As governor, Ehrlich improved Maryland’s fiscal condition by turning $4 billion in inherited budget deficits into $2.3 billion in surpluses. His pro-growth economic policies helped create 100,000 new private-sector jobs. He was an advocate for Maryland’s world-renowned technology economy, enacting policies that positioned Maryland as a national leader in education, biotechnology, health care, and minority business advancement.
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What Trump’s Enemies Fail To Understand About His Popularity
As we once again proceed into the Trump abyss, I have a more nuanced thought for your consideration.
First, the by now familiar narratives and metaphors from the always Trump-hating left: Trump the trojan horse; Trump the con man; Trump the imposter; Trump the dangerous nationalist; Trump the fraudulent president; and, more recently, Trump the seditious felon — in four different prosecutions! (RELATED: BOB EHRLICH: RFK Jr. Is A Breath Of Fresh Air For A Party That Has Totally Lost Its Mind)
We are intimately familiar with these and so many other similar charges. Indeed, detractors within the media and political establishments commenced the brutalization campaign the very minute the Trumps famously descended that escalator at Trump Tower in June of 2015. Indeed, both sides of the Trump divide well recognize that every attack is aimed at degrading the likeability ceiling he must surmount in order to win general elections.
You may rest assured such reviews will not cease until Mr. Trump exits the national stage for good. It is the unchanging final goal of the naysayers.
But make no mistake, that ceiling is equally attributable to his habit of reflexively rejecting what the D.C. establishment wants him to do and say. Here, it is important to understand the underlying politics of the swamp: That while there is no actual “uni-party” there are areas of mutual agreement (China trade, lax border enforcement, expansive government, multi-lateral trade deals) that Donald the Disruptor promised to … disrupt. And he did. And he will continue to pay the price for it for as long as he sticks around.
I make the foregoing declarations with some degree of credibility. My resume (Ivy League school, attorney, state legislature, Member of Congress, and governor) gives me one foot firmly planted in the GOP establishment.
The other foot, however, remains planted in a small three-room apartment in a lower working-class neighborhood just outside Baltimore. Growing up in that environment has always helped me see, feel and appreciate the base appeal of a man who speaks Queens rather than Manhattan and has never been known for playing by the rules.
But the nuance cited at the top of this column is only partially related to the ways, means and ends of Donald J. Trump. You see, the great unwashed within flyover America (AKA “those people” — “the deplorables” — the “Walmart crowd”) understand that both party establishments often get the big things wrong — and that people who wear blue collars tend to pay the price for such misjudgments.
Space limitations apply here, but included herein are Vietnam — Iraq — Afghanistan — trade deals — a bloated welfare state — disintegrating urban hubs — a $32 trillion federal deficit — a decades-long decline in standardized testing in math and science — and (most recently) a thoroughly politicized criminal justice system at the highest levels.
Accordingly, a disruptor who speaks the language of the common man COMBINED with the ruling class’ long string of often catastrophic policy failures enables millions of regular ol’ folks to give DJT a hall pass, despite his shortcomings. They know he tends to act out — that he does not follow the expected Washington hypocrisies.
That in fact is the primary reason they like him.
Bob Ehrlich is a former Governor of Maryland, Member of Congress, and State Legislator. He is the author of five books on American politics and opinion pieces that have appeared in America’s leading newspapers and periodicals. He and his wife, Kendel, can be seen and heard on their weekly podcast, “Bottom Line with Bob & Kendel Ehrlich.”