Speaking Tuesday night to an overflow crowd in Orlando, President Donald Trump kicked off his 2020 reelection campaign with a new slogan: “Keep America Great.”
Trump said the new slogan — which will replace the 2016 campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” — was necessary because, “Together, we stared down a corrupt and broken political establishment and we restored government of, by, and for the people.… Our economy is the envy of the world, perhaps the greatest economy we’ve had in the history of our country.”
Thousands of supporters arrived more than 40 hours before the event in the critical swing state of Florida — which Trump won by a little more than one percent of the vote last time — so as to secure their place in Orlando’s Amway Center. Some had even been camping out in chairs for several nights, according to Fox News.
It was in stark contrast to four years ago, when Trump began his first campaign for president, with hardly anyone expecting him to win the Republican nomination, much less win the presidency. That time, his pledge to “Make America Great Again!” inspired millions of Americans who believed the elites cared little about them. This time, his army of supporters nationwide believe that Trump took on those elites, and kept his promise to “Make America Great Again.”
But Trump is not ditching that theme completely as he launches his bid for reelection. He told the raucous crowd, “We did not merely transfer power from one party to another, but we transferred power back to you, the proud citizens of the United States of America.”
He continued, connecting his draining of what he called “The Swamp” to what it has meant for America: “We broke down the doors of Washington backrooms, where deals were cut to close our companies, give away our jobs, shut down our factories, and surrender your sovereignty and your very way of life.”
But the “Swamp” is “fighting back … viciously and violently,” Turmp said, in reference to the efforts made by the establishment to destroy him. “No president should ever have to go through this again. It is so bad for our great country.”
Trump added, “The only collusion was committed by the Democrats, the fake news media and their operatives and the people who funded the phony dossier, crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC,” all in an effort to “overturn the results of the election.” Trump compared the treatment he received with that of his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, who was given a “free pass.” He accused Hillary of setting up an illegal server, destroying evidence, and acid-washing 33,000 e-mails. “Can you imagine, if I got a subpoena, think of this, If I got a subpoena for e-mails, if I deleted one e-mail, like a love note to Melania, it’s the electric chair for Trump.”
Noting that his family, business, finances, employees, and “almost everyone that I’ve ever worked with” came under assault, Trump said that “they’re really going after you. That’s what it’s all about.”
Then, Trump compared his tenure in office to Obama’s in regard to the Russians. “Remember, President Obama’s famous line caught on the open mic, secretly telling the Russian president to, quote, ‘Inform Vladimir that after my election I’ll have more flexibility?” Yet, as Trump noted, “The fake news will never bring it up.” In contrast to Obama doing “nothing,” Trump said he had imposed sanctions on Russia. “The Democrats don’t care about Russia, they only care about their own political power.”
After dealing with his battles against The Swamp — which some call the Deep State — Trump began a recitation of the accomplishments of the last two and a half years: “We have done so much with our military, with our vets, with the Second Amendment, with our regulations, with the biggest tax cut in history.… We got rid of the individual mandate.” Now, people “no longer have to pay for the privilege of not paying for bad health insurance.”
Since his election, “We have created six million new jobs” and “have lifted more than six million Americans off of food stamps,” Trump said proudly. “The unemployment rate is the lowest rate it’s been in over 51 years.” With an obvious eye toward swinging more voters into his electoral coalition, Trump made a special point of the historically low unemployment rates among Hispanics and African-Americans, and that “we ended the Clinton era crime policies that unfairly affected the African-American community.” Additionally, he added, “Wages are rising at the fastest rate in many decades,” and “The United States is now the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.”
In what is expected to be a theme of a Trump campaign if former Vice President Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee, Trump reminded the audience of Obama saying that one would “need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing,” and tied Biden to that statement by saying, “Well, we’ll tell Sleepy Joe that we found the magic wand.”
He also boasted that America’s veterans “are no longer left to languish and die on endless waiting lists, standing in line for a doctor,” because of the passage of VA Choice, allowing them to see their own doctors.
“I will soon have appointed my 145th judge,” Trump said, reminding the crowd how the Democrats and their media allies mistreated one of his Supreme Court picks — Brett Kavanaugh.
No Trump speech would be complete without his addressing the problem of illegal immigration, and Trump explained the problem: “Illegal mass migration brings in millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs, wages, and opportunities against the most vulnerable Americans, cutting off their path to the American dream.… Mass illegal migration reduces living standards and strains public resources.” Yet, Trump noted, “not one Democrat candidate for president, not a single one, has stood up [for] the incredible men and women of ICE and Border Patrol.”
Refreshingly, Trump cut to the chase on the immigration issue, explaining why the Democrats so strongly favor illegal immigration — they hope it will “expand their political base, and they’ll get votes some place down the future. That’s what it’s about.”
He took aim at another issue on which the Democrats have taken a very extreme position: “Virtually every top Democrat also now supports taxpayer-funded abortion right up to the moment of birth. Ripping a baby straight from the mother’s womb. Leading Democrats have even opposed measures to prevent the execution of children after birth.”
The lurch to the Left by the Democrats on economic issues also drew Trump’s ire. He charged that more than 120 Democrats in Congress have also signed up to support “crazy Bernie Sanders’ socialist government takeover of healthcare.… They want to end Medicare as we know it and terminate the private health insurance of 180 million Americans who love their health insurance. America will never be a socialist country, ever. Republicans do not believe in socialism, we believe in freedom.”
Perhaps the only part of Trump’s speech which should concern Americans concerned about the country’s future was his promotion of his new trade deal with Mexico and Canada — the USMCA. While Trump has rightly condemned other trade deals such as NAFTA and TPP, many of the bad things about those deals could also be said about the USMCA, and some experts who are concerned about America’s continued national sovereignty believe it could be even worse.
All in all, despite the continued attacks upon him by the national media, Trump has many positive accomplishments that he can present to the voting public next year, and many negative things he can say about his opponents. He definitely knows how to connect with an audience, and with a roaring economy, his chances for reelection appear quite strong.
Photo: AP Images
Steve Byas is a college history professor, and author of History’s Greatest Libels, which challenges some of the falsehoods used against historical personalities such as Thomas Jefferson, Warren Harding, and Joe McCarthy.