by Conrad Black
It may be premature (as well as unoriginal), but I believe, in one of the Democrats’ former favorite phrases, that “the walls are closing in” on Joe Biden. The Rasmussen poll—one of the only regular polls consistently accurate in 2016 and one that tends to lead fluctuations in the current polling—has recorded a six-point gain for President Trump in the past 10 days.
Aggregators that issue averages of a group of polls cannot be relied upon because most polls, like most of the media, start from the conclusion they desire and reason backward. Almost all of these polls are of echelons of the population and not of likely voters, and there is always a reticence among pro-Trump respondents.
The Democrats and their media toadies have used polls for the last two months to create the illusion of an inevitable Biden victory on November 3. CNN’s aptly named Don Lemon, that pillar of impartiality, tells us Trump’s “number’s up.” The political analysis operation FiveThirtyEight breathlessly advised last week that Biden was on the verge of opening up a “landslide” lead. These are standard partisan political tactics. The fact that Trump is now returning upwards in key polls illustrates again that no matter what is thrown at him he is practically indestructible.
This indestructibility rests partly on his record in office and partly on what appears to be an almost impenetrable resistance to the pressure of events. To those who have followed Trump’s career, this latter trait was revealed when he was technically insolvent, facing approximately 100 banks that had loaned him several billion dollars.
With amusing modesty, (not always his strong suit), he explained that the way to get everyone out without the loss of a cent was to permit him to manage up and opportunistically liquidate some of his assets. What he did not do was convey to the financial community the true fragility of his position. Certainly, he did not want the lenders to imagine they could run or sell his assets better than he could. He was sufficiently self-deprecating not to antagonize them and sufficiently purposeful to satisfy them that he was the best person to work his way out of the problem. He did so very rapidly and with some rather artistic and imaginative transactions along the way. Even though this was occurring in the midst of the spectacular public demise of his first marriage, Trump was completely unflappable and apparently never demoralized.
We saw this trait again late in the 2016 election campaign when the Democrats, thinking the time had come for their coup de grace, arranged for the publication of the “Access Hollywood”-Billy Bush tape in which Trump made lewd locker room comments about women. His party chairman and even his vice-presidential candidate went to ground. Many senators, governors, and other prominent Republicans ran for the hills. Yet the candidate held a press conference with women who claimed to have been sexually molested by President Bill Clinton and another woman who claimed to have been raped by a client of Hillary Clinton’s. Two days after the damaging tape was released, though some deny it, Trump won a televised debate with Hillary Clinton, even as he was under more pressure than any presidential debater going back to the original exchanges between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960.
COVID Truths and Fictions
It is another important figment of the Democratic script that Trump completely botched the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has the blood of 135,000 coronavirus fatalities on his hands. In fact, he followed for a time his instinct to downplay it, recognized when the near unanimity of scientific opinion required him to change course, and allowed the chief scientists to devise a lockdown system which the Democrats enthusiastically endorsed as likely to produce an economic depression that they could blame on Trump and use to win the election after all.
Trump inherited a public health disaster response system from the Obama Administration that was completely inadequate for any serious crisis, and when he acted preemptively in closing direct air traffic from China on January 31, Biden accused him of “xenophobia and hysteria.” Trump mobilized a national effort to produce necessary medical supplies that was astonishingly successful and demonstrated his executive talents. When the momentum of the virus slowed, Trump sponsored a national economic reopening which has produced impressive reductions of unemployment, and he has placed the Democrats on the horns of a dilemma over school reopening.
About 75 percent of the population wants to reopen the schools. But the Democrats are pushing for continued school closure, their party dominated by teachers’ unions that have reduced American state school systems to little more than daycare centers. Unionized school employees are now addicted to their paid shutdown holidays.. Assuming the fatality rates from the coronavirus do not significantly increase, Trump is almost certain to win this argument.
Now that the riots have almost stopped, the public can consider how the unjust killing by white policemen of an African-American in Minneapolis on May 25 led so suddenly to the destruction of statues of Columbus, U.S. Grant, Frederick Douglass, and almost of Abraham Lincoln, as well as to the defacing of monuments to American World War II dead. As the dust settles on this ghastly episode, the country will have to reflect on the hopeless Democratic municipal satrapies—headed by such allegories of the insolent corruption of incumbency as Mayors Bill de Blasio (New York), Lori Lightfoot (Chicago), Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles), and Muriel Bowser (Washington, D.C.). As these reduce police budgets and truckle to African-American radicals like those leading Black Lives Matter (BLM), who are riddled with anti-white racists and Marxist guerrillas and thugs, will their constituencies see the connections between these policies and events? Even with the incessant Democratic media effort to terrify the entire population out of its wits over the COVID-19 pandemic, it will no longer be possible to represent Trump as President Chaos.
Since 80 percent of COVID-19 fatalities are in the 20 percent of people above the age of 70 and therapeutic treatments are steadily becoming more efficient and available, it should be possible to cap COVID-related fatalities well below their present level—which already is approximately 70 percent below the high when the national shutdown was imposed.
From his great address at Mount Rushmore, Trump has played the traditional winning hand of leaders facing the attempted atomization of their voters into a swath of aroused grievance-groups. He raises and honors the flag of an imperfect but ever-improving America, of a great and benign nation. He calls for national unity against an internal enemy of racists, arsonists, and vandals who are propping up the Democrats, who are otherwise engaged in trying to maintain panic over COVID-19 and to perpetuate an economic recession and a national school holiday.
BLM and Antifa can riot and pillage and desecrate American history, but the people can’t go to school, houses of worship, or public entertainments. The inert, contemptible Democratic big-city mayors are sitting ducks for Trumpian abuse. Who has the winning hand, again?
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Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.