Nate Jackson / November 9, 2020

Trump’s ‘Achilles Heel’

Despite his administration’s enormous success, the president couldn’t overcome a flaw.

Publisher’s Note: Some readers have objected to Nate Jackson’s implication that “Trump lost.” Indeed President Trump has not conceded and is fighting legal battles to expose voter fraud — as Jackson noted below. However, in no way does honest reflection about issues that contributed to Trump not winning a landslide reelection constitute acquiescence to Biden’s claim of victory. Far from it. Assuming Biden takes office in January — assuming! — we will remain on the frontlines, advocating for Liberty and fighting against Biden, Harris, and the rest of their leftist cadre.


President Donald Trump has lost the 2020 election, unless by he can prove determinative voter fraud in enough states to swing the Electoral College. Most conservatives believe in their bones that Democrats cheated. There’s plenty evidence of fraud that will be sorted out in recounts and courts, even if the Leftmedia will dismiss it and social media “fact-checks” it into oblivion. The mass media has lost its credibility, however, so why would any red-blooded American believe them? In any case, for legal challenges to succeed in changing the election results is an uphill battle.

Trump won eight million more votes than he did in 2016. He did this because his record on the judiciary, taxes, regulation, the economy, and cultural issues regarding fundamental rights were practically impeccable, and millions more Americans acknowledged that fact by voting for him this time after either opposing him or sitting it out four years ago. The president broadened the GOP tent in ways that other Republican leaders have utterly failed to do.

Yet Trump lost to Joe Biden, a nearly 78-year-old man who’s clearly not up to the job because of his alarming cognitive decline. Trump lost to a man with practically no platform beyond what his radical leftist puppeteers gave him. No incumbent has lost to an opponent who ran on simply not being the incumbent. No incumbent has lost when a healthy majority of Americans are optimistic about the economy. Until now.

So how did this happen?

There are lots of reasons, including the Big Media apparatus arrayed against Trump — the combination of Leftmedia and social media collusion with Democrats. Bad story about Biden? Suppress it.

Trump was assailed for four long years by these same media organizations with a litany of bogus “news” that all began with the ludicrous assertion that Trump won in 2016 because he “colluded with Russia.” Democrats investigated and investigated some more, only to turn up empty. Then they impeached Trump for what Joe Biden actually did.

Democrats spent the last four years stirring up division and hate against the president at a level that we’ve never even read about in history books. For any man to withstand that tidal wave of hatred would have been a miracle.

All that said, the unfortunate truth is that one factor in Trump’s loss was his unwillingness to control the message, particularly on social media.

Before you dismiss that claim out of hand as “Never Trump” hysteria, consider that in our own conservative region, Trump trailed Republican congressional candidates by 10 points. In other words, people who were voting for Republican Senate and House candidates either refrained from voting for President Trump or voted for Biden, despite his utter lack of character.

Trump got eight million more votes this year? Well, Biden got nearly 10 million more votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016, when 54% of Americans voted against Trump. If our conservative community was any indication of suburban America, Trump’s sometimes chaotic and fratricidal messaging turned out more Biden voters than his policies did Trump voters.

The president’s first debate performance probably sealed his fate, especially given that his second debate, while much better than the first, didn’t help him enough.

Trump had a bad habit that preceded his presidency of, as we call it around our humble shop, swapping spit with jackasses, particularly on social media.

His ugly attacks on his own former staffers may have elicited cheers from some in his base, but he didn’t win many friends — maybe because he hired all those people in the first place. James Mattis, John Kelly, Reince Priebus, Rex Tillerson, Steve Bannon, and a host of other former White House employees all found themselves on the receiving end of brutal rhetorical attacks from the president, who could have benefited from being humble and gracious instead. Haranguing Mattis and Kelly, both respected military men who served their country faithfully for their entire careers — Kelly even losing his son in Afghanistan — almost certainly cost Trump votes in the military.

While the assertion Trump once called dead soldiers “losers” was a mendacious lie repeated by Biden, it got traction because some folks believed Trump could have said it, given his history of fratricidal attacks. Trump’s ugly spat with John McCain, and then the McCain family over the late senator’s funeral, cost him many Republican votes in Arizona.

Even with that history, it would have helped enormously in recent months had Trump led the COVID pandemic response with humble confidence and clarity. But too often his comments derailed his administration’s successes. Given the relentless Democrat/media campaign to blame the pandemic deaths on Trump, it’s understandable that he would get defensive. But too often he was overly so, and his daily briefings became a disaster.

Let’s do be clear in the president’s defense: Donald Trump is not a liar — certainly not in the same way that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama are liars. They say false things with the intent to deceive. Trump’s rhetoric can be braggadocios and sometimes has over-inflated his case. He has sometimes been, to put it mildly, imprecise.

We warned in 2016 that Trump didn’t possess the character of a George Washington or Ronald Reagan, though his opponents in both elections most certainly have far less character. It is, of course, far more important that Trump’s policies were often exactly what the country needed at exactly the right time, and his legacy is both admirable and secure. Unfortunately, in a personality driven culture, Trump couldn’t overcome his communications handicap.

The silver lining? President Trump has provided a template with which Republicans can win, provided they can not only fight but be a tad bit winsome in the process.

(Updated.)

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