Recently, Human Events senior editor Jack Posobiec posted a video on Twitter of Donald Trump’s “Free Speech Policy Proposal.”
The video consisted of the former president announcing his “free speech” policy, which included a number of laudable goals. During the announcement video, Trump stated that, shortly after his inauguration, he would sign an executive order banning federal agencies from colluding with private entities to censor or influence freedom of expression.
Trump also said that he will “begin the process of identifying and firing every federal bureaucrat who has engaged in domestic censorship, directly or indirectly.” The president also stated that, if elected, he intends to reform section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to “get big online platforms out of censorship business.”
In other words, big tech companies should only qualify for immunity under section 230 if they meet “high standards of neutrality, transparency, fairness, and non-discrimination.” Among other policy objectives were pressuring tech companies to increase their efforts in fighting the production and promulgation of child exploitation material, as well as fighting genuine threats of terrorism, all the while not curtailing lawful speech in the process.
These are all laudable goals, and for the first time in a long time, Trump is focusing on specific policy initiatives that would most likely define his second term in office should he secure one. The problem, though, is that Trump is as likely to be re-elected president as the sky falling tomorrow. In other words, it’s not going to happen.
Firstly, Trump has already made a handful of fatal political miscalculations, most notably his quasi-Thanksgiving dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West, both of whom have espoused blatant anti-semitic sentiments; Kanye for the past couple months, and Fuentes for the entirety of his career in political commentary.
Secondly, creating long-lasting policies requires legislation, which is unlikely in an environment where Trump-backed candidates could not even win key midterm elections.
But let’s assume for a moment that Trump proves everyone wrong yet again, that he rallies enough support among Republicans, drives up the vote in the suburban and rural counties, and secures an Electoral College victory.
Even if Trump were to be the nation’s 47th president, his plan to “drain the swamp” once again is centered around a hyper-romanticized narrative of Trump walking into the White House, pointing his finger at every D.C. swamp politician and saying “You’re fired!”
This narrative is predicated upon the notion—the delusion—that Trump will unilaterally dismantle the state-media apparatus that so regularly rigs the game against conservatives. The reality, of course, is that he won’t, because even being elected president doesn’t place you outside the paradigm.
The fact that Trump is proposing to do all these things with an executive order is a testament to how drop-dead dysfunctional the federal government actually is. Even if Trump does manage to dismantle this pernicious government bureaucracy of censors, what is to stop a Democratic president from reinstating said bureaucracy with the stroke of a pen once Trump is gone? Joe Biden, for example, signed 42 executive orders within the first two weeks of him taking office in 2021, many of them overturning prior Trump-era executive orders.
Countering “disinformation,” i.e. labeling those who disagree with left-wing narratives as conspiracy theorists who are a danger to Our Democracy has become a centerpiece for the Democratic policy agenda. It’s hard to imagine any of these changes lasting long should a Democratic president be elected to succeed Trump, which is very likely.
Yes, Trump did talk about urging Congress to revise section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, but getting a legislative consensus on how to specifically narrow the scope of section 230 is increasingly unlikely as Republicans and Democrats solidify behind partisan lines on the issue of free speech. The vast majority of Trump’s free speech agenda, like most presidential agendas, will likely be implemented via transient executive orders, and will not address the broader issue of power leakage between the three branches of government, as well as to various institutions beyond the government proper.
In the end, a second “Drain the Swamp” initiative would fail for the same reason it failed the first time: By underestimating the sheer scope of how big the “Swamp” actually is and the untouchable mechanisms it has in place to sustain itself. The slim chance of any of this being remedied isn’t even factoring in Trump’s general lack of political tactfulness, which is further compounded by his personal character flaws. His general tendency to be impulsive and narcissistic, I predict, will quell any significant effort he makes to effectively implement any component of this agenda in the first place.
A question I would like to ask at this point is: When will those in the Trump camp finally realize that the hyper-romanticized rhetoric of “Draining the Swamp” is just that? Will they ever get tired of being patronized with unrealistic promises of “saving the Republic”? Perhaps it’s time to start asking ourselves a more sobering question: Can the republic, if we still have one, even be saved?