Trump, Like Grant, Faces a Multi-Front Challenge

The excellent mini-series “Grant” (a must-see for any student of American history) analyzed General Ulysses S. Grant’s ability to wage and win simultaneous military campaigns in different theaters of the Civil War.

The point is made — and history reflects — that Grant alone above all other Union generals possessed the right values and unique vision to get it done, all of which got me to thinking of how the politician and two-term President Grant would fare against the multi-front challenges facing President Trump.

True, Grant faced plenty of political challenges in his second public life, but maybe not as many as those confronting our 45th president. Talk about a daunting landscape…

A Divided Country

What was a polarized electorate prior to George Floyd’s death is now further divided.

What began as appropriate outrage over a brutal death has disintegrated into nightly lawlessness. What could have been a national reminder of how negligent policing degrades the cause of justice became an excuse to rob and loot businesses and even kill police officers.

Ludicrous defenses of the chaos offered by so-called intellectuals and the familiar 24/7 narrative-driven coverage of the cable news networks, however, have also made things worse. Now, a president vehemently opposed by 45 percent of the voters is tasked with leading, healing and governing this divided country.

The Democrats

Congressional Democrats took their role as the loyal opposition to heart from the very beginning of the Trump presidency.

In short order, the defeated Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic National Committee cried “voter suppression” with no supporting evidence.

This initial barrage was followed by challenges to the Electoral College itself and then a failed attempt at encouraging so-called faithless electors.

Next came questions regarding the president’s mental health and then lawsuits alleging violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. Still, all of this was a mere prologue to the three-year-long opera known as Russiagate, including a narrative that featured the targeting and persecution of an incoming national security advisor (General Mike Flynn) and Special Counsel Mueller’s embarrassingly overhyped report.

Once that hoax was exhausted, a new investigation (“Ukrainegate”) came about that led to only the third impeachment trial in U.S. history. Currently, the House is gathering materials from the early days of the administration’s coronavirus response, presumably to again revisit a baseless narrative and maybe get yet another bite at the impeachment apple.

The Media

Suffice it to say the antagonism that began during the 2016 campaign now reaches new depths every day.

The left’s leading platforms (The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN) have happily and aggressively assumed the leadership mantle despite having to retract or apologize for a variety of egregious reporting “mistakes.”

For his part, the president has hit back in ways large and small. “Fake news” is now a part of our political vernacular. Without a doubt, the left-leaning media have been plenty put out by the president’s belligerent approach. They had become acclimated to far more acquiescent behavior from GOP standard-bearers. Not so much Mr. Trump.

Federal Judges

To borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan, the scariest words in the English language remain, “A federal judge today…”

Indeed, Obama-appointed activist judges have been the bane of numerous Trump-era executive orders. Judge-shopping is more in vogue than ever as it only takes one liberal judge to place a nationwide halt on executive actions.

But help is on the way. A new generation of originalist appointees (197 at last count) is now getting the federal judiciary back to the business of interpreting, rather than legislating, federal law. Accordingly, judicial selection may again be a front-burner issue come November.

The Billionaires

Progressive rich guys are the latest rage on the left.

And I’m not talking about George Soros. Why, even “lock-em-up” Michael Bloomberg had a liberal epiphany once he decided to run for the Democratic nomination.

But the political track record of the uber-wealthy is not so good. Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, Farallon Capital’s Tom Steyer and the aforementioned Mr. Bloomberg enjoyed only brief and unsuccessful runs for president (Schultz never even made it to the starting block).

It’s just tough to run against success, wealth and entrepreneurship when you are successful, wealthy and entrepreneurial.

But the rich guys all agree on one thing: That other rich guy Trump is a ne’er-do-well. Their progressive political action committees are spending millions of dollars to drive home the point.

Social Media Platforms

The pre-riots news was all about the back and forth between the president and his very own social media platform, Twitter.

The issue is not terribly complicated. To wit: How much censorship can a social media platform exercise without placing its liability shield in legal jeopardy?

That Silicon Valley has been vehemently anti-Trump from the beginning (and is a breeding ground for all shapes and sizes of political correctness) promises to make this yet another election-year fight.

The Campuses

Polls reflect the enormous success that progressive administrators and professors have enjoyed in their campaign to degrade free speech, and in the words of one pundit in The Daily Caller, “crush” conservatism and conservatives in academia.

As a result, the First Amendment is out of favor at our nation’s institutions of higher learning.

If you doubt me, try wearing a MAGA hat on just about any college campus. Then, prepare for the worst. You may rest assured that the considerable powers of America’s campus-based elites will be brought to bear against Mr. Trump when classes reconvene in September.

Joe Biden’s sudden pivot to the hard-left will only further energize these folks.

General Grant passed his multi-front test with flying colors. The president must now do the same.

If you enjoyed this column consider following Governor Ehrlich on Twitter