June 21, 2021
We’re thrilled to bring you our June magazine (have you read it yet?) with some of the brightest minds and interesting articles from our batch of contributors.
As our publisher and podcast host, I tackle the tough question of where does the Republican party go from here? Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke dives into the phony-baloney pork-stuffed U.S. jobs plan, plus so much more. Our fantastic contributors cover sports, cannabis, and investing.
Thank you for being a part of the American Consequences family, and we hope you enjoy this month’s magazine.
The Elephant in the Room
A crowd of thousands erupted in cheers as the former president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, took to the stage in Greenville, North Carolina earlier this month. It was his first big public appearance outside of the state of Florida, and he was speaking to an eager crowd of MAGA supporters.
“We’re going to win North Carolina’s all-important U.S. Senate race,” he promised, “And we’re going to lay the groundwork for making sure that Republicans once again carry the great state of North Carolina…”
And then came a subtle hint…
“In a year that I very much look forward to: 2024.”
The year 2024 will be here sooner than you think… And the Republican Party is in the middle of some serious soul-searching as it attempts to recalibrate ahead of both the congressional elections in 2022 and the almighty 2024.
The Trump Factor: Suffocating, Sustainable, or the Winning Formula?
The popularity of Trump’s policies is indisputable… 74 million Americans proved that. Many may not have liked some of his statements per se, but they liked his policies.
In the era of soaring populism on both sides, that need for solid, meaningful policies is growing increasingly apparent.
In the era of soaring populism on both sides, that need for solid, meaningful policies is growing increasingly apparent.
If Trump chooses to run again (and that’s still a big IF), it will be almost impossible for any other candidate to run. Love him or hate him, at present, there is no one in the Republican field with his level of star power.
That said, as 2020 proved, star power isn’t everything… In fact, star power ultimately may have been the Right’s downfall.
As we know, Biden managed to campaign entirely from his basement and still win. That’s in part because Americans were feeling exhausted… exhausted by the nonstop coverage, exhausted by Trump’s ability to effectively suck all the oxygen out of the room with his constant attention-seeking comments, and exhausted by the media’s hatred of all things Trump.
As a result, many people who consider themselves Republican or Independent voted for Biden. Not because they believed in his policies, but because Biden represented a way to counter the negativity and sensationalism of politics that people had grown so sick and tired of.
The only problem? Americans assumed they were voting for a candidate who would effectively keep the economic status quo…
A ‘Revolutionary’ President Biden
In fact, Americans seemed to have no idea they were getting a quasi-socialist (in the Bernie Sanders and FDR vein) who aims to remake America through a redistribution of wealth. Indeed, immediately following his first joint address to Congress, President Biden made a beeline over to Sanders, signaling his support for the senator’s socialist policies.
Biden is attempting to model himself after FDR… Early in his presidency, he invited liberal historians to the White House for a discussion about how liberal he might be able to really get… and how history might treat him should he be successful. The historians (naturally) applauded his efforts and encouraged the president to pursue a radically liberal economic agenda.
Though it’s still early in the Biden term, Joe Biden’s policies have proven, in many ways, to be far more populist and extreme than Trump’s…
While Trump was (and is) certainly extreme on the personality front, Biden has shown a form of extremism on the policy front through his insistence on an estimated $6 trillion in stimulus spending (which is likely to be reduced thanks to pushback from the GOP and some key Dems). He’s also shown his extremism on taxes, through…
• His desire to raise corporate taxes worldwide to a minimum of 15%,
• His effort to raise individual income taxes on those he deems “high earners,” and through
• His hope to double capital-gains taxes, thereby destroying accumulated stock market wealth for many Americans.
What’s even more revolutionary is his push for reparations and a social rewrite of American history. In addition, Biden is hoping to reinstate the Iran deal, which many security experts believe would dismantle the balance of power in the Middle East, putting our Israel and Saudi Arabia allies at a disadvantage.
I’m not sure if you remember books, America, but it’s what people used to sink their faces into to avoid dealing with family and strangers. Our editor-in-chief, P.J. O’Rourke, has written a few in his time, and he’s re-releasing his bestselling Eat the Rich, complete with a new chapter to take on the absurdity of 2021 economics. And as an American Consequences subscriber, you can have access to the newly released edition for free! Claim Your Copy Now.
