The New York Post
December 21, 2016
Donald Trump hasn’t even taken office yet and the left is already trying to deny him the presidency.
This week’s attempt to convince the Electoral College ballot-casters to switch their votes to someone other than Trump to deny him 270 electoral votes failed. So some are moving on to the next brilliant ploy: laying the groundwork to eventually attempt to impeach him over his business ties (just search the word “emolument” and you’ll know what I mean).
But Trump has a very strong weapon to quash these efforts: It’s the economy, stupid. He may know that phrase comes from the campaign of his old buddy Bill Clinton, but he should check in with the ex-prez on how to use it for long-term political survival.
Clinton and Trump have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. Once friends, they became bitter foes during an election in which Trump defeated Bill’s wife Hillary. But Clinton is someone Trump would do well to emulate as the leftist opposition to his presidency mounts — because Clinton created the recipe for modern presidential survival amid scandal.
And the most important ingredient in that recipe is a strong economy, which the market — as the Dow flirts with hitting 20,000 — is predicting.
Recall, it was about a year into his second term in 1998 when Clinton’s presidency was thrown into crisis over his sexual conduct with Monica Lewinsky.
The sex wasn’t illegal, of course, but lying about it to a grand jury would be.
For obvious reasons, the Lewinsky scandal was one his Republican opponents were really ready to pounce on. Without getting into all the gory details involving stained blue dresses, pleas for immunity, a grand-jury investigation, substantial evidence of perjury and ultimately a house vote to impeach the sitting president, let’s just say Bill’s problems were yuuge.
Yet he survived, having been acquitted by the Senate, and more importantly, public opinion. Keep in mind, polls showed that Clinton was never the most trustworthy occupant of the White House; in fact, the evidence seemed to clearly show he lied to the public and in court about his affair with Lewinsky, and much of the public knew it.
Still, most Americans, polls showed, didn’t want him removed from office. Yes, some of his accusers were themselves imperfect men who strayed from time to time, but even more, the American people didn’t want to mess with success.
Ultimately, it was the economy that saved Clinton.
It’s fair to say the late 1990s were a glorious time. The economy and the stock markets were exploding, and while some of it was related to the tech bubble, much of it wasn’t. By this time, Bill Clinton had been re-elected and was a born-again free-marketer following the lead of a Republican-led Congress.
In his first term, Clinton tried (on the advice of his wife) to reform health care. But the effort failed, and he dropped socializing medicine as an issue in favor of cut taxes and regulations, plus reforming welfare. The economy responded with one of the greatest booms in recent history.
And Bill Clinton left office on his own terms.
Of course, Trump isn’t close to being impeached, at least not yet. For the time being, he has a GOP Congress that would never mess with its newly elected president, and the markets are moving higher because of the confidence inspired by his proposed economic policies.
But Congresses change, and much of his opposition is irrational, determined and will be abetted by a hostile news media. Trump himself has provided his opponents with ammunition: He suggested at one point he could legally run his vast real-estate and branding empire from the Oval Office even while he’s president, which is just asking for trouble.
Meanwhile, Trump has flirted with some decidedly anti-growth proposals that would make second-term Bill Clinton cringe — like his remarks about having a trade war with various countries including China.
But if he stays on course with his overriding theme of lowering taxes and overhauling regulations like the oppressive ObamaCare, the economy will likely soar along with the markets — as the Dow’s recent trend shows.
And, as they did with Bill Clinton, the voters will likely want to keep Trump in the Oval Office.
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