I was a proud member of the Never Trump movement in 2016, but I’ve since moved to likely voting for him in 2020. For many of the same reasons as proffered by others, I initially hated Trump and couldn’t believe he got a single vote. I hated the establishment and was annoyed with the lack of progress in Washington but that doesn’t mean I run and pick a loud-mouth, rude, uncouth, New Yorker to represent us.
But once I realized that was just baked into who he was, just like the Clintons being liars and skirting the edge of ethics, I started ignoring the daily Twitter controversies and instead looked at Trump’s policies outside of the noise from pundits and “experts.” What I found was a relatively successful president.
What impresses me most is that he has a backbone that past Republicans didn’t have. For example, I specifically cited a potential confirmation fight and how I was worried President Trump would cave and do some kind of deal to confirm a moderate. Not only did he not cave, but he pushed a nominee harder than any other president I’ve ever seen. It’s a little late, and the timing seems a bit motivated by right-wing Twitter feeds, but he has fought in the longest government shutdown ever for a campaign promise.
The policies I disagree with the most are also promises that he is keeping, so he gets credit for that. I called him the most isolationist Republican since Robert Taft. In the last month or so he has promised to leave Syria and talked about leaving NATO. I think tariffs are a horrible idea and free markets are great, but he has started a tariff war with China because he said he would. (China is facing an economic slowdown, so it seems he might actually win that war too.)
He is rather decisive. Many people don’t remember this because there have been a thousand controversies since then, but when President Trump moved the embassy in Israel I remember comparing it to the mess of Brexit. Brexit is an even greater mess today, but the embassy move was a fulfillment of a campaign promise as well as U.S. policy that had been delayed for 20 years. What beguiled other presidents for 20 years Trump simply did.
His supposed disrespect for allies is actually an interpretation that denies the results he got. I wrote about it a while ago after I read one of the weirdest articles in a long time. The author’s thesis statement was that Trump’s Asian policies have produced results. But he spent most of the time complaining about Trump’s unstable personality.
As I wrote in the article: Even when Trump produces positive results that enhance American security, keeps his campaign promises, inspires allies to do more, and makes real steps to denuclearize North Korea, establishment elites can’t seem to acknowledge it.
Trump is blamed for not treating NATO members well, but Poland loves Trump so much they are willing to name a base after him, and many more countries are now finally spending the required 2 percent of their budgets on the military.
When you take away the negative filter regarding Trump that is often just a function of the visceral feelings against him, and look at policies and results, he is more or less a decent Republican president with a strong backbone and good instincts on the big stuff. In addition to his foreign policy successes, he passed a tax cut, nominated solid conservatives to the Supreme Court and many more to the lower courts, rolled back excessive Obama regulations, and had a pillar for his signature campaign promise.
His grasp of policy is nonexistent, as you can see in the aftermath of his Syria-oriented Twitter video, for example. But even then, he promised during the campaign to have the best people and implied they would be in charge of policy. He is still basically doing what he said.
In the two years of a Trump presidency he has inspired rivers of ink criticizing his every move. But when you take away the noise and look at his policies he is a Republican president with a granite tablet for keeping campaign promises. I will support Trump in 2020. I’ve been moved from Never Trump to voting for him based on substantive results while the critics will continue to rage without thinking.