As you look through social media, you will see many supporters of Texas Senator Ted Cruz post about conservatism, trying to include or exclude others as being a conservative. What does it mean to be a conservative? Is Ted Cruz a conservative? How about Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan? Who decides who is or is not a conservative, and how do you define it in our modern politics? In much the same way Bill Clinton redefined what it meant to be a Democrat, Donald Trump is reinventing what it means to be a conservative.
In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton arrived on the national scene, riding a platform of welfare reform, promising to “end welfare as we know it.” This was an abandonment of Democratic tradition, in a party that had at one time been hesitant to enact any form of welfare reform. The “new democrats” focused primarily on Southern white Reagan Democrats. The result of the 1980 and 1984 elections prompted Democrats to abandon their prior position on welfare reform and free trade, saying that welfare required work, he sought to change the system. Clinton accomplished this goal, signing the landmark Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996. The law required work to be a contingency of receiving welfare, and it gained bipartisan support in Congress.
Enter the year of 2016, with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee. He has proposed the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which President Bill Clinton signed into law. He wants to put a 25 percent tariff on companies who leave the United States to pursue business in countries with cheaper labor. He’s pro life, while allowing certain exceptions such as the life of the mother and for rape and incest. Many conservatives want all or nothing, saying if they can’t have a candidate that is totally in line with everything they believe in, they’ll take their marbles and go home, and this is a toxic path. The goal of a president is to move the ball forward for their cause, and if we can advance our agenda of freedom with a Trump presidency, then we should embrace these changes Donald Trump wants to make to our party. Being free trade doesn’t mean you get ripped off nationally by countries who seek to take advantage of you, nor are you giving in on principle when you make an exception for rape and incest and outlaw abortions in other circumstances.
Although Bill Clinton campaigned as a new kind of Democrat, he put Ruth Bater Guinsburg on the court as well as Stephen Bryer, who have aligned themselves with the left wing of the judiciary. We’re now sitting on a 4-4 tie between liberals and conservatives, and sometimes Justice Kennedy doesn’t side with conservatives especially as it pertains to a general right to life, although he has upheld some abortion restrictions in the past.. Regardless, if we allow Hillary Clinton to occupy the White House, she will likely not only appoint Supreme Court justices who uphold Roe vs Wade, she will use the court to overturn gun rights, as she has said recently that the Supreme Court is wrong on gun rights.
Hillary Clinton is not a new democrat. She is a Barack Obama democrat, one who isn’t pragmatic, but ideological in every sense of the word. She would make George W. Bush look moderate on foreign policy and make Barack Obama actually seem reasonable on the issue of privacy and the NSA. Right now, Donald Trump is the only individual standing between freedom and the progressive agenda Hillary embraces. He’s the only person that stands between an ever increasing discrepancy between how other nations treat us on trade and how we treat them. Hillary’s unwillingness to touch NAFTA and reform it, despite her rhetoric in the democratic primary as she fends off Bernie Sanders. She, at her core is a believer in free trade, not a believer in fair trade. She believes trade should have meaningless guidelines and if another country like China wants to rip us off with their currency manipulation, then as free-traders we must sit back, tolerate that and hope for the best. This is not the solution for America. We must take on China, fight them like hell so that we don’t end up paying the price at the end of the day in jobs and economic prosperity.
Donald Trump is a different kind of Republican, one that will have strong appeal to working class voters because his policies will rebuild the middle class that has been decimated by progressive policies. By embracing economic nationalism and focusing on making America great again, Trump has a chance to win states that are normally not in play for traditional Republican nominees. Nothing can stop us as long as we remain united as a party. We can and will defeat Hillary Clinton in November together.