During the 2016 campaign, Democrats rolled out various reasons why Donald Trump was the wrong choice for the job of president of the United States. Today, I will revisit and assess the validity of a few of these arguments.

An early, and popular, pitch was that Trump really didn’t want to win. In other words, his whole campaign was some kind of a publicity stunt. This was always preposterous because of the time, and the money, Trump was spending. At any rate, four years later, this theory is moot ― he won.

Another oft repeated argument was that Trump was impulsive and, in a fit of anger, he would launch a nuclear attack on North Korea. In case you don’t remember, during the final years of the Obama administration, Kim Jong Un was firing an ever-increasing number of “rockets” (24 in 2016 alone), including tests associated with North Korea’s development of an intercontinental ballistic missile. This was one of the many messes Trump inherited. How would he handle it?

Well, during 2018, there were no tests ― zero. In June 2018, Trump met with Little Rocket Man at the summit in Singapore. Who knows exactly what was said, but since that meeting there has been a detente of sorts. And, today, no one suggests that we are any nearer war with North Korea than we were under Obama.

Speaking of Obama, remember when he said our stagnant economy was “the new normal” and we needed to just accept it? Candidate Trump promised to bring back jobs that had been moved overseas, renegotiate trade agreements to level the playing field and lower income taxes. Obama famously dismissed Trump’s plans, arguing “What does he have ― a magic wand?”

Apparently, yes. Under Trump the U.S. economy went crazy: the stock market went up 10,000 points; wages increased; taxes decreased; and, pre-COVID, the unemployment rate was the lowest in more than 50 years. This time around the Democrats are giving the economy, jobs, taxes and trade deals a good leaving alone because, magic wand or not, Trump’s record is indisputable.

Then there was the whole Trump will be soft on Russia argument. If ever there was a U.S. President who was soft on Russia, it was Obama. Remember the “hot mike” episode wherein Obama promised Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on the delicate issue of missile defense after the election? Two years later, Obama sat back and allowed Russia to invade Ukraine (that seems pretty flexible). The media downplayed this hot war, saying Russia had simply annexed Crimea, like this sort of thing happened every day. Imagine if Canada suddenly “annexed” Maine! This was a full-fledged Russian invasion of a sovereign country. And, it was far from peaceful. Over 13,000 Ukrainians were killed during the war and, in addition, the Russians accidently shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, killing all 298 souls on board.

The “soft on Russia” argument was permanently off the table when Trump enacted various sanctions on Russia and on EU nations that continued to trade with Russia (notably, Trump played hardball with Germany, who historically bought a great deal of Russian oil). Here is what NBC News (grudgingly I’m sure) reported in July of 2018: “Indeed, some of the toughest sanctions in years have fallen on Russia’s elite under the Trump administration. Sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 have not been lifted, Trump approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine — something Barack Obama did not do — and he has ordered missiles fired at Syrian military sites, openly targeting strategic operations and allies of Russia.”

So what’s new for 2020? Now the media says Trump is anti-military. As proof, they point to what Trump said at a recent press conference: “The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t (in love with me) because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.” Gee, that sounds a lot what another famous politician once said: “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” ― President General Dwight Eisenhower.

So why would the top military folks at the Pentagon be worried? Well, not only has Trump been bringing our troops home, he has been concurrently working behind the scenes to broker a peace deal in the Middle East. Remember, until 1947, the secretary of Defense was the secretary of war. Without wars to wage, maybe we could “defund” the Pentagon! Whether Trump, or anyone, can truly bring peace to the Middle East remains to be seen. But the recent accords between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are impressive. And, even this early progress makes Trump far more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than many past recipients.

Randall Poulton is a columnist for The Republican Journal. He lives in Winterport.