In his new book, “Party Animal, The Truth About President Trump, Power Politics & The Partisan Press,” former Congressman Jason Lewis makes it clear: “If criticism of Mr. Trump is what you want, turn on the television, read any newspaper or scroll any website. It is ubiquitous and won’t be repeated here…”
That’s no great surprise, given how closely the Minnesota representative worked with the Trump administration on its major successes. By the 2018 midterms, however, the Leftist “Empire” was striking back and, as Lewis writes, an “openly partisan press was running cover for liberal challengers and few could hear our warnings amidst the cacophony of anti-Trump screeds. Democrats swept the House with a gain of 41 seats that year, the most since Watergate.”
Yet Party Animal is more than a longing for the accomplishments of the 115th Congress of 2017 to 2019 — including the remarkably successful supply-side tax reform that liberals have targeted for repeal since at least late afternoon on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2021. Lewis campaigned alongside Trump in Minnesota as that state’s Republican Senate nominee in 2020 and, more interestingly, did so under a bizarre set of circumstances entertainingly described in a chapter appropriately titled, “Who Lost Minnesota?”
Spoiler alert: Lewis’ answer is that his opponent, Sen. Tina Smith, had the full, unwavering backing of the liberal media and political establishments. And big money. It’s true. Smith defeated Lewis 48.8% to 43.6%, but only after spending $16.1 million to his $6.7 million.
Smith’s liberal credentials were (and remain) unassailable. When the George Floyd riots broke out, for example, Smith egged on the “righteous protest,” even adding, “there is something dangerously wrong with the role that police play in our society.” Lewis called Smith’s public response “inflammatory and irresponsible rhetoric that emboldened the violent mob. But it was hardly surprising—when [Ilhan] Omar called the MPD ‘rotten to the root’ and said that we need to completely ‘dismantle it’, Sen. Smith enthusiastically endorsed her.”
That may be one reason the unapologetic Lewis garnered the most ever votes (1,398,145) for a Republican candidate statewide, even outperforming the top of the ticket by two points. In October of 2020, a KSTP/SurveyUSA poll had the Senate race as a dead heat, though Smith eventually prevailed, buttressed by an unprecedented 1.9 million absentee ballots.
Smith’s outspending Lewis 2.4-to-1 may have made all the difference. That is, unless other, more nefarious factors were at play.
While the author doesn’t explicitly contend he won the race, Lewis isn’t shy about the election controversies, writing, “There are two ways of looking at the election of 2020. We either witnessed the most astounding and unusual election in American history, or our nation’s extremely lax voting laws have finally caught up with us.”
Indeed, the book is a comprehensive look at a weaponized establishment. And not just the media distortions of the author’s broadcasting career, “which of course would be used against me in demagogic fashion.” No, the author reserves special condemnation for a boisterous band of neocons and ‘never-Trumpers,’ best exemplified by the perverse antics of the (later scandalized) Lincoln Project.
Party Animal is a vivid account of the radical left, the media and politics in the public arena during the Trump presidency and beyond. Lewis weaves a compelling tale of a talk radio host dedicated to the America First movement — promoting principles, not personalities — and how a new revolutionary “squad” of extremists will do anything to stop it. “Only now,” Lewis rightly laments “are people waking up to what Obama meant when he told Republicans, ‘Elections have consequences.’”
Interestingly, from an economist’s perspective, Lewis’ book also delves into a serious discussion of public policy. Lewis was, after all, described as “a serious policy wonk” for his work in the 115th Congress.
Who else but Lewis would know of, much less quote, the 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat? Lewis, quoting Bastiat, cautions against passing laws which benefit “one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.” Truer words were never spoken, written, or tweeted.
Lewis may have served only one term in the U.S. House, but he witnessed, contributed to, fought for, and continues to fight for the America First principles that assuredly did and will “Make America Great Again.”
James Carter is Director of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for American Prosperity. Previously, he served as Deputy Undersecretary of Labor under President George W. Bush.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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