Brett J. Talley: We can't let GOP elites hand future to increasingly leftist Democratic Party
Donald Trump is speaking to the GOP base, addressing their real concerns, he says
Editor’s Note: Brett J. Talley is a lawyer, author, one-time writer for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and former speechwriter for Sen. Rob Portman. He is Deputy Solicitor General at the office of Alabama’s Attorney General. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
Donald Trump is the Republican presumptive nominee, but in the days to come you’ll read dozens of articles urging voters never to support him. Ignore them.
Many of these Trump opponents are principled people. Some fear Trump, either because they believe he is a buffoon or an evil genius or in many cases, some combination of both. They believe that America and its institutions, which have survived and thrived despite a Civil War, a Great Depression and Richard Nixon, cannot endure a Trump presidency.
Others simply cannot understand him or those who support him. After decades advising politicians on how to speak to middle America, they’ve never truly grasped what drives the people who make up the Republican base, the challenges they face or the fears they expect their leaders to address.
But then there are Trump’s most vocal opponents – those who have the most to lose if he wins. They prefer a president they can control or one they can easily oppose. Trump is a wild card, and in a race between the devil they know and the one they don’t, they’ll take Hillary Clinton every time.
Another four years of a Democratic president is, after all, good for business. And they aren’t hiding it. Some of them have already declared themselves “Ready for Hillary.”
And it’s not just consultants and politicos that have announced their hostility to the Republican nominee. Ben Sasse, a Republican freshman senator from Nebraska, has said he will oppose Trump in the general election. Bill Kristol, an intellectual giant in conservative circles, has suggested a third-party candidate might be in order. And even Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House and the de facto leader of the Republican Party, said Thursday he was not ready to pledge his support for Trump’s candidacy.
These anti-Trump factions either ask Americans to withhold their vote altogether or call on the GOP to commit mass political suicide and pursue a third-party nomination of a more “mainstream” candidate. They do so even though Trump has swept to victory in states as diverse as Alabama and Massachusetts, and even though mass defections or a viable third-party run will hand the election to Clinton and the Democrats.
Those who argue that another Clinton White House is somehow preferable to four years of Trump are blind to the consequences – for the nation, for the party and for the conservative movement.
A Clinton presidency means a Supreme Court with at least one, probably two and maybe three new liberal justices.
It means a doubling down on the Obama foreign policy that fostered the resurgence of a belligerent Russia, the rise of ISIS and chaos across the Middle East.
It means government agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Internal Revenue Service to the Department of Homeland Security led and staffed by Clinton appointees, enshrining the executive overreach of the Obama administration into law.
In short, it means liberalism in ascendancy.
We cannot allow GOP elites to hand the future to an increasingly leftist Democratic Party. The country simply has too much to lose. Trump’s voters understand that.
Why Trump won is a mystery to some, but not to those who support him. They are not, as many in the media and party have branded them, backward racists or low-information voters. They are, by and large, the soul of America. They are the farmers and the teachers, the steelworkers and the coal miners, the carpenters and electricians, the blue-collar workers that keep the engine of our prosperity running.
They are also the people who have been hurt the most by the economic slide of the last decade. They’ve seen their wages decline and their opportunities dry up. For them, the recession never ended. They are tired, and they are angry, and they feel like they have no voice.
They are tired of politicians who always want their vote but forget them as soon as the polls close. They are angry at a government that is steamrolled by China, can do nothing to secure the border and seems helpless against the threat of radical Islam. They don’t want a politician or a policy wonk. They want a leader who listens to them. And because of Trump, for the first time in a long time, they are fully engaged in the political process.
Trump’s opponents in the GOP had every right to oppose him until the nomination was secured. But that moment has passed. Now the party must look to the future and to all that is at stake. The GOP race was run, and Trump won it. It is time for all Republicans to unite behind him.
Brett J. Talley is a lawyer, author, one-time writer for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and former speechwriter for Sen. Rob Portman. He is Deputy Solicitor General at the office of Alabama’s Attorney General. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.