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Hip Hop Star Wyclef Jean of Fugees fame was back in Jersey talkin’ politics on Thursday. Although there are issues that I disagree on with Wyclef at least he’s got the guts to speak his mind thoughtfully. As celebrity after celebrity loses their minds over the Trump Presidency, (See: Eminem and Kathy Griffin as just two examples) Wyclef is asking people to learn the issues and then get vocal. It’s refreshing to hear someone who clearly can have an impact on younger voters taking a reasonable stand.
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In about four weeks, voters will elect a mayor in New York City and a governor in New Jersey. With all the challenges facing local residents from transportation to taxes it’s incredible that the candidates leading in the polls do nothing except talk about President Donald Trump and national issues. It’s time to hold politicians accountable before they win office. Let’s hear real plans about public transportation fixes in the NYC and in Jersey. And what about the fact that NJ has become unaffordable to average working and middle class families? It’s time we hear real plans to fix what’s broken instead of partisan talking points that serve no one except the candidates ambition.
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There are two major elections coming up in our area in a few weeks. One for mayor in NYC and another for governor in New Jersey. But does anyone care? Are people even paying attention? There are plenty of people acting out through protests and social media rants, but how many of those angry people will vote? The most important tool we have as Americans is the right to vote. Put the signs down and use it.
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We’ve had a week of tragedy and heroism. Millions still recovering in Puerto Rico as donations pour in and local first responders head to the area. A massacre in Las Vegas where a gunman killed 58 innocent concert goers and injured more than 500. While politicians debate policy the stories of individual heroism emerge. From a local man saving people by helping them over the barricade to the man who got his pregnant future wife out of harm’s way. Then there’s the wounded man in a Vegas hospital who insisted on standing to greet the First Lady and the President. Americans stand and act in the face of evil and disasters. This week showed our resilience, strength and unity as a nation.
First it was, “he went to Texas too early,” then Puerto Rico too late. Then it was the Jones Act. Look… it’s time to stop it already! The President has performed incredibly in the past few weeks. Three natural disasters, huge immediate response. Ships, planes, food, water, medical supplies, shelters; all sent to the impacted areas within days of devastation. The challenge in Puerto Rico is that the infrastructure was wiped out by the hurricane. Roads impassable, no power, no fresh water. Trump’s detractors want to discuss tweets instead of stepping up to help. How exactly did a visit from Governor Cuomo help the Island recover? Photo-ops are for politicians. Trump is a leader. There’s a difference. The Governor of Puerto Rico knows.
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Despite what any casual observer should be able to see as major successes, President Trump’s detractors are so upset and still in disbelief that the first woman President of the United States won’t be Hillary Clinton, they vilify his every utterance and every decision.
The President campaigned on creating jobs at home, curbing illegal immigration, strengthening the economy and making government work for people better than it ever has. On pretty much every front, except for the failure so far to repeal Obamacare (See:Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell) the President is on track.
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As the Caribbean recovers, the Federal Government’s response has been swift, intense and productive. 4,000 members of the Army National Guard have been deployed along with 2,600 personnel from the Department of Defense spread across the Caribbean. Hundreds of emergency airlifts, tens of thousands of pounds of food and hundreds of thousands of liters of water, generators and medical supplies. Unfortunately, instead of praising the incredible job of the DoD, FEMA and other arms of the U.S Government for a rapid and effective response, the President’s detractors would rather play politics and attack his words and tweets. Do people simply not remember the disaster that FEMA was in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? Isn’t it perfectly clear that when you hire a strong, organized, experienced leader, things get done?
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A couple hundred NFL players protested the National Anthem on Sunday by sitting, kneeling or staying behind in the locker room. Whatever your take, the battle lines are drawn between President Trump, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and players across the league. It’s time to call out what the entitled, spoiled, rich brats in the NFL who are simply not victims. The real problems impacting minority communities are a lack of economic and educational opportunities in our cities. One solution is the need for a stronger law enforcement presence to protect these communities from gangs and criminals.
