Normal President Trump

By | 2019-01-09T23:50:26-07:00 January 10th, 2019|
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In a speech at the National Press Club in October 2016, Peter Thiel revised Donald Trump’s campaign slogan from “Make America Great Again” to “Make America Normal Again.”

Liberals and leftists would choke on that assertion today. Nothing is more abnormal to them than Donald Trump in the White House. They still believe, no matter how much evidence to the contrary, that all was going well in America until November 9, 2016. That’s when abnormality began, and as soon as President Trump is expelled and Democrats take the Senate, normalcy will return and the emerging liberal majority will reign forever.

That’s one reason why they never saw Trump coming. They thought America was and is normal. Nothing taking place in our country justified or explained the advent of so disruptive and unusual a character. To them, Hillary Clinton wasn’t so much a new and independent development in politics as a continuation of the beneficent liberal wave initiated eight years earlier, or perhaps in 2006 when Democrats triumphed in the midterms. They couldn’t understand Trump voters because they didn’t see what Trump voters saw all too well: we haven’t been a normal country for quite a while, and we still aren’t.

Strange Days Indeed
We are not in a normal time when a group of nuns devoting their lives to the elderly poor is hauled into the Supreme Court because they refuse to drop their religious beliefs and obey the contraceptive mandate.

It is not normal for undergraduates at an Ivy League school to intimidate and harass a professor on the quad, obscenities included, as he tries to reason with them—and the professor and his wife are hounded out of their residence hall while the students proceed to earn awards.

It is not normal for a renowned Olympian at age 66 to declare himself a woman and become the talk of the nation for weeks, piling up honors as the year passes.

It is not normal for a nation’s cultural elite and political leaders to decry the maintenance of borders.

It is not normal for a Democratic candidate for the presidency to have to apologize for saying “All lives matter.”

It is not normal when a confused, uncertain woman alleges a man assaulted her 36 years before, when he was 17, and the machinery of the Senate halts for the purpose of indulging her every word in spite of her vague memory and the lack of corroborating witnesses.

It is not normal for White House personnel and Senators to be badgered and bullied in restaurants, cornered and harangued in elevators, at the urging of opposing politicians and commentators.

It is not normal for the governor of one state to ban state-sponsored travel to another state because it objects to that state’s religious freedom laws.

It is not normal for Senators to resist the confirmation of officials for executive and judicial posts because the candidates are traditional Catholics.

It is not normal when the world’s leading social network rolls out 50 new gender options, as Facebook did in February 2014.

It is not normal when the Super Bowl halftime show eulogizes the thug group known as the Black Panthers.

It is not normal when the White House is turned into a tacky illuminated rainbow billboard after the Supreme Court comes down on same-sex marriage in the liberals’ favor.

A Dose of Common Sense
Trump voters witnessed each one of these occasions and shook their heads. Meanwhile, liberals shrugged and chuckled and nodded. Some of those episodes may have troubled them, but they didn’t worry too much. They could dismiss them as unfortunate aberrations. The general drift of America into progressive social attitudes and neoliberal economics, with just enough welfare programming to please their morals, seemed secure.

It was inevitable, then, that candidate Trump would impress them as a joke, a celebrity hack, a loudmouth who had no place in the body politic. They were building momentum toward the final extermination of conservatives from public affairs. In their eyes, U.S. society was never more normal than it was when it had Barack Obama in the White House.

For Trump voters, though, President Trump was the antidote to everything listed above. He said without pause, “All lives matter.” He despised political correctness. He put America and Americans first. He respected religious freedom. He removed gender identity from Title IX. He demanded a wall.

This was the return of common sense. Liberals looked at his hair and his hands, listened to the nicknames he coined and the abrasive comebacks, and couldn’t believe it. Trump conservatives looked at and listened to American culture and society and politics in the 21st century and did the same. Donald Trump is to them the most normal politician out there.

Photo Credit: Olivier Douliery – Pool/Getty Images

About the Author:

Mark Bauerlein
Mark Bauerlein is a senior editor at First Things and professor of English at Emory University, where he has taught since earning his Ph.D. in English at UCLA in 1989. For two years (2003-2005) he served as director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. His books include Literary Criticism: An Autopsy, The Pragmatic Mind: Explorations in the Psychology of Belief, and The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future. His essays have appeared in PMLA, Partisan Review, Wilson Quarterly, Commentary, and New Criterion, and his commentaries and reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, The Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, and other national periodicals.