America: We’re Not Done Yet

Hope for the Shining City on the Hill

Adapted from Dr. Kevin Roberts’ remarks to the National Religious Broadcasters Presidential Forum on Feb. 22, 2024

Our country today is beset by social problems, cultural problems, political problems, economic problems, moral and religious problems. Some are grand in scope, like a national debt larger than our entire economy and a national birth rate below replacement level.  Others hit closer to home, like the collapse of church attendance, porn addiction among young men, and the mental health crisis among young women. 

And yet, as important as those long-term problems are, they still take a backseat because so many urgent, immediate crises are at our throats. There’s the border crisis, the national crime wave, hot wars in Israel and Ukraine; and as we have analyzed at Heritage, a new cold war with China. All these challenges—important and urgent—have grown so pervasive and Washington has become so dysfunctional that it’s hard for serious, good-faith leaders to even prioritize our problems, let alone try to solve them. 

And I don’t just mean elites or the Left. The political right is torn, too. About the crises we face, and how to address them. About our political parties and goals, and even about the political candidates we’ll have to choose from this election year. They’re tough questions, and like it or not—ready or not—in a little over eight months, we’re going to have to answer those questions, or they will be answered for us. And yet, as important as elections, politics, public policy, and our nation is, as Christians, we must first remember that our struggle—as Paul warns the Ephesians—is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Let us never forget the true battle we must all wage as we go about our daily work.  As the head of a conservative policy organization, I work in the world of policy, not politics. In other words, what government should do, not who should run it. It’s not my job to tell anyone how to vote. But what I think I can do, and what I’d like to do is offer a way of thinking about America in 2024 and the choices we face to help people of faith and all Americans see those choices clearly. 

I think the best way to find that clarity is to begin with a simple question:  Why does the Washington establishment hate Donald Trump and dread his reelection this November?  By establishment, everyone knows who I mean. The National Democrat Party? Obviously. But also, wide swaths of the Republican Party’s leadership, especially in Washington. 

You see, Heritage is bipartisan in its critique of what’s wrong with this country.  The federal bureaucracy and the deep state, the legacy news media and entertainment industry, academia at the college level, obviously, but also the left-wing teacher unions who dominate our K-12 education system.  Most large corporations, especially the vast progressive empire of corporate human resources departments, and consultants, and the loosely affiliated multibillion-dollar network of liberal foundations, endowments, activists, and nonprofits from Planned Parenthood to Black Lives Matter to Antifa. 

Call it the Left or call it Woke Inc. or call it the establishment. It’s all the same thing. The small group of wealthy, well-connected elites who control the institutions that set the parameters and the tone of our national discourse.   

Why do they want Donald Trump to lose so badly?

Why are they so prepared to do everything in their power to stop him?  If you ask them, they will offer up a litany of high-minded, seemingly principled reasons.  We’ve all heard them. Authoritarianism, right? Norms, the rule of law, and decency, that’s what President Biden ran on in 2020. Intolerance, corruption, chaos, remember? He encouraged rioters and violence. And he lied, lied, lied all the time.  At least that’s what they claimed.

Now, whatever your political leanings, we should all acknowledge that these are things democracies should care about.  In principle, they are all very good reasons to oppose any political candidate, let alone a candidate for President of the United States. 

But are they the real reasons the liberal establishment actually fears Donald Trump’s return to the White House?  The evidence overwhelmingly suggests not.  Even a cursory review of this record from just the last few years shows that the liberal establishment has no principle of objection to any of these things.

I’m going to look at them in turn.  Does the establishment, for example, oppose authoritarianism? President Biden has followed Barack Obama’s illegal practice of inventing new laws out of whole cloth like a dictator.  He declared an eviction moratorium and vaccine mandates. And he canceled more than 100 billion in student loans, something he continues today, literally today. 

In each case, he acted without congressional authorization and in open defiance of federal law.  And in each case, the court smacked him down.  Meanwhile, the Colorado Supreme Court, recently and illegally, removed President Trump’s name from the state’s presidential ballot.  They did it without any vote by the public or input from the state legislature.

And what did the supposedly anti-authoritarian establishment do? They cheered.  What about norms?  Well, the most important norm under our Constitution is supposed to be the government’s protection of our equal rights and guarantee of equal justice to all citizens.  Today, though, the norm on the left is a federal government weaponized against conservatives. 