Trump: The practical patriot and non-conservative Conservative
Reagan conservatism, free trade, anti-communism, anti-government. Remember the nine most dangerous words in the English language according to President Reagan? “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” What a difference four decades makes. The communist threat has been defeated. Although there are some residual issues with the fact that President Obama made nice with the oppressive Castro regime in Cuba. That mainly centers on the fact that they still harbor one of New Jersey’s most wanted cop killers, Joanne Chesimard, but that’s another story. The global problem of Communist expansion has abated and the new threat of Islamic terrorism has taken its place. The challenge with the anti-government mantra of the 40th President is that the global war on terror involves direct, specific, sometimes covert and often violent action on the part of the U.S. Government. So as long as Americans are worried about the next bombing at a marathon, or a bomb in a trash can at the Jersey Shore, government is the solution, not the problem.
President Donald Trump, Succeeding After Reagan Failed.
As the host of Chasing News and the top rated morning drive radio in New Jersey, I’ve got a unique vantage point what the mainstream media are missing when it analyzes the current administration. Listening to both guests and callers in the morning and staying engaged with viewers on social media it was clear to me early on how Trump was catching on with voters, not just the disaffected working class, but middle Americans on the left and right. My early conclusion was that Trump’s victory would usher in a conservative movement like no other–not just more successful, but more conservative than Reagan.
Many Republicans contended throughout the primary season that Donald Trump was not a true conservative. As proof, they cited his recent conversion from being a Democrat, his long-time support for Democratic candidates like Bill and Hillary Clinton, and his support for abortion rights. They were not wrong in the analysis of the man for sure. But what they missed was how this man, not born in the conservative movement, would be able to pivot right in order to build a winning coalition and potentially reverse decades of left of center politics in Washington. Despite the defeat of the recent healthcare bill, which was the culmination of campaign rhetoric and partisan wrangling to accomplish “Repeal and Replace” concerning the Affordable Care Act, the Administration’s goals are moving forward. The reality is that the bill failed because one of the chief compromisers in DC, Speaker Paul Ryan, looked at the bill from the old style of giving a little to everyone to secure the votes. He failed. “Ryancare” will not be the law of the land. It is entirely possible that the President knew this and now has an opportunity to go beyond the Republican leaders to negotiate directly with Members of Congress who know something needs to be done to curb the seemingly out-of-control rise in costs and premiums.
Whether or not these arguments have any validity, Trump has stayed on course with his message, not even steering back toward the center after the defeat. The practical reality of his statements ring true. The current course is disastrous for middle and working class families who can ill afford higher premiums let alone the outrageously high deductibles. Given the people who surround the President and the GOP votes that were lost during the debate, one thing is clear, if the bill had been more conservative (politically speaking) and focused more on cost and relief for taxpayers, there would have been less resistance on the Right and I believe it would have passed. Now we’ll wait for Round Two. To understand how we got here and why the movement will be steadily to the ‘Right of Center’ you have to go back to the campaign strategy that got Donald Trump elected in the first place.
The media and political elite continue to be surprised by the President’s actions and rhetoric after taking office. Calls for a calmer, more measured President, especially on Twitter, fill the evening news conversations. Perhaps most surprising to the ‘experts’ is that after winning the election, Mr. Trump move to the Right instead of the center. You can see this in his cabinet appointments, not to mention the Supreme Court appointment that, rather than attempt to appease the Washington establishment, actually charts a course that is far more ideologically conservative than we have seen before.
From early in the election process, by not being part of the Washington establishment, Trump was able to jettison parts of the established Republican and conservative program that no longer speak to regular people. This included outmoded ideas about free trade and globalism, which had also been abandoned by conservative movements and average voters elsewhere, such as in the Brexit campaign in the U.K., but continued to be embraced by American conservatives. It’s clear to me now after watching the election and assembly of an administration take place that those old, pro-business concerns were being overwhelmed by nationalist sensibilities among people on both sides of the aisle. As far as the win in November, it was Trump’s populism that made it impossible for Clinton to make the election an old-fashioned Democrat vs. Republican contest, in which the Democrats had prevailed in the last two elections. That conventional formula no longer applies.
Enter the strengthening of the Conservative Movement. For a practical, results oriented person, partisan talking points and personal agendas hold no water. Government has to be about results and making life better for average Americans. This is that main reason for President Trump’s adherence to a conservative message. That message, at least on domestic policy was completely discarded from the so-called conservative George W. Bush. And Obama, well, his rhetoric and actions were clearly grounded in his left-of-center ideology. Although Donald Trump is a practical realist who is more result-oriented than ideological, he made the decision early on that his success will depend on staying true to both the conservative agenda and to his loyal base of supporters. Trump has filled his inner circle with long-time conservatives, many of whom I’ve known and worked with, demonstrating a real commitment to a conservative movement, like Washington has never seen.
Republicans for decades have seen President Ronald Reagan as the great conservative leader who lead the ‘Conservative Movement’ to power in the 1980’s. Pointing to the Gipper’s rhetoric about “the shining city on the hill” and “the evil empire,” there are few who have been willing to take a hard look at his legacy. Clearly, his tough talk and action during the Cold War helped bring down the global threat to liberty and prosperity. Reagan was a man of action who had the ability to relate to the average American. The term Reagan-Democrat still lives today as many working class people who had historically voted Democrat since the days of John F. Kennedy, broke with tradition and supported Reagan. But every successful journey is accompanied by failure along the way. Reagan’s failure was clear to a few early on, but we wouldn’t realize the full extent of the damage that was done until after it was over. Looking back now, the dynasty of the Bushes and the Clintons were undeniably also a part of the Reagan legacy.
After Reagan’s victory, few conservatives saw the possibility of disaster whose seeds were sown as soon as George Bush was picked to be his Vice President. Perhaps Reagan needed Bush to unite the party, appeal to the middle or raise the right amount of money. In any case, the elevation of his defeated primary opponent gave the foundation for an elite political class that would remain in power until January 20, 2017.
Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States has turned out to be the true though unlikely champion of the Conservative Movement. Not by his rhetoric. Not by his publicly stated stances on the issues. But by the people he has surrounded himself with. Those people are the heart and soul of the Conservative Movement. The most important of whom is now residing in the official residence of the Vice President at the Naval Observatory in Georgetown.
The people aren’t stupid. They’re busy.
Average people, driving trucks, fixing HVAC units, serving breakfast, apprehending bad guys and teaching our kids seemed to very quickly embrace the outsider nature of the Trump campaign and reject thoroughly the established order represented by George H. W. Bush and the GOP nominees that followed in his footsteps. Bush represented everything that the conservatives around Reagan, arguably the people who put him over the top during the primaries, hated. Bush empowered the people vanquished by Reagan in the fight leading up to the GOP convention and the party and nation were set to endure nearly 40 years of an establishment political empire. Trump has broken the cycle and freed the Party and the government.
The real rise of Trump became evident to me from the calls I would get to my radio show before seven in the morning. At that time, it’s a lot of truckers traversing the highways to deliver goods & services throughout the New York region. I’d typically ask a few simple questions and when the answers began to repeat every morning, I knew that Trump was onto something, something big.
In August 2015, a full year before the GOP convention, I was being asked repeated questions from my colleagues at Chasing News about the likelihood of a Trump presidency. As my co-workers can attest, I tend to answer questions with lengthy emails and links to sources. It’s how I have found the best way to respond to inquisitive millennials. The result is either an in-depth discussion, or they never ask again. Contrary to the media portrayal of Donald Trump’s candidacy, I saw a change coming that started to appear with the callers to my radio show, which were supported by polling data in key demographics and states.
