Trump Chronicles Part 02: How Did He Win Over Middle America?
Last month, we looked at the American Brexit: The Triumph of Donald Trump.
Here we need to explore a very vital part of Trump’s appeal. Despite the universally negative portrayal of the man in the mainstream media (including in Australia) — which focused on one-liners and offensive comments - the fact is that he convincingly won the US Presidential election.
The reason? His policies and how he conveyed them.
Despite a highly-resistant group of conservatives who belonged to the ‘Never Trump’ camp, the candidate managed to win over many other conservatives, a good chunk of middle America, and also some Democrats. Over 80% of Evangelical Christians voted for the Republican nominee.
In her last book published days before her death in September 2016, US conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) in The Case for Trump, outlined his key policies. Her bottom line: despite his being a former Democrat (so was Ronald Reagan), a reality television star, thrice-married, and a casino owner, Donald Trump is worthy of every true conservative’s support.
The portrait that is painted is of a patriot who sincerely believes in the slogan ‘Making America Great Again.’ He believes in hard work and family.
First, look at America over the last decade: a national debt that doubled, a declining military, a superpower unable to control its own borders, a vicious flare-up in the culture war, an increasing loss of religious freedom especially for Christians, foreign disasters in Syria and Libya, an emboldened China & Iran, an alienated Russia, increasing jihadism, and an marginalised middle class. In order for America to be great again, these issues have to be addressed and reversed.
Here are some of Trump’s key policy areas:
1. Immigration: Trump says a nation without borders is no nation at all. He wants to triple the number of Immigration and customs Enforcement Officers (ICE), which currently is only 5,000 strong. This is less than the Los Angeles police force. The much-touted ‘Wall’ with Mexico is going to be built - it is not the first wall around (ever heard to the ‘Great Wall of China’). Sanctuary cities, which are metropolises who provide a safe-haven for illegals, including criminals, will be defunded. Trump’s point is that illegal migration is ‘illegal’ and America can recover its greatness if it is a nation which keeps the law.
2. Free trade: Trump, and conservatives, argue that ‘free trade’ is killing American jobs. So he proposes to US companies who use cheap foreign labour pay a 35% tariff. The recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Trump alleges is a ‘job-killer,’ may also be on the chopping block. He wants to be an advocate for the American worker.
3. Political correctness: Despite outcries form the media, leftist politicians and mainstream Republicans, Donald Trump is determined to speak straight, from-the-heart, and not tap dance to political correctness. While the media focused repeatedly on some of Trump’s alleged annoying remarks, we need to remember that most politicians say offensive things - so why zero in on Trump? He is determined to speak directly and honestly on issues like ‘global warming,’ which he says is an expensive exercise which is ‘killing us.’ He will be even more forthright when it comes to jihadism, talking tough and acting tougher.
4. Judicial activism: For at least half a century, the US Supreme court has practiced judicial activism. Instead of reviewing laws to see if they conform to the US constitution, as is its true role, the court basically ‘legislates from the bench’ on things that are not mentioned at all in the constitution. This is usurpation of Congress’s role. They have created ‘rights’ out of thin air. The court threw out prayer in public schools, while making abortion and same-sex marriage a ‘constitutional right.’ Until now, the unelected liberal justices have been accountable to no one. Two solutions for the wayward court: The US congress could pass legislation and second, the President can appoint conservative, constitutionally-honouring judges. Trump plans to do precisely that and his list of potential Supreme court nominees gets the thumbs up.
5. Regulations: It is said that the two tools the left wing uses to control the agenda is political correctness and regulations, especially at the federal level. Trump wants to get rid of excess regulations and says ‘We can’t breath.’
6. Military: The world is a more dangerous place than it was a decade ago, especially due to jihadism, an assertive China, and unpredictable Russia. Yet the US military has been emasculated at the same time. Trump wants to build up the military and take care of America’s neglected veterans. Like Ronald Reagan, who also built up the US military, the purpose is not to fight unnecessary Middle East wars, but to project ‘peace through strength’ so that war is avoided altogether.
7. Faith & Family: Trump has been married three-times. He has owned casinos. He was caught on video making crude comments about women back in 2005. Yet, there is another side to him as well: He is a family man, a well-loved father, who now has a rock solid marriage with Melania while on good terms with his ex-wives. Remarkably, he has never taken drugs, smoked cigarettes, drank a drop of alcohol or even a cup of coffee. Furthermore, he says he is proud to be a Christian and says he will not allow the erosion of religious freedom that has grown alarmingly in the US. He says he will be a defender of the Church, in America and throughout the world. One conservative commentator who has dealt with Trump says that on all the important issues: abortion, marriage, religious liberty, US relations with Israel, Trump ‘ticks all the boxes.’
After decades of both Democrats and Republicans failing to balance the federal budget, protect America’s borders, and/or cut the red tape, middle American voters resonated with the message of Trump and with his them ‘Making America Great Again.’ They believed his promises to get things done.