The Pete Wilson Presidency

There is definitely a disappointment in the turn taken by the Donald Trump presidency. There are folks calling it the Jeb Bush presidency. The only downside is the inflammatory tweets and statements puff Trump up into an Orange Man Bad caricature. This is also the presidency that Ross Perot would have had, except he would have faced a better deep state and cathedral. The Hitler comparisons continue. The empty tweets are also increasingly lame as we all know an executive order here and there could solve some problems as well as force the entire machine to react. The situation for ’20 looks a lot like the Obama vantage point in ’11. The problem is that win or lose, barring some Stephen Miller magic, this is shaping up to be the Pete Wilson presidency.

Pete Wilson was a US Senator and Governor of California. He was also a standard issue Republican. He won four statewide elections in California, including blowouts like his ’82 election versus Gov. Jerry Brown, his ’88 Senate re-election and the famous ’94 gubernatorial re-election. His only real nailbiter was when he first was elected governor and beat future US Senator Diane Feinstein by a few points. He won by seven, eight and more than ten percent in California even when polls showed close races or potential losses. California was solid GOP but had a swing vibe to it, as famously cite din the early ’90s film In The Line Of Fire. It is like looking at a different world.

Wilson was pro-business but had his finger on the pulse of the political winds. He saw what Pat Buchanan tapped into with regards to immigration and jumped on that bandwagon to push Prop 187, ominously named Save Our State, along with his re-election. It passed. This frightened President Bill Clinton so much that he hastily agreed to tougher immigration enforcement with a new law in an election year, which he and his successors never did but by being on the books can be used by President Trump today. How scared was Clinton? Please go back and listen to his State of the Union from ’95, and hear every line he uses that are just lines Trump says today. He sounds even harsher and more angry in his language than Trump.

Unfortunately, there was nothing Governor Wilson could do to enforce it. There were injunctions. There were lawsuits. There was also a federal judge appointed by Jimmy Carter who waited and waited to make her decision on the case. What did she wait for? She waited for Wilson to be replaced by Gray Davis. Once Davis was in power, she declared that nope, California could not enforce rules since it was the federal government’s power to do so. This now gets the reverse ruling in federal courts to stymie Trump. Wilson had an ill-fated presidential run, and was not heard from again until he engineered Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victorious and surreal recall election campaign. The rest for California is history.

It is easy to see the parallels now. Trump was a pro-business republican and caught lightning in a bottle with the immigration platform. He also caught the Democrats in the nadir of their population replacement program J-curve. To borrow from that economics idea, Trump played off the Democrats’ anti-white policies and messaging and tapped into implicitly white identity politics before the payoff for immigration was unstoppable. With repatriations and tough immigration enforcement, he could have ended that curve’s trajectory for a generation. Do not talk to me about birthrates being inevitable because had he deported illegals with children under age ten, we all know those little niños would have been going home with their madres and padres.

It did not happen for Trump, at least it has not happened yet. The Paul Ryan stop Trump program worked. Kushner’s crowd outmaneuvered the Bannon nationalists. The courts, Sec. Nielsen and cities becoming pro-crime obstructionists all showed their fangs, took bite after bite and stymied his moves. The interests behind Trump have two to six more years to enact the change that would cause a trajectory alteration of noticeable effect. Tweaks to H1B rules and visas are hit or miss now, and there is no wall.

It is fine to laugh at the notion of six more years, but keep in mind the echo that ’19 is to ’11. In ’11, the GOP had just won its biggest wave election since the Great Depression and even then, had fumbled some statewide races (Maryland and Colorado to name two). President Obama had caved before Boehner’s gang moved in and made the Bush tax cuts permanent, which angered his entire base. Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell floated on national television that Hillary could primary Obama. Obama’s approval was in the high 30s, and he was losing to Generic Republican by sizable margins. Occupy was the proto-Bernie crowd angry at the pro-banker Obama policies, and this acted like a primary of Obama. Things looked so bad for Obama that Boehner and company ended the grand bargain fiscal deal because they expected a presidential win and a better deal in ’13.

We all know what happened. President Obama won re-election over the most Generic Republican out of a dozen candidate pool of men and women with shallow to no resumes. The Great Lakes and Florida voting populations that Obama won in ’08 but lost in ’10 came back in ’12. Obama then went full bore on woke policies and rhetoric as the late Obama era collapse set in, and America experienced once again black activists killing cops at peaceful protests.

Win or lose, the Trump team has very little time to set the procedures and policies in place to make a dramatic change that will bend demographic curves. The vibe that elected him sits in a car and knows the bridge it wants to cross but it sees the gate still down, blocking its path. A successful change would still see America decline into an Argentina style Peronist regime with a caudillo offering security but corruption and stagnation sets in. An outright failure would accelerate the baked into the cake negatives coming down the road. It would leave President Trump as an odd note in American history. Progressive historians would roll their eyes or rail against the Cheetoh Hitler. The more astute observer of American politics would recognize President Trump as the national example of Pete Wilson’s reign in California. Both did reign, but neither could rule.

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