My case for Trump
Or, How I Came to Trump Myself…
In August of 2105, with 15 declared candidates, the Republican party was disorganized, leaderless, and confusing. Among the candidates were doctors, CEOs, Governors, Senators, House members, and otherwise erstwhile members of the GOP. No clear winners yet, but with 15 months until the election, there was actually no rush to decide anything. I was hopeful that Carly would show some ability, that Marco would show some backbone, that Rand would show up the rest, and that Jindal would bring new life to an old and flailing party.
Boy, was I disappointed.
Carly never got going, being marginalized and never figuring out how to stand out. Marco and Rand were unchanged and unchanging. Bobby didn’t distinguish himself, and we had Chris, Jeb, and Mike trying to convince us to take another run down the old GOP road of the Loyal Opposition. As so many times before.
It was apparent, to me, that the nation was ready for a change, much like when George HW Bush ran for a second term. 12 years of Reagan and neo-Reagan was enough. That got us the Clintons. I will refer to them as ‘Clinton’, a team, indistinguishable, and united. And it got us 8 years of Clinton. 8 years of scandals and prosperity.
When George W ran, we were ready for another change. And we would not have gotten it if the attacks on 9/11 hadn’t happened. But that caused so many changes, most of which are still in effect. Many terrible things. We went to war with religious extremists, back to war with a dictator who shot his mouth off to his great detriment, and further embittered many moderates around the world. The extremists were already maxed out, so nothing could be done to make them more, but they had us on the ground to fight, and they did. And we had something unexpected. W was the victim of bad timing. And he played that part well. Oh, and a remarkable bank bailout.
Again, time for a change. And we had no idea what sort of change, because we elected a President who was perhaps the least understood, least scrutinized, least examined in our history, though I have not studied earlier elections very much. Sufficient to point out that despite the confusion over his birthplace, the suppression of his college records, and the willful ignorance of his own writings, he ran as the solution to everything. His administration certainly tried, nationalizing a substantial part of the healthcare industry, using the power of the Executive Order to do as he intended, oh, and keeping the wars going, though with some changes in enemies. He left us with massive increases in federal debt, no thanks to his predecessor, rewritten laws, and the scorn of the Right, such as they were.
So, in 2016, with a Republican candidate field big enough to field its own baseball team, we were facing a grind just to choose the next loser, because the opposition was fielding the perfect candidate. After electing the first Black President, we would be asked to elect the first Woman President.
If nothing else, Trump understands and seems to care about people. If you’ve been paying attention you know of the many reports of his generosity, his connection with working people, his stopping at any Trump property and having a moment with a janitor, gardener, whoever, often thanking people. He’s a people person. And he’s incredibly energetic. Rumor is he sleeps perhaps 4 hours a night, but no matter, no one accuses him of being slack or lazy, he’s always on.
He’s a New York real estate developer. In the most active, energetic city, with all the challenges of government, the Mob, the sheer difficulty of just getting lunch, much less building anything more than a mailbox, he succeeded, and often. In particular, though, he seemed to do things that ingratiated him to the city and its inhabitants. One story attributed to him is of the famous skating rink, undergoing renovations, well behind schedule and over budget. He took the project over, finishing it, when all hope was lost. Another Trump win. And he was a favorite of everyone – politicians, celebrities, the rich, the famous. He had his failures, but if you understand anything about large scale real estate development, you know that failure is at least as common as success. Lose big, win bigger. Your investors often get out breaking even or losing, but they come back if you win a few, and those wins make up for the losses.
Oh, and being a large scale real estate developer, in New York City, means you know how to negotiate with people who dislike you, distrust you, and aside from that are determined that your project should not succeed, for a multitude of reasons. So you learn to negotiate, to bargain, and to persevere. Or you fail.
Trump failed. And he succeeded. A lot.
During the campaign, he spoke differently than all the others. Blunt. Simple. Confrontational. He called out each and every other candidate. And the opposition. He proposed unthinkable things. Stopping illegal immigration. Making American Great Again. Changing the trajectory. New things.
Of the candidates, Ted Cruz was my favorite. He was an apparently old-school Conservative, loyal to and defensive of the Constitution, and so very astute and confident. Mostly. And he was emerging as the likely candidate, except for upstart Trump, who kept polling so well, and dominating debates and the media. Combative Trump. Brash Trump. Blunt Trump, saying intemperate things about being rich, about the direction of the nation, about his Democrat opponent. Already running against Clinton…
You know, of course, he spread a vicious rumor about Ted Cruz’ father, which seemed to take the wind out of the Cruz campaign. Trump was surging. Unstoppable. And combative at every moment.
