The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

By Don Mohler

Let’s be crystal clear: the final verdict on Donald J. Trump will not be delivered until November 3, 2020. There will be no real trial and no conviction in the Senate. Democrats would be better served to focus on getting out the vote, putting an end to their own childlike bickering, and uniting behind a candidate who can convince the American people that there are brighter days ahead. It is time to stop waiting for Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and the gang to find their consciences. The “I hope they find their John McCain” ship has sailed.

How can that be, you ask?  There actually are some simple explanations. We may not like the answers, but they do provide some insight as to what is driving Democrats insane and keeping Republicans in line.

For a very long time, large numbers of Americans in the heartland have felt that the world has left them behind. The are convinced that those of us living in the cities on the two coasts have no clue what they care about. For years they, and quite frankly people all across the nation, have decided that Washington is broken. In fact, they have concluded that those in charge could care less about their struggles to make life work. Hillary Clinton’s 2016 comment describing the President’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables” only reinforced that belief. Democrats better pay attention. 

Philip Rucker and Carol Leonning describe that phenomenon this way in their new book, A Very Stable Genius. “Tens of millions of Americans were angry, feeling forgotten by bureaucrats in Washington, derided by liberal elites, and humiliated by a global economy that had sped ahead of their skills and consigned their children to be the first American generation to fare less well than their parents.”  As Mercutio shouted at the Capulets and Montagues, “A plague on both your houses.” And in the President, they found their Cheerleader-in-Chief

Add to that the great culture wars that simply refuse to go away, and you have a perfect stew of discontent.

Abortion, guns, and immigration are polarizing issues on which there is simply no middle ground. Democrats and the few anti-Trump Republicans who continue to believe that all of the President’s foibles will come back to haunt him, simply miss the point: Given the option of supporting the cultural warrior or admitting that maybe this time he has gone too far, the choice is easy. The cultural warrior wins every time. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Whether or not the President gives a hoot about any of these issues is irrelevant. He has delivered on their agenda, a fact that was given an exclamation point when he attended the recent pro-life march in Washington D.C., becoming the first president in history to do so. Conservative judges, many with limited or no qualifications at all, have been approved at breakneck speed, altering the trajectory of the courts for decades. When a true Roe vs. Wade case reaches the Trump Supreme Court, its outcome is not really in doubt. The millions of pro-life believers have found their champion, and there is nothing he can do that would lose their support. They may or may not have read Faust in school, but quite frankly a pact with the devil is a small price to pay for a Neil Gorsuch and a Brett Kavanaugh.

The same goes for guns. As the New York Times reported after thousands attended the recent pro-gun rally in Richmond, “Some people streamed on buses from faraway cities. Others drove cars through the night from places like Indianapolis and Texas, logging hundreds of miles and leaning on Red Bull. Still others came from only a few counties over, but carrying the same vehement message as the rest: Leave gun laws alone.”  Do the true believers care about Ukraine? Do they care about a porn star here or there? Do they care that he lies day in and day out on Twitter and on the south lawn of the White House?  Hell no. They finally have a guy sitting in the Oval Office who has their back for the very first time. Best of all, he hates who they hate.

And of course from the moment he glided down that escalator in Trump Tower, Donald Trump recognized that he could consolidate his base by convincing them that the “others” were coming, but we need not worry because he had an answer: we’ll just build a wall and bar Muslims from crossing our borders. These solutions are easy. He did that in true Madison Avenue style with the simplest of simple slogans- Make America Great Again.

The fact that real life problems often require complex solutions is not really relevant in this discussion.  That is for pointy-headed intellectuals. There is a common theme on Fox News, talk radio and right wing blogs: you Democrats, you liberals, you snowflakes, you mainstream media apologists, you just don’t get it. You’ve looked down your nose at us forever, and we’ve had enough. And now it’s our time, and we love our red hats. If you believe a little bribery of a foreign government is going to stop this train, you better think again.

So Democrats, you better figure this out if you expect this nightmare to end in November. The other side believes and they are united. And yes, they will vote. With the Iowa Caucuses a week away, the witching hour draws near. The landscape in American politics remains the same. There are 30% of the nation on each of the fringes of both parties. And those fringe voices often dominate the political landscape. The other 40% are firmly in the middle, and that is where general elections are won. That large slice of the electorate truly does embrace  the dream that we can still be that “kinder, gentler America” that George H. W. Bush called for in his 1988 presidential acceptance speech. Kinder and gentler. As Iowa approaches, Democrats would be wise to recall the words of the 41st President of the United States. 

Don Mohler is the former Baltimore County Executive and President and CEO of Mohler Communication Strategies. He may be reached at don@donmohler.com.

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