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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As President Trump enters his third year in office, significant opportunities — and challenges — await.

When and how the special counsel’s investigation will conclude is anyone’s guess, Democratic control of Congress means investigative frenzy, economic and international developments are uncertain, and a looming presidential election cycle will further accelerate the political insanity.


One thing is certain, however: The establishment swamp will continue to wage its relentless existential war against the president.

Mr. Trump has been in office long enough to fully understand why and how he’s being targeted, and how best to checkmate the silent coup. Indeed, in his first two years in office, he’s won significant battles:

• Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh now sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, and Mr. Trump is also diligently remaking the federal judiciary with sharp young originalists.

• Thanks to the Trump tax cuts and the president’s continuous rollback of decades of suffocating regulations, economic growth rolls on, wages are up, the stock market has reached all-time highs (though it’s been a roller-coaster recently), consumer confidence has been up, unemployment hit a 50-year low (with the most dramatic lows among blacks, Latinos and women), and American manufacturing is rebounding.

Mr. Trump exited the destructive Iran nuclear deal.

• He moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

• By granting the U.S. military a freer hand in the fight against the Islamic State, Mr. Trump oversaw its rout in Syria and Iraq, allowing him to announce a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, as he promised.

• He held a historic summit on nuclear and other issues with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

• He punished Russia for its nefarious activities, including leveling new sanctions, expelling Russian intelligence officers and supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons.

• He successfully renegotiated NAFTA, and through a controversial mix of carrots and tariffs, brought the European Union and the Chinese to the table on trade.

• He withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate agreement to protect U.S. jobs and sovereignty, authorized construction of the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, and further unleashed the energy sector.

• He’s rebuilding the nation’s military and defense capabilities.

Not bad for a president who has never done any of this before. Of course, the left-wing media have gone out of their way to bury these accomplishments.

Given the new Nancy Pelosi-led Congress, Mr. Trump’s third year in office may be even more challenging. He should refuse to be distracted by the things he cannot control, such as Mr. Mueller’s investigation and daily media hysteria. If he focuses on his agenda instead, he’ll achieve even greater presidential success, maintain momentum and stay true to the voters who put him in office.

In Year Three, the president should:

• Do whatever he can to ensure the booming economy continues through pro-growth tax and deregulatory policies, further liberation of the energy sector and continual pressure on our trade partners. A strong economy mutes partisan warring. Just ask Bill Clinton.

• Continue to chip away at Obamacare. A federal judge recently ruled the law unconstitutional. While it’s making its way through appeal, Mr. Trump should continue to pursue additional executive remedies, because the law remains a major regulatory wet blanket on the economy.

• Build the wall. Part of his broader plan on immigration reform, the border wall is the most potent symbol of his promise to enforce the rule of law and the nation’s sovereignty, which is why he’s willing to stare down unwilling Democrats via a partial government shutdown. In Year Three, he must make certain its construction is properly funded and ramped up.

• Continue rebuilding the military. Mr. Trump has already begun getting our forces the resources they need to improve readiness and capability as they confront existing and emerging threats from Islamic fundamentalism to North Korea’s nuclear program to China’s increasing strategic and economic assertiveness. A stronger military means a stronger America.

• Get an infrastructure deal. Mr. Trump has long said he wants modernization, and an infrastructure initiative has bipartisan support. Getting it done would be a big economic and political win for both sides, if Democrats can get over their Trump derangement long enough to work with him on a deal.

• Remove the saboteurs. As the anonymous New York Times op-ed proved, the government under Mr. Trump is still shot through with entrenched Obama loyalists and Never Trumpers, who, via damaging leaks and flat-out refusals to carry out policies and personnel choices, have been torpedoing his agenda. Enough already. Get them out.

In his first two years, Mr. Trump has experienced the unprecedented wrath of the ruling class, whose power and influence he has gravely threatened. This is why in Year Three, he must concentrate his efforts to protect and advance the movement he’s leading.

This is also why the rest of us mustn’t abandon the fight. That doesn’t mean we must agree with him on everything. It means we grasp what’s at stake if he fails (the return of the corrupt stranglehold of the elite ruling class) and if he succeeds (the restoration of our foundational principles).

The Junior Year of the populist revolution is about to begin. Get ready to rumble.

• Monica Crowley is a columnist for The Washington Times.


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