are beginning to push back. In the recent Virginia gubernatorial race, Republican Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin catapulted to victory with support from voting parents who were pushing back against restrictive coronavirus policies in their children’s schools.

    Oddly enough, as more Republican candidates seize victory across the country in their respective political races, Democrats seem to be digging in their heels on vaccine mandates and regulations, now targeting the most vulnerable population in society: children.

    In August, President Trump previously decried the concept of mandating the Covid-19 vaccine for anyone, stating in an interview with OAN that Covid vaccines should not be forced with mandates or be forced on children, reiterating what many Americans feel when he said, “I think mandates are terrible.”

    In light of the sudden push to forcibly vaccinate young children who appear to have healthy natural immunity, parents have begun to fight back in states like Virginia by voting in conservative leaders who have promised not to enforce dictatorial edits that violate the bodily autonomy of their constituents.

    Additionally, does this Democrat push to vaccinate children mean that traditionally blue states like California will also experience political backlash? Time will tell, but in the meantime, parents are faced with a very real and very serious decision: do they comply with the mandates or not? According to President Trump, children don’t need the vaccine anyway, and it remains to be seen if parents will continue to assert their authority against power-hungry governors, overreaching school boards, and unconstitutional federal decrees from the Biden administration.

  11. There are many who see the rift in the Republican party as a basis of criticism against Pres. Trump and use this as substantiation for their idea that Trump would be less successful, ie gain fewer votes, than other ranking Reps . I easily take a differing view on this.

    Trump won the 2016 election carrying no favors from the Rep establishment and holding no support from the Rep establishment, not even at his Convention nomination. He won the election by appealing to a broad base of support and this was repeated by his stolen victory in 2020 as evidenced by the level of skullduggery that was needed to manufacture a victory against him, including hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes in multiple states, and incorporating upto 14% of the vote.

    This easily displaced the defecting “conservatives” who found it easy enough to pull the lever for first Clinton and then Obama’s third term. In fact the increased level of support that Trump had gained during his tumultuous presidency unqualifyingly speaks to this reality, as does his increased support from the African American community during this time, a long-time, unwavering bastion support of the Dems. Furthermore, in spite of the flipped votes from Trump to his opponent in 2020 and the effect such manipulations swayed the statistics of the election outcome, Trump’s vote tally increased by more than 10million votes, an astounding and unprecedented feat in US presidential history – all of this despite the GOP establishment wing embracing their new allies among the Dem Radicals.

    The suggestion that Trump was empowered by being out of public earshot of his unpolitic voice ignores two points. First Trump has never stopped talking to the public from interviews to his website to his message drops, all of which contained the classic Trump content of discussing the unvarnished truth in an unvarnished tongue. Second, and more relevant I believe, the public have a view that defies the establishment and Trump represents their views. This was true in 2016, it was true in 2020, and I believe it remains true to this day.

    The US public are wary of the corruption and unqualified missteps that have encumbered the USA into policies and trends that are not well supportive of American views. Following Trump’s election this became exponentially more evident, and since January, matters have launched into hyper-overdrive. Americans reject these un-American re-valuation of moral standards and the diminution of democratic norms. No other representative figure in politics can as well bring this topic to reality.

    Of course to prevent the repeat of the 2020 upset, we must first identify the fraud, prosecute the fraud, and finally pursue what reforms needed to prevent the recurrence of the election fraud and which caused the 2020 upset, and to do this, we must actually be willing to examine the 2020 election in a broader manner than is currently occurring. Barring this, it will only be a question of which next bobble-head the establishment appoints to defeat Trump or any other reform minded champion of the public will in every coming election as they see fit in doing.