the national interest

David Horowitz’s Book Predicting a Trump Victory Was Not Well-Timed

Photo: Courtesy of Frontline PBS/YouTube

In these dark times for the Trump reelection campaign, one prophet has emerged to give hope to the faithful. David Horowitz’s latest book, Blitz: Trump Will Smash the Left and Win, has won cheerful acclaim. “He thinks Trump is gonna win in a landslide in November, and he gives reasons why in the book,” says Rush Limbaugh. Conservative columnist John Hinderaker headlines a recent column “The Landslide of 2020?” informing his readers that he received a copy of Blitz, and while he concedes, “I haven’t had time to read it yet,” Horowitz’s mere imprimatur on this prediction carries weight.

Intrigued, I obtained a copy. It came as no surprise that the book is awful. Horowitz, a former left-wing extremist turned right-wing extremist, is known for claiming that Barack Obama is an America-hating secret Muslim whose autobiography was actually written for him by Bill Ayers. What did surprise is that the book does not actually predict a Trump landslide. It advances hardly any claims about Trump’s reelection prospects at all. The preface contain an ominous and revealing disclaimer: “As this book was in its final stages and heading for the printer, America and the world were struck by a deadly virus originating in Wuhan, China.”

It is possible Horowitz frantically excised all the passages predicting Trump’s reelection victory. Alternatively, he never made any such prediction, and simply decided to market his book that way. In any case, Blitz contains almost nothing to substantiate the prognostication that excites his friends. If you cut and pasted every line in the book that argues, asserts, or even implies that Trump will win, they would not supply enough text to fill an op-ed.

To the (very limited) extent that Blitz supports the claim splashed on its cover, it suggests two points. First, Democrats have overreached by making spurious charges of racism, thereby sapping the potency of their chief weapon against the right. “Progressives have accused so many decent, innocent Americans of racism that outside the left this charge has largely lost its sting,” he argues, and as a result progressives “fail to realize how their deceptions actually serve to undermine their efforts to demonize Trump.”

Second, Trump has brilliantly outwitted Democrats by defying their silencing tactics. “By standing up to the attacks from the left, Trump was able to thrive despite their slanderous labels of ‘racist’ and ‘hate monger.’ It’s inconceivable that, say, Jeb Bush or Paul Ryan would have stood their ground against the ‘racist’ smears,” he posits. Even many pro-Trump conservatives wring their hands at his addiction to social media, but Horowitz praises the tweets as “a calculated strategy to blow back the bullies of political correctness and political doublespeak, who had effectively cowed Republicans through the previous two administrations.”

One might respond that as a simple matter of tactics, there is no evidence Trump actually is winning. His polling has been historically dismal throughout his presidency, his biggest domestic priority was defeated in Congress, his party was routed in the midterms, and he is losing badly to Joe Biden now. (To be sure, Trump was only losing modestly when Horowitz’s book went to press, but this isn’t much of a defense.)

A recent poll found the public agrees, by a 50-36 percent margin, that Trump is “a racist.” Doesn’t that mean the racism charge has not backfired on the left? And that Trump’s tweet binges have not in fact blown back the PC hordes?

Horowitz does not acknowledge these defeats, nor cite any metric to support his claim that Trump is winning. The closest he comes to acknowledging that Trump has been unpopular throughout his presidency is when he depicts the president’s historically rapid polling descent as the result of a Soros-led plot: “According to the Gallup organization, presidential honeymoons have lasted an average of seven months in recent years,” he suggests, treating the honeymoon as a formal tradition controlled entirely by the opposition, “but thanks to the anti-Trump Resistance strategy devised by Soros and the left, there was no honeymoon for Donald Trump.”

In place of arguing that Trump will win, Horowitz devotes most of the book to the theme that has preoccupied him for years: arguing that Democrats, not Republicans, are the real racists. Horowitz decries the unfairness of Trump being called racist “for daring to criticize Elijah Cummings.” (He was called racist for calling Cummings’s district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”) He expresses indignation that Democrats would “characterize the moratorium [on travel from a list of Muslim countries] as an ‘anti-Muslim ban,’ though it was neither anti-Muslim not a permanent ‘ban.’” (Trump himself described the policy during the campaign as “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” before tweaking it in office to pass legal muster.)

Horowitz even sticks up for Trump’s defense of right-wing demonstrators who objected to a Charlottesville city-council vote to remove its Robert E. Lee statue — “not because they were racist,” he insists. Two sentences later, Horowitz adds as an inadvertently hilarious aside, “Unfortunately, the rally attracted extremist groups, including neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.” That is an unfortunate coincidence, indeed. How a completely non-racist protest managed to attract a mass gathering of the most virulent racists in the country, Horowitz does not say.

The official premise of Horowitz’s book is that Trump is an unstoppable mastermind outwitting his foes. And yet he cannot help but to descend into self-pity and grievance. The Trump in Blitz is the Trump who (increasingly) appears in the president’s own Twitter feed — put upon and conspired against by a nexus of enemies in the media and the Deep State. The confident title seems to be a balm for disheartened Republicans. But Horowitz himself wouldn’t bet a nickel on Trump winning in November.

Horowitz Book Predicting a Trump Victory Was Not Well-Timed