This is an excerpt from Newt Gingrich's book, "Trump's America: The Truth About Our Nation's Great Comeback." Published with permission.
Chapter One: The Fight for Trump’s America
America is in the midst of a cultural-political civil war – a fight over our very identity as a people.
For decades, this conflict has been fought quietly in city halls, classrooms, school boards, courtrooms, town squares, and state houses across the country. However, the election of President Trump has clarified the battle lines in this struggle and elevated these individual fights into a united national conflict.
On one side of this conflict is a factional anti-Trump coalition – a strange amalgam of radicals, liberals, globalists, establishment elites from both parties, and blatantly anti-American groups loosely held together by their hostility to and disdain for the President. On the other side is Trump’s America – the millions of hard-working people who are united by respect for our foundational freedoms, traditional values, and history of limited common-sense governance.
Before the President rallied Trump’s America and gave us a national voice, the various groups that would eventually form the anti-Trump coalition were winning on their own. For decades, they have meticulously undermined our traditions through politics and courts, entertainment and news media, and liberal schools and curriculum to quietly impose new worldviews on everyday Americans that are counter to our historic principles.
However, the tide turned after the 2016 presidential elections.
Here’s the truth that the mainstream media is hiding from you: Today, Trump’s America is winning.
Under President Trump, America is experiencing a great comeback. After nearly a decade of recession and tepid job creation, our economy is booming. In addition, ISIS has been effectively destroyed, illegal immigration is down, our military is being rebuilt, and our veterans are getting the health care and support they deserve. The Administration is achieving success across a variety of sectors daily.
Perhaps more important than these successes, however, is the reinvigoration of America’s patriotic sense of self which the rise of Donald Trump has awakened. Our country is being reconnected to our founding principles, the values that made America the greatest country in the world, and in doing so, is coming to understand just how destructive the last few decades of elite leadership have been to our freedom, prosperity, and safety.
Of course, the anti-Trump coalition is in complete denial about America’s comeback under Trump. For them, it is incomprehensible that someone like President Trump, and the tens of millions of so-called “deplorables” who fervently support him, could be on the verge of reclaiming America.
Because the news media is fully a part of the anti-Trump coalition, its members will not accurately report what is happening in America under President Trump.
This is a major reason why I wrote this book.
"Trump’s America: The Truth About America’s Great Comeback" is intended as a resource for Americans who want the truth about the significant accomplishments President Trump has achieved in his first 18 months in office.
It is also an attempt to describe the nature of the cultural-political conflict we are in and vividly explain the differences in values and principles between Trump’s America and those who oppose us.
The Anti-Trump Coalition
At the center of the fight I’m describing is ultimately one question: Is America an exceptional country? Or more specifically, is America’s historic prosperity and power due to our nation’s unique founding principles, and is it our duty as a people to uphold those ideals?
My daughter, Jackie Cushman, touched on this notion in a column she wrote in July 2009. 1She observed that in 2008, President Obama promised us “change we could believe in,” and it turned out he wanted to change what we believed.
Jackie’s insight points out one of the few common-yet-tenuous threads that binds the anti-Trump coalition together. In various ways, they all want to redefine America and they would all be happier if the members of Trump’s America were once again ignored and forgotten.
This anti-Trump coalition encompasses an incredibly broad group of people. It includes, of course, Democrats of all stripes – from the most moderate to the most radically liberal. Itincludes activists who protest for niche sexual and gender issues. It includes race-focused activist groups such as Black Lives Matter and La Raza. It also includes violent radical groups such as Antifa that oppose the American system in general.
Most of the reporters, anchors, producers, and editors of the mainstream media are active, enthusiastic members or cheerleaders of the anti-Trump coalition, as are the ivory tower academics at our elite universities and the legions serving in our government bureaucracies.
This branch of the anti-Trump coalition favors group rights over individual rights and prefers a strong dictatorial bureaucracy that imposes boundaries to freedom upon everyday Americans. They think the consent of the governed is the consent of the ignorant and the deplorable.
