Sunday, November 20, 2022

Trump's Achilles' heel?

Trump's Achilles' heel?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Donald Trump faces a lot of criticism at the moment, having undoubtedly lost a lot of votes because of his behavior just prior and after the midterm elections.

Anger of some Republican voters toward the former president runs hot and may cost him the nomination in 2024.

Yet it is also the case that Trump has been pronounced politically dead many times in the past, and in most of those cases the cause for the premature Code Blue calls has been his big fat mouth. He has never been able to control his impulses, and has never been a nice guy. This has not stopped his ability to hold onto support. Is something different this time?

He survived because even his supporters who wanted him to shut his trap also liked his policies and willingness to fight against a common enemy: the Establishment™. It was a bargain: you fight for us, we forgive your verbal diarrhea. The partnership was transactional for many voters.

Trump has an Achilles’ heel in this regard, and expect to see quite a bit of focus on it. Lots of arrows will be fired at his vulnerable heel. Some are likely to hit.

The target? Trump’s response to COVID was simply awful. He did exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time, pushed all the worst Establishment folks to the top of the policymaking heap, and actively aided them in destroying his chance to get reelected. Trump was forced to choose between good policy and bad, courageous leaders and bureaucrats, and he chose wrongly. It was his undoing in 2020, and could be his undoing in 2024.

I have made this point before, as have others. But today the Wall Street Journal blasts Trump with a broadside from a erstwhile supporter of the former president.

March, 29, 2020, is a day that should live in infamy. The national mitigation plan against Covid-19, “15 days to stop the spread,” was about to expire. In the Rose Garden, President Trump declared that lockdowns would continue for another 30 days. I tweeted: “President Trump just lost the election.”

When Mr. Trump announced his 2024 campaign Tuesday, he didn’t apologize for the lockdowns or even mention them. I supported him in 2016, and during his tenure he did much to dredge the political swamps, but his decision to approve and extend drastic Covid interventions should disqualify him for a second term.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, put the Constitution into an induced coma. Mr. Trump’s decision to adopt Chinese Communist Party tactics and close down the country gave license to states to amplify and extend these terrible policies, to governors to wield unprecedented executive powers, and to school districts to shut students out for months or even years.

The Declaration of Emergency that Trump put into place in 2020 has been extended into 2023, and in all likelihood will be extended again. This time around some Democrats stood up to stop it, but the Left had made clear that they will be punished. Emergency powers for the president will extend indefinitely–powers Trump first put in place.

Trump didn’t just make bad choices during COVID, he actively attacked those such as Governors Kemp and DeSantis for making the correct ones. Unsurprisingly he took shots at both men before and after the midterm elections, and I would be surprised if his vulnerability on the COVID issue didn’t play a role in his decision to do so. He took particular aim at Sweden, one of the only places in the world where they got things right.

Neither Kemp nor DeSantis is likely to start attacking Trump on this issue or any other in the near term, but others have picked up the mantle and have started producing devastating videos like this:

Trump has a long history of not only surviving but thriving after attacks, but this issue may be different: Trump’s vulnerability is based upon his failures to defend the very people who have stuck by him through so much. He stood with the worst people in America, and despite recognizing his mistake after months of cooperating with the tyrants, he never regained control.

Trump true believers are likely to remain believers, but Trump supporters who were skeptical of the man but supportive of his work are going to be susceptible to this messaging. I know that my own support from Trump plummeted as the pandemic became the excuse for tyranny to spread. I voted for Trump in 2020, but my enthusiasm for him waned due to what I believe were serious misjudgments.

Trump didn’t quite make Anthony Fauci on his own, but he did make him a czar with power over my life and others’. That is hard to forgive, and I suspect it may cost his his shot at the presidency for a second time.

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