by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
I thought the GOP was making huge mistake. It seemed Trump would certainly lose in November, and that every Republican officeholder who climbed aboard the Trump train that summer would be purged from whatever came after his inevitable defeat. It would be the end of the GOP as we knew it.
I was wrong about all of that—and in hindsight, I’m glad I was wrong.
Like a lot of observers at the time, I thought Trump had no real policy agenda to define his campaign beyond a vague pro-America sentiment and a withering disdain for the political establishments of both major parties. I thought his political inexperience was a liability, that his penchant for insulting his opponents would turn voters off, and that the GOP had missed an opportunity to defeat Hillary Clinton by nominating someone else—anyone, really, besides Trump.
But it turned out Trump was the best candidate to beat Clinton because Clinton embodied nearly everything voters had come to hate about America’s political class: the falsity, the naked hypocrisy, the barely disguised disdain for ordinary people. …
… Trump’s policy agenda in July 2016 might have been ill-defined, but it was clear enough for ordinary Americans to see they had a stark choice before them: continue being ruled by a political class that hates them—supported by a media establishment that hates them, too—or try putting someone in office who will fight the establishment on their behalf.
Four years later, that’s still the basic choice facing Americans. … In Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Democrats have a ticket that represents nearly everything the Clinton candidacy represented, only this time their line is that Biden will be a “return to normalcy”—as if Americans didn’t reject the normalcy of the political establishment four years ago.