Coming off two big losses in 2008 and 2012, it was evident that the GOP had a huge problem among voters and young voters in particular. According to many polls and research at the time, data showed that most people did not identify with either national party, but the Democrats had a huge edge. Republicans, from my perspective, had an identity crisis. When you ask a young person about whom the Republicans speak for and represent, 18-29 year olds did not make the list. This goes back decades, of course. In 1992 I served as the National Youth Coalitions director for President Bush’s re-election campaign. It didn’t go well. We lost the youth vote big. Part of the reason was the campaign was focused on ‘high turnout demographics’ meaning seniors. In more recent elections, there has been a better attempt at appealing to younger voters with technology and social media, but the Democrats have held the edge in the past few cycles.
Political parties and operatives tend to operate in a bubble. My former political colleague in Massachusetts, when I was a teenage rabble rouser on the campus of Boston University, used to call it “Bunker Syndrome”. A reference to the waning days of Nazi Germany with Hitler holed up in a bunker moving pieces on a map in a completely disconnected from reality attempt to salvage the Third Reich. Not a reference I tend to make in conversation as some people get caught up in the misinterpretation that I am comparing political party leaders to Nazis. At any rate, hopefully you get the reference.
The disconnect among GOP leaders and average voters wasn’t a perception problem. It was a real problem. The K Street lobbyists, $400-an-hour lawyers and politicians seemingly ready to say anything to perpetuate their own success was far from the real struggle in America among working and middle class people fighting to achieve the American dream. Actually, it’s more than achieving a dream, most just want to pay the bills and have a few minutes every weekend to relax. Specific to young voters, in August 2015, only 18 percent of millennial voters between 18 and 33 identified with the GOP compared to 28 percent identifying as Democrats. The highest number–48%–identified as Independent.
My own first-hand political experience and observations seemed to be backed up by the vote in 2008 and again in 2012, but 2016 bucked the trend with nearly half of voting millennials casting a ballot for the new President. Recent polls did show that with half of millennials identifying as ‘independents’ and many of those expected to stay home, the Democratic nominee should have had a much bigger advantage. Bottom line is that the independent millennial is less likely to vote and most millennial voters will vote Democrat.
So what happened? If I were to base it on my early observations from callers, Trump did two things that resonated with younger voters and Hillary couldn’t catch up. The first was to focus on jobs. The second was to communicate with young people on their own platform. Enter social media and the Twitter Election.
Hillary Clinton was projected to be the first women elected to the highest office in the land. She would shatter the supposed ‘glass ceiling’ elevating women everywhere with her ascension to the White House. But it didn’t happen. And partly because many women simply didn’t see her election as a positive.
The Republican party has had difficulty winning the support of women voters for several cycles. The GOP nominee has consistently lost support to Democrats in national elections. Although the gap might be smaller that people expect based on the sensational and selective reporting from the national media. According to the results of the 2014 midterm Congressional elections, the GOP has 45% and the Dems 53% support among women voters. Here’s where Trump comes in: he surged among women voters in key primary states, specifically New Hampshire and South Carolina garnering 30% of women in a field of 17 candidates in New Hampshire. And that was during the primary. By the time we got to November, he was nearly even among college-educated women.
Hispanic Americans, told by the media to be fearful of a Trump presidency, began to see an opportunity for their communities if Trump picked up momentum. The theme during the primary and general election in the media was that Trump hurts the GOP among Hispanic voters and the GOP can’t win without 40% of those votes. Of course, again reality reared its head and smashed the pundits’ theories. Based on the actual voter registration and likely turnout projected at the time, Hispanics represented less than 10% so the GOP would simply not need a strong showing to win. What’s fascinating however, is that Trump did outperform expectations. In Florida where the largest Hispanic community is Cuban, Trump may be strong as nearly half of Cuban voters identify as Republicans, and since they tend to have the highest turnout numbers for the demographic, Trump gained a serious advantage. Not just in Florida, where the heavy Cuban population helps the GOP locally, but across the nation in some unlikely spots. At the time, a year before the GOP convention, Trump already had registered 30% in polling among Hispanic voters in the upcoming Nevada contest.
Watching the local polling and listening to callers, I concluded that Trump actually could win the nomination and maybe even the White House. In August 2015 I wrote a note to my colleague Jessica Nutt, giving my perspective that Trump had already changed the national political dialogue and his ‘establishment moderate’ opponents would have a very difficult time beating Hillary.