Many of these people believe traditional America is an immoral, brutal regime, which tramples on human rights, and inflicts its evil upon the world. They say that the American dream does not exist – and it is in fact a racist social construction.
This branch of the anti-Trump coalition believes that some ideas should be censored, religions are oppressive, hateful, dangerous institutions – and only the government can safely guide people to live appropriately.
Ultimately, they say America is not exceptional – and should be more like other countries rather than try to live up to our founding ideals. However, its members are confused. To render America unexceptional is to eliminate the essence of America. In their effort to renounce American exceptionalism, they are in fact seeking to create a new post-American society.
This part of the anti-Trump coalition is made up of groups that typically align with the Left. However, there is another important wing of the anti-Trump coalition: the orderly institutionalists.
This branch includes so-called “never Trumpers” in the Republican party. Like many bureaucrats, who are mostly apolitical, these conservatives are part of an orderly sect that simply wants the world to be neat, tidy, and predictable. They value institutional process more highly than achievement gained by risk.
They are the types of institutionalists who bitterly opposed Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, myself, and other Republicans who violated the norm.
This risk-averse group includes much of the national security establishment, which fully adheres to the “new world order” that President George H.W. Bush described on September 11, 1990, before a Joint Session of Congress.
This speech is an important marker for this group, because President Bush’s concept was not an expressly American order, nor was it a traditional American-British order. It was a “world order.”
As such, these orderly institutionalists support the Paris Accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and other international agreements regardless of how Americans are hurt in the name of maintaining the world order. For them, American exceptionalism is a campaign phrase, not a practical doctrine.
These people bitterly oppose President Trump for two main reasons: First, President Trump clearly rejects their global order policies on trade and foreign relations. More importantly, members of this group hate Trump because he explicitly points out and repudiates their failures.
By the time President H.W. Bush’s son was in the Oval Office, the so-called new world order had degenerated into a series of wars. Trump was the first major Republican candidate to publicly acknowledge that the global market-focused, peace-through-payment approach of the new world order had utterly failed and stuck Americans with tremendous costs – in blood and in resources.
This is why the orderly institutionalist branch of the then-forming anti-Trump coalition balked at candidate Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. It was a call back to Ronald Reagan’s similar campaign slogan from 1980. Implicit in the “Make America Great Again” theme is the belief that our country has lost what had made it great and politicians, bureaucrats, and other elite leaders are to blame.
To many Americans, it was an uplifting, optimistic campaign call. However, for the institutional establishment it was a declaration of war against all the forces that led America through decades of failure.
So, the entire anti-Trump coalition presents a much more complicated paradigm than the typical Right-Left, conservative-liberal, or Republican-Democrat dynamic. This is why we saw a host of very different Republicans, a self-avowed socialist, and the matriarch of the Democratic establishment all declare him enemy No. 1 in 2016.
From a distance, and certainly in the daily news, it appears that Trump is constantly facing a political coalition that seems insurmountable. The anti-Trump coalition takes comfort in this. Its members reassure themselves that his administration cannot withstand the onslaught much longer.
However, this 30,000-foot-view misses something important: Some in this varied coalition of radicals, liberals, conservatives, and elites oppose Trump because they disagree with his vision for America, some oppose his personality, and some simply oppose America.
They are not actually united on anything except their dislike for the President. Their battle cry is “resistance” because, as a coalition, they could never possibly offer a coherent shared vision for the future.
This is their greatest weakness.
To be sure, Trump’s America is also a diverse group, with many different opinions and backgrounds. However, we are united by our national creed, and our shared belief in the America dream.
At the beating heart of Trump’s America is the patriotic belief in America’s exceptional nature.
Those who are part of Trump’s America know that in our nation, the people are sovereign and are the source of power for our government – not vice versa. Despite centuries of other civilizations modernizing and becoming more democratic, this is still a unique, exceptional trait of America.
