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Michael Moffett: Now is a good time to retire, Mr. President

  • President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Monday. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 11/8/2018 12:14:59 AM

Dear President Trump: Granite State greetings from the site of your first election win.

With the 2020 New Hampshire presidential primary less than 15 months away, voters and pundits are already pondering political possibilities. And whereas spirited GOP challenges to your re-election once seemed likely, your rising poll numbers changed the calculus.

Lower taxes, less regulation, fairer trade policies, enhanced border security, solid judicial appointments, low unemployment and a booming economy have all combined to strengthen a case for your re-election. Our country has done well during your tenure. Thank you.

So why does this open letter implore you not to run for re-election?

Because we want to see your sound policies continue to bear fruit. Any successful Democratic nominee will reverse those policies while raising taxes, adding regulations, loosening border security, demeaning the Constitution and promoting poisonous identity politics. Creeping socialism is not good for America.

You like blunt straight talk, right Mr. President?

As craven and corrupt as your 2016 opponent was, she still outpolled you by almost 4 million votes. Razor-thin margins in Midwestern battleground states gave you the necessary electoral votes, but the midterm elections just showed that you shouldn’t expect a reprise of 2016 in 2020.

Beyond the daunting demographic and electoral challenges you face, you’ll also have to deal with a relentlessly unfair media establishment – not to mention contrary academia, hostile Hollywood and the long list of usual leftist suspects.

While you could certainly count on folks like myself, would we be enough, given Republican establishment realities? Don’t expect Low Energy Jeb to help much. Or Little Marco. Or Lying Ted. Or Carly. Or Kasich. Or the McCain people. On and on.

And we’ll need all hands on deck in 2020 to keep the White House.

Another reality is that you’re the oldest man ever elected president. Fair questions will be asked about prospects for your continued good health. Many other fair questions will be asked on other topics – questions that the electorate is weary of hearing.

Maybe you can pull it off. But do you really want – or need – to put yourself and the country through another exhausting campaign marked by the emotional excesses that your brawling approach invites? (And I write this as one who appreciates your brawling approach.)

Ironically, the best way to preserve your administration’s accomplishments may be to let younger, fresher faces emerge who can unite our party and win in 2020.

Consider just one of numerous possible scenarios – a Nikki Haley/Marco Rubio ticket that would strike fear into the hearts of the Dems. Space doesn’t allow me to describe why that combination would be so appealing to so many. There are other exciting ticket possibilities as well – tickets that would remove the Dems’ biggest issue: You.

Straight talk.

You have a wonderful opportunity, with things on the upswing, to step away on your own terms. George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge and others left their presidencies on their own terms – and history has been kind to them.

History has been less kind to rejected one-term presidents. Think Herbert Hoover or Jimmy Carter.

Freed from having to put all that time, energy, emotion and wherewithal into a re-election campaign, you could focus on consolidating and expanding upon achievements that, ironically, would more likely be preserved under a president other than yourself. You could be an extraordinary president emeritus.

And you could remain the brawler who’ll fight back when needed – in New Hampshire and elsewhere. Combine your strengths with a new ticket as part of a winning team in 2020 for the sake of the country.

Let your final decision reflect courage and wisdom – not ego and hubris.

Straight talk indeed.

Live Free or Die.

(Michael Moffett of Loudon is a retired professor and Marine Corps infantry officer who served one term in the N.H. House of Representatives.)

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