When Trump Fights the Left, He Punches Up

President Trump sent out a tweetstorm on Sunday morning on a wide range of topics that included media corruption, the economy, failing union leadership, the Democrats' employment of the tired racism charge, and Hurricane Dorian, among other subjects.

He called out a few people and organizations by name, to include America's worst economist, Paul Krugman, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the "Amazon Washington Post," and the Squad.

A common critique on message boards is that Trump is punching down at his opponents.  While there is room to question the wisdom of some of his tweets, President Trump is not punching down.  He is actually punching up.

Liberals have near lockstep control of the cultural heights, and everyone Trump called out is a full member of that twisted cultural cabal.  Liberals own the mainstream media, academia, the entire entertainment industry, union leadership, the government bureaucracy, the publishing industry, the music industry, and social media, among others.  Conservatives hold mere pockets of influence within these cultural forces.

Any conservative who punches at a liberal or even threatens liberals' monopoly on a cultural power is automatically punching upward, since liberals can and will rain fire down on any conservative, to include the president.  No matter how many tweets President Trump sends out, there will still be a power disparity between him and the liberal cultural institutions that does not favor the president.

It is within this context that Debra Messing demanded the attendee list for a Beverly Hills Trump fundraiser, so that whoever from the entertainment industry dared to support President Trump could be doxed and excommunicated.

While any president has plenty of power, there is also a massive power disparity between a Republican and a Democrat president.  A Democrat president automatically inherits a completely loyal federal bureaucracy looking to back his every move.  That bureaucracy is on hair-trigger notice to both push his policies and, in Lois Lerner fashion, punish his enemies.  They are like a bunch of groupies at a Miley Cyrus concert, eager to please and not terribly discerning about why.

One of the worst and lasting legacies of President Obama's presidency was the weaponization of government.  A Republican president does not have that option because the federal bureaucracy would mutiny if he tried.  It is hard enough for a Republican president to move the federal bureaucracy to bring real liberal criminals to justice, a fact on full display right now.

Any Democrat president who inherits such an ideologically loyal bureaucracy will be tempted to misuse it.  One of the most gratifying jobs in the world is to be a Democrat president.  In addition to unquestioned loyalty from your government branch, all the cultural elites adore you and hang on your every word.  The corollary is also true: the hardest job in the world is being a Republican president.  Every single cultural institution and most government agencies are doing everything in their power to sabotage your policies and destroy you.

The same dynamic is true of the Cabinet heads.  This is why Senator Jeff Sessions, a good and honorable man, failed so spectacularly at the Justice Department.  He did not have the temperament to oversee a viciously hostile department.  He either was naïve or just did not have the energy to take up the fight.  Imagine being Betsy DeVos.  Every day, this brave and talented woman goes to work to oversee a department made up almost entirely of people who despise her.

A Democrat president inherits a full blanket of media protection that acts like air superiority protecting that president from any effective attack.  Entertainers and professors bring in supporting fire like artillery from the hills, ensuring that everyone understands both the Democrat president's greatness and how terrible are his foes.

A Republican president starts on day one with a disloyal bureaucracy, a hostile media seeking to destroy him, and relentless fire from the entire cultural heights.  Every day of his presidency is like Groundhog Day when it comes to this dynamic.  Instead of his morning starting with "I Got You, Babe" blaring on the radio, it starts with incendiary headlines and stories screaming his villainy.

Within this context, President Trump's counterpunches are a real act of courage.  He is representing and defending his many supporters and setting the example for other Republicans to follow his lead.  He is almost always punching back against someone who has attacked either him or a supporter.  While I am concerned about how some of those counterattacks are perceived in the suburbs, particularly when twisted by the media, Trump is almost never the aggressor.

Republican presidents before President Trump have been unwilling to take on the liberals' overwhelming control of the cultural heights.  Trump has changed that dynamic by turning one of their tools, Twitter, against them.  He has inspired plenty of other Republicans to join him in the fight.  One of the most notable changes has been Senator Lindsey Graham.  It is hard to imagine his speech in defense of Brett Kavanaugh in a pre-Trump political universe.  Even today, Senator Ted Cruz recently followed President Trump's lead and punched back at Alyssa Milano in defense of the Second Amendment.  Punching down?  Not a chance, since she is representing the overall liberal cultural machine.

President Trump has been a little like Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid fame in that he has taught his fellow Republicans how to punch back at liberals despite their overwhelming advantage in cultural power.

President George W. Bush, a good and gracious man who chose not to answer attacks, was destroyed by the end of his presidency by liberals who attacked him mercilessly from day one.  Perhaps he thought it was beneath the dignity of the office to answer back against his critics, or perhaps he worried about the counterattack that would surely come.  But the liberal attack machine's strikes landed, and, unanswered, they stuck.

President Trump has changed that dynamic and changed his party.  Republicans are in a very different place today from where they were when the president took office.  At least for the moment, they are becoming a party of fighters.  

Fletch Daniels blogs at deplorabletouchdown.com and can be found on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.

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