We believe that America, on balance, is morally good. We are a people of deep faith with an unsurpassed record of charity and fairness at home and across the globe. We are the nation that twice liberated Europe, contained the Soviet Empire, freed Kuwait, and has championed human rights.
As President Trump said in his first address to the United Nations on Sept. 19, 2017:
“It is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerged victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion, or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.”
We believe citizens from any background can work hard, pursue their dreams, and achieve success and prosperity for themselves and their families.
Furthermore, in Trump’s America we uphold – with conviction – the understanding that individuals can speak, worship, and live as they please and, so long as those actions do not infringe upon the fundamental rights of others, do so without threat of consequences from the government.
These are all bedrock beliefs that traditionally make America exceptional.
On an everyday level, Trump’s America stands for the flag and the national anthem. We like patriotic movies. We believe our young men and women in uniform – both police and military – are heroic for risking their lives to protect us. We believe in the value of a hard day’s work and abhor political correctness as a threat to freedom of faith and speech.
Furthermore, in contrast to the elite “citizen of the world” attitude, the people of Trump’s America intuit that if America is strong, then our families will have better futures.
This is the feeling that President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan so perfectly captures. Trump’s America’s is deeply unhappy with the direction the governing and cultural elite have taken America over the past several decades. We want change and hope for a better future. We want a fighting administration and we expect the Left to smear it and attack it. Each smear, each allegation, each biased news story is more proof that President Trump stands for real change.
We are Trump’s America, because President Trump has unified us by acting as a reversion – a course correction – toward the traditional belief that America is an exceptional country that should act in accordance with historic American principles.
Trump’s America’s belief in American exceptionalism is at the heart of the political-cultural civil war because it defines virtually every Trump Administration policy and it is driving our country’s great comeback.
The Trump Path to Exceptionalism
In his own life, President Trump has witnessed American exceptionalism at work. At a relatively young age, he achieved economic success and gained national recognition. He has wonderful children and grandchildren. He owns his own golf courses, so he can play when he likes. And he won a remarkable race for the presidency.
For Trump, America is an exceptional country.
His natural bias is to think highly of the Founding Fathers and the other leaders who gave us this remarkable system of freedom and to praise their achievements.
This pro-Americanism, which upholds the Constitution, follows the vision of our Founders, sees the flag as the symbol of a free nation, and agrees with President Abraham Lincoln that America is “the last best hope of mankind”, is horrifying to many people in the anti-Trump coalition.
Trump’s greatest strength has been his ability to understand that clearly confronting an unacceptable reality and articulating its failure with passion and conviction can change history. This single insight has guided his campaigning and his governing.
As a businessman, Trump amassed billions by seeing opportunities others missed. He also built large projects by persisting through obstacles and selling people on a vision of success they had not imagined. As President, he has brought the same kind of brute force clarity to politics and government.
When Trump has strategic insight about fixing broken government systems, he is not intimidated by initial rejection, failure, or opposition. He simply redoubles his efforts and looks for new avenues of communication or paths to success. This pattern of stubbornly sticking to an idea and finding new ways to market it is precisely what he did through a half century of success in business.
This ability to address longtime problems without the inhibitions, or the self-censorship to which other so-called “sophisticated” people feel required to submit, has already made his Presidency historic.
Tax reform had not been passed in 30 years, because it is difficult and requires a lot of work. Similarly, politicians have campaigned on immigration reform and border security for decades and then comfortably placed these issues on the backburner for “more pressing” issues once elected. Past presidents have done the same about shrinking government and cutting regulations. President Trump is not letting up on any of these challenges.
Consistently, President Trump has approached situations with common sense, ignored the elites – including some on his own staff and government – and followed his instincts. This approach, combined with his knack for using vivid, direct language, has infuriated the anti-Trump coalition over and over.
It is this pattern of looking at reality and applying common sense which has made Trump and his Presidency so threatening to his opponents. The values of Trump’s America are antithetical to the values of the anti-Trump coalition.
