If you’re wondering how things will change in 2018, you might think back the mid-1980s.
In the 1980s, leftist professors, leftist news media, and leftist entertainers were angry. For years, they’d preached that Ronald Reagan was a neo-Nazi buffoon whose incompetence and malice would destroy America. Maybe even wipe out the human species. “I believe Ronald Reagan can turn America back into what it once was,” said comedian Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live in 1980, “a vast wasteland covered with ice.”
By 1986, though, the left’s dire predictions were ruined. Unemployment was low. Gasoline was under $1 a gallon in many places. The Iron Curtain showed signs of cracking. Stocks were soaring. Ronald Reagan was re-elected in one of the largest landslides ever. It was Morning in America.
So what did the left do? Did they grudgingly admit their errors? Did the credit Ronald Reagan for America’s miraculous turnaround?
Of course not. These are leftists we’re talking about. Admitting error takes character, a quality prohibited on the left.
Instead, the left found alternative heroes. The left created a narrative to explain America’s resurgence in which Reagan became the beneficiary of other people’s efforts.
Those other people: American workers.
In the left’s view, the American worker recognized Reagan’s wicked ineptness and took the country on its shoulders. Blue collar heroes sacrificed and scratched to remake America in spite of Reagan’s terrible, awful policies and blundering, dangerous style. Ted Turner made friends with the Soviet Union, conducting his own foreign policy to save the world.
This narrative preserved the left’s biases while explaining Morning in America. The left was wrong, but they didn’t mind. Their hallucinations, their self-images, were intact.
Look ahead to 2018, now. The US economy is poised to explode never before since Reagan. There’s a possibility of 7%+ GDP growth in at least one quarter of 2018. The Dow Jones Industrial Average could double by years end, approaching 50,000.
Will Democrats and the media credit Trump?
If you answered “yes” or hesitated in answering “no,” you don’t understand the leftist mind. The left will never admit Trump made America great again.
Instead, they’ll create an alternative explanation for surging American greatness. That explanation will be the same one they used in 1986: the American worker.
Here’s how 2018 will play out:
*1. President Trump will work with Democrats to hammer out an enormous infrastructure bill. Democrats will go along because they need votes in November. They’ll see the infrastructure bill as a way of driving a wedge between the president and the House Freedom Caucus while giving Democrat incumbents a bragging point in their districts. *2. The tax reform bill will fuel a late-spring, early-summer rally like you’ve never seen before. Employers will complain about a huge, historic shortage of quality labor and about the rapidly rising wage problem. (Yes, wage growth will officially become a problem in May 2018, when Krugman declares “wages are out of control.") *3. The Justice Department will begin anti-trust investigations of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft as both conservatives and leftists attack Silicon Valley’s unchecked power and abuses. *4. By late summer and early fall, economists will project 2018’s economy to one of the best on record. *5. By early fall, the infrastructure bill passed early in 2018 will see a slew of new construction across the country. People will take note of all the cranes on America’s skyline. They’ll complain about highway construction as commutes and road trips grow longer. *6. Just before the 2018 elections, the left will need a new narrative to explain American greatness. That new narrative: America’s workers.
What will this narrative look like?
Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen’s working-class music will return with a vengeance. But a new blue-collar music star will emerge. Movies and television shows worshipping blue collar workers will premiere. (Trump fan Rosanne returns in the fall.)
Economists will explain how labor turned America around despite Trump’s malicious ineptness. Specifically, how American consumers decided to stop paying down debt and start living a little after recovering from the post-financial crisis trauma. These economists will carefully explain that Trump’s policies of lower taxes, less regulation, and strong foreign policy, actually hindered_ _economic growth.
Feminists will tell us that successful women can best express their feminity by choosing a blue-collar mate. (Seriously, this will happen.) Meanwhile, anti-Trump and NeverTrump pundits will warn that both America’s economic resurgence and its growing popular support for President Trump (above 50% by the end of summer) are “a mile wide and an inch deep.”
Of course, many things could derail all this. There’s North Korea and Iran. There’s Russia. There’s China. There’s Bob Mueller. But those are all low-probability risks. And even if one of those risks materializes, we can’t be sure whether it will help or hurt the scenario I’ve just laid out.
In the end, 2018 will be seen by most American voters as the year things turned around in America. Just like 1984. The change will be broad and deep, affecting education, entertainment, news, fashion, marriage rates (rising), birth rates (rising), and attitudes.
How much credit belongs to Trump will never be settled. But the truth will lie somewhere between the narratives offered by Trump’s strongest critics and his strongest supporters.
We are entering the second half of the Fourth Turning. Trump was as much a result of the cycles of history as a catalyst. But without his style and substance, the enormous social change sweeping America could not have happened.
Tomorrow, we’ll look deeper into that Fourth Turning prophecy. For now, think about how your life will change with growing wages, a retreat from technomania, and a revitalization of both American manufacturing and blue collar workers. You might like what you see.