A second Trump presidency would be great for Britain
The greatest Tory prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, served two spells as prime minister, as did Winston Churchill, during and then after the Second World War. In more recent times, only Harold Wilson has returned to Downing Street after a break in opposition.
Interestingly, such returns to office are even less common across the Atlantic. Nevertheless, Donald Trump is the favourite to win when Americans go to the polls this November.
Nearly nine years after he launched his first successful presidential campaign, it might be assumed that there is not much more to say about Mr Trump. Certainly, there is no shortage of liberal outrage at the ebullient fanbase packing out rock concert-style rallies and the character of his supporters.
Trump’s critics not only decry everything he says but despise his very persona.
There is no prospect of a UK-US trade agreement under President ‘I’m Irish’ Biden
So, a more measured appraisal of Mr Trump is overdue. In particular, we should consider what a second term could mean for Britain. His 2016 victory largely sprang from energising working-class voters who felt that politicians had nothing to say about the things that mattered to them – epitomised by the gulf between their views on immigration, crime and patriotism and the prevailing establishment assumption. This appeal was echoed by Boris Johnson’s engagement with new Tory voters here in 2019. In this way, Trump, like Johnson, personifies a realignment paralleled in many Western democracies.
As American politicians were reluctant to face up to growing illegal immigration and its consequences for working people, Trump showed no such reluctance. Consequently, he restored faith in democratic legitimacy by building a bridge between the elected and those that elect them. In doing so, he exposed the failure of the political elite to either appreciate or value popular fears. His re-election would send a powerful signal to those who stubbornly won’t see why working people are concerned about the unfairness of illegal immigration.
Trump’s appeal to Americans is crystalised by his willingness to fight the culture warmongers of identity politics. His election would be a bitter – and welcome – blow to those who detest the values, history and traditions of Western civilisation, and who see the sacrifice of social solidarity as a price worth paying.
It is clear that there is no prospect of a UK-US comprehensive trade agreement under President “I’m Irish” Biden, whereas Donald Trump made it clear he supports a deal. Though it is certainly a work in progress rather than a done deal, we should be mindful that given the United States is the United Kingdom’s biggest export partner, a deal would clearly be in the interests of many British firms and workers.
Donald Trump’s tariffs-based “America first” approach to economic matters was derided as protectionism by those globalists who see their creed as a rising tide that lifts all boats and are happy to see the US and UK flooded with cheap imports. Yet, what he advocates is precisely what Britons realised is needed during the pandemic: greater economic resilience through more control over critical national industries and supply chains.
Trump’s call for other Nato members to shoulder more of the financial burden for defending the free world is not unreasonable. It is easy to forget that much of western Europe subcontracted their national security to the US and the small number of Nato counties which protect all the others.
Donald Trump’s style is so at odds with British tastes that too few consider his substance. I do not support everything he says or does. However, the alternative – plutocratic globalist technocrats clinging to yesterday’s failed consensus – is as unappealing as it is unsustainable in meeting the salient challenges of our age. Britain will, of course, remain the closest of allies with the US regardless of who is elected president, but we shouldn’t rule out nor resist the return of Donald Trump. Instead, we should see it as an opportunity to enhance our relations with our American cousins.
As two-time prime minister Disraeli said: “The world is a wheel, and it will all come round right.”
John Hayes, Conservative MP for South Holland and the Deepings
Get the inside track on what MPs and Peers are talking about. Sign up to The House's morning email for the latest insight and reaction from Parliamentarians, policy-makers and organisations.