After decades of slow and unsteady growth, the American economy seems to be on a roll, despite recent market dips, and there can be little doubt about what changed. In fact, the economy had been setting so many records even The New York Times had to admit at mid-year they had “run out of words” to describe the incredible success of the economy under President Donald Trump’s leadership.
By this fall, employment numbers had gone through the roof, topping 134,000 private-sector jobs in September, with unemployment eventually falling to 3.7 percent overall—the lowest in 50 years.
Black unemployment sits at just 6 percent, slightly above the all-time low of 5.9 percent in May. Likewise, companies gave thousand-dollar bonuses to more than a million workers. Despite relentless counter-attacks from the Democratic leadership, the American people were ecstatic, and the mainstream media was appalled.
The media, along with the deep state and many within the permanent bureaucracy, were bent on Trump’s destruction from the start. We now know just how devious and unhinged their efforts had become, but Trump’s momentum never slowed. He had been swept into office by a red wave of middle Americans who were sick and tired of Washington’s way of doing business. They were tired of liberal talking heads bashing their values and beliefs, and they believed President Trump was someone they could trust.
If he was a “bull in a china shop,” at least he was their bull.
Several political observers reported that the people were so frustrated with the government’s intrusion into their lives they were on the verge of full-scale revolt. For decades, Americans in the heartland could see the country spiraling downward, and they feared what was to come. The nation was reaching a point where something had to give, and that something turned out to be Donald Trump.
As Gov. Mike Huckabee told me on one occasion, “Quite frankly, the goal of the voters was not to send someone to Washington who would fix anything. … They wanted someone to go and burn the place down, and Trump was the guy that seemingly every time he went to a rally he carried a can of gasoline and a lighter. He was ready to burn it down, and that excited people.”
Voters from both left and right had long since concluded there was no hope of finding common ground. In blue-collar country, long-time Democrat voters decided to switch rather than fight and moved to the right in surprising numbers. In response, hardened forces from the left went on the attack, bought and paid for by a cabal of billionaire radicals.
Consequently, ever since the 2016 election, we’ve witnessed unprecedented violence and a level of hostility not seen in this country since the Civil War. Battles over immigration, health care, abortion, gun-control, taxes and climate change were to be expected. But with emotions roiling on both sides, gangs of thugs and anarchists began muscling in on the conversation and—as the world witnessed in the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation—pushing the violence and incivility to new and frightening levels.
The biggest discovery, however, was that the administration of the outgoing president, aided by the DOJ, FBI, CIA and a network of spies and undercover operatives in league with the Clinton campaign, were conducting a search-and-destroy mission against the Trump campaign. Over several months these men and women laid an elaborate trap to make sure the new president would not survive long enough to do much damage. The fact that the deep-state coup d’etat has failed, and the president has successfully defended his administration, is almost as big a shock as the election itself.
But Donald Trump was an extraordinary candidate who came along at an auspicious time. He faced daunting challenges, but he had the enthusiastic support of millions of voters who had his back, just as he promised to have theirs. His supporters were from every race, creed and socioeconomic background, and from parts of the country never known to back a conservative Republican for the presidency. Nothing better proved that the nation had reached a tipping point.
When Trump first announced his plans to run for the White House, many, including me, wondered if he could be trusted. He had been a Democrat and a Republican and an Independent at various times. He was for abortion before he was against it. He was volatile and unpredictable, and many wondered if he might be a bit trigger-happy and lead us into war. I wondered if he could be trusted to keep his promises to protect religious liberty and help persecuted Christians around the world.
Since then, President Trump has proven himself in many ways, and has demonstrated a character trait not common among politicians—he actually keeps his promises. He has used the slogan, “Promises Made. Promises Kept,” and once joked he had kept more promises than he’d made. Even with the changes that may be brought about by the midterm elections, Trump still has momentum, but we know the controversies are far from over.
The rift between left and right is so deep, it often seems America is at war with itself. As I’ve written in my new book, Trump Aftershock, the kind of muscular diplomacy that brought North Korea to the negotiating table, compelled our trading partners in Europe and China to revise their tariff policies and is helping to forge new alliances in the Middle East, is giving his administration a formidable advantage.
Israel and Saudi Arabia, who have a common enemy in Iran, are sharing resources for the first time in history. And Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem was a huge step and a blessing not only for the Jewish community, but for supporters of Israel around the world.
As we’re seeing today, the midterm malaise of previous administrations is gone forever, and the battle for control of Congress and the nation has never been so explosive. As aftershocks continue to roil the culture, I can’t help thinking of Ben Franklin’s famous quip.
When asked what kind of government the Founding Fathers had given us, he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Today, more than 230 years later, that timely caution seems more vital and more enigmatic than ever.