I speak for the grunts. The boots-on-the-ground Republicans who win elections by making millions of get-out-the-vote phone calls, ringing the doorbells of millions of homes, distributing millions of candidate fliers at public events, parades, and get-togethers all over this nation. We are the grassroots American citizens you reviled as “corrupt Party hacks.” Many of us are the very Tea Partiers you ridiculed. We won the Senate for the Republicans in 2014. Now you need us, and we are waiting for you to show that you are one of us.
Instead, you boast that you don’t need Republicans to unite behind you because you won big in the primaries. But you won big mostly in “open” primaries where Democrats and Independents could vote. These victories have convinced you that by cobbling together Democrat blue collar workers, “the poorly educated,” Independents, “evangelicals,” and Republicans of all flavors, you can spearhead a new “Reagan Coalition.” But primaries are not general elections.
And when you tell Meet the Press that "I'm going to go out and I'm going to get millions of people from the Democrats," Trump said. "I'm going to get Bernie [Sanders] people to vote, because they like me on trade," conservatives shake their heads and write another #nevertrump screed on social media.
Here’s why: we are the reason the Reagan Coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents elected him twice in historic victories. It happened because we, the conservative base of the Republican Party, drove the coalition. The Democrats and Independents were mostly along for the ride, attracted to Reagan because he effectively embraced and promoted conservative principles as the policies that would “Make America Great” -- coincidentally, your slogan too.
Voters had no trouble seeing that the big-government, socialist programs of Jimmy Carter had destroyed America’s economy, just as today most honest and informed citizens (and there are still many) know that Obama’s reckless and expensive healthcare, his over-regulation and over-taxation of business, his expansion of the already vast welfare system, and his cringing retreat from the international stage, have combined for the rapid decline of our once-great nation.
But although in Hillary Clinton you are fighting the Second Coming of ruinous Democrat programs just as Reagan was positioned against the appalling Jimmy Carter, you don’t have an enthused conservative tide backing you as he did.
Curious, since from the position papers on your website it’s evident that you support many conservative policies. You say you would lower the corporate/business income tax to 15 percent as part of your plan to keep corporations and jobs in this country. You would “let everyone keep more of their money,” simplify the tax code from seven to just four brackets, and totally eliminate the death tax. All good so far.
You pledge that on day one you will “ask Congress for a full repeal of Obamacare.” You continue: “We will work with Congress to make sure we have a series of reforms ready for implementation that follow free market principles and that will restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this country. By following free market principles and working together to create sound public policy that will broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.” Sounds great to me.
These positions demonstrate that you have plenty of solid conservative instincts, and in fact many of your policies are very similar to those of your defeated rivals. But it’s your jarring character flaws, so belligerently on display in the campaign, that have so outraged the #nevertrump legions that they either ignore or downplay any evidence of your conservatism orthodoxy.
Because for Republicans, and Independents and especially conservatives, fitness for the presidency is only partly policy. The crucial piece is character. Does this contender have the temperament to lead the world?
My fellow Republicans can’t stop thinking about what kind of man would accuse Ted Cruz’s pastor father, Rafael, a Cuban immigrant who was imprisoned and tortured by the cruel Communist Castro brothers, of colluding with Communist Lee Harvey Oswald to kill President John F. Kennedy. How would that outrageous lie even occur to a person with any sense of personal morality?
And the groundless and despicable fictions of Senator Cruz’s imaginary infidelities – while at the same time you threaten to beef up the libel laws so people like you can more easily win lawsuits against the press. Then there’s your labeling the deeply ethical Christian Senator “Lyin’ Ted” for months and our seeing that obscene epithet repeated over and over by a mindless trumpbot even as Cruz was trying to reason with him.
Values matter. We don’t want any more presidents who lie to us. The one we have now lies his way to disastrous nuclear deals, lies about real unemployment numbers, lies about unleashing the IRS on conservative groups, and lies about the Benghazi Islamist terrorist attack so he can get re-elected.
Your viciousness coupled with your run-amok unpredictability have led many influential conservatives and Republicans to say your nomination will mean the death of the party. This is serious stuff, Mr. Trump. You are now our standard-bearer. You can no longer vacillate from Republican to Democrat to Independent and back to Republican like you have for decades.
Like House Speaker Paul Ryan, we want to support you. We want to work hard so that you – and the Republican conservative values we believe in – win this election.
You can still be Trump: funny, unpredictable, refreshingly un-politically correct Trump. We delight in seeing you mouth off to Hillary Clinton about the bimbo eruptions.
But to trust you and to back you, we need you to do a few things. We need you to set aside your pride, which is hopefully possible, and apologize to Ted Cruz and his father for your obscene attacks on them via your nauseating mouthpiece, The National Enquirer. We want you to stop demeaning fellow Republicans.
We want you to cease your power struggle with Paul Ryan and reach détente. We would love for you to tell the world you’ll appoint Trey Gowdy Attorney General as you pledged in a Tweet. And to follow the advice of author and commentator Victor Davis Hanson in National Review and say you’d like to appoint Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court, John Bolton as secretary of state, Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College as secretary of education, and General Jack Keane as secretary of defense.
Yes. We need some pandering here, we party worker bees who believe in conservative values: smaller government, religious liberty, personal responsibility, American sovereignty, and a strong national defense. These are the principles on which the Founders based our national vision and our Constitution.
We need to know that you believe in them too.