The ‘Lame Duck’ Argument Does Not Apply to President Trump

Gavin M. Wax
4 min readApr 13, 2023

As the political establishment scrambles to prevent Donald Trump from seizing the Republican presidential nomination, their pundits have promulgated an endless stream of faulty and malicious arguments in an attempt to keep him out.

None are lamer than the “lame duck” argument.

“Trump lost the last election because he could not control his obnoxious and petty behavior that needlessly alienated a large segment of suburban voters who otherwise voted Republican,” former Attorney General Bill Barr said in an interview with the New York Post. “And even if Trump were to squeeze out a narrow victory in 2024, he would enter office as a 78-year-old lame duck.”

“I don’t want a lame-duck president on the first day in office,” Connecticut state Senate GOP leader Kevin Kelly said. “We need a fresh face who is going to be able to bring that forward. That’s what America needs.”

“Trump can only offer four more years,” said Dave Wilson, president of the Palmetto Family Council, an evangelical group based in South Carolina. “How are we going to build a movement that goes beyond the next four years to the next eight years to the next twenty years, that parallels what we have seen over on the progressive side?”

These voices, many of whom — let’s face it — want to take the Republican Party back to the good ol’ days of weak and comfortable Bush-era neoconservatism, fail to recognize that Trump unchained and untethered, waging war against the enemies of America, unconcerned about any re-election possibilities, will supercharge the conservative movement for years to come.

Before Trump came down the escalator, the conservative movement was a moribund punchline. Globalist Republicans won token elections, but they never did anything with their power. As best emblematized by Trey Gowdy, who regularly bashes Trump on Fox News, they were all hat but no cattle. They offered little more than bluster to keep their constituents distracted while achieving negligible success.

Trump delivered results in a way that no conservative has in a generation, and his so-called lame-duck status in a new term would give him the requisite leeway to finish the job. For example, Trump declined to pardon whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange in part because of considerations that it may be more difficult to get through the Republican primary in 2024 if he made such a bold move. Such calculations will no longer have relevance during his second term.

Trump has said that he is our “warrior” and our “retribution,” comments that have scared the weak-kneed conservatives who desperately want to click their red shoes together and go back to 1985. Make no mistake about it: the Reagan era was a great era. It is remembered fondly by conservatives and ought to be. Reagan, like Trump, was far from perfect, but he was a great president and inspired a generation of limited-government conservatives. The 1980s were a far better time for our country, but those days have come and gone, and they will never be coming back.

Over the past three decades, millions upon millions of illegals have crossed our southern border. Radical leftist movements, such as the transgender movement and Black Lives Matter, have risen to prominence and dominate culturally as Christianity has weakened and waned. The 9/11 attacks ushered in a dystopian surveillance state, with civil libertarians’ worst fears coming to pass as organizations like the FBI and CIA treat American citizens as terrorist threats and deprive them of due process.

Trump may not be the ideal leader in the eyes of Reagan-era conservatives, but he is the leader this country desperately needs. He is the man of the times; he appeals to the unwashed masses, the types of folks who would never dream of attending a boring economics lecture or picking up a book on political theory. And despite the bleating of the corporate-funded think tank intellectual class who have appointed themselves the arbiters of official conservatism, this is a good thing.

Trump has achieved something that mainstream Republicans long failed to do by appealing to working-class people — the forgotten men and women of this country, Americans who were completely ambivalent on politics — and awakened them in a way that no other political figure possibly could have. Only Trump can seize upon the opportunity of this coalition; there is no replacement. The Conservative Inc. elites would rather close the door on this chapter of our history so they can attend D.C. cocktail parties and traverse high society without feeling awkward and ashamed for being represented by such a figure. Their shame in embracing Trump makes it clear that these are exactly the sort of men whom the Founding Fathers warned us about.

Founding Father Samuel Adams spoke negatively of those who loved “wealth better than liberty” and the “tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom.” He cared not for the “counsels or arms” of these weak men. Adams told these men to “crouch down and lick the hands which feed you,” mocking them as he said, “May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” And we certainly have forgotten about these nobodies, just as we will all forget about the modern-day RINOs who are the heirs to the cowardly loyalists reviled by founding-era revolutionaries.

President Trump is the only avatar for the righteous scorn of the common man. In a second term, he will realize the promise of the MAGA agenda. Nothing will restrain him from devastating his enemies, who just so happen to be the enemies of civilization. Only one political figure strikes terror into the hearts of the globalists, and that man is Trump. The sophisticates may not understand, but the American people realize that there is no turning back. To give up on Trump would be tantamount to giving up on the nation. He is the only option for the Republican Party in 2024.

Originally published at https://townhall.com on April 13, 2023.

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Gavin M. Wax

Gavin M. Wax is a New York-based conservative political activist, commentator, columnist, operative, and strategist. You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax