Punch Leftists in the Mouth
Why Donald Trump is winning.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
After universal disappointment in the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, promoters are pushing for a rematch. Who would want to watch a rematch of one of the most disappointing fights of all time?
You might want to ask that of a Republican establishment determined to make 2016 a rematch of 2012 complete with a candidate who can’t throw a punch, doesn’t know where the fight is or even how to fight. If the establishment has its way, the primary process will select the least controversial and combative candidate, the one who offends and provokes the fewest people, to win a hugging contest.
Too bad the other side isn’t in a hugging mood.
The favorite quote of Clinton’s damage control man Chris Lehane came from Mike Tyson. “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Lehane went on to play a role in turning California far to the left while letting the Green lobby go wild. His plan for fighting the Keystone pipeline was flooding a room with fumes while handing out gas masks to reporters.
Lehane is also a longtime Hillary adviser.
These days that is how the Democratic Party does business. The era when Republicans could trounce hapless weasels like Carter, Mondale or Dukakis, who seemed destined to lose, by just laughing them off is over. The old Democrats are dead. The new Democrats are radical leftists animated by deep reserves of anger and a boundless hunger for power. They play by no rules except those coined by Alinsky.
The old GOP “Father Knows Best” campaign style stopped working when the radical left took over.
Obama won two elections by inspirationally grinning while his media allies and PACs repeatedly punched McCain and Romney in the face. This was never a race between Obama and a Republican. It was a race between a leftist campaign operation encompassing most of the media, portions of the government and much of popular culture. When they flagged, the PACs stepped in with another astroturfed social media trend or attack ad accusing the Republican of giving someone cancer.
Whatever plans the Republicans had evaporated as they staggered from one punch after another. Their messaging became defensive in a rigged fight that the Republicans were bound to lose.
Instead of learning to fight, the Republican establishment came down with a case of Stockholm syndrome and began to run less offensive candidates each time. At this rate, the 2020 Republican candidate will be a Democrat running on a platform of mildly enthusiastic handshakes.
The Republican establishment is convinced that going soft is the best way to convince voters that it cares about them. But in a bare knuckle fight, nice guys finish last.
Being a nice guy is one way to show voters that you care about them, but it gives them no compelling reason to actually vote for you. Being a nice guy is an automatic defensive posture because when the Chris Lehanes come up with their barrels of toxic waste, all the nice guy can do is defend his reputation.
The real way to show voters that you care about them is by being a fighter.
Cheering the boxer who is the “nicer” guy is a losing proposition. Niceness does not win fights. Fists do.
Donald Trump shot out ahead of the pack by being a fighter. His political positions right now may be the opposite of his old positions, but few people care because they see him throwing and taking punches in the ring. They see him burning through a $3 billion brand just to get into the race.
In a campaign where the other candidates have carefully nuanced positions on most of the issues, Trump shows no signs of nuance. He may be widely inconsistent, denouncing illegal aliens one day and endorsing amnesty the next, but frustrated voters are sending a message that they want a fighter.
They are tired of running out the clock in elections and then going home poorer to a country that grows less recognizable each year left only with the satisfaction of having voted for the more decent man.
The decent men of the Kerensky government did not prevail against the Bolsheviks. The decent Germans who saw the disinterested Hindenburg as the only alternative to Hitler ended up with Hitler anyway. True decency is not to be found in pulling punches against evil, but in punching it in the face.
It’s not only Republicans who have been battered by the left. Working families and small businesses across the country have been beaten bloody by ObamaCare, race riots and economic despair. They want someone who will fight for them. They need someone who will fight for them. Anyone will do.
The country is not looking for a compromiser. It is not waiting for a man of the middle ground. It does not want someone who can roll with the punches and deliver a good concession speech.
It wants to fight back against ISIS, illegal alien terror, crony capitalism, culture wars and crime.
Taking the fight to the enemy is scary. That’s why most politicians don’t do it. It’s easier to dance around, duck and hope you won’t get hit too hard when the time comes. Republican voters have become used to politicians who throw a halfhearted punch, play to the crowd and then play it safe.
That’s not what Trump is doing. He keeps taking hits and throwing punches. He may lose. He may take the Republicans down with him, but the base is happy just to see someone get out there and fight.
The left has a huge media and political infrastructure built in a plan that its activists have been pursuing for generations. It’s time someone punched them and their plan in the face.
The last man to punch them in the face was Ronald Reagan. So many Republicans want to be Reagan, but they remember him only at the peak of his power, not how he got there. They’ve forgotten the righteous anger of the man who turned abstract policy debates into stark moral choices.
The Republican establishment panicked when Giuliani accused Obama of not loving this country. They dismiss the very idea of accusing Obama of Socialism even though most Americans polled would rather vote for a gay Muslim atheist than a Socialist. They’ve forgotten when Ronald Reagan not only accused the Democratic Party of Socialism in 1964, but quoted Al Smith comparing FDR to Marx and Lenin.
They remember the cheering crowds when the fights ended. They forget the punches along the way.
Trump may not understand conservative ideas, but he understands the mechanics of drawing your opponent into a fight and trading punches. He also understands that if you don’t fight, you lose.
And it doesn’t take a Trump to do that.
The media machine of the left has intimidated Republicans. But the way to beat it isn’t by trying to fly under its radar, but by drawing it into a fight. A frustrated country doesn’t want machine politicians. It wants populists. It doesn’t trust the media, it defaults to it when it is the loudest voice in the room.
Obama trails a wreckage of controversies and causes from the national debt to ObamaCare, from illegal aliens to bailouts, from rising food prices to abusive regulations that a scrappy politician can exploit. Every week brings another news story that can be used to punch the perpetrators who made this mess.
This was not the first illegal alien murder in a sanctuary city. It was the first one that became an issue because we made it an issue by picking up a subject that the establishment wouldn’t touch.
The left is adept at turning everything from old TV shows to subway posture into “problematic” issues. It does this by going on the offensive, by protesting, by making a furor and throwing out wild accusations.
And it wins by default.
If the Republican Party wants to win something more than a seat at the pork table, its candidates will have to fight. They will get hurt. They will get beaten. But if they fight hard and well enough, the momentum will shift. Playing defense will never shift the momentum. At best it will extract the occasional meaningless victory that will end up disgusting even its own supporters.
The basic formula isn’t hard. Take an issue. Punch the left in the face over it. Don’t go on the defensive when the media whips up outrage. Don’t justify, apologize and explain. Instead punch harder.
Punch the left in the face over illegal alien crime, over its pro-crime policies and its massive debt, its war on religion, its hatred for the family and its obsession with censorship and control. Hit it over its failed foreign policy, its lost wars, its sympathy for terrorists, its lawlessness and abuses of power.
Keep hitting the left until it forgets its plans, until it feels doubt, until splits begin to form among moderate and extreme Democrats that translate into political defeats and compromises.
That’s not just how you win fights. It’s how you win victories that make a difference.