The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump Sketches Campaign Themes, Promises More on Suburbs

President Donald Trump speaks prior to signing an executive order on police reform at a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House, June 16, 2020. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

President Trump’s remarks on regulatory reform on the South Lawn of the White House yesterday were much more than a recap of past achievements. The president laid out key campaign themes and linked them to overarching concerns such as democratic versus bureaucratic control, endangered law and order, and, ultimately, the survival of liberty itself. The Democratic “unity platform” (unity between Biden’s pliancy and Sanders’s socialism) shows all too clearly that order and liberty are indeed under threat from a bureaucracy that may soon be stocked with leftist radicals.

The blast from the past at the South Lawn event was an appearance by a farmer whose land had been effectively commandeered by Obama’s ridiculously intrusive “Waters of the United States” rule. That rule allowed bureaucrats in D.C. and San Francisco to declare “dry washes” on this farmer’s property (washes with no remaining water, but only a bit of sand) de facto lakes subject to federal regulation, with jail or crippling fines the penalty for resistance.

That was Trump’s segue into an attack on the suburban policies of Biden and the Democrats. The Dems, said Trump, “want to . . . abolish our beautiful and successful suburbs by placing far-left Washington bureaucrats in charge of local zoning decisions. They are absolutely determined to eliminate single-family zoning . . . .” Precisely.

Trump said he’d have more to say next week about “our plans to protect the suburbs from being obliterated by Washington Democrats, by people on the far left that want to see the suburbs destroyed. . . .” Check out my book, Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, and you will see how the Obama-Biden administration’s bureaucrats and advisers felt about suburbs.

Trump went on to focus on the crime issue, as in Democrat plans to abolish cash bail and to subordinate police to “distant bureaucrats who have never spent a day in their lives fighting crime.”

The total effect was to link Trump’s first-term deregulatory efforts and their efficacious economic results to red-hot issues that are clearly going to feature in this campaign: law and order and the Democrats’ attack on the suburbs. You won’t be getting a fair account of all this from the now shamelessly partisan mainstream press. But with Trump’s bully pulpit and campaign-level scrutiny, these themes will begin to break through.

So, stay tuned till next week when Trump has promised he’ll have much more to say about the Democrats’ plans to abolish the suburbs, and his own determination to block those plans. The suburbs issue seems to be moving toward the center of this campaign.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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