Who won the recent debate? I watched it with a room full of politically savvy and engaged people. A few were campaign managers, and virtually all were top-level political operatives. Virtually everyone thought Carly Fiorina won, as did I. Rubio, Christie, and even Bush were strong, as were Huckabee and Cruz, but they got so little time they were overshadowed.
Ben Carson is certainly a likeable and brilliant class act, and the traction he has received lately has been celebrated by seemingly everyone. Even so, those I talked with thought Carson seriously hurt his chances with his view that it was a mistake to go into Afghanistan after 9/11. The responses from the veterans in the room ranged from disbelief to outrage. Until that statement, these were almost all current or potential Carson supporters. As one lamented, this made every veteran of the Afghanistan campaign, or those who lost loved ones in it, feel that Carson was calling their sacrifice a mistake.
Everyone agreed that the use of intellect rather than military force is better. However, if you fall back on intellect when it is time for action, you are likely doomed. Carson’s belief that going after the terrorists who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on their home turf was a mistake was perceived as out of touch with reality. He has obviously thought this since 2001. Going into Iraq is debatable, but almost no one has thought that going into Afghanistan was a mistake. The one reservation I had heard about Ben Carson before this debate was that he is too genteel for such a tough position in these times with the rise of ISIS, Russia becoming increasingly belligerent, and North Korea and Iran rattling sabers. The position he took at the debate on this seemed to solidify to those I was with that he was not Commander-in-Chief material. Perhaps.
No one in the room thought Donald Trump won the debate. In fact, there was almost a universal belief that he did not have a good night, even if he did not make any really fatal mistakes. Some thought he had reached his high watermark and would certainly begin a slide.
That also seemed to be the position of every political analysis I watched afterward on the different news networks. Shockingly, when the polls came in the next morning, the pundits of conventional wisdom could hardly have been more out of touch with the way the people saw the debate. To them Carly did well, coming in a distant second with 15% to 17% thinking she won the debate, while between 55% and 65% saw Trump as the clear winner! How could that be? We must understand how this happened if we are to understand the present political climate in America.
Again, the rules have changed, and if we keep trying to judge the present by rules that no longer apply, we will not get it right, and we will not be effective in having an impact in our times. So what are the new rules? We will address this using the three questions: What is happening? What is not happening? What can we do about it?
What is Happening?
At breakfast this morning, Marc Nuttle said we are now experiencing what he called “a fifty year shift.” It’s not just a turn, but a sharp 90-degree turn. Marc was using a political term, but this is also a biblical term called a “jubilee.” A biblical jubilee was a legal reset Israel was to implement every fifty years to cancel all debt and restore inheritances. Could this be what America is about to experience? By the grace of God could we get a mulligan—a do over?
So what about the impending crises that are now cascading down upon us? No doubt we have challenges coming, and some may look like we cannot make it through the tests. Our problems are almost all now beyond human remedy. That is a good thing. Now we only have one choice if we want to make it through them—turn back to God.
Here is a little caveat—many of our problems have been beyond human remedy for a long time. The only reason we have not fallen apart by now is that we are being protected by a Divine hand and being held together even though we deserve to be released to our own devices and their consequences. We have a God who loves us, and He will help us even if we do not even recognize His help.
The grace of God is a hard factor to measure in relation to current events. This is why so many predictions of impending judgment fail to happen on our expected timeline. For this reason we will not understand the timing of coming events until we understand the biggest factor of all—God’s grace.
How long will this grace last? This leads to the next point.
What is Not Happening?
As I surfed through the news channels after the debate, I heard time after time that “the people want clear and specific answers.” Wrong! The pundits do, and they assume that everyone thinks just like them (a major delusion). I assume that the type of person that would read something like this also wants specifics. That is because you are thinkers with more knowledge of current affairs than 80% of the American people. However, the people in general do not really care to know the answers to the world’s problems simply because they are busy or their own problems are too overwhelming. They do not have the mindshare for the details. That is a major reason why they are now looking for something different in the candidate they will support—leadership. The people are becoming increasingly disgusted with politicians and increasingly desperate for leadership.
I am in touch with people all over the country, a high percentage of which are high-impact people. This is by no means a scientific poll, but with almost everyone I know there is a deep and growing resentment of the Republican Party. There may be a dislike of what the Democratic Party has done to the nation, but there is a belief that the Republicans have betrayed them, and that is worse.
The Republicans promised to defund Obamacare if they were given a majority in the House. We were also assured they would hold Obama accountable for a multitude of transgressions from Fast and Furious, to the IRS, to Benghazi. They did nothing. Then they promised to do get all of this done and much more if Republicans were also given the Senate. Again, they did nothing, and the anger in the grassroots is growing. The Republican Party is facing strike three and may not survive another failure.
Conventional wisdom might say that if the Republican Party collapses, we will quickly fall to the liberal/socialist/Marxist agenda. However, conventional wisdom does not seem to be working now, and we are falling fast into that agenda anyway. Trust in the Republican Party to be a real opposition has backfired, or worse, greased the skids for the downward slide of America.
When Ohio Governor John Kasich spoke during the debate and tried to defend the acceptance of the Iran Treaty (“Treaty” is what it really is), it did feel as if John Boehner was speaking. With the rising anger at Boehner among Republican grassroots, I do not think this will go well for Kasich’s Presidential ambitions.
Already more than 60% of Republicans are supporting non-politician candidates. This is a clear message that establishment Republicans still do not seem to be hearing. To this 60%, there is hope that there could be another American Revolution that restores us to the freedom and values that were won by the first one.
What Can We Do About It?
Join the revolution.