In 1976, Ronald Reagan lost a tough nomination battle to then sitting President Gerald Ford. It looked like Reagan was finished. He was already 65. The consensus opinion was that he’d be too old to try again by the time 1980 rolled around.
But Reagan knew the truth: fate isn’t fashioned by consensus. According to historian Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation, he wrote to a supporter: “Going on with what God has given us, confident there is a destiny, somehow seems to bring a reward we wouldn’t exchange for any other.”
And famously, when he spoke to his disappointed staff, he quoted an old Scottish ballad in which a fallen warrior tells his soldiers:
“Fight on, my men…
I am wounded but not slain.
I will lay me down for to bleed awhile,
Then I’ll rise and fight again.”
I know that many conservatives are dispirited now. Many are resting their hopes on overturning the election results by proving them fraudulent in recounts and courts of law. I support that effort. The Democrats cheat. They need to be exposed and our systems need to be reformed. It’s a long shot, but hey, maybe the Trump team will pull off a miracle. It’s 2020 — anything could happen.
But I’m not betting on it. Even if there was enough fraud to skew the election, it’s going to be hard to prove. And it seems equally possible that my fears were realized and Trump’s personality — his lack of decorum, his pugilism, his ferocity — all great weapons to wield against a corrupt Deep State and its media — were also electoral handicaps that drove many voters to vote against him.
If that’s how it turns out — if Trump has to leave — well, you can put my name on any enemy list you want, because I’ll tell you right now: I’m going to miss him. He’s been the most exciting, transgressive, and delightful president of my lifetime. He gave us a restored economy, a more responsible judiciary, the start of a true Middle East peace process, a more honest approach to China, and a media stripped naked in its corruption. For all the Trump-is-Hitler palaver, he seized less power for government than any president I can remember, Reagan included. And for all the Threat-to-our-Democracy wailing, he colored within the Constitutional lines. He did not turn the IRS on his political opponents. He did not use the FBI to investigate the other party’s candidates. He did not bug reporters’ phones or criminalize their actions. He was not, in short, anywhere near as dangerous to our American norms as Barack Obama. I’ll be sorry to see him go.
But while I’m disappointed, I’m not discouraged. I will lay me down for to bleed awhile, but I will surely fight again. In fact, I believe this election marks a turning point in our favor — a conservative turning point in the fight for America’s culture.
Our despicably corrupt media did everything they could to hurt this president. The Russian hoax, the Kavanaugh lie, the Ukrainian absurdity, on and on. And yet, I don’t believe they took a single vote away from him. For all the king’s Stephanopouloses and all the king’s Stelters, Trump got more votes than any presidential candidate in history except Biden. And if the voters rejected him, they also rejected identity politics, anti-police activism, and the slavery of socialism. America held the line.
It was not this way in Nixon’s day. The media destroyed Nixon after turning a blind eye to JFK’s corruption. It was not this way twelve years ago when they manipulated John McCain, or eight years ago when they cowed Mitt Romney.
Part of the difference was Trump himself. He knew how to fight back. But part of the difference was us — the new media, The Daily Wire, the Blaze, OANN and the rest. For the first time — the first time in decades — our voices were competitive with theirs, our information got past even the jackboots of Jackboot Dorsey and the other social media censors. Because of us, more people saw the Left for what they are than ever before.
We reached our audience. We could not have done that twenty years ago. Now the next step is to reach their audience, to claim their audience for our own.
There are ways in which politics is like soccer — what some people call the “Beautiful Game.” The ball goes back and forth, back and forth, and no one ever seems to score a decisive goal.
So it is now. We may have lost the White House, but our lower ticket gains were substantial and auspicious. Trump has been fun. But freedom is even more fun. The fight continues — and the fight is fun.
The Beautiful Game goes on.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.