By Rob Roper
I feel like I’ve seen this reality TV show before, and it doesn’t end well. Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger’s run for California Governor? He gave great speeches; was the tough-talking conservative who told it like it is. He promised he’d knock heads in Sacramento and get things done. He belittled his opponents as “economic Girly Men.” We loved it. We bought it. And then…
The “Governator” it turned out really had no idea how to govern. The Girly Men broke him in about a week and a half, and Arnold spent the rest of his time governing as a liberal and courting popularity rather than taking political stands, let alone winning political battles.
Donald Trump is cut from the same cloth, and I won’t be fooled again. I do believe in some of the things he’s saying (not all and not necessarily how), but I’m not sure he truly believes them himself. And if for the moment he does, I have no confidence he would feel the same way a year from now.
I do give Donald Trump a lot of credit. He has elevated illegal immigration into being the top tier issue it deserves to be. He has shown how political correctness is an absurd cancer that is eating away at our political, educational, law enforcement, and basic societal structures, and he has shown conservatives how to take PC on and win. He’s fought back against left wing media bias, and, again, shown conservatives that they need not put up with it. I love his tag line, “Make America Great Again,” as well as the sentiment behind it.
But Donald Trump is not the candidate who will, in practice, make America great again.
2016 is a tremendous opportunity year for conservatives. The country has elected a party to a third consecutive presidential term only once in modern history – Bush after Reagan. Key to that happening, Reagan had job approval numbers in the mid sixties and the people overwhelmingly believed the country was headed in the right direction. Obama’s numbers are a far cry from Reagan’s. I could go on with reason after reason for conservatives to be more than optimistic about winning the presidency, but that would be an entire other op-ed. I will just point out as well that apart from the structural advantages Republicans enjoy, Hilary is a really, really, really, really bad candidate.
And, it would be a horrible, awful, no good thing to waste this unbelievable opportunity to move the country to the right by nominating a Republican who is not a conservative, and will not govern as one. Like Trump.
Let’s not forget, Trump is in favor of implementing a single payer healthcare system. He said on 60 Minutes back on September 27, “I am going to take care of everybody…. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now…. the government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side….” That’s echoes of Peter Shumlin, folks!
After the Supreme Court’s outrageous 2005 decision in Kelo v. New London, the eminent domain case that allowed the government to confiscate private property and hand it over to developers just ‘cuz, Trump said, “I happen to agree with it [Kelo] 100 percent.” As far as the record shows, he still thinks this way.
He’s saying the right things about Second Amendment Rights today, but in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump came out in favor a ban on “assault weapons” and for longer waiting periods to purchase firearms. Similarly, now he says he’s pro-life, but not long ago he was “very pro-choice” to the point of supporting partial birth abortion. Why should anybody believe these changes of heart are either real or permanent?
Consider this: The next president could appoint as many as three or four new members to the Supreme Court. Do you really think Donald Trump, given his nebulous core values on life, guns, property rights, and the role of government in commerce is going to nominate strict constructionists to the court? I don’t think so. But, I know for sure Ted Cruz or Rand Paul would.
And this is a key point. I am not opposed to Donald Trump because I don’t think he can win, or he’s too mean, or has bad hair. I think he would beat Hillary. I think ANY of the top tier Republican candidates will beat Hillary. Therefore, let’s vote for the one who is truly, genuinely, permanently conservative, and who we know in our hearts and in our heads will govern in such a way as to move our country back to the right after eight long years of Obama.
Donald Trump is a talented entertainer and a brilliant self-promoter who knows how to read a marketing report and play to an audience. But if elected, I fear he would do about as much for America as Arnold Schwarzenegger did for California. That would be a tragic waste of a once in a generation electoral opportunity.
Rob Roper lives in Stowe. These opinions are his own and not affiliated with any organization.