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An Analysis of Donald Trump

Based on the August 3, 2018 Wall Street Journal

The OLD Philosopher – John M. Miller 

Since its inception, The Wall Street Journal has been a politically conservative newspaper. Its news slants and editorial policies have always favored traditional Republican conservatism in both business and politics.

However, since the presidential nomination campaign of 2016, the WSJ has exhibited considerable skepticism regarding Donald Trump as a reliable, predictable Republican conservative, both as a candidate for the party’s nomination in 2016 and as President since 2017. That is because Mr. Trump has shown himself to be anything but a reliable, predictable Republican in almost any sense.

Much hope can be discovered in the WSJ’s increasing number of news stories that paint the President in a dubious or bad light. Never has that tendency been so obvious as in the August 3 edition of the newspaper.

On the front page there were two Trump stories, one major and one minor. On the second page were four Trump-related stories, two fairly lengthy and the other two brief, but all four expressed sizeable doubts about the President’s policies. The third page of the “U.S. News” section had two Trump stories, and the fourth page two more.

The first page of the “World News” section (page 6) had two Trump-related features, and the second page another story.

It is not necessary to refer to the content of any of these stories. It should be sufficiently illustrative to American voters that the historically most pro-GOP newspaper in the country had thirteen articles in the first seven pages of its front section that feature problems caused by the “Republican” President of the United States. No article expressed outright alarm, but none proclaimed any kind of support either.

As is true for virtually all WSJ articles, these particular stories were written by Journal reporters. They were not editorial, commentary, or opinions pieces; they were news stories written by WSJ staff reporters.

  It is amazing, therefore, that these particular writers displayed concern because of the actions and behavior of the 45th President. On the editorial pages there is still some support for some of his policies. In the main, however, WSJ new reports increasingly keep Donald Trump at a considerable journalistic distance. To repeat, for the sake of emphasis, the Journal has been the national Republican newspaper for decades, and Mr. Trump is supposedly a Republican president.       

If that is the case, why are not all historically conservative-Republican publications following the lead of the WSJ? Apparently it is because they are still attempting to appeal to the Trump base. They are still convinced the very untraditional newly-formed legions of anti-politics Trump fans, plus traditional Republicans who will back any Republican President, no matter how unorthodox, represent the wave of the future.

It is Trump’s very unorthodoxy which the Journal has opposed from 2016, before, and since. The Dow Jones mouthpiece knows he is severely damaging traditional Republican values and positions, and that his erratic behavior and decisions are a clear and present danger to the GOP.

Daniel Henninger is the deputy editor for the WSJ editorial page. A few days ago he wrote an editorial called “Trump’s Ultimate Disruption.” He pointed to the President’s attack on David and Charles Koch over the trade wars prompted by Trump’s newly declared tariffs on many products, particularly from China, the European Union, and Canada.

Noting that many Republicans have tried to ignore erratic Trump decisions, Henninger wrote, “(W)e shouldn’t let Mr. Trump’s feud with Charles and David Koch get flushed like so many others. It was a significant event.” Then the veteran writer made a brilliantly biting observation. “The Trump camp has taken to insisting that Mr. Trump personally embodies both the Republican Party and conservatism. The only people largely forced to opt to this choice are elected politicians.”

Therein lies the primary factor that shall determine the outcome of the November mid-term elections and especially the 2020 election. No Republicans now campaigning for office have come out strongly or even mildly opposed to the President. What shall happen to these candidates when the polling places open?

A special election in the sixth district of Ohio and a primary election for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Kansas on August 7 highlight the essential issue being faced by American voters leading up to November 6 of this year. They demonstrate the peril at the polls as nothing else can. If the President is able to carry enough extremely close elections like the ones in Ohio and Kansas, the future of genuine American democracy is in deep doubt.

In some races in Trump Country, vocal Trump support shall be necessary for victory. For many Republican candidates in more evenly-divided constituencies, however, showing even lukewarm backing for the President or attempting to maintain silence may prove disastrous, even though all incumbent Republican in Congress have voted congressional approval for his entire agenda.

Some polls indicate that more and more Republican voters seem to be deciding that Trump is completely erratic as a Republican and conservative. If those voters stay home on November 6, or if (which is unlikely) they vote for a Democrat, the Republicans may lose control of the House and possibly the Senate as well. Should that occur, it will be almost exclusively the result of rapidly growing opposition to Donald Trump, and will have nothing to do with traditional Republican policies or politics.

On the other hand, if there is enough of a Red Wave on November 6, the beware-of-Trumpian-wrath approach to contemporary GOP politics will prove victorious.

Trump has effectively derailed both parties. Too many Members of Congress have become extremists during his brief tenure. They have become irresponsible in Congress, and they seem feckless on the campaign circuit as well, spouting extremist rather than centrist statements.

The President has done nothing to drain the swamp. If anything, he has deepened and widened it. He certainly has constantly roiled up its long-murky waters.

Probably many congressional elections will not be determined by midnight on November 6. By the evening of November 7, or sometime therafter, a national vote of some sort will have been cast in U.S. congressional districts and senatorial races.

If the Republicans win, Trump’s future will look very rosy. However, many of those “Republican” victors will not be Wall Street Journal Republicans, and they will have won with the support of the putative leader of the No-Longer-Republican Party. That will be ominous indeed.

The midterm elections in 2018 shall determine the future of the United States of America and the world. If there is not at least a Blue Wavelet, Donald Trump will be the foregone conclusion. The Wall Street Journal will have failed in its depiction of the danger facing the electorate, although it will never come out and say that directly. Then it will be Trump, not any particular candidates, who shall hold the future in his hands.


John Miller is Pastor of The Chapel Without Walls on Hilton Head Island, SC. More of his writings may be viewed at www.chapelwithoutwalls.org.



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