So my conclusion is that if Trump despite his outlandish comments and feud with Megyn Kelly can earn a strong number among women, he may actually be the best candidate at this point for the party. Even if he is not the nominee, he’s been successful in crushing the numbers for Scott walker and Jeb Bush, two moderate Governors who would have had a very difficult time defeating Hillary. If Hillary’s email scandal – currently under federal criminal investigation – derails her candidacy and Joe Biden is the nominee…or Bernie Sanders, then the prospects of a Republican victory in 2016 go way up.
Obviously far from a prediction of the eventual Trump win, but this was the sense I was getting from the people calling and declaring that despite their expected allegiance as a blue collar worker, union member, woman, black and Hispanic Americans, they were getting on board the ‘Trump Train’ in increasing numbers.
So strong among women and Hispanics in key states plus the ability to appeal to conservatives like me who are sick of the PC culture and millennials who prioritize the economy over social issues spells a serious chance for a Trump victory. The polls over the next couple months were largely national polls based on race and ethnicity and not necessarily with registered voters being sampled. Many did not account for likely voters which showed according to some, including my friend and former pollster Adam Geller…a hidden Trump support number. Adam had recently been picked up as a pollster for the campaign and at the height of the battle was assigned to key races which in my opinion turned the course of the election. Remember, regardless of national polling and media sentiment, winning the primary and the presidency is a state by state battle. And each state is a battle over specific counties and communities, and in this case, specific neighborhoods.
And it worked.
Trump also took to Twitter and took full advantage of the fact that literally every time he opened his mouth there was a reporter, a camera or a social media user ready to share it with the world. And so it happened. The candidate bypassed the regular news filters that can skew a politician’s image in the eyes of the people and he went directly to them.
When Trump took the oath of office, he brought with him a team that would show the absolute resurgence of the movement that catapulted Reagan into office nearly 40 years earlier. The difference? The conservatives are a huge part of the administration. It took a guy with virtually no credibility as a conservative to elevate the movement that has been in the weeds for four decades.
Free trade failed middle America. Trump out-Sanders Bernie.
As far as free trade, well this is a tricky one for conservatives. Conservatives believe in the philosophy above all else, that capitalism is the key to liberty and prosperity. That said, global competition brings down consumer prices so therefore getting cheap good from China to stock the shelves at any number of ‘big box’ stores is a good thing, right? Not exactly say the new wave of populist patriots. How about the nearly evaporated American manufacturing work force? How about the fact that Americans no longer ‘make things’? And is it truly a free market when much of the competing labor lives in squalor under essentially forced labor from tyrannical governments? Very difficult to have a push in the States for a ‘living wage’ when the competition is living on a couple rice bowls a week and happy to get even that.
Champions of American working class families who have been upset at their government giving away their jobs in the name of capitalism and cheap consumer goods for decades. It’s one of the reasons that it took every ounce of cleverness and sinister, underhanded backroom maneuvers on behalf of Hillary Clinton to stop the momentum of the socialist Senator from Vermont. Bernie Sanders in a twist of irony was striking a similar chord with voters that Trump was appealing to as well. The #EliteInsiders (yes that’s a Hashtag I’m using on Twitter @billspadea) have sold out the working class with deals that have enriched themselves and their connected friends. The support for Bernie Sanders was not a positive embrace of his socialist policies. It was a negative embrace of going after the bad guys who seemed to have holed themselves up behind the barrier of capitalism which was anything but a true free market.
Enter Donald Trump. He too shared the concern that Bernie was articulating during the campaign about the plight of the ‘working man’ and the bad deal that free trade to countries essentially relying on slave labor had on their future. Difference with Trump? He had successfully employed thousands over the years and made billions. Love or hate his brash style, the guy had street cred.
