Donald Trump’s mouth and his personal recklessness worry even his staunchest supporters. Will Trump’s intrinsic and immutable flaws, as Victor Davis Hanson puts it, inevitably lead to overweening arrogance and thus catastrophe? “Perhaps,” writes Mr. Hanson at NRO. “But it’s far more likely that Trump’s fate will hinge on his economic reforms.”
One reason that a personally popular, landmark Barack Obama failed as president — aside from doubling the debt, institutionalizing zero interest rates, leaving a mess in the Middle East, and using his un-Midas touch to undermine nearly everything he tapped, from health care to immigration law to race relations — was that he was the first modern president under whose tenure the economy never reached a modest 3 percent economic-growth rate. Had Obama just achieved 4 percent economic growth, Hillary Clinton would be president.
Achieve 4 percent–plus GDP growth rate and then Black Lives Matter, the residuals of Occupy Wall Street, the hysterical House Democrats, and the assorted unhinged fringe of Michael Moore, Lena Dunham, and Madonna will recede into the woodwork.
In truth, we are on the cusp of a great experiment. For decades, conservatives, both traditional and pro-growth supply-siders, have preached that deregulation, reasonable and predictable Federal Reserve interest rates, reduced government, a radically simplified and pruned-back tax code, new incentives for investment, an open energy market, and a can-do psychological landscape that encourages entrepreneurship will make the economy soar at rates of 4 percent GDP and more.
We shall soon see. If Trump unleashes American know-how and strengthens the economy, then his cultural and domestic agendas, as well as his personal demeanor and language, however radical and jarring, will probably be accepted. In contrast, if he blows up the deficit and sees interest rates spike at Carter levels and the cost of debt service soar, if he allows unemployment to grow — while never exceeding Obama’s dismal economic growth rates — then the Trump agenda will stall and the media will be liberated to obsess over the tweets, gaffes, and bombast of every nanosecond of his presidency.
Like it or not, prosperity, rather than character, is what will determine President Trump’s political fate. Read more from Mr. Hanson here.