One of the all-time best lines in television and politics was delivered by the late Fred Thompson on “Law and Order.” To his assistant district attorney he advised, “Jack, it’s not enough to do good. You have to be seen doing good.”
So too with presidents and national security. It’s not enough to keep America secure. Voters must feel more secure.
One of the key themes of the 2016 GOP convention in Cleveland was, “Make America Safe Again.” Turns out that a huge number of voters did not feel safe under Obama policies, despite his tenure being widely celebrated around the world. Demand for change was fed by talk of open borders, unenforced red lines, flexibility with Russia, ISIS, Benghazi, plus lost opportunities in manufacturing and energy.
Not only has the president and Congress made America safer, most Americans feel safer and better off. Republicans running on this record, together with the strong economic revival at home, stand a very good chance of defying history this election cycle.
Trump famously broke all predictive models in building a new electoral college coalition in 2016. He may be defying history and the “best and brightest” predictive models for the mid-term elections in 2018, with strategic moves on trade and foreign policy playing a major role.
Trump is winning on trade and diplomacy and that will help energize his base in midterms. People are proud after a long era of Democrats apologizing for America. ISIS is gone from the headlines. Finally, we have a president who puts muscle behind rebalancing alliance and trade relationships in our favor. Most “experts” mistake his approach as a revival of nationalism or isolationism, but in reality, Trump represents a new pro-American internationalism, without apology. And mainstream Americans support it.
Turns out it also is popular to keep promises made during a campaign. The U.S. embassy is now in Israel’s capital. The U.S. exited bad deals – the Paris Climate Accord and Iran deal. No more disappearing red lines and no more nation-building. And no more multilateral trade deals that weaken American sovereignty or our economy. Unconventional tweets and summits resonate with flyover America. Economic revival at home projects strength and opportunity abroad.
Absent a shock between now and election day, most Americans feel safer and more confident in America’s role in the world. Trump themes of sovereignty, security, fair trade, and international realism resonate strongly with mainstream America and are hard for Democrats to oppose.
Not only has the president and Congress made America safer, most Americans feel safer and better off. Republicans running on this record, together with the strong economic revival at home, stand a very good chance of defying history this election cycle. We’re not tired of winning.