BLOOMFIELD: Trump and Churchill, How Winning Leaders Engage in Direct Democracy

President Donald Trump takes his message directly to the people, and the people respond. This is exactly how democracy should be.

Scott Adams makes a compelling case that President Trump has achieved the highest approval rating of any President, ever, based on a single measure. “In a free, capitalist country, ‘the economy’ captures all the goodness and badness of a presidency without really trying. And the measure that best reflects the future of the economy, in my opinion, is small business optimism.”

The Small Business Optimism Index has hit a record high, following a pattern of highs that lasted all through 2017. Small business owners believe Trump is creating conditions that will allow them to succeed, and their optimism reflects approval.

How is it that small business owners are so familiar with Trump’s agenda and plans? Are small business owners more likely to engage with politics? More likely to care about political reporting? More likely to consume political media? There is no evidence for this. Small business owners are just normal Americans, and Trump reaches those normal Americans using social media.

When Mike Huckabee compared Trump to Winston Churchill, as portrayed by Gary Oldman in the film Darkest Hour, he was met with hysterical condemnation from the left. “Churchill was hated by his own party, opposition party, and press. Feared by King as reckless, and despised for his bluntness,” Huckabee tweeted. “But unlike Neville Chamberlain, he didn’t retreat. We had a Chamberlain for 8 yrs; in @realDonaldTrump we have a Churchill.”

What the film makes clearer than Huckabee’s tweet is Churchill’s willingness to canvass the people themselves about what actions they would like to take. Churchill rode the Tube and talked to the normal, regular hoi polloi of Britain, who would be called upon, after all, to bear the consequences of what his leadership wrought.

Churchill, like Trump, engaged with direct democracy. Direct democracy is the original form of Athenian democracy, and continues to be practiced in countries such as Switzerland, where citizens hold facultative referendums on all manner of legislative and constitutional affairs. In countries like Britain or America, with large populations, direct democracy becomes less practical, but the basic principle of responding to the will of the people holds true.

Both Trump and Churchill perform end runs around the media to speak to citizens directly. Many of Churchill’s citizens worked in small businesses and shops, whose collective survival depended on the actions of their leader. Trump’s America is a nation of small businesses. Both Churchill and Trump believed the central duty of leadership was to protect the people and carry out their will. Churchill led a willing populace into war and changed the course of human history.

Trump is poised to lead America into a very different future than the one his predecessors imagined, but if he does so with the approval of the people he was elected to lead, then he is fulfilling his mandate as the leader of the Free World. The Small Business Optimism Index suggests that the average, ordinary, hard-working citizens of the greatest nation on Earth approve of the President and are prepared to follow where he leads. For those who would question the will of the people, I have only one question:

When did you stop believing in democracy?

Janet Bloomfield is a shield maiden in the culture wars. Her book FeminISN’T is available on Amazon

Feature image via Politico 




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