Like the Obama IRS targeting conservative nonprofit groups, like the Biden administration’s collusion with big tech companies to censor conservative speech, like the Department of Education’s harassment of religious colleges for opposing the LGBTQ agenda, or like the army of Marxist district attorneys who let violent criminals run free in your cities and instead spend their time persecuting President Trump and his supporters. 

But see, this is about norms.  What about the norms at the FBI, where Christian parents protesting school boards and daily churchgoers have been officially classified as suspected domestic terrorists?  The cold, deliberate, systematic abuse of federal power to threaten and intimidate conservatives, that is the so-called “norm” in Washington today that the establishment supposedly fears Donald Trump would disrupt.

What about the rule of law?  Do they mean on the Southern Border?  Or on city streets?  Or in San Francisco where criminals are allowed to shoplift and worse with impunity?  Or do they mean Nancy Pelosi’s long career of lucrative stock trades using inside political information?  Or do they mean the Hawaii Supreme Court’s recent ruling that the Second Amendment no longer applies in that state because it violates “the spirit of aloha”. 

Decency.  The party of Bill Clinton wants to talk to us about decency?  Okay.  Like congressional staffers making adult films in Senate hearing rooms?  Like public schools secretly showing porn to young children?  Spare us.  On and on and on, the same pattern holds. What about racial intolerance? 

The left endorses it, it cheers, it funds critical race theory bigotry. They openly support racial discrimination in college admissions and anti-semitic hate on college campuses and public protests. What about corruption? Tell me more about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and his father’s involvement. Or about Dr. Fauci’s knowledge of COVID-19 origins from the Wuhan lab, months before he abused his power to suppress that fact as a so-called conspiracy theory.  What about family separation?  Again, the left openly advocates taking children with gender dysphoria away from parents who refuse to sterilize or mutilate them. 

It’s already happening, even in places where you wouldn’t expect, such as in the supposedly red state of Indiana this very week.  

What about rioters and violence?  Remember in 2020, when we weren’t allowed to attend school or church, but the establishment cheered when BLM rioters looted and burned American cities? 

What about lies? Seriously, coming from President Biden?  Biden, whatever his other virtues, is a pathological liar. There isn’t a topic in his public or private life that he doesn’t routinely lie about. And look, it is a real problem. His grades in school, his phony athletic career, marching in the civil rights movement, his record in the Senate, his fictitious appointment to the Naval Academy. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I could keep going, but I think you’ve gotten a long enough litany. Every crime, every moral failing, and every abuse of power the left warns Donald Trump might do, they actually do themselves, right now, openly and enthusiastically, in every branch, at every level of government, and with the full-throated support of the cultural, corporate, academic, and media elites, now supposedly scandalized at the thought of Donald Trump returning to the White House. 

So, what is the real reason the establishment on the left opposed President Trump so ferociously?  We know that they don’t actually fear that Trump is a danger to the country. After all, despite their wealth and privilege, the liberal establishment proudly condemns the United States as a backward, bigoted, vicious nation, and a malevolent force in the world. 

From the 1619 project to big tech censorship, to open borders, to their assault on religious freedom, they want to fundamentally transform America because they don’t like this country.  No, the establishment does not hate Donald Trump because he’s a threat to America. Let’s be really blunt: They hate him because he’s a threat to them. 

He’s a threat to their agenda. He’s a threat to their privilege. He’s a threat to their vaulting messianic ambitions and most of all, what disturbs them the most. He’s a threat to their power.  And God bless him for it. 

So, let’s step back from all the noise and controversy that always surrounds the former president, ginned up by the media, and consider what it is he says he will do if he is re-elected to the Oval Office. First, he says he will seal the border.  He will end the humanitarian crisis, the lawlessness, the fentanyl smuggling, and human trafficking.

Second, he says he will gut the deep state, the 2 million unelected, unaccountable, career federal bureaucrats who have illegally and unconstitutionally resisted conservative reform for generations.  

He says he will approve oil and gas leases to increase domestic energy production, lower gas prices, and fight inflation. 

He says he will defund woke extremism. 

Think of the 18-year-old marines on Parris Island who were scolded for their privilege as straight white males. Think of the school districts where kids who can’t read and write are being told their history, faith, and skin color are evil. Think of all the Planned Parenthood clinics handing out puberty blockers to children without their parents’ knowledge.

All of this comes to an end. 

Furthermore, Donald Trump says he will once again reorient U. S. foreign policy to exclusively advance America’s vital interests and priorities. 

