Europe has always had trouble understanding the United States. Ronald Reagan resurrected his country, was re-elected president by an overwhelming majority (winning in 49 states out of 50 and getting 525 out of 538 Electoral College votes as compared to 24 states and 332 electoral votes in Obama’s reelection), and went down in history for toppling against all odds the Soviet communist dictatorship that for 70 years had enslaved millions of people through terror and lies. However, Europe never stopped treating him contemptuously as “the actor”.
Today only 20% of Europeans have a good opinion of Trump. Of course, Trump is no Reagan by any means and his eccentric personality makes caricature easy: histrionic, hyperbolically boastful of real and imaginary successes, shockingly reckless for a person his age, and narcissistic like his predecessor, everything about him leads to indigestion. Having said that, his performance as president has had its merits. I assume, dear reader, that you have already profusely heard of his mistakes.
Trump has lowered taxes and reduced the tide of regulations that hampered economic activity. These measures, together with other exogenous factors, have vigorously relaunched the economy and brought the US unemployment rate down to 3.5% (before Covid).
Trump has also fulfilled all his electoral promises. That includes his anti-imperialism, which is why he has been the first president in decades who not only has not begun any new conflict but has repatriated American troops to the displeasure of those who feed off the state of perpetual war. This has not prevented him from finishing off ISIS, that forgotten Islamic State that committed so many atrocities, and putting out the flames of some fires caused by warmongers Barack and Hillary. His pacifism could have had more impact if the Deep State had allowed him a rapprochement or détente with Russia, as he intended. To avoid this, they accused him of collusion with Putin, an obvious set-up, as I denounced in an article published three and a half years ago: “the alleged collusion between the government of Russia and Trump is a hoax, an invention, smoke (…), a merciless smear campaign aimed at paralyzing his political action or even subverting the outcome of the election in a covert coup d’état” (EXPANSION 6/26/2017). When this attempt failed after two years of shameful investigation, they organized a farce of impeachment, which also failed.
Trump also leaves his mark on American jurisprudence by having appointed hundreds of federal judges, whose appointments were left unsigned by Obama, and by assuring a clear majority of conservative and “originalist” justices at the Supreme Court, faithful to the literal spirit of the Constitution in defense of individual rights and liberties. Likewise, he has been the most pro-life president in the recent history of the United States, slowing down the process of social engineering accelerated by his predecessor. Abortion being probably the most relevant moral issue of our time, this is a crucial matter.
Trump’s foreign policy, sprinkled with outbursts and Neanderthal-style diplomacy, has been justifiably combative with the Chinese regime on the trade front, quirky in its dealings with North Korea, and demanding with US allies at outdated NATO, who fail to live up to their economic commitments. However, his mediation in a peace agreement between Israel and two Arab countries is a success that a Democrat could have (exaggeratedly) turned into the Nobel Peace Prize that Obama ridiculously received before doing anything at all. Finally, Trump has taken the US out of the Paris Agreement, a huge success for those of us who know that climate-apocalyptic alarmism is about ideology and power rather than science.
Ideologies aside, behind the campaign to inculcate a somewhat exaggerated hatred against Trump lies a fear of the indomitable, that is, the one who seems immune to the usual media gimmicks of tame. Thus, perhaps his greatest victory is to have confronted the tyranny of political correctness by exposing and forcing out enemies of freedom who prefer to maneuver in the shadows. The impudent bias of the majority of the media (now oblivious to any pretense of objectivity or respect for the truth), the scandalous double standards of the oligopoly that controls and manipulates social media and the disturbing scheming of the Deep State have been laid bare for all to see. For this reason, even though I understand the rejection caused by his stridencies, somehow I believe that Trump has been an out-of-tune instrument that has nevertheless managed to play a good melody.
“Things are never what they seem, for the world is still deceived by ornaments,” Shakespeare wrote. While Trump’s ugliness is obvious, his rival’s is hidden under the glitz of his Ivory smile and good looks. In Trump, there is no disguise; in Biden, after almost fifty years in politics, there is. His two failed attempts to become president (this is his third) were derailed, among other reasons, by character issues: he lied about his resume, plagiarized a brief at Law School, and, already as a candidate, plagiarized a couple of speeches by other politicians (even giving clumsily as his own biographical data from the real authors!). In this fusion of skin and disguise, of reality and fantasy, he has claimed to having been arrested in South Africa while trying to visit Mandela and to having voted against the Iraq war from the very beginning. Both assertions proved to be false, “pathological lies”, in the words of an advisor to Senator Sanders, a Democrat. At rallies, he also accused the truck driver who ran over his first wife’s car (tragically killing her and one of her daughters) of causing the tragedy by being drunk, even though the trucker’s daughter had asked him in writing to stop defaming her dead father. Biden only stopped when the matter went out to the media: the prosecutor who handled the case clarified that Biden’s wife had no right of way, that the trucker was not only sober but that he got off immediately to give first aid and that no charges were ever filed. Biden also adorns himself with his alleged Catholicism while fiercely defending abortion and attacking the religious freedom of orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Finally, in the typical last-minute scandal pulled out of the hat by his opponents, revelations have surfaced about money and influence matters from his son Hunter that might suggest that Biden lied about his level of knowledge on his son’s quite opaque business dealings in the Ukraine and China. If substantiated, it would have consequences in a country that, unlike Spain, punishes lying.
In Washington DC and for decades, Biden has never had a reputation for being too bright, and his ravings and gaffes, his harmful economic program and the leftism of his lieutenant Kamala Harris make him a weak candidate. Aware of this, the friendly media have backed him up with Sesame Street-level interviews even though, as was the case with Hillary, the polls give him the upper hand. But the jury is still out: the hidden, shy Republican vote, the perennial question of participation, the Hunter affair and the boomerang effect of the violent demonstrations of Antifa (fascist “anti-fascists”) and Black Lives Matter (Marxist inspired), encouraged by the Democrats, may bring out a surprise. If so, I hope that this unrecognizable Democratic Party, which has been opening Pandora’s Box for four years for not accepting its defeat in 2016, will abandon subversive agitation and return to moderation. In democracy you have to learn to be a good loser.
Fernando del Pino Calvo-Sotelo