Three times in a week, President Trump risked angering his base by taking the high road. His willingness to end the shutdown trusting in Congressional action, his decision to postpone his State of the Union Address, and his proposal to end the government shutdown without sacrificing national security, all show that he and the Speaker learned different lessons from November’s midterm elections.
The president listened to the suburban districts that swung from narrowly supporting his candidacy in 2016 to an embrace of moderate Democrats in 2018. They taught him that many of the Americans who were willing to give him a chance to govern have not necessarily warmed to his uniquely entertaining personal style. Swing voters personally feel the extraordinary benefits of the president’s policies — most of which were installed because of his willingness to stand his ground — but they seek leadership that is more comfortably conventional and demonstrably willing to compromise. Over the past few weeks, President Trump has made clear moves in that direction.
The Speaker listened to her base. In safe Democrat districts across the country, her party broke enthusiastically for radicals: Socialists, Jew haters, racists, and progressives who elevate ideology far above facts now play prominent roles in the Democrat Party. Over the past few weeks, Speaker Pelosi has embraced their eagerness for resistance at all costs. She no longer even feigns concern with what’s best for America; her only concern is what might be worst for the president.
It may be two years before America discovers who learned the more valuable lessons. Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi’s unprecedented disinvitation of the president suggests that America is heading toward a state of the union it has seen before. When the president does deliver his address next week, he might consider something along the following lines:
My fellow Americans. The State of the Union is strong. It is also divided. In the midst of unprecedented political troubles we have cause of great gratitude to God for full employment and a strong economy.
A portion of the American people have, during the whole year, been engaged in an attempt to divide and destroy the Union. The citizens of the United States who have offered the ruin of our country in return for the aid and comfort which they have invoked abroad have received less patronage and encouragement than they probably expected.
Since, however, it is apparent that foreign dangers necessarily attend domestic difficulties, I recommend that adequate and ample measures be adopted for maintaining the public defenses on every side. It is believed that some fortifications at well-selected points upon the border would be of great importance to the national defense and preservation.
On the issue of foreign trade, some treaties, designed chiefly for the interests of commerce, and having no grave political importance, have been negotiated, and will be submitted to the Senate for their consideration. I repeat the recommendation of my predecessor in regard to the claims of American citizens against China.
On deregulation, it seems to me very important that the statute laws should be made as plain and intelligible as possible. I am informed by some whose opinions I respect that all the acts of Congress now in force and of a permanent and general nature might be revised and rewritten so as to be embraced in one volume (or at most two volumes) of ordinary and convenient size.
Still, the war continues. The insurrection is largely, if not exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government — the rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in the general tone of the insurgents. In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.
One of the unavoidable consequences of the present insurrection is the entire suppression in many places of all the ordinary means of administering civil justice by the officers and in the forms of existing law. Under these circumstances I have been urgently solicited to establish by military power courts to administer summary justice in such cases. I have thus far declined to do it, not because I had any doubt that the end proposed was just and right in itself, but because I have been unwilling to go beyond the pressure of necessity in the unusual exercise of power.
The struggle of today is not altogether for today; it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us.
If some of that language doesn’t sound exactly like President Trump, that’s because it’s not. It’s a collection of excerpts, with very light editing, from President Lincoln’s first State of the Union, delivered December 3, 1861.
We all know what happened next. It’s time for America to confront the progressive Democrats to ensure that it never happens again.
Bruce Abramson is the President of Informationism, Inc., Vice President and Director of Policy at the Iron Dome Alliance, and a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. Jeff Ballabon is CEO of B2 Strategic, a Senior Fellow at the American Conservative Union's Center for Statesmanship and Diplomacy, and an advisor to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. To read more of their reports — Click Here Now.