As for China? Hopefully Biden’s administration will follow through on its commitment to understanding the origins of coronavirus… though many Americans are currently questioning why on Earth his administration dismantled the state department’s investigation into the Wuhan Lab. According to recent reports, the investigation was initially suspended because the state department feared the exposure of U.S. funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Most U.S. folks would agree that it is not in our best interest to allow China to effectively steal our intellectual property any longer… nor can we allow China to thumb its nose at the standards put in place by the World Trade Organization.
Also of great importance to many Americans – regardless of party – is the development of more transparent trade relations with China. Most U.S. folks would agree that it is not in our best interest to allow China to effectively steal our intellectual property any longer… nor can we allow China to thumb its nose at the standards put in place by the World Trade Organization. It’s unclear whether Biden is committed to fighting back against China in a meaningful way.
Biden notoriously told Trump in a 2019 presidential debate…
China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. I mean, they’re not bad folks, but they’re not competition for us. They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean the west. They can’t figure out how they’re going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system.
At the time, Biden’s comments were viewed as naïve by some, given that China is the world’s second-largest economy and may soon overtake the U.S. to become the largest economy in the world.
Meanwhile, Americans are increasingly aware that we need to do something about these cyberattacks and the vulnerability of our grid. (If you haven’t yet read my story on the threat of an EMP attack, please do so here. Also, listen to my podcast interview with the head of the EMP Task Force, Dr. Peter Pry.)
As I’ve often said, our goal should be to create equality of opportunity – not outcome… But in a socialist utopia, which I believe Biden is striving for, outcomes are more highly valued.
There’s a lot of serious policy that needs to be accomplished, but at present, Biden seems more intent on restructuring the economy to create a kind of “equality of outcome.” As I’ve often said, our goal should be to create equality of opportunity – not outcome… But in a socialist utopia, which I believe Biden is striving for, outcomes are more highly valued.
It’s a big-government-versus-small-government dilemma… And the problem for Americans right now is that the “nice guy” they voted for is most focused on big government in a way they simply didn’t anticipate.
Which brings us back to 2024…
The 2024 Field
If Trump were to run for president today, I don’t believe Americans would quite be ready for the emotional roller coaster of a Trump presidency again. But by 2024? It’s quite possible Americans will grow nostalgic for the 2016 to 2019 boom years in which unemployment reached record lows, minorities and women saw significant job growth, and medium incomes grew at the highest rates in decades.
But what if the Republican Party could combine all the policies of the Trump MAGA movement with a little less personality? Would that prove to be a winning ticket?
Possibly… which is why so many are looking to rising stars like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as possible 2024 presidential candidates.
Florida should really become a textbook case study in how to manage a crisis. The state managed to stay open through most of the pandemic and recorded a lower death rate than California, despite having a larger percentage of elderly people. And while Governor Andrew Cuomo made the unforgivable error of sending people with COVID-19 into nursing homes for recovery, DeSantis was wise to ensure that these measures were not enacted in Florida.
Importantly, Florida was able to reopen schools… thereby saving a generation of children in the state from falling behind. Consider this: In Chicago, Illinois, kids STILL aren’t back in school full-time thanks to massively powerful teachers’ unions.
In sum, Governor DeSantis will have a heck of a record to point to… He’s also comfortable in front of TV cameras (alas, a prerequisite for politicians these days) and has managed to maintain the support of the Trump community without being labeled as a total crazy person by the media.
Yet, that is… Of course, that’s probably coming if he becomes serious about a presidential bid. Nonetheless, a phenomenal record can’t be disputed. And at present, I’d put DeSantis’ record up against any other Democrat politician’s, including President Joe Biden’s.
The other potential contender is former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. His challenge, however, will be a lack of record… While he may ultimately be proven right on his concerns about Wuhan, as well as his policies with the Middle East, he’s more vulnerable to attacks from the Left, having been part of the Trump administration.
Former Vice President Mike Pence is in the same boat. At a fundraising event in Manchester, New Hampshire, earlier this month, he tried to straddle the line… perhaps placating those who support Trump while also stressing his independence from the president. He told the Republican attendees about the January 6 Capitol siege:
President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office. I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye about that day, but I will always be proud what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.
