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January 2, 2019

Reflections on 2018, Predictions for 2019

A mix of observations from the year past and predictions for the year to come.

“I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would…most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.” –George Washington (1783)

As New Year retrospectives go, my personal favorite is the month-by-month recount from satirist Dave Barry in his “Year in Review” column. Spoiler alert: 2019 will include a lot of 2018 déjà vu – a lot of what has already been seen, ad nauseam, ad infinitum!

On the other hand, for a reality check, both on the year past and the year to come, there are two New Year messages that best summarize the competing factional visions of American politics, and their impact on our nation.

The first of those is from President Donald Trump. As we approach the two-year mark of his presidency, suffice it to say it has been an interesting ride.

In his New Year’s Eve message, Trump said: “Happy New Year to everyone, including the haters and the fake news media. 2018 has been a year of historic accomplishments! 2019 will be a fantastic year for those not suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. Just calm down and enjoy the ride, great things are happening for our country. It’s going to be a great year. Complicated, but great. We’re doing so well as a country. … I’m working hard for you. I’m fighting for you.”

Speaking of Trump Derangement Syndrome, the cult leader of that pathological collective, Hillary Clinton, rang in the New Year with this contrasting message: “2018 was a dark time for the country. I’m grateful [for] activists who protected kids at the border, journalists who stood up for truth, organizers who mobilized voters for the 2018 elections, candidates who ran races with grit and inspiration, voters who made their voices heard, and absolutely everyone who marched, donated, called, and protested to fight for the values we share.” (Yes, she invoked Barack Obama’s worn-out Orwellian assertion about “the values we share.”)

Apparently, Clinton’s “dark” assessment of 2018 missed a lot of bright beams of light.

Among those brilliant rays, I would note all the ways the Trump administration has helped set a course to Make America Great Again for all Americans. GDP is making a significant comeback, with the last quarter report at 3.5%. Reflecting that growth is the lowest unemployment in 60 years, including record lows for those the Democrat Party ostensibly claims as its constituents — black and Hispanic Americans. There were more than 4.3 million new jobs and seven million more job postings than workers available to fill them. An all-time high of 130 million Americans now have a job. Last year, at least four million workers got pay bonuses averaging $1,000-$3,000 from employers, the direct result of Republican tax cuts — bonuses Nancy Pelosi called “crumbs.” Moreover, the average middle-income family received more than $2,000 in tax-cut “crumbs.” Four million Americans came off the welfare rolls. And there were other changes in economic policy that will yield longer-term results, including major cuts in regulations, revised NAFTA and China trade deals, and exiting the socialist Paris climate charade.

All the Demo rhetoric notwithstanding, it turns out that Donald Trump is truly a “blue collar” president, and Democrats step on his grassroots supporters at their own peril.

What follows is a mix of observations from the year past and predictions for the year to come…

Despite the Trump administration’s outstanding economic policy record coming into the midterm election, House Republicans were unable to offset the overwhelming Leftmedia narrative against anything and everything Trump. The Democrat Party was the intended beneficiary of the MSM’s relentless anti-Trump message, and the Demos’ “Hate Trump” platform to foment fear, anger, and division prevailed in the House elections – albeit nothing like Obama’s House losses in his first midterm election.

And just like that, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is back in charge of the incoming [116th House Democrats](], and the congressional “Trump Resistance Collective.” Pelosi and her counterpart in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, will do everything in their power to further bog down the Trump administration’s agenda, not by offering alternatives — they don’t have any — but by flooding the White House with subpoenas, inquiries, and maybe even an impeachment shot across Trump’s bow.

Unfortunately for all Americans outside the Beltway, blocking the Trump administration’s agenda may get Democrats the recession they’re hoping for ahead of the 2020 elections. For the next two years, job and income prospects for tens of millions of American workers and their families may fall victim to the Demos’ politically induced recession.

As Pelosi took the gavel, Trump noted, “As I have stated many times, if the Democrats take over the House or Senate, there will be disruption to the Financial Markets. We won the Senate, they won the House. Things will settle down. They only want to impeach me because they know they can’t win in 2020, too much success!”

In addition to Pelosi’s planned White House assault, Trump still faces considerable real trouble from the Mueller/Comey/Clinton collusion to take down his presidency. As there is no evidence of Russian collusion, a ruse set up by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Democrats will relentlessly hound Trump over accusations of campaign-finance violations in 2019, as that best fits with their now-perennial “stolen election” narrative. It will be the fodder for impeachment charges ahead of the 2020 election.

