According to a surprising piece by Bret Stephens, a leading Never Trumper at the New York Times, Donald Trump could emerge as a robust candidate in the 2024 election due to his adept handling of major issues in 2016. Published on January 11 under the headline “The case for Trump… by someone who wants him to lose,” the article argues that comprehending the reasons behind Trump’s appeal is crucial to defeating him. Stephens emphasizes the need for a deeper understanding, particularly among progressives, of the lasting factors that contribute to Trump’s popularity, stating, “You can’t defeat an opponent if you refuse to understand what makes him formidable.”
On immigration, Stephens wrote:
Arguably the single most important geopolitical fact of the century is the mass migration of people from south to north and east to west, causing tectonic demographic, cultural, economic and ultimately political shifts. Trump understood this from the start of his presidential candidacy in 2015 …
It said something about the self-deluded state of Western politics when Trump came on the scene that his assertion of the obvious was treated as a moral scandal, at least by the stratum of society that had the least to lose from mass migration. To millions of other Americans, his message, however crudely he may have expressed it, sounded like plain common sense.
“Asserting control at the border, whether through a wall, a fence, or any other means, is not an act of racism,” stated Stephens. “It constitutes a fundamental necessity of statehood and collective identity, which every nation is obligated to safeguard and value.”
Stephens also noted that Trump tapped into the prevailing sense of decline and pessimism among the public. “Far too little has changed since then… If anything, Trump’s thesis may hold even more truth today than during his initial campaign,” Stephens acknowledged.
Furthermore, Trump amplified the public’s diminishing trust in experts, professionals, and merit-based institutions that were meant to remain independent of politics, according to Stephens. “We should be more candid with ourselves and acknowledge that these institutions, through partisanship or incompetence, played a role in eroding the respect they once commanded,” Stephens wrote. He also mentioned:
Brokenness has become the defining feature of much of American life: broken families, broken public schools, broken small towns and inner cities, broken universities, broken health care, broken media, broken churches, broken borders, broken government. At best, they have become shells of their former selves. And there’s a palpable sense that the autopilot that America’s institutions and their leaders are on — brain-dead and smug — can’t continue.
Many voters in 2024 are likely to look back fondly on Trump’s first term, the author stated. “Americans have reasons to recall the Trump years as positive ones… Wages surpassed inflation, a trend that has only just begun under Biden.”
Breitbart News has frequently featured Stephens’ op-ed columns, partly because he has consistently represented the views of his globalist colleagues over those of ordinary Americans, conservatives, or Trump supporters.
In 2017, the foreign-born columnist wrote, “We’re a country of immigrants—by and for them, too. Americans who don’t get it should get out.” In 2022, he explored the concept of population replacement in America, stating, “What the far right calls ‘replacement’ is better described as renewal.”
Having spent his childhood in Mexico as the son of a top chemical company executive and worked as a senior editor at the Wall Street Journal, Stephens has a unique perspective. Although his recent column advocating for Trump’s strengths has faced strong opposition from New York Times readers, he deserves recognition for challenging the globalist narrative, even as he aims to support President Joe Biden’s continuation in office. This shift in perspective comes amid a new wave of migrants challenging assumptions about the widely proclaimed Nation of Immigrants narrative.