Trump believes patriotism and sovereignty are vital to our survival as a nation. He believes Americans should be proud of our flag, National Anthem, history, culture, and military.
Many in the anti-Trump coalition say patriotism and sovereignty are words for belligerence and warmongering. They regard our national traditions as backwards, bigoted, and ignorant.
Ultimately Trump’s America and the post-American society that the anti-Trump coalition represents are incapable of coexisting. One will simply defeat the other. There is no room for compromise. Trump has understood this perfectly since day one.
The outcome of the struggle will determine America’s future for a generation or more.
Learning from the Past
If Trump’s America is to win, we must understand how a radical, fringe ideology became the dominant outlook of the political and economic establishment – and why the Presidency of Donald Trump represents a turning point in the fight against it.
The brand of radicalism that fuels the left-wing branch of the anti-Trump coalition has been growing for half a century. Its advocates knew they could never impose their values on America under our traditional system, so they started to undermine it.
At first, their efforts were subtle.
It started in the 1960s, when liberal academics began to critique traditional American ideals. Within a few years, this insidious academic approach was replaced by more open, radical repudiations of traditional America.
At the time, the left was a radical off-shoot of American politics – a minority fringe group that was sympathetic to Euro-Asian communist and socialist movements. The effort to infiltrate academia was effectively the start of the Left’s training and recruitment strategy. After more than40 years, that strategy has been a clear success.
Countless cohorts of young America college students attended courses in which professors promoted secularism, liberal social mores, and a twisted version of history which casts traditional America as the villain in nearly every era of its existence.
Many of those students then went on to earn post-graduate degrees and ultimately make careers in academia, wherein they continue propagandizing left-wing ideals to their pupils while demonizing traditional American viewpoints. As traditional American values became identified with racism and sexism in the universities, people with traditionally American values were pushed out of academia. This cycle produced an increasingly radical and shrill feedback loop that made our schools rapidly more left-leaning.
Meanwhile, those of us who believe in traditional America continued to send our children to these schools and supported these institutions with monetary gifts. I frequently tell conservative groups that we are crazy for paying liberal colleges who train our children and grandchildren to despise us.
It was from this foundation in academia that the left-wing branch of today’s anti-Trump coalition grew.
As other newly indoctrinated students moved on to legal, political, media and economic professions, the beliefs of the Left became the norm in elite circles.
As the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia brilliantly wrote in a series of opinions, the courts moved from interpreting the Constitution to inventing a new American Constitution based on radical values which increasingly repudiate the thinking and writing of the Founding Fathers.
Parallel to the transformation of our courts, American bureaucracies grew in size and power. They were increasingly led by liberals looking to impose the “correct” policies on a nation of voters they consider too ignorant to adopt sound policies voluntarily.
After all, as Hillary Clinton warned in 2016, millions of Americans who were “deplorables” could not be expected to make wise decisions. The social elites believe they preside over a country of inadequately educated, culturally reactionary, and hopelessly selfish people. The elites aim to sacrifice the misguided populace’s values, interests, prosperity and futures to create a supposedly better country. To many in the socially elite echelons of the anti-Trump coalition, traditional America is racist, misogynistic, homophobic, oppressive, anti-female, militaristic, and violent.
Those in the orderly institutionalist wing of the anti-Trump coalition took a multi-faceted approach working around the will of these “deplorable” voters without verbalizing it.
Increasingly, America became submerged in international agreements which force our country to answer to foreign bureaucracies. Some in this group recruited powerful corporate leaders and popular celebrities to help coerce the ostensibly backward and inadequate general population into “doing the right thing.” As a result, an elite cultural environment was cultivated in which thinking the wrong thoughts could lead to public condemnation, ostracism, isolation, and even firing.
The news media joined the entertainment industry (which it now emulates) to become the enthusiastic cheerleaders for this new, improved America – and the voracious critics of our traditional model.
However, the deep flaws in their post-American nightmare have started to show.
