[Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]
By Steve Cortes
Real Clear Politics
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This year has been dominated by the pain and suffering thrust upon the globe by the criminal acts of the Chinese Communist Party. Even amid these harsh challenges, President Trump persevered to reach historic achievements. Therefore, as the year draws to its conclusion, it is worth detailing his 2020 accomplishments, as I have previously catalogued for each of the last three years.
- The Vaccine. Millions of Americans have begun the process of inoculation, leading to an eventual reality where COVID-19 becomes a bad memory. The speed of this achievement defied skeptics and amazed scientists everywhere. Along with the brilliant government researchers and innovative private sector pharmaceutical companies, President Trump deserves enormous credit for his inspiring leadership of Operation Warp Speed.
- Broadening the Nationalist Movement. The “America First” uprising pre-dated Trump’s entry into politics, with roots in the Tea Party cause. But the movement found its indispensable leader in Trump. Not content with his upstart victory of 2016, Trump massively broadened the movement, in every sense. Geographically, Trump gained vote share in each of America’s four largest cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston) in 2020 vs. 2016. He added 500,000 raw new votes in Los Angeles County alone. Among the 11 million new voters rallying to Trump’s candidacy were millions of Latinos, as the president split the Hispanic vote in Florida and gained 10 percentage points over 2016 to earn 40% of the Hispanic vote in Texas. Under Trump’s leadership, in 2020 the America First cause morphed into a large, sustainable, multi-ethnic, cross-racial workers’ movement.
- Abraham Accords. For the first time in a quarter-century, Arab nations agreed to normalized relations with Israel. President Trump harnessed diplomacy combined with toughness toward Iran to forge truly historic new ties in the region. The 2020 agreement among Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain represents a massive breakthrough, one that encouraged similar pacts with Morocco and Sudan.
- Economic Recovery. The rally from the spring lockdown lows defied all predictions, and included massive surges in home and automobile sales, as pickup truck purchases soared to all-time highs. The U.S. economic performance was the envy of the advanced world. The U.S. stock market roared back far higher than the indices of Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Simply put, in 2020 the United States was an island of growth amid an economically stagnant
- The Wall. Contrary to the media narrative, considerable progress has been made in building the president’s controversial border barrier, despite constant obstructionism from both Congress and the courts – and the unrelenting hostility of the press. Some 423 new miles of impressive border walling now stand guard at our southern border. Officials of Customs and Border Protection make it clear that the wall plus Trump’s “remain-in-Mexico” asylum policy regained control of our previously lawless border region.
- Trade Agreements. For decades, our government pursued disastrous trade deals at the behest of K Street lobbyists, benefiting foreign nations plus the top executives of American multinationals, regardless of the harm to American workers. Donald Trump won the presidency vowing to fix these untenable trade structures, and in 2020 he signed the USMCA pact with our neighbors Mexico and Canada, a material improvement over the outdated and unfair NAFTA championed by bipartisan globalists. This success led to the Phase Two agreement with China as well, continuing the process of holding Beijing to account for its massive abuses of America via product dumping, industrial espionage, and a dearth of trade reciprocity.
- Afghan Peace Deal. This commander-in-chief pursued an America First foreign policy of realism and restraint. It paid off. As made clear by the December 2019 bombshell “Afghanistan Papers,” published by the Washington Post, Trump’s predecessors misled our citizens while wasting precious American lives and treasure during that pointless two-decade war. Trump is winding down such adventurism and reached a historic peace deal with the Taliban in 2020. Despite howls from the “America Everywhere” foreign policy establishment inside the D.C. Beltway, Trump’s deal to end the Afghan war has won rare, broad, bipartisan support among voters.
- Striking Down Terrorists. Instead of wasteful and unsuccessful mass invasions or grandiose commitments to “nation-building,” this president used surgical strikes to eradicate threats to our security. After America’s successful hit against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2019, the 2020 strike against Iranian military leader and terrorism exporter Qasem Soleimani eliminated perhaps the most dangerous terrorist in the Middle East. Soleimani directly engineered the slaughter of American troops in Iraq, and he met instant justice courtesy of American missiles in an attack ordered by an intrepid commander-in-chief.
- Space Force. The first new branch of the U.S. military in decades, President Trump showcased his vision as an unpredictable political leader in establishing Space Force as the sixth U.S. military branch as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. America now stands as the only country with an independent, dedicated military space force. Such foresight highlights Trump’s willingness to think in unconventional ways.
- March for Life. Donald J. Trump became the first U.S. president to attend the annual massive pro-life march in Washington, solidifying his stature as the most pro-life president in American history. In so doing, he fulfilled campaign promises to protect unborn life as well as religious liberty. The president boldly declared that “every child is a precious and sacred gift from God.”
At home and abroad, President Trump proved that there is, indeed, method to his madness. Though his unorthodox and sometimes frenetic approach confounds his critics, Trump’s disruptive leadership remained highly effective in 2020, even as our country and his administration faced many unwelcome challenges. Whatever the future holds for him, the 45th U.S. president compiled a record of achievement over these last four years that is impressive and historic.