Meanwhile, the Democrats sorted things out, dismissed Sanders, and anointed Clinton as the next President, the obvious choice, without question.
The Clinton email scandal had the potential to derail that. But between most of the media being unwilling to probe much, and then the announcement by the FBI Director that despite substantial evidence, no reasonable prosecutor would bring her to trial, it all seemed inconsequential. Even a second eruption resulted in essentially a ‘nothing to see here’ declaration, and put to rest.
Trump, meanwhile railing on and on about ‘crooked Hillary’. And occasional video of a seemingly infirm Clinton. But no matter, the polls showed a clear Democrat win. Game Over.
And of course that didn’t happen. Improbably, Trump won the election. How and why he did is clear to me, for I believed it the right thing to do to vote for him, and still do, and not just because he was the only alternative to me, but because he was THE alternative. To everything.
In 2016, and for decades before, America had a national political landscape consisting of two political parties. Divergent philosophies, intentions, and beliefs, and methods. But in truth, symbiotic. Democrats fought to win. Republicans fought to survive, and lost ground even when they won. I think of myself as a Conservative, and I watched my party fail, fail, and fail. With majorities in both houses of Congress, and the Presidency, they did little or nothing. Spending and debt increased. Freedoms reduced, either by regulation or court decree. Our culture warped towards strange and unfamiliar things. And everything not Democrat was vilified, ridiculed, discredited, eliminated.
During this time I came to believe it was incorrect to describe the political opposition in America as Democrat. It was Leftist. As in Socialist, dictatorial, intersectional, racist. It craved power. It would do anything to gain power, and use that power without restraint. The antithesis of the America I was taught about in school, what was described and mandated in our Constitution, our history. In fact, it seemed to me that virtually everything the Democrats accused the Republican Party of was, in fact, what they had done. Slavery? A Democrat institution. Emancipation that was turned into Jim Crow? Democrats. KKK. Violent political opposition. Vote fraud (just go look it up, please). Racism. the Leftist playbook teaches ‘accuse your opponent of that which you are guilty of, and do it first.’
But I was a man without a party.
The Republican Elite (the GOPe from now on) was ensconced in power in Washington, unassailable. And they seemed bent on one thing – holding on to their power. Going along, the GOPe regularly would negotiate, barter, try with the Left, and with the same results. Half of what they wanted, and always plenty for them. More spending. More regulation, Less liberty. More judges (even Supreme Court Justices) willingly using foreign legal standards to decide Constitutional issues. What happened to the part of their oaths to ‘defend’ that Constitution? And what happened the the Republican Party that once at least claimed it was the party of less government, more freedom, and protection of law? It had died a long time ago, probably with Nixon’s resignation. Reagan woke it up, but it was him, not the party. And it went into hiding, willing to go along to get along. And in the process, alternatively presiding over and watching America’s decline.
In the Fall of 2016, I was hopeless. Trump wasn’t going to win. Clinton would continue the destruction of America as I knew it, and maybe I would die before seeing America become entirely Socialist, but I wasn’t hopeful. The polls were against him, the media against him, but they kept showing him and showing his speeches. But I was cautiously optimistic, a faint hope against hope.
My hope was rewarded. And I was not alone. Many others also felt that enough was enough. We were spared Clinton. And now, the unknown was before us. Maybe winning would be worse than losing, but honestly, at the time, anything but Clinton.
I didn’t vote for Trump because he was a God-fearing man, I had no real evidence that he was a Christian. But he clearly wasn’t anti-Christian, and not overtly a hypocrite, not that many Christians are free of that fault. Nor did I vote for him because he was a good and decent man. He had shortcomings; divorces, shady business deals, a reputation largely crafted by his opponents, but with some truth to it. And seemingly short-tempered, brash, vulgar. But consider the alternative…
An unindicted felon – plainly so by the statements of the FBI Director. Wife to a man guilty of that which would cost your local high school principal his job. Disbarred. Secretary of State when an ambassador was slain, in a foreign country, with not a shred of retribution. As a Senator, largely a figurehead , but that’s true of many Senators.. And a reputation as a cruel, nasty person. Not certain to be in good health. And, clearly, no defender of the Constitution nor the America I loved and wanted back. I really could never vote for her, ever. It would take a truly despicable opponent to force me to spend my vote on the 3rd alternative.
Trump was not a despicable man, to me. So I waited for the Inauguration, and to see what he would do. Anything was better than the past 8 years.