There’s been a spate of good economic news lately, largely thanks to President Trump’s economic policies. US GPD grew 3.2% for the first quarter of 2019, blowing away economists’ projected 2.5% growth. Of the 231 companies in the S&P 500 to report their Q1 earnings so far, 77.5% of them have exceeded analysts’ expectations. US consumer spending increased 0.9% (0.7% when adjusted for inflation) during a quarter that is usually slower after the Christmastime rush. All of that growth has occurred without a substantial increase in inflation.
That economic news is good for President Trump, but it might not be enough in and of itself. In better times, any president with those economic numbers would breeze into a second term, but the perception among Democrats (no surprise) and some independents (more troubling) is that the economic growth we’re witnessing isn’t benefiting everyone, but instead favors the rich and powerful.
To be clear, Trump is in a strong position at the moment. Having emerged battered but unbeaten from the Mueller investigation, he’s bested the greatest existential threat to his presidency. Construction on the border wall has begun, and even progressive economist Thomas Friedman endorsing a “high wall” on the border. And loony freshman Congress members like Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continue to commit bone-headed, unforced errors.
That said, the scuttlebutt on the Dissident Right is that economic success alone won’t secure Trump’s reelection, and that excessive focus on it might actually alienate the blue-collar workers that delivered Trump victory in 2016. The general argument is that, unless Trump doesn’t come down hard on immigration, even economic growth won’t save him.
I don’t fully buy this argument, but there might be some truth to it. When the economy is already good, voters begin looking at other issues more closely. If a worker loses his job to an illegal immigrant, or if the plant moves to Mexico, it doesn’t matter how good the economy as a whole is doing.
One alarming sign of trouble: former Vice President Joe Biden and Texan weirdo Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke both are competitive against Trump—in Texas! Granted, it’s very early in this process—the 2020 election is an eternity away, politically speaking—and the media loves to trumpet Democratic victories in historically deep-red States. But the situation in Texas, like other border and high-growth States, illustrates the importance of the immigration issue.
A quick summary: ultra-progressive California taxes and regulates its most productive citizens out of the State, while importing cheap labor illegally (supporting it with sanctuary cities, etc.) so the uber-wealthy Silicon Valley tech titans have gardeners and nannies at slave wages. Enough Lefties bleed out into Arizona, Texas, and other reddish States with low taxes and good law enforcement. Those States also struggle with illegal immigration, and are demonized for trying to protect their borders. The result: the purpling of Texas.
To clarify: I think President Trump is well-positioned to win in 2020, especially if the Democrats nominate a wacko or a blatant race-baiter (like Kamala Harris). He’s got a tougher fight against a perceived moderate like Biden or Pete Buttigieg, but momentum and incumbency are on his side.
Regardless, it is vital that President Trump return to his key campaign promise from 2016: securing the border. Not only is that crucial for tapping into the populist discontent that catapulted him into the Oval Office, it’s the only way to preserve the United States we know and love.