Editor’s note: This commentary is by Mark Shepard, a former Vermont state senator (2003-2006) in the Bennington District. He owns and operates an engineering business specializing in industrial control and test systems.
There is a concerted effort to market this election as solely an up or down vote on Donald Trump’s personality. Joe Biden is a non-factor, and neither are the policies that set the future of our nation. Many anti-Trump voters openly post that their support of Biden is void of anything Biden, including policy considerations, his history or state of readiness.
I did not vote for Trump in 2016, and for many who did it was not easy. Last time Trump had no record and his rhetoric projected a big-government view, which I firmly oppose because regardless of the sector, concentrated power delivers corruption. Human nature is simply not compatible with power.
While I did not vote for Hillary Clinton as president, Bernie Sanders was a much bigger concern, and I felt a big-government Trump presidency could result in a Sanders 2020 win. I have witnessed and battled against the harm from Sanders’ socialist ideology in my home state of Vermont where I served two terms in the state Senate. And as was confirmed Election Day when Republicans won majorities in both congressional chambers, the American people would limit Hillary’s agenda had she won as expected.
After the election, I accepted the result, just as I have always done. It is very troubling that from Election Day forward the Democrat Party has run a non-stop campaign to remove Trump from office with no regard for the process or the millions of Americans who elected Trump. Democrats today embrace an “ends justifies the means” morality, not unlike socialist efforts that have left a wake of human and environmental carnage on their paths to “utopia.” In great contrast, America was framed on a “means” morality. Our laws are about the processes we are to live by, not empty promises of outcomes.
Trump’s victory was a big surprise to me. Why did millions of Americans, who are good neighbors and fun to be around, vote for a man with Trump’s personality and troublesome history? I believe that question is best answered by the looking at the actions of the political left.
Wherever socialists and progressives gain power, they force their ideas into law and intimidate anyone who dares express an opposing view. When force and intimidation are the means of moving ideas into law you can bet there will be a reaction force. Trump was and is that reaction. So it is quite ironic that the political left, the very people that became unhinged upon Trump’s victory, were likely far more influential at putting Trump in office than any other sector.
I never imagined Trump delivering the good he has for our nation. I am not saying I agree with all Trump has done, but neither will I deny the many good things he has done: exceptional job creation; better trade agreements; regulation reform that provides for citizen input and helps small businesses compete with rigid mega-corporations; energy independence that will help keep us out of endless wars; ISIS is out of the news; pulling out of the Paris Agreement, which was more aimed at redistributing the resources of hard-working Americans than improving the environment; addressing China’s global dominance goal; encouraging opportunities outside the government K-12 school system that has failed millions of children versus. Biden’s opposition to even charter schools; unimaginable Middle East peace agreements versus the “Arab Spring” supported by the Obama/Biden administration that exploded into mayhem — and I could easily double this list.
Compare to Biden and nearly everything is the opposite. Even on handling the virus, which China hid from the world until it spread, it is irrational to think that Biden, who called Trump “Xenophobic” for closing travel to and from China, would have done a better job. And no, President Trump is not responsible for all the virus deaths. China is. If an injured man dies before the ambulance gets to him, the hospital CEO did not kill the man.
The contrast between the Democrat/Biden record and agenda and Trump’s is producing a shift among minorities. Black Men for Trump is one of many indicators. Indeed, the people most positively impacted by the Trump-accomplishments have been low- and middle-income Americans; yet, sadly, these are the same people most negatively impacted by state- and city-level extended virus shutdowns. The small business environment is especially important to minorities and women who in huge numbers live in the small business world, as owners or employees. And we all benefit from the breadth of their offerings.
Even those controlling the Democratic Party know they lose when comparing policy records and ideas. Why else would anyone suggest you reduce your vote to a referendum on Donald Trump’s personality?
So, this year my vote is easy. I am voting for what is best for America and not giving up my vote to express my view on Donald Trump’s personality. My vote is my duty to help shape the laws that all Americans have to live under. One thing I am certain is that shifting more power to those in Washington, D.C., is a very bad idea; the opposite must happen if Americans are to remain free. We live in a fallen world, and while we can and should do our best to help make the world better, empowering government to force any type of utopia is a road that has been well tested and is filled with horrors.
While I much prefer the side of Trump that takes a genuine interest in people over his hostile side, I also understand that his personality was greatly forged in a life of high-stakes business dealings in New York City. From my few business dealings with people out to exploit, I learned quickly that if you don’t hit back hard they will exploit you until there is nothing left of you. When you hit back hard, you get respect and the projects generally go well from then on. That is where Trump became Trump. And that has served America well in Trump’s international dealings.
Can anyone blame Trump for his hostile responses to the non-stop attacks by the Democrat Party and their news media arm? Two years of Democrat majority in the House and nothing to show but a lot of wasted taxpayer money tweaking Trump. Four years can only begin to clean up the massive corruption in D.C.
So I have some understanding and even appreciation for Trump’s personality, even though I firmly believe this election would be a slam dunk if he were more reserved with his “hit back hard” side. Sometimes I wonder if Trump just wants to make sure the race is a contest.