As former president Donald Trump seems to be cruising to the GOP nomination — a NewsNation poll has him ahead fifty points over his nearest rivals — his critics in the media and on the left are trotting out a familiar attack. Over the past two weeks, the headlines have been inescapable: Trump is a nasty authoritarian who wants to dismantle America’s democratic political system. This shouldn’t be all that surprising, since we heard similar cries ahead of his election 2016, namely over his support for a “Muslim ban” (a national security travel ban that included countries that are majority Muslim) and for mass deportations of illegal aliens.
As the Iowa caucuses creep closer, the revamped, breathless accusations have increased in number and fervor. The New York Times ran a feature story from some of its most notable reporters on Monday arguing that a second Trump presidency could be “more radical” than ever. The Times cited recent comments in which Trump vowed to “root out” left-wing “vermin” in America, which doesn’t sounds all that different from Biden’s claim that MAGA is the “most extreme political organization” in modern history and “threatens the very foundation of our republic,” nor is it a huge departure from anything Trump said on the 2016 trail. The Times gets around this by by arguing that Trump’s his political operation is more sophisticated now, which means “Mr. Trump’s and his advisors’ more extreme policy plans and ideas for a second term would have a greater prospect of becoming reality.”
The Washington Post has taken a similar approach to combatting Trump in recent weeks, publishing two articles from its opinion editors fear mongering about a second Trump term. One by Drew Goins says Americans should “start fighting now” against a “Trump dictatorship,” while Robert Kagan concurs that a “Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable.” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough alleged recently that Trump would “execute” anyone “he is allowed to” and said comparisons to Nazi and fascist leaders are perfectly appropriate. Democratic congressman Dan Goldman said Trump is “destructive to democracy” and asserted he needed to be “eliminated,” comments he later walked back.
Put aside questions of propriety and accuracy for a moment. What about the strategy of this full-court press? A Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll released in October surveyed voters’ on their top issues. A combined 52 percent said they their single greatest issue was either the economy or immigration. Just 8 percent said “democracy” was their top issue. A separate New York Times/Siena College poll found that Trump has a 22 percent trust advantage the economy and a twelve-point advantage on immigration. Biden, meanwhile, enjoys a mere three-point advantage when it comes to who voters trust to do a better job on democracy. You do the math.
On our radar
BROKE: BIDENOMICS The Biden camp is apparently planning to roll back usage of “Bidenomics,” the term it coined to refer to Biden’s economic policy, in favor of attacking the GOP for so-called “MAGAnomics,” a memo uncovered by Politico reveals.
TRUMPED OUT A majority of voters support disqualifying former president Donald Trump from the 2024 election if he is convicted in any of his criminal cases, according to a NewsNation and Decision Desk HQ poll.
PLEASE SIR, CAN I HAVE SOME MORE? Biden’s top budget director sent a letter to House Republican leadership begging for more funding for the Ukraine war. The letter warned that the US would run out of resources to send by the end of the year.
Put that in your (tail)pipe
“The future of the auto industry is electric — and made in America,” President Joe Biden declared on Twitter on August 5, 2021, when he also announced his executive order “to make 50 percent of new vehicles sold by 2030 zero-emission.”
Now, however, a group of lawmakers is looking to pull the plug on the Biden administration’s plan to charge ahead with electric vehicle mandates. The Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act will be considered by the House Rules Committee today, with a possible full House vote this week.
CARS is a reaction to what Fox News reports is the EPA’s “most aggressive tailpipe emissions [rules] ever.” The CARS Act would “block a radical and unattainable federal EV mandate that will cripple our auto industry and forever make our supply chain reliant on China,” said Republican representative Tim Walberg of Michigan, CARS’s co-sponsor.
CARS was introduced months ago, but its acceleration through the legislature comes days after nearly 4,000 car dealers signed a letter to Biden telling him, “It is time to tap the brakes on the unrealistic government electric vehicle mandate.”
If the CARS Act is passed, reports Fox, “it would then be voted on by the Senate, where Republicans and Democratic senator Joe Manchin recently introduced companion legislation.”
Bye Bye, Burgum
In the most devastating news for the Upper Midwest since the delay of the fifth season of Fargo, North Dakota governor Doug Burgum today announced the suspension of his bid to be the Republican nominee for president in 2024.
Burgum’s six-month-long campaign included several throwback photos of his distinctive looks in the Eighties and Nineties, two debate appearances and one Achilles injury, sustained playing basketball with staff right before the Milwaukee debate.
Burgum was perhaps the lowest profile governor or former governor in the race, alongside Florida’s Ron DeSantis, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Indiana’s Mike Pence and Arkansas’s Asa Hutchinson. Despite in many respects having a similar track record on Covid and encouraging entrepreneurship in his state as his competitors, Burgum ultimately failed to build the much threatened “Burgmentum” in the polls, never securing over 4 percent nationally and topping out at 6 percent in early primary states. The race will be less jovial without him.