Political Outlook Provides Food for Thought
February 2, 2021
Political commentator Matt Lewis had plenty to share with the Dairy Strong 2021 audience in his political outlook presentation. His topic list ranged from the Trump White House years to predictions about President Biden as the nation’s leader to policies directly impacting the dairy industry like climate change and immigration.
“I’m not sure if Biden would have won if he hadn't had covid to support him,” Lewis said. “He could play to his strengths and avoid the usual hustle of campaigning.”
While it remains to be seen how Biden will govern, Lewis believes it will either mimic Biden’s campaign, showing slower, incremental growth, or Biden will try to hit a home run immediately. Pressure will come from the democrats to do big things right away such as immigration reform.
Despite the excitement coming from the democrats, Biden, for the most part, hasn’t allowed himself to change his views. This is likely successful because he isn’t leveraging social media to his advantage.
“It helps that he’s not on Twitter,” Lewis said. “Despite what some people think, Twitter does not represent the whole world. It’s just a bubble, and Biden ran a tight campaign.”
According to Lewis, immigration reform is a dangerous issue for any politician. The issue has been weaponized for political reasons, but even if it wasn’t dangerous, Lewis isn’t convinced Biden has the momentum to deal with the issue.
Lewis warned not to expect any major legislation on climate change anytime soon. The controversial topic won’t support Biden’s unification goals so lawmakers will likely avoid major proposals.
“I think every piece of legislation is going to sneak in little bits of climate legislation,” he said.
Biden on Unification
Biden’s inaugural address promoted the need for America’s unification. It’s up to him to end the American civil war, and Lewis believes that’s at the very heart and soul of Biden’s agenda. It’s crucial for Biden’s success to be the opposite of Donald Trump. That means being a healer, cooling down the country and clearly understanding his mandate on unification.
“I think Biden has a mandate to not be Donald Trump,” Lewis said. “Most people who voted for Biden didn’t need climate change or immigration bills; they want him to heal the country. He might have said the same thing other politicians always say, but it felt fresh because we haven’t heard it in such a long time.”
An impeachment trial looming for Donald Trump goes directly against Biden’s unification goal. Many people feel Trump needs to be held accountable for his actions before the country can move forward.
Rural Americans are cautiously optimistic about Tom Vilsack, former agriculture secretary under President Obama, coming back to the White House. Making this appointment successful will require Vilsack reaching out to rural Americans, building personal relationships and being a resource.
“It’s hard to hate somebody you’ve had a grilled cheese sandwich with,” Lewis said.
Donald Trump and the Future
After four years of Donald Trump’s leadership, Lewis said one could make an argument that he was the most pro-life president in history, staying in line with the Republican party. Alternatively, one could argue he was also the least moral president in history.
Silence surrounds Trump over the last few weeks when it comes to social media, which dramatically affects his ability to remain relevant and influential with Republicans.
“Twitter is the marketplace of ideas, the town square,” Lewis said. “And whether Trump is allowed to use the platform or not, he will always be involved to some degree.”
Trump may start his own political party or simply try to persuade voters to continue voting Republican, Lewis said. His strategies while in the White House might be successful because they’re unique to him.
U.S. Capitol Insurrection
Donald Trump’s communication tactics weren’t always effective, but people were watching every time he spoke, tweeted or held a press conference. When he tweeted a very poor message to people who weren’t supporting him the night before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Lewis wasn’t surprised to watch the violence unfold the next day.
“I believe in the power of words,” Lewis said. “Trump has said a lot of things we might be able to laugh at, but words matter.”