by Steve Cortes
A majority Americans begin 2022 full of worry and dread. During President Biden’s first year in the White House, societal anxiety surged, including among voters who identify as independents and Democrats. In the newest Axios/Momentive year-end survey, 2021 saw a 50% increase in fear about what 2022 will bring among independents. Democrats weren’t much more sanguine. They began last year with refreshing optimism as their party took control of the White House and Congress, with only 19% of Democratic voters declaring themselves fearful about 2021. By year’s end, that number had surged to 45%.
Reflecting this dour assessment, the RealClearPolitics polling average of Joe Biden’s approve/disapprove ratio also receded sharply for the last year, from a stellar 20-percentage-point surplus in his favor on Inauguration Day, to a minus- 10-point rating.
Given this environment, Republicans naturally grow more confident about the midterm elections. But taking nominal control of Capitol Hill won’t be enough. Will Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and their lieutenants be content with stopping the woke and socialist-inspired agenda of progressives? Or will they boldly implement a full-throttle populist nationalist “America First” agenda?
Doing so requires focus, not a scattershot approach. The next Republican-majority Congress must concentrate intensely on a short list of the most pressing issues, where only the populists can rescue everyday Americans from the abuses of oligarchs and their handmaidens in both major political parties.
The first issue is inflation. This is the factor that explains the 30-point approval swing that has buried Biden’s White House in a matter of months. Inflation is, essentially, a tax — and a highly regressive one at that. After decades of restrained inflation, Americans understandably fear the continued loss of prosperity as their standard of living erodes by the day. For eight straight months, real wages have declined under Biden. The ravages of inflation, predictably, hit the working classes the hardest. For example, a recent Gallup poll found that among modest earners making $40,000 or less per year, 71% report that inflation is a severe or moderate hardship. In contrast, among workers earning $100,000 per year or more, only 2% cited inflation as a severe hardship. A November Quinnipiac survey found that Biden still enjoyed a slight positive approval rating on the economy among those with college degrees, 50%-49%. But among non-degree holders, Biden languishes 54 percentage points underwater, with only 20% approval and 74% disapproval. Inflation helps explain this huge chasm.
What solutions should be offered? For starters, stop unfair labor competition so that workers have a chance to keep pace with the soaring prices of Biden’s inflation surge. Stop allowing millions of largely unvetted, illegal migrants to simply waltz into America under the bogus pretense of seeking asylum. For our citizens, end obstacles to work, including the administration’s capricious and unscientific workplace vaccine mandates.
Return to the pro-energy policies of the previous administration: oil pipeline construction, rejuvenated drilling, and aggressive exploration on government lands so that Americans can benefit from cheap, abundant, domestic fuel. Longer term, continue the process that President Trump began of demanding fairness and reciprocity in trade deals, especially with China. Once an America First president is elected in 2024, change tax and tariff policies permanently to compel the on-shoring of production back to the United States, especially in critical industries like semiconductors and medicines.
But healing the economy alone is not enough. Our society suffers a sickness of the soul as well, and legions of everyday Americans feel silenced and intimidated by ruling class elites who insist that we pretend to believe fundamental myths, like the existence of dozens of genders. It’s high time for politicians to speak publicly the way the vast majority of Americans speak privately regarding hot-button cultural issues.
As a recent Rasmussen poll revealed, 75% of Americans agree that only two human sexes exist. Only 18% believe in multiple genders, and yet that small minority drives education policy and makes nearly every important cultural decision for our society, declaring the massive supermajority of Americans to be hopeless bigots for accepting the reality of humanity as male and female.
From a policy standpoint, the America First agenda must embrace this issue for elections, from school boards all the way to the U.S. Senate. Stop radical teachers and their unions from sexualizing young children and indoctrinating them with unscientific gender-fluid psychobabble. Forbid any public buildings or funds for such atrocities as drag-queen story times for children. Make illegal the infiltration of girls’ and women’s sports by biological males.
The common theme with these two issues is protection. Right now, powerful forces collude to oppress the masses, via financial and cultural repression. Only the emerging populist nationalist movement can protect citizens in both realms. Restoring wages and restoring gender sanity represent an agenda worthy of a great movement in this new year.
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Steve Cortes is a former adviser to President Trump.
Photo “Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.