Earlier, by James Kirkpatrick: Polish Populism Is A Better Model For The American Right Than Current Conservatism, Inc. Dogma
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The Main Stream Media is horrified at Polish President Andrzej Duda’s July 13 re-election, warning once again of a “far-right” agenda that endangers everything the Great and the Good hold dear. Duda is a National Conservative: a culture warrior who didn’t just offer rhetoric. He offered tangible economic help to Poles, who rewarded him on Election Day. It’s a lesson President Donald Trump must learn.
Andrzej Duda and the Law and Justice Party (PiS) didn’t just win, they beat a “center-right” party, Rafal Trzaskowski’s Civic Platform, in the runoff. Though this is an imperfect comparison, it was roughly the equivalent of Pat Buchanan defeating Marco Rubio.
Which is why the Anglosphere media reacted with the same stunned fury that would ensue if a socially conservative Catholic nationalist triumphed in the U.S.
And social conservatism obviously did play a part in Duda’s victory, as did opposition to the European Union’s post-Christian diktats. The Atlantic wailed that “Poland’s Rulers Made Up a ‘Rainbow Plague” and used this “dominant theme” as their key to re-election [by Anne Applebaum, July 14, 2020].
Of course, “advocates” and “human rights groups” all have a vested interested in overthrowing the Polish government because the kind of Woke regime they want is the kind that rules the U.S. today. Here, political power no longer lies with elected officials, but with the media, the courts, the NGOs and government and private-sector bureaucrats. Thus corporate America and sinister oligarchs subsidize radical movements, cities burn, statues fall, laws are ignored or selectively enforced. The supposedly authoritarian President Donald Trump seems utterly helpless.
But Hungary has already shown a different model of government. A nationalist leader backed by the people governs. Hysterical journalists, legislating judges and shadowy subversives are sidelined. It’s not surprising Hungary’s Viktor Orban congratulated Duda on his victory.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also mocked the “international liberal mainstream” who had “tried everything” but failed to take down the “central European right wing” [Hungarian government congratulates Duda on Polish election victory, by Marton Dunai, Reuters, July 13, 2020].
Immigration is a powerful presence in this struggle. Both Poland and Hungary have resisted attempts by the European Union to force them to accept more “migrants” from the Third World.
Ben Sixsmith explains in the U.K. Spectator that although Law and Justice supporters may rule, they still feel that they are rebels against a powerful international system. And they are right:
These Poles know they are viewed as the “problem child” of Europe by most of its political and corporate institutions, and that media and non-governmental organisations are committed to promoting progressive values. This is no secret. Here, for example, is a report from the Open Society Foundation, which describes how legal cases brought through the European Court of Human Rights are “used relentlessly by local advocates, international human rights groups, Members of the European Parliament, United Nations human rights bodies, and many others” to promote the liberalisation of ‘reproductive rights policies’. While this article reveals ongoing attempts to punish Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for refusing to accept migrants from North Africa in 2015. No one is obliged to admire the rebellious stance of Poland in Europe – “rebel”, after all, is a neutral term in and of itself – but it is a rebellious stance.
[The two faces of Polish rebellion, July 14, 2020. U.K. spelling, Links in original]
Still, Duda’s victory wasn’t just about culture and demographics. Poland, like Hungary, also provides tangible economic incentives for Affordable Family Formation. This had a significant impact on the election.
In Poland, the government provides about $125 per child per month for every Polish family. “Many Polish families have been lifted out of poverty as a result of the government’s policies, and, for the first time since the end of communism in 1989, feel there is party that cares about their needs,” the BBC admitted [Poland’s Andrzej Duda rides wave of ‘sacred tradition,’ July 13, 2020].