Under the leadership of the orderly institutionalists, 6,948 young Americans have been killed and more than 52,000 wounded in our wars in the Middle East. These conflicts have cost $7.6 trillion. Under President Obama, success was seemingly impossible, and we were faced with either defeat or war without end.
We have seen poor children suffer because expensive, unionized inner city schools have collapsed under their own dysfunction. We have seen the rise of zones of intense violence in big cities such as Baltimore, Chicago, and St. Louis. We watched a decaying economy cause millions of Americans to be forced out of the middle class. The anti-Trump coalition’s contempt for small town America has led to real bitterness. Millions of Americans who once had good jobs in manufacturing feel they have been abandoned by the national leadership.
These hard-working Americans watched their jobs disappear as our nation’s leaders entered trade deals that favored other countries over America. Meanwhile, these Americans were repeatedly told by Obama that the economy was steadily improving.
In fact, the Obama years’ failure to grow economically deepened the anger felt by people who might have tolerated an overbearing government if it delivered. However, being lectured by leaders who were clearly failing was simply unacceptable and increasingly enraging.
The breaking point may have been the explosion of illegal immigration, which led millions of Americans to believe that their government had abandoned their economic and cultural interests in favor of foreigners who broke the law.
Over time, this rise of social, political, and economic ideologies which rejected the notion of American exceptionalism and were counter to historic American principles led to a series of political movements aimed at returning our country to its founding principles.
In fact, you can track the rise of Trump’s America through Goldwater, Reagan, the Contract with America, and the Tea Party. Trump’s America is the response to the rising left-wing forces that want to replace America with something else.
In a Fight Over Identity, Only One Side Can Win
The essence of this cultural-political civil war is a fight over America’s identity.
Normal political conflict within the same American identity tends to lead to compromise and finding common ground. If opposing political parties are operating within a broad consensus on what America stands for, there is room for negotiated settlements.
Today, however, there is no broad agreement, no common ground, and no consensus about who we are. This makes compromise nearly impossible.
We have experienced similar periods of identity conflicts in the past.
During the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers were going to win or be hung as traitors to the British Crown.
President Lincoln got slightly less than 40 percent of the vote in a country so bitterly divided it drifted into a civil war. Southerners believed they were fighting for the survival of their civilization, and Northerners believed they were fighting for the survival of the Constitution and the Union. These two sides were mutually exclusive. Those, like General George B. McClellan, who kept looking for peace through compromise misunderstood the nature of the struggle.
Both Winston Churchill and Reagan’s great insights into the nature of Nazi and Soviet ideology, respectively, allowed them to see clearly what the foreign policy elite of their times could not: There could be no compromise. Evil had to be defeated.
These types of conflicts do not necessarily involve bloodshed, but they do provoke intense feelings that lead to bitterly fought elections.
The election of 1800 was a fierce fight over the relationship our budding nation would have with Great Britain and our commitment to Republican principles. This was most vividly seen in the controversy over the Alien and Sedition Acts. These were four laws that were broadly aimed at making it more difficult for immigrants to become naturalized in early America and to make it illegal to lie while criticizing the government. The laws were supported by the Federalist Party, which had been fighting an undeclared war with France under President John Adams. Jefferson and his fellow Republicans saw the acts as a means for the Federalists to suppress free speech and centralize power. Ultimately, this fight became so intense it led to Jefferson completely wiping out the Federalist Party.
The election of 1896 was a deep identity struggle between the urban industrialism of President William McKinley and the rural populism of William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was a charismatic, ideological rural populist and had essentially waged a war on the urban industry. McKinley, on the other hand, realized that industry and prosperity was vital to the survival of our nation. The fight was so intense that the GOP remains to this day the party of business and jobs while the populist rhetoric of Elizabeth Warren can be traced directly to the Bryan campaign.
Today, President Trump’s election and Presidency represent the emergence of a political-cultural identity fight which will define American politics for the foreseeable future.
As in identity fights of the past, there can be no compromise in the battle between Trump’s America and the anti-Trump coalition. One side will win, and one side will lose.