Pence, like Pompeo, doesn’t have a personal, executive record with which he can fight back against the media’s attacks… thereby making it more challenging for him to run against Biden (or possibly even Kamala Harris).
Other contenders include Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Cruz will have his own set of challenges – challenges that were evident in the 2016 primary. He doesn’t quite have the likability of Pompeo or Pence, nor the larger-than-life personality of Trump.
Other contenders include Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Cruz will have his own set of challenges – challenges that were evident in the 2016 primary. He doesn’t quite have the likability of Pompeo or Pence, nor the larger-than-life personality of Trump. Most importantly, he does not have the record of DeSantis. And on the policy front, his approach may not be conservative enough. Consider his tax proposal in 2016, for example… Cruz advocated for a European-style value-added tax. And then, of course, there was the whole Cancun thing…
Senator Rubio also struggles with the problem of being a senator and not a governor – and therefore not having the role of an executive.
There’s additionally the risk of over-exposure for the Rubio, Cruz, Pence, Pompeo crowd.
If Republicans are looking for fresh blood, they’d be more likely to turn to a governor like DeSantis, or even Chris Sununu in New Hampshire. Sununu, like DeSantis, has managed to thread the needle between being pro-Trump while not quite yet gaining the ire of the media. New Hampshire itself has kept its unemployment rate lower than the rest of the nation and had a decent-enough success rate in coping with the pandemic.
Though Sununu has taken some hits for his failure to keep coronavirus out of nursing homes, all in all, most residents on both sides of the political aisle seem pleased with his performance. The state isn’t the political powerhouse of Florida, which leaves him at a disadvantage, but a role for Sununu in the presidential field should not be discounted.
The wealth gap in America has never been wider — we’ve still never fully recovered from the Great Recession of 2008, and it’s only going to get worse from here. But the effects of the Big Con are going to devastate those who don’t take action. So do something now while you still can.
Senator Rand Paul might also throw his hat in the ring… And in many ways, Paul’s message of less government could really resonate at this particular moment in time. He has proven himself to be a rising star through his relentless determination to get at the truth about our government’s funding of risky gain-of-function research. And Americans are increasingly seeing him and his free-market, smaller-government approach as a viable alternative to the Biden administration’s liberal policy.
And again, there’s Donald Trump himself.
My sources say he intends to run – and if that’s the case three years from now, all bets on the rest of the GOP field are off. I suspect he would secure the nomination, as many in the party would fear running against him, but it remains to be seen if he is able to successfully counter the massive resistance by the mainstream media – including Big Tech.
The other elephant in the room is the need to “get out the vote” in a streamlined, efficient, and effective way. Though Trump would insist the election was “rigged” against him, the priority for Republicans at this point needs to be making sure that the sanctity of our elections is protected, while simultaneously understanding that, in some states, it’s simply a new era.
It’s possible that absentee ballots will be the wave of the future in blue states. Democrats have proven to be quite skilled at canvassing neighborhoods and ensuring their constituents vote… Why shouldn’t Republicans do the same? In other words, conservatives should be just as committed to legal grassroots efforts as Democrats in order to best ensure voter turnout. Rather than complain, why not triple the efforts and become just as creative, or more creative, at winning strategies?
A United Front
Most importantly, whoever the nominee, the GOP needs to focus on crafting a united message against high taxes and big government. The reality is America’s standard of living and way of life is very much at stake. If there’s no reasonable counterweight to the socialist-style economic proposals from the Left, then we risk four more years of the Biden/Harris administration.
Republicans would be smart, at this moment in time, to focus less on internal bickering and Trump (hint Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Senator Mitt Romney), and instead on the need for having a united message that embraces some of the most important policy aspects of the Trump movement – including lower taxes, actual borders (complete with a more transparent, less bureaucratic immigration program… the “red carpet” for those we want and need, as Trump himself once said), and less regulation.
The Biden administration has been quite explicit in its desire to put wealth redistribution ahead of actual economic growth. This is why it’s so critical that Republicans – and independents who care about prosperity – focus on the policy goals needed to secure a brighter economic future for all. To do this, it means being committed to a set of ideals and embracing the best economic policy initiatives of the Trump administration.
Whoever the candidate is in 2024, the infighting will need to stop for the health of the party and the country.