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Trump vs. the GOP Elite

Conservatives care about the issues—not just social acceptability.

My father once told me that “everything looks easy from a distance.”

I believe this is especially true about sports and politics, and it seems to me that the only perfect candidates are people who have never run for office.

Unfortunately, almost every human being seems to want to feel superior to some other person or group of people. Those of us from East Tennessee especially notice this because we have been teased all our lives about our accents and often referred to disparagingly as hillbillies or rednecks.

I have thought about all of this in relation to Donald Trump. In most upper-income, elitist areas now, it is not socially acceptable to support the New York businessman.

People would roll their eyes or shake their heads and almost gasp if one of their upper-crust friends publicly, enthusiastically supported Trump. He has pulled off the almost miraculous feat of allowing millions to feel in some way superior (although falsely so) to a billionaire.

Many high-level Republican officeholders are not supporting the Republican nominee, or are tacitly supporting him in an almost apologetic way. They will support him in a crowd of lower- or middle-income Republicans, but voice only critical or reluctant support at high-society gatherings. And they will be sure to let the editorial boards of their liberal daily newspapers know how uncomfortable it is to be running on the same ticket with Donald Trump.

One thing is for sure: if a Republican member of Congress wants to get nationwide publicity and praise from most of the national media, all they have to do is blast Trump and announce that, while they will not vote for Hillary Clinton, they certainly will not vote for Trump. Some of these Never Trump people are beginning to squirm now, though, as Trump is going up or even pulling ahead in many polls.

Even though it is not politically correct or socially acceptable, let me tell you why I support Donald Trump and even have a Trump sticker on the back window of my car.

1) The courts. Many people have mentioned the Supreme Court, but perhaps even more important are the lower federal courts, particularly the 12 regional circuit courts of appeals and 91 U.S. district courts, totaling more than 800 judges. The Supreme Court takes only about 80 cases a year. The lower federal courts handle thousands. Two-thirds of the appeals courts are now presided over by Democratic majorities. Eight years of Hillary Clinton would mean that conservative federal judges would be almost as rare as hens’ teeth.

2) Trade. With only 4 percent of the world’s population, we buy almost one-fourth of the world’s goods. Every country is champing at the bit to get into our markets. We have tremendous leverage on trade that we have not used. We do not want or need trade wars. But we should, in a friendly way, tell other countries—especially the Chinese—“We want to trade with you, but we can’t sustain our huge trade deficit. You are going to have to find some things to buy from us, too.”

3) Immigration. With 58 percent of the world’s population—almost 4 billion people—having to get by on $4 or less a day, hundreds of millions would come here over the next few years if we simply opened our borders. Our entire infrastructure—our schools, jails, sewers, hospitals, roads—and our economy as a whole could not handle such a massive, rapid influx of people. The American people are the kindest, most generous people in the world, and we have already allowed many millions more than any other country to immigrate here, legally and illegally. But we must do a much better job enforcing our immigration laws.   

4) Wars. I am now the only Republican left in Congress who voted against going to war in Iraq. For the first three of four years, it was the most unpopular vote I ever cast. I even once was disinvited to speak at a Baptist church. Now, it is probably the most popular vote I ever cast. The American people are tired of permanent, forever wars. While everyone wants a friendly relationship with Israel, I do not believe the American people will continue to support wars that primarily benefit Israel but cause thousands of young Americans to be killed or horribly maimed for life.

5) Jobs. Almost any member of Congress, if asked what is the greatest need in their district, would probably say more good jobs. Radical environmentalists have caused many thousands of U.S. businesses to go to other countries or close for good. We have ended up with the best-educated waiters and waitresses in the world. When I was in Vietnam a few years ago, I was told if you wanted to start a business there, you just went out and did it. The place was booming. It is now apparently easier to start a small business in some former communist countries than in the supposedly free-enterprise U.S.

6) Health care. If the greatest need is more good jobs to help cure both unemployment and our far worse under-employment, the second-greatest need would be to start bringing down the cost of medical care. In Tennessee, BlueCross/BlueShield has requested a 62 percent increase in premiums, and something close or very similar is happening all over the country. Thank God we do not buy food, clothing, or housing the same way we buy health care. Before the federal government started “helping,” medical care was cheap and affordable for almost everyone. Now, primarily because of Obamacare—and maybe on purpose—the costs have exploded even more than they already had, and we need to go in a completely opposite direction, and not in the Russian/Cuban single-payer direction the left wants.

Donald Trump would be far better than Hillary Clinton in all these areas. He has said some things I wish he had not said, and he is not perfect, but then, who among us is?

Finally, and most importantly, he does not seem (like so many leaders today) to have a need to turn every two-bit dictator into another Hitler so he can prove himself to be another Winston Churchill.

I was very surprised that the Washington Post ran a great column on June 9 by former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli entitled “Here’s why Trump’s foreign policy terrifies neocons.” He describes Clinton’s foreign policies as “far more reckless” than Trump’s, and adds that “Among Clinton’s weaknesses, her fear of appearing weak may be her most damning.”

Readers of The American Conservative want both peace and prosperity and especially do not want any more chickenhawk leaders eager to go to war.

Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. represents the 2nd district of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives.



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