Attacking free trade as a failed policy that hurt American jobs reminded me that we’ve heard the same arguments from my friend and former boss, Pat Buchanan, almost 20 years ago. I worked for Pat’s campaign for President in the 1996 race as his deputy campaign chairman. Pat was a strong advocate of Reagan policies but he also broke with the Republican line on free trade. Our campaign was successful in getting out a very similar message that helped Trump win in tradition democratic counties.
During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump garnered as much ire from the Right as he did from the Left. Not only from Republican callers who were offended at the possibility of Donald Trump ‘taking over’ the Republican Party but also bloggers and media personalities who proudly proclaimed #NeverTrump. One in particular stands out, Tara Setmayer who is a contributor on CNN. She and I were connected when I was involved with the CRNC and the Bush campaign a few years ago. It was great to reconnect after many years with an old ally. Unfortunately she, after a couple appearances on my radio show, dropped out of touch. Last I heard this conservative stalwart proclaimed her support for Evan McMullin. I saw a similar anti-Trump sentiment among friends who were strongly supporting Senator Ted Cruz.
Cruz eventually exposed his inability to carry a message in any relatable fashion for the voters he’d need to put him over the top. His true nature shone through over the next few weeks and the campaign crumbled. That is what caused to the #NeverTrump movement to take hold. Conservatives without a home, without a candidate. No one thought that the one person who would embrace the changes that conservatives were clamoring for would be the guy perceived as being the furthest from the movement.
Some adopted the hashtag on twitter, some endorsed Hillary. Some just went away. But there were a few who embraced the future president, and saw him as not an enemy of conservative ideology, but someone who might actually implement the changes in the country that have been sitting on ice for nearly four decades. Unlike most Republican politicians, instead of winning and moving to the center, Trump stayed true to his campaign and remained right where he stood on day one.
The Trump Factor was something that no one expected. For decades politics ran smoothly (at least to the liking of the lobbyists, special interests and donors). Candidates ran the expected plays from the agreed upon playbook. If you’re a Republican you run Right in the primary to “mobilize the base” and if you’re a Democrat you do the same thing on the Left. Reagan bested his opponents in 1980 and promptly moved to the center, not with rhetoric, but with the action behind his rhetoric, the most significant being the selection of George Herbert Walker Bush to be his running mate. In 2008, Barack Obama ran Left, mobilized millions of younger voters and them moved to the center actually embracing “tax cuts” for the middle class on the campaign trail. It’s what’s expected and it’s what is done. The Donald J. Trump changed the game.
Trump has a history of shaking things up and doing things his own way. Especially when others had failed. The story of Trump’s success bringing back the famed Wollman Rink in Central Park in the mid 1980’s was as testament to Trump’s courage, confidence and ability to make things happen. Here’s an excerpt from a Bloomberg article on the story:
Trump, who could see from his office window the messy construction site that Wollman had been for years, saw an opportunity. In June of 1986, the developer brayed that if the city would just hand the keys to the zamboni to him, he would have it done by Christmas. “I have total confidence that we will be able to do it,” Trump said. “I am going on record as saying that I will not be embarrassed.”
Trump had Wollman Rink up and running by November 1, two months ahead of schedule and $775,000 under budget. Skating stars like Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Dick Button, and Aja Zanova-Steindler glided across the ice at the ribbon cutting, with Button declaring the new rink to be like skating on velvet.
As a real estate developer, taking on a civic project was not exactly in line with building skyscrapers but this victory solidified his reputation in the City and according to some was a key early indicator of just what this man was capable of accomplishing. My takeaway is that successes like this are not grounded in politics or ideology. Sure it was a private developer that managed to succeed where government had failed. But when you talk to people across the political landscape as I do every day on the morning show, they want results that impact them personally.
I was asked during one interview for my radio job about which ideology makes the best host. Specifically if a liberal could succeed in the job. My answer was simple, not likely. The reason? People are more conservative personally than politically. When it comes to neighborhood, property and immediate family, most people start to sound like conservatives. We all complain about taxes, worry about safety and want the best for our kids. Even social issues tend to be embraced in a much more conservative fashion when speaking family to family, ask most parents about gay marriage and abortion and as tolerant as they may be about your family, they’d prefer not to deal with either in their own family. That’s why I like to say, during the morning drive to work, everyone’s a little conservative.