He says he will nominate federal judges and Supreme Court justices who will decide cases according to the clear language of the Constitution and the law, and not according to the screeching demands of woke totalitarians. 

Important to you, important to me, especially as a father of four, he says he will defend the unborn, period. 

He says he will defend religious liberty. Period. 

And two things that go hand in hand, free speech and the second amendment, we already know he will defend.

All of the above have two things in common. First, they all directly attack the woke industrial complex. All the left-wing elites who derive their power, their prestige, their wealth by manipulating the federal budget. Second, they all enjoy broad, national, bipartisan public support. Almost everyone in the country outside the Washington establishment agrees with these ideas.

Americans don’t want their tax dollars paying for extremism, or indoctrination, or grooming, or woke hate. The American people don’t want the government to transform America. They actually love this country.  They want government to secure the border, arrest criminals, teach kids the three R’s and the Golden Rule, protect their constitutional rights, defend our shores, honor our national history and cultural heritage and religious freedom, and do all of that without bankrupting this country.  That is what Donald Trump is promising to do if he returns to the White House next January.

The establishment opposes this agenda, not because they fear it will be authoritarian or cruel or chaotic, but because they fear it will work.

They fear that it will advance the most important conservative political project since the Cold War, returning democratic authority back to the American people from the elites who have stolen it from them over the last generation. 

At Heritage, we don’t get into personalities one way or the other. Conservatives come in all shapes, sizes and temperaments. We work with them all. Swaggering Texans and mild-mannered Midwesterners. Fire-breathing populists and nerdy policy wonks. And yes, even brash, blunt New York real estate developers. 

And we’ve been working with all of them on one project since soon after Joe Biden took the oath of office, before any conservative presidential candidates had even entered the race. That’s Project 2025. Already, we have not only developed a comprehensive policy agenda, but even more importantly, recruited people, 20,000 people, to go into the next administration, hopefully, to help take back this country for you and for your audiences. 

We want no credit. We want the American people and, if he’s elected again, President Trump, to take credit for that. But it will also be a great sign, if all of this is successful, that the Lord is still smiling upon America. 

Before I close, I want to make one last observation about the choice we face this November. I know some mention misgivings about our 45th and hopefully our 47th president.  As Christians, of course, we can’t judge another man’s soul, but as citizens we must judge political candidates and neither side is perfect. 

But we should also remember that the people who tell us Donald Trump is supposedly beyond the pale not only tolerate but celebrate abortion, racism, anti-semitism, mental illness, and the grooming, castration, and mutilation of children. They want to legalize so-called “throuple” marriages, bar Christians from adopting children, and tax churches that don’t perform gay marriages.

They force girls to shower, change, and compete with boys in contact sports and for college scholarships. In Canada, where American liberals look for inspiration, the government euthanizes healthy, middle-aged adults for being depressed, and seizes children from moms and dads who oppose trans insanity. 

In France, it’s now a crime to question MRNA vaccines, punishable by up to three years in prison. This is where Donald Trump’s enemies would take us if they can. Of course, we should not turn a blind eye to the flaws of any of our leaders, ourselves too. But this November, we’re choosing a president, not a pastor. 

We should also not let people who, let’s be honest, hate our religion, hate our freedom to practice it, and hate our right to raise our children in our faith, tell us how we should vote at the ballot box. 

If America remains the proverbial shining city on a hill, and I certainly think it does, then we must be prepared this election year to charge some hills. You religious broadcasters do that every day with your heroic witnesses, and at a time when doing so includes, as you know, more risks than ever. The battle, your daily battle, is wearisome, and I know, sometimes worrisome. 

And yet you and I both know it’s the battle we must fight. For not only is it the right one for America’s future, it is the righteous one, which God blesses. As the prophet Isaiah proclaims, those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.  

The Lord is not done with America yet. 


Image Credit: Unsplash

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is President of Heritage Action.

4 thoughts on “America: We’re Not Done Yet

  1. Gee, who is more authoritarian, Trump or the DNC? Roberts complains that it is the DNC. But doesn’t he know that posting such a claim on the American Reformer might be counterproductive? After all, the American Reformer favors Christian Magistrates and a Christian ethnocracy over Democracy with equality and pluralism. If one shows that Biden is a true Christian, then the above article is appealing for Biden votes.

    The above article makes accusations based on ambiguities, false claims, conspiracy theories, taking facts out of context, and a highly selective use of media sources. It’s not that the DNC is not authoritarian. I have pointed that out before with how the DNC orchestrated the replacing FDR’s 1944 running mate Henry Wallace with Harry S. Truman. And their authoritarianism neither started nor stopped there.

