In order to understand whether the current president's "America First" agenda has staying power beyond this administration, it's important to look back and properly define the growing populist movement in the United States, according to LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham.
Ingraham started a tour this week to promote her new book, "Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump."
The book documents Ingraham's unique view into the populist phenomenon that led Trump, a Republican billionaire with no political experience, to electoral success. It was an unlikely bid that ended with one of the most surprising victories in modern U.S. history, and Ingraham was behind the scenes during much of it.
Ingraham, a former aide to President Ronald Reagan, saw much of Trump's rise, as the current occupant of the White House often sought out her advice. She told LifeZette on Tuesday that she desired to explain what the media, Democrats, and many Establishment Republicans missed in 2016. Ingraham also laid out in the book how the president can keep his "Make America Great Again" agenda going.
"I decided it was time we framed the election and the future in its proper terms," she told LifeZette. "This is not purely a Left-Right struggle. This is, at its core, a struggle between the populists and nationalists, versus the bipartisan globalist Establishment. Trump represented a break from the old Bush Republicanism, and the task ahead of him is not easy. [President Trump] might succeed, he might not, but even if Trump is gone tomorrow, the working class that elected him is not going to go quietly into that good night."
In the book, Ingraham describes tensions the new populism is causing for the liberals. She recalls how Democrats tried to play down their ties to increasingly unpopular aspects of the Establishment agenda, including the North American Free Trade Agreement. During the 2016 campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did her best to try to downplay her past ties to the advocacy of multinational free trade treaties, including NAFTA, which her husband, President Bill Clinton, signed into law in 1993. Ingraham notes MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, "with her usual whiff of intellectual superiority," claimed just before the Nov. 8, 2016, election that former President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, signed NAFTA.
"The history here matters, because the NAFTA disaster still haunts us," writes Ingraham in the book.
Ingraham notes that Bush did indeed sign the trade treaty between Mexico and Canada, in late 1992, after losing re-election to Bill Clinton. But a treaty like NAFTA required congressional approval, and that's where new President Bill Clinton came in, in 1993. Ingraham notes Clinton began a furious lobbying spree through 1993 and reportedly told his advisers, "I have to be president beyond the borders," a remark Ingraham calls "ominous."
Former President Clinton signed the NAFTA Implementation Act into law on Dec. 8, 1993.
The trade agreement eventually cost more than 850,000 U.S. jobs, Ingraham writes in her book, citing research. But as much as the Left was against NAFTA during the 2008 and 2016 campaigns, they are flip-flopping again -- because President Trump has threatened to leave the treaty (which is within his power) if Canada and Mexico do not agree to better terms with the United States.
"'President Trump says it's a disaster, so it must be good!' they reason," Ingraham writes.
She writes that to have a successful presidency, Trump must honor his agenda, often called the "MAGA agenda."
Ingraham recommends focusing on job creation; putting Americans first by killing frivolous climate regulations and bad trade deals; repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare; and avoiding wars and entanglements. She urges Trump to know his strengths and fix his weaknesses.
One way to fix any weakness is to have "message discipline" -- to hammer home points smartly and effectively, she writes. Ingraham says the firing of former FBI Director James Comey was poorly handled, and caused a communication breakdown with the American people.
But she also praises Trump for shaking things up, especially in the White House Press Briefing Room. LifeZette got the first question on January 24, only days after the presidential inauguration, which shocked the Establishment media, she says. It was the mark of a new era in media relations at the White House -- religious bloggers, regional reporters, and conservative media reporters were all welcomed in.
"Opening the White House pressroom to new voices was a masterstroke," writes Ingraham. "It's the only time I supported open borders!"
But perhaps most interesting to people seeking to study, reminisce or figure out what happened in 2016 and 2017, Ingraham lays out what transpired. Much of the problem for the Establishment, she writes, is a disconnect between the people and the elites, something that will still make things difficult for Trump.
Ingraham notes immigration, long an ignored issue, came back to haunt the Establishment and the Democrats afters years of illegal immigration and abuse of the system.
"The global elites have dined out for decades on policies that have hurt the vast majority of Americans and weakened our country," Ingraham said to LifeZette. "Millions of illegal immigrants in the United States, trade deals that helped de-industrialize the Midwest, mismanagement of government funds that have resulted in trillions in debt -- none of that makes the U.S. stronger or more prosperous. Trump has held up a mirror to the failed bipartisan Establishment -- and that is going to make for some rocky political times."
Ingraham, in addition to being the founder and editor-in-chief of LifeZette, has written several New York Times best-sellers, including "Of Thee I Zing" and "Power to the People." She has hosted "The Laura Ingraham Show" since 2001, where she became the most listened-to female radio talk-show host in the nation.
Ingraham will begin hosting "The Ingraham Angle" on Fox News on October 30, every weekday night at 10 p.m.
is published by All Point Books, a division of St. Martin's Press.
Her next book-tour stop will be in Philadelphia, at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Investors Bank Performing Arts Center. More book-tour information can be found at LauraIngraham.com.
(photo credit, homepage images: , , by ; photo credit, article images: , , by )