That’s what Trump gets and that’s where traditional conservatives fail. It’s why a right wing ideologue like Ted Cruz was never gonna succeed in my lifetime. Because people don’t want adherence to some theoretical political philosophy that doesn’t have anything to do with them. They want something that speaks more immediately to their concerns. If you try to tell the average middle class conservative family that they line up with Ted Cruz, they might actually spit at you. Trump fundamentally understands this. Even when asked about which restroom in Trump Tower should Caitlin Jenner use, he shrugged and basically said “who cares, whichever one she wants.” It’s that kind of normal reaction than separates Trump from the rest of the political operatives and candidates who desperately want to achieve power. In answering the question that way, he was able to avoid a greater discussion of the transgender issue all without alienating conservatives who stand firm on ‘bathroom issues’ and traditional marriage and showed the liberals that he would not be an enemy. Winning both sides without standing with either, but taking on the issue head on as if he were around someone’s dinner table. Brilliant.
Even as Trump ascended to the White House and began his term he’s showing no signs of political compromiser or capitulation. And he doesn’t seemed stressed about taking on the job as leader of the free world. A man who acts according to his core beliefs and focuses on getting things done is the master of his own fate. A man who compromises and tries to please everyone is pulled in so many different directions that he’ll at worst collapse under the stress and at best only accomplish the bare minimum.
Look at the first few executive orders. No fanfare, just a pen and a campaign promise to fulfill. The Keystone pipeline, freeze on government hiring, changes to refugee and immigration processes. Canceling a free trade plan on his first full day and entertaining union leaders at the White House to discuss. These are about as traditional Democrats as you get. And they sat with Trump to discuss the creation and retaining of jobs in the U.S. AFTER he acted.
He’s not pragmatic. That would assume he was willing to compromise for political power. He’s got the power. And he’s demonstrating immediately that he going to use it. This is not a drill. There was no reason for him to ‘move to the center’. He is going to cut into the traditional Democratic base simply by delivering on his word, with prompt action. The interesting thing is that in his move to be practical and treat Government projects and issues like the Wollman RInk, he’s elevated some very key conservatives to positions of power.
Having Dr. Ben Carson in his cabinet, nominating a justice to the Supreme Court who stands with gun rights and other core conservative principles won’t alienate the Democratic base because he’s delivering on jobs. Perhaps even stronger is having former Congressman and Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his Vice President. If Trump is successful throughout his presidency as he believes he will be then he’ll not only be awarded with a second term but his successor may well be his VP. The only people alienated are the elite talking heads and politicos who are now apoplectic at the prospect of a conservative government being in power for the next possible two decades. My take is that ideologues only exist at the fringe. People willing to sacrifice their income, stability and success, not to accomplish something, but to go down in their own mind as right.
I had many similar conversations with conservatives during the Trump primary journey. Many frustrated people looking for the person with the right rhetoric so they could look themselves in the mirror and say “I’m with the perfect candidate”. The stringent adherence to ideological dialogue instead of implementation to actually accomplishing something blinded conservatives to Pat in 1996 and Rudy in 2008. It was only with the resurgence of the ‘Reagan Democrats’ and a few million more struggling middle and working class families di the opportunity for Trump emerge. As has been said of great leaders in world history, the time and the man had come together.
Trump simply believed the he needed to surround himself with the best. The best in policy, the best in education, medicine, infrastructure and defense. Ben Carson, Stephen Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Paul Teller, Betsy DeVos, Mike Pence. All bringing something very practical to the Trump table. All hard core conservatives from the Movement, but politically mature and astute enough to know that in order to move the nation forward it would take action, not hollow words of conservative talking heads. His campaign was about winning. He took his message directly to the people. He bypassed the regular media and consultants. He tweeted, pointed and said things that average Americans would hear, relate to and understand. He won.