Duda started as “relatively unknown member” of the European parliament, and won the Presidency “after promising social programs for the country’s oldest and poorest voters,” said Politico, and this year, social conservatism mixed with “continued generous social welfare programs” defined the campaign [Poland’s Duda secures another 5 years as president: preliminary result, by Zosia Wanat, Politico, July 13, 2020]. “The PiS’s child cash transfer, which [Civic Platform’s] Trazaskowski supports too, along with higher pension payments and other measures have been hugely popular,” wrote Therese Raphael in Bloomberg, though she sneered Duda was “saved by rural voters where levels of education and earnings are much lower” [Poland’s Vote Is a Warning to Americans, Too, July 13, 2020].
Duda and Law and Justice are moving to rein in the courts and the media, the two ways subversives can try to undermine the nationalist regime. Hopefully, in this way he can keep the next generation from being completely corrupted by the Left.
He’s also going to be pursuing infrastructure projects, including building a major Polish airport and digging a canal through a Vistula Split, one of the key issues that divided him from his center-right opponent, Rafal Trzaskowski, who seems to considered a Polish airport and a Polish canal too nationalist. [4 takeaways from Duda’s reelection as Polish president, by Zosia Wanat, Politico, July 13, 2020]. This will provide new jobs during a time of global recession.
Meanwhile, back in America, the foundering Trump campaign is almost a parody of neoliberalism. Ivanka Trump (does she really have to get her nose job into this?) is promoting a program that will help people find new careers, as if the problem isn’t that people are stuck inside by the Pandemic Panic.
https://t.co/dRZMdZyON4 helps workers of all ages and backgrounds identify the right path for their career goals by recommending multiple edu pathways, providing aptitude testing, offering a directory of critical resources for child care, food assistance, internet access and more— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 14, 2020
Depressingly, in the face of Establishment opposition, the Trump Administration has just backed down from a policy that would have banned foreign students from receiving visas [Trump administration rescinds foreign students rule, by John Kruzel, The Hill, July 14, 2020]
President Trump has also not yet presented his own plan for additional direct payments for those affected by the coronavirus [Why Would Trump Oppose Stimulus? by Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg, July 14, 2020]. Trump has said more help will be coming “very soon,” but he hasn’t specified an amount and Senate Republicans are green-eyeshading about who will be eligible [Second stimulus check: As White House signals support, payments become campaign issue, Fox 8, July 13, 2020].
Thus, although he doesn’t have a formal position with the administration, the Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore is identified as a “close economic advisor” by Yahoo Finance. Moore thinks the most important thing to do is stop unemployment benefits [Coronavirus stimulus: Why this Trump adviser argues against a $600 unemployment extension, by Brian Sozzi, Yahoo Finance, July 14, 2020]. This is, frankly, political suicide.
The Trump campaign can pretend otherwise but the president is clearly losing to Joe Biden as things stand. The campaign has no clear message. While the president tweets “Law & Order!” repeatedly, we’re not actually seeing it. In economic terms, he’s letting the Democrats defeat him on the stimulus and even, incredibly, on America First trade policies [Biden releases U.S.-centered economic plan, challenging Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda, by Sean Sullivan and Jeff Stein, Washington Post, July 9, 2020]
The Polish example shows the way forward. Instead of telling people to sacrifice themselves for the GDP, put the GDP at the service of the nation. Restrict immigration to increase wages. Provide direct help to American workers, including with health care. Directly challenge the oligarchs, especially Amazon and other Big Tech conglomerates who have benefited from the coronavirus pandemic while small businesses have been destroyed.
Sitting back and hoping the economy will magically recover and people will react to Democrat extremism is false complacency. Bravado about “fake polls” and a mythical “red wave” will simply lead to the same disastrous result as 2018.
The president has examples to follow that can lead him to victory even now. The only question: Does he have the will to do it?
At least by now Trump should realize that if he doesn’t win this next election, they’re going to take everything from him and his family, just to show the rest of us who’s boss.
And I’ll probably be filing my future articles from Warsaw or Budapest.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him |Tweet him @VDAREJamesK] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc. His latest book is Conservatism Inc.: The Battle for the American Right. Read VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow's Preface here.