One of the most remarkable presidential primaries in American history ended the other week with Donald J. Trump’s decisive victory in the Indiana primary, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich exiting the race. Trump now stands alone with an unobstructed path to securing the Republican nomination for president, on his platform to Make America Great Again.
Trump’s outsider approach has left many Republican activists and donors who supported other candidates feeling stunned, angry and conflicted about our presumptive nominee. I understand those feelings; I initially endorsed Senator Marco Rubio.
However, the nomination contest is over and Trump has won it resoundingly. The general election battle against Hillary Clinton looms just six months away. If Republicans were to fail to rally around Donald Trump it would be catastrophic not only for the Republican Party, but for America.
Trump tapped into a populist groundswell of historic proportions. That is beyond dispute. Voter turnout in Republican primary elections this year has massively increased over 2012 levels. We may be witnessing a bona fide political realignment of which Donald Trump’s candidacy is an integral element.
The choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a choice between two starkly different futures of the country. First, the passion of the supporters for Trump comes from middle America. A wide swath of American citizens that feel like the Washington power brokers have left them behind and stopped acknowledging their struggles.
Second, The untimely death of Justice Anthony Scalia leaves the Supreme Court with a 4-4 split between conservative and liberal justices. The continuance of limited constitutional government in America hinges on whether it is Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton who nominates Scalia’s successor. It is an absolute certainty a Clinton nominee would result in a progressive court majority that uses the Constitution as a Ouija board to conjure up previously undiscovered and potentially unconstitutional “rights” to justify the expansion of federal power even further into our lives. There would be no judicial check on a second Clinton presidency expanding President Obama’s dangerous practice of ruling by decree and substituting executive orders for duly legislated law.
Are there areas with which you or I do and will disagree with Trump? Of course – which would be the case no matter who won the nomination. There’s rarely perfect agreement in life, least of all in politics.
But on the vital issues facing the United States, Donald Trump is in accord with the vast majority of Republicans. He has pledged to repeal Obamacare on day one and replace it with free market reforms. Trump’s tax plan is stellar and could spark an economic boom like nothing we’ve seen in a generation, while Hillary’s would drag down businesses and the economy. Trump is committed to rebuilding our worn-down armed forces and will make protecting our vital national interests the centerpiece of his foreign policy. Furthermore, Trump will defend the Second Amendment and, bombastic rhetoric aside, his position on immigration reform - protecting our borders and fixing our broken immigration system - is something that most Americans agree with.
Donald Trump didn’t create the massive populist wave that has crashed over the Republican Party, but he knew instinctively better than his rivals how to ride it. It was already building in energy, like a tsunami following an earthquake, when it hit the GOP. This primary battle has left scars and bitterness on our party, but we do not have the luxury of time to heal those wounds. Liberal Democrat interest groups are gearing up. Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC has well over $90 million waiting to go. They want to win the White House and accelerate Barack Obama’s lurch to the Left. If the Democrats were to succeed, it could be beyond the power of a future Republican Administration to undo the damage to our Constitution.
Winning the presidency is a tough road for any Republican. Donald Trump has brought many new voters into the Republican Party, and attracted the support of millions of voters who had soured on the GOP. Like it or not, Donald Trump must now unify the nation – quite a challenge given his rhetoric and pugnacious nature - by putting America first. At the same time, it is incumbent on all of us who grasp the gravity of the stakes to put the bitter primaries behind and be willing to unite.
Ronald Reagan once said, “That person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally; not a 20 percent traitor.” Donald Trump and Republican activists, donors and elected officials like myself agree on much more than 80 percent and so we must move forward as friends and allies. The stakes are nothing less than preserving our constitutional Republic from being irreversibly engulfed by the unlimited government of modern progressivism.