The Trump administration is also about winning. The problem of illegal immigration, energy dependence on foreign governments, high taxes, out of control healthcare costs, jobs rushing overseas and south of the border. All examples of the Wollman Rink and the problem of not addressing an issue head on. Both parties watched America slip into an economic coma over the past few decades. They sat idly by as the middle class evaporated and the working class struggled to put food on the table. The media’s culpability can be seen through its reporting about unemployment statistics and stock market values–rather than the reality that Americans were living through–which made it look like things were just fine. But they weren’t and still aren’t fine. I speak to working class New Jerseyans every single day in my media roles. They are frustrated with rising costs of living and taxation. They are tired from working overtime and second jobs just to make ends meet. That are angry that politicians seem to have contempt for them all the while enjoying the lavish lifestyle of pensions and perks.
The fact that Bannon and Carson are a part of the new Trump team speaks more to the resurgence of conservatives who have embraced the new, what I’m calling Populist Patriotism. Trump is not a conservative in the traditional Reagan sense. The resurgence of the so-called Conservative Movement is seen through the remnants of the Reagan movement smart enough to embrace the new order in politics, opening the door for some for free-market and values based solutions to address modern problems.
Part of the Trump success story is the colossal failure of the Left to address pocket book/kitchen table issues. Obamacare is a great example. The costs of healthcare are rising and average middle and working class families are struggling. The Democrat solution is based in subsidizing costs instead of addressing the actual costs. Trump is not so much a conservative as he is a practical problem solver. It seems that over 40 years the conservative economic solutions are being embraced because people want action and not talking points. The change from global free trade is also not a broad based solution. Trump is more than willing to embrace the Bernie Sanders approach to allow cheap drugs from Canada to begin to lower working family medical costs. But free trade that costs blue collar manufacturing jobs isn’t gonna fly.
Trump seems to be willing to take from all sides in an effort to actually solve a problem. He is truly sounding like the new CEO ready to make the company profitable again. Many conservatives were so stuck on their own ideology that they ignored the basic fact that there was a populist wave hitting the country. These old guard politics seem stuck on the imagery and lifestyle instead of looking at the opportunity for a brash, bold leader to throw out the political playbook and make his own rules. Even the establishment Reince Priebus came on earlier than you might think. Precisely because he saw opportunity and realized that the establishment wasn’t gonna beat Trump, so may as well join him.
The conservative solutions being offered and embraced by Trump and his new administration don’t originate as a part of a political ideology. But his solution to immigration, job loss, rising medical costs seem practical and as my old boss in the real estate industry used to say, “doable.”
The phenomena which is the new administration is more of the result of the regular common man rising up against the elite establishment. Strange allies indeed with Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Ben Carson on the same page regarding prescription drugs. And this is just the beginning.
The conservative movement seems to have figured out a way to ride the practical patriot wave back into power. Remember, if Trump is successful and wins a second term, you’ve already got two men poised to run as his successor, Ben Carson and Mike Pence. Ideological conservatives at the levers of power. In the aftermath of the solution based approach will be strong ideologues. Liberals and Republicans in name only are surely watching their backs. Trump is disconnected from the ideological warfare. But the key players will use this new found power to reclaim and reshape the party and nation that slipped away with the ascension of Bush & Clinton dynasties. So back to the original premise, the real champion of the conservative movement, which could be back into full power over the course of the next 8 years, is the most unlikely, irreverent, reality TV star and real estate mogul turned President of the United States.
Friday January 20th marks the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. President Donald Trump took the oath of office at noon and a new era of politics began. As Piers Morgan put it in a tweet…
Brits love Obama.
Americans took a long hard look at his 8yrs in power & replaced him with his complete opposite. https://t.co/N8L4ozisMB
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 19, 2017
So the Trump era begins. We’ll have to see how the new President’s policies impact the economy and security in our region. I’m confident that his plan and leadership ability will be enough to succeed and earn him a second term. More on the President in later blogs…for now, the race to Drumthwacket begins in earnest.