Editor's note: Jim McCoy, Associate Professor Emeritus in Education at Southern Utah, coauthored this piece.
We, like many of you, have friends who are conservative but are repelled by President Trump’s chutzpah in office. On the other hand, they love his policies and his results during his first term in office. Many say: “If he’d just stop tweeting those idiocies, I’d like him.”
We remind our friends of this disposition about the Rolling Stones song he used during his presidential campaign: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you’d just might find, you get what you need.” After eight long years of Obama, his Fast & Furious, his support of Black Lives Matter, his embrace of race-baiter Al Sharpton who visited him 23 times in the White House, Benghazi, the Iran Nuclear deal with the plane-full of dollars to the Ayatollah, the unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Agency, the economy and lackluster stock market, his support of NAFTA, etc., we perilously needed change from what Bruce Thornton calls “The Fear Society.”
The Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary have sounded the clarion call of the 2020 Election. American voters stand at the crossroads. What is at stake is no less than the identity and continued success of the United States. The fundamental choice is Democracy vs Socialism.
Will the US continue to be a nation that prizes capitalism and economic freedom or will our government endeavor to control and micro-manage virtually every aspect of us and the economy? Will personal ingenuity be encouraged and fairly rewarded, or will individual entitlements require compensation ceilings be placed on all workers and corporations? Will our nation find itself on an irreversible path transforming itself into a socialist society or will the principles of individualism and democracy on which the nation was founded be preserved? Will we have open borders with expensive entitlements or will we have a rational immigration policy?
According to an NPR Facts Check by Philip Ewing, Trump Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh was quick to notice that six of the seven Democratic candidates on the stage of the February 7th debate were careful to not denounce socialism. It would have been difficult for any of the candidates to revile too loudly against socialism since they all had espoused previously some socialistic programs on the campaign trail.
On Friday, January 31st, the US Senate voted 51 to 49 against calling additional witnesses to testify in the Trump impeachment trial. This vote dealt a devastating blow to the House managers' impeachment efforts. Schiff and the House managers had counted on the Senate to do the work of the House in establishing a solid case against President Trump. Essentially, the Senate vote underscored the fact that the Senate was to act as an open-minded jury, not part of the prosecution. As could be expected, Democrats were quick to condemn the party-line vote save for Senator Mitt Romney’s support of the obstruction of Congress charge. The validity of the evidence against Trump would have been more compelling had it had not been obtained through the indefensible processes of kangaroo impeachment committees and hearings. The flawed nature of the impeachment articles themselves should have given Romney solid ground to vote against both articles, but Romney's neocon dislike of Trump was greater than supporting a pugnacious leader who was unequivocally taking America in the right direction.
Senator Romney personifies the real obstacle that President Trump and his supporters face in his re-election efforts. Some Republican moderates, independents and moderate Democrats have a very difficult time voting for Trump because of his prickly and uncouth behavior. Trump’s words for these people speak much louder than deeds.
The dislike for Trump and its potential impact on the 2020 Election has been in full display in New Hampshire. Former New Hampshire GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen said, Trump turned off and alienated the voters needed to win in competitive states, noting that the president’s approval rating in New Hampshire is just 42%. Janet Horn, former GOP chairperson in New Hampshire, said she "will urge disaffected Republicans and right-leaning independents to vote against the president" because of Trump’s "lack of character, integrity and moral and Republican principles."
Despite these comments, Trump won New Hampshire by a larger vote margin than any Republican incumbent over the past 50 years. Such sentiments by disaffected conservative voters who have focused only on Trump's personality rather than his legislation and executive directives are clearly out of touch with the electorate who put him in office. Our advice, don't dislike Trump more than you value the principles on which America was established.
Loyd Pettegrew is a Professor Emeritus of Communication at the University of South Florida
Jim McCoy is an Associate Professor Emeritus in Education at Southern Utah University