    But Trump’s authoritarianism, along with that of this website, is so prevalent and pervasive that there is no comparison between him and the DNC. What is Trump’s current case before SCOTUS about? Isn’t it about his claim to immunity because he was President at the time when he allegedly attempted to overthrow the 2020 election? Isn’t that a possible admission of guilt in the first place? For if he is guilty of breaking the law, then isn’t Trump asking to be excused because he was President at the time? What other laws would any President be allowed to break if Trump wins that case? But while criminal accusations against Biden have been made, unlike for Trump, no court worthy evidence has been presented to support those claims.

    As for Trump, hasn’t he publicly ridiculed and even threatened political opponents with vengeance if elected again? Doesn’t he want to be King of America for at least a day. And globally speaking, didn’t he sign an Executive Order (EO) calling for sanctions on members of the ICC for potential investigations in American violations of international law. Yes, such would infringe on American sovereignty. But such a defense is very comparable to that of a state justifying a defiance to the U.S. Constitution because that document infringed on the state’s sovereignty or a person pleading innocent to committing crimes because the law infringed on that person’s individual sovereignty. The ICC would be treating the U.S. in the same way that it treats other nations. Don’t those nations have sovereignty too.

    Showing, on a case by case basis the falsehoods in the above article would make this comment too long for readers to muddle through, though I could do that. Suffice it to say that the above article seems to be calling gray black and black white when it claims that it is the DNC that is authoritarian, not Trump.

    1. Yes, this website’s authoritarianism is so prevalent and pervasive that you continue to be allowed to post coal under every article.

      1. Terry,
        You raise a good point. However, don’t we need to consider multiple factors to determine whether this site is authoritarian rather than just one?

        First, I commend this website for allowing me to post dissenting comments.

        Second, the insulting and accusatory comments I get in return show the authoritarianism not of the website, but of some of its followers.

        Third, I’ve said all along that the arguments used in the articles posted are very authoritarian. In fact, wanting to replace a democracy with a Christian Nation or Christian Magistrate is promoting an authoritarian government where pluralism cannot be tolerated. And when some of the articles call for criminal penalties for blasphemy, tell me what other religious groups persecute and/or prosecute people for blasphemy. The black-white worldview used in the articles is part of an authoritarian mindset. The black-white worldview is most prevalent in how different groups are portrayed. And it seems that according to the articles posted here, Christians are not to share power in government with unbelievers as equals. Rather, there should be a hierarchical relationship between Christians and unbelievers where Christians should have more power in government and society than unbelievers.

        Fourth, look at the arguments made for Trump in the above article. The complete demonization of the DNC is in line with the demonization of progressives, the Left, the Far Left, and others made in other articles on this website. I would add that it isn’t the same group that is demonized in all of the articles. But the demonization is there. On the flip side there is an uncritical acceptance of the Reformed Traditions referenced in articles. Certainly Trump has been criticized such as in the above article, but not the Reformed Traditions.

        So, Terry, what do you think? Your comment made a good point. However, what about the other factors mentioned above? Do you think they point to authoritarianism in this website? If so, to what degree?

  2. Re: abortion “”As President Trump has stated, he would sit down with both sides and negotiate a deal that everyone will be happy with,” said Karoline Leavitt, a Trump spokesperson, without providing any detail on what such a deal would look like.”

    https://www.reuters.com/world/us/trump-privately-favors-16-week-national-abortion-ban-new-york-times-reports-2024-02-16/

    So, a deal that an abortion abolitionist like me (I am dumping the label pro-life) will be happy with and that Planned Parenthood will be happy with? Now that’s a parlor trick I’d like to see. IVF is the next frontier. Is Trump willing to go there?

    “I do think when he’s saying things, like in Iowa the other day that well, you know, he couldn’t follow his campaign promise to have Mexico … pay for the border wall because there was, quote, no legal mechanism he could have used to have Mexico pay,” DeSantis said during an interview on The Hill on NewsNation. “He’s rationalizing that failure.”

    “The problem is that was his main campaign promise,” DeSantis said. “I was at the rallies. It was fun. Everyone was cheering that.”

    https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4264409-desantis-trump-mexico-funds-border-wall/

    I guess he didn’t know there was no legal mechanism for making Mexico pay for the wall when he made the promises?

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