On the upside, a big plus in the Trump column was increasing the Senate’s Republican majority. The 53-47 margin in the Senate will not only provide a gauntlet against House Democrats but will enhance Trump’s ability to confirm additional judges to federal courts. A big win for Rule of Law last year was the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Among other gains for the American people, Trump withdrew from Obama’s “deal with Iran” and opened a dialogue with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un aimed at the eventual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Trump’s trade gamesmanship with China and other nations with whom the U.S. has capitulated on trade is beginning to pay dividends for American workers. And he also renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to increase protection of U.S. jobs, though the agreement is awaiting congressional approval.

Trump’s controversial (by some accounts) First Step Act to bring limited reformations to criminal justice was passed by the Senate just before the year-end break.

But most notably, Trump is still without sufficient funding for his southern border barrier, and consequently decreed a partial shutdown of “non-essential government bureaucracies” at the end of the year to force the issue. Meanwhile, Congress is redistributing $10.6 billion in taxpayer funds to Mexico for its own southern border security. (Border security and Trump’s plan for a “slow and highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops” from Syria, will be covered in substantial detail in my column this afternoon.)

In another blow to our economy, despite historic equity-market gains in 2017 after Trump took office, at the end of 2018, under the cloud of Democrat House takeover uncertainty, their were significant market losses – which is to say significant losses for tens of millions of Americans who have investments and retirement plans that include equities.

But without question, the losses on Wall Street notwithstanding, the gains for Main Street American workers are substantial and remain strong.

Among other 2018 losses were some great Americans. The Rev. Billy Graham left this world on February 21 at the age of 99. Former First Lady Barbara Bush died April 17 at the age of 92. Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Krauthammer died June 21 at the age of 68. And former president George Herbert Walker Bush passed away November 30 at the age of 94.

Looking forward…

Trump’s Cabinet will change significantly in 2019, but it has been in constant flux since he took office.

The two most significant losses coming into the New Year are the departures of Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, two of the administration’s most highly respected personnel.

In his departing message, General Mattis told his DoD personnel that it “has been my high honor” serving them and our nation. He noted further, “Our Department’s leadership, civilian and military, remains in the best possible hands. I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission ‘to support and defend’ the Constitution while protecting our way of life. So keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes.”

Both he and Gen. Kelly provided the administration a much-needed degree of stability and respect, and we note both departures with gratitude for their distinguished lifelong service to our nation. Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will be serving as acting secretary until Trump names a successor, but in terms of his standing with those in uniform, Gen. Mattis is irreplaceable.

Fortunately, our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “Fighting Joe” Dunford and Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton will help bridge the military and policy gap.

In other significant administration changes, William Barr, former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has been nominated by Trump to replace Jeff Sessions. Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is filling in after Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned, as is Andrew Wheeler at EPA after Scott Pruitt’s departure. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will likely be on her way out and Trump has nominated Heather Nauert to replace outgoing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

It is regretful that 2019 will be dominated by much of the political discord that dominated 2018, but that’s the best Democrats and their Leftmedia publicists have to offer. Expect to for Schumer and Pelosi to put their “wrap-up smear tactics” into high gear.

Regarding New Year resolutions, consider making new habits and rules for life instead of those resolutions.

And finally on Christmas past… I came across a report of one small example of how millions of Americans lift others up every day all year — most of those acts of love and charity never making a headline. In this case, it was an American who, amid all the border rancor, reached into Mexico to make a wish come true.

Just ahead of Christmas, Randy Heiss was walking his dog near his home in Patagonia, Arizona, when he came across a deflated red balloon stuck in a shrub. There was a small note attached to the ballon scribbled in Spanish, a simple Christmas wish list from a little girl in Mexico named Dayami. As a child, Heiss also sent his Santa wish list up by balloon and was determined to answer this one: “It really touched my heart to find it and I said, 'Well how in the heck am I going to be able to figure out how to make contact with this little girl and make her wishes come true?’”

With the help of a local radio station across the border, Heiss was able to identify the child’s family in Nogales, Sonora. He and his wife went to a local Walmart and purchased the list items — some new clothes and watercolor paints — and delivered them to the child. Heiss noted, “We lost our son nine years ago, so we don’t have grandchildren in our future, and so really getting to share Christmas with kids was something that’s been missing in our lives.”

On that note, Christmas Day is past, but in our home, we bring the spirit of Christmas into the New Year. That was especially true with the unexpected arrival of two of our adult children on New Year’s Eve – meaning all three were under our roof for 48 hours. Today, our red, white, and blue Patriot Tree lights are still shining bright in front of our home, as are all the reminders of Christmas inside our home. Those Christmas items will come down in the next week or so and put away until next December, but we will hold tight to the “reason for the season” throughout every season this year!

Note: Thank you to all who supported The Patriot Fund’s 2018 Year-End Campaign — we will provide an update on Thursday. This campaign accounts for almost 50% of our annual operating revenue and sustains our publication from November to April.

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