Donald V. Watkins
Peggy Noonan Explains Trump's Voter Appeal
Updated: Jan 10, 2020
By: Donald V. Watkins
© Copyrighted and Published on January 10, 2020
Columnist Peggy Noonan published a "Declaration" in the December 28-29, 2019 print edition of the Wall Street Journal titled, "The Century of the Postheroic President". It is the best explanation of Donald J. Trump's voter appeal that I have read.
According to Noonan:
"We have entered the age of the postheroic presidency. Certain low ways are forgiven, certain rough ways now established. Americans once asked a lot of their president. They had to be people not only of high competence and solid, sober backgrounds, but high character ....
But the heroic conception of the presidency is over. Bill Clinton and his embarrassments damaged it. Two unwon wars and the great recession killed it. 'If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor' buried it. When you deliberately lie like that, you are declaring you have no respect for the people. And people noticed ....
They would like to have someone admirable in the job, someone whose virtues move them, but they've decided it's not necessary. They think: Just keep the economy growing, don't start any new wars, and push back against the social-issues maximalists if you can."
Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton started this trend. Americans knew that Nixon and Clinton were low-life liars, but voters stuck with them through two terms. Both men were impeached. Nixon resigned, while Clinton finished his second term in office.
George Herbert Walker Bush lied, as well. His "read my lips -- no new taxes" pronouncement was a big lie. His son, George H. Bush, was dumb, deviant, and lazy. Bush allowed Vice President Dick Cheney to run the government, while he relaxed at his ranch in Texas.
Barack Obama was a nice guy, but he was lost in the job. Democrats and Independents stayed with Obama because his motivational speeches made us feel good.
By 2016, voters had given up on high moral character and ethical standards in the White House. Hence, they elected Donald J. Trump, America's first "thug" president. Republicans and Independents have supported Trump for three years because Democrats seem to be lost in the fog of irrelevant public policies and outdated ideologies.
In 2020, President Donald J. Trump has tens of millions of closeted voters who disapprove of his litany of character flaws but see no realistic alternative for the presidency. The Democrats who are running for president are uninspiring and out of touch with reality. Joe Biden, the Democratic Party's front-runner is in the early stages of senility. He would rather attack an inquisitive Iowa voter than aggressively go after Donald Trump.
Trump will likely win re-election in this year because he has grown the economy; he has not started any new wars; and he has defeated left-leaning socialist Democrats at every turn. Because of this track-record, voters will ignore Trump's (a) homegrown bigotry against women, gays, Muslims, and people of color, (b) embarrassing ignorance on matters of significant public interest, (c) habitual narcissism, (d) impulsive lying, (e) nasty, gratuitous insults to America's traditional allies, and (f) incessant, ingratiating subservience to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
There is one wild card that could upset a Trump victory in 2020: If Trump pressures the FAA to unground the 737 MAX airplanes after taking campaign money directly from Boeing or through one of his allied Super-PACs, and if one of the 737 MAX flying deathtraps crashes in America months before the election, voters will likely punish Trump for placing Boeing's profits and his need for campaign money ahead of flight safety and their lives. Voters support Trump, but not at the expense of their own lives.