This is Part 8 in a series.
“Where do we go from here?” This is a question that many of those who seek to restore the United States of America to a more constitutionally compliant state have been asking in the weeks and months since November 3rd.
Lost in all the fight over the results of that election, with the allegations of fraud, the failures to follow election law, and the flouting of the Constitution’s provisions regarding who sets the rules that govern the elections are the fact that there were many failures on the part of Trump’s team and Trump himself. We’ve discussed Trump’s problems with personnel, the failure to plan, how they didn’t “prepare the battlefield” before the election, how he did not anticipate attacks, his failure to think how his message came across, and his inaccurate assessment of the situation – all of which were massive tactical and strategic failures which warrant some serious housecleaning.
What that all comes down to is failing to think ahead. Let’s be clear; there is a distinction between not thinking ahead and failing to plan. The latter is a result of not doing the former. Why do we need to think ahead and figure out plans beyond just the next election?
For one thing, the Left does it. In the Time’s article that many conservative or right-leaning journalists and media figures, including some from major conservative media outlets and blogs, consider to be an admission to almost every allegation made about the 2020 election; it is noted that the planning for that election by what Time itself called “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information” began in earnest in the fall of 2019.
But even before that, the labor union strategist who first urged that planning had spent months doing research. Google executives were caught on tape comparing Trump voters to fascists and vowing to make populist movements a “blip” in history in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election. Another Google exec admitted on tape that they wanted to “prevent the next Trump situation.” There was even a document titled “The Good Censor” that was created by the tech giant.
This bears repeating – the plot to manipulate the playing field for the 2020 election was proceeding in one form or another for over a year at a bare minimum and some of the resolve to defeat Trump came before he was inaugurated. Wonder why the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop was so thoroughly suppressed on social media? Time essentially outlines their plan to “control the flow of information” (smothering the story from the New York Post), “steer media coverage” (note how many outlets stayed silent except to attack the Hunter Biden whistleblower and the New York Post) and “influence perceptions” (see the “non-political” national security professionals who claimed the Hunter Biden laptop story was a Russian disinformation plot) was executed well enough that they kept enough eventual Biden voters from sitting out the election or defecting to ensure President Trump was not re-elected.
To put it another way, right about the time when President Trump was being impeached for the first time, powerful forces were working to tilt the playing field against his re-election bid. In one sense, you could view the first impeachment effort as a strategic diversion of the attention of Team Trump and many Republican operatives. This is the sort of long-term thinking that our side has to start replicating – and in earnest. And it has to go beyond the 2022 and 2024 elections.
Why do we need to start thinking long-term? It goes beyond what the article in Time magazine described. Here are some harsh facts: Former President Donald Trump turns 75 on June 14, and he faces a number of legal battles. Rush Limbaugh is fighting a battle against cancer that he could very well lose. Dr. Thomas Sowell will turn 91 in June. Lou Dobbs, whose show was recently canceled, is 75. Who will replace them, even if only in part?
Ideally, we’d have multiple options as a successor sorted out – but we are not in an ideal world. One hallmark of being people who value open discussion and reasoned debate as we seek to find the best policies is that there are often honest disagreements about the best course of action – or the best person for the job. It’s not like there is a shortage of suitable candidates.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis has shown the ability to build on the Trump coalition without being targeted by the “mean Tweets” narrative, and his personal life is a lot less… colorful. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been a beacon of liberty during the coronavirus lock-downs. Senator Josh Hawley has been a tough fighter against Biden and has had Trump’s back down the line while calling out Big Tech. This is not an exclusive list, there are many other potential leaders. But these contenders should be measured against the list of lessons we have learned from the 2020 election.
How can you best help in thinking down the road? The answer is a straightforward two-part process. The first thing to do is to do your research. Exactly what research will depend on the given issue, but a good foundation for just about any issue can come from studying the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the other Amendments to the Constitution. The Making of America is one outstanding resource to understand those documents. A sound historical background can come from reading books like A Patriot’s History of the United States, the Patriot’s History Reader, and Volumes One and Two of A Patriot’s History of the Modern World.
The second part is to ask questions of your elected officials and political leaders. We need to do this, along with listening to the answers and being willing to ask follow-up questions. These questions should be based on a solid understanding of history and the Constitution, while taking into account the lessons the 2020 election has taught us. This column is not able to predict what the right questions will be, much less the correct answers in every election or policy debate, but one of the features of federalism is that states (and localities) would be able to come up with their own solutions within the bounds of the Constitution.
Make no mistake, the loss of the presidency in the 2020 election is a huge blow to restoring the government to its constitutional boundaries. But the lessons we learn from this setback can help us achieve the constitutional restoration we know America needs. We have to remember to think down the road.
Harold Hutchison has nearly two decades of experience covering a variety of topics, including politics, national security affairs, foreign policy, Second Amendment issues, and sports. He has been published in numerous media outlets, including National Review, the Daily Caller, the Patriot Post, Ammoland.com, and the Washington Examiner.