(Editor’s note: The author was part of Donald Trump’s early Oklahoma leadership team.)
Quick, give me the top things you remember from the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? I’ll help: scandal? Or Make America Great Again?
For Clinton, it wasn’t a very good election year. She remained troubled by the terrible history of President Bill Clinton’s abuse of women and her complicity to take care of the “bimbo eruptions.” Her support for abortion, her opposition to the Second Amendment, the Clinton Foundation scandal, and the interesting timing between speeches and visits by former President Clinton and decisions involving foreign policy provided interesting coincidences for voters to evaluate.
Then, don’t forget an FBI investigation into emails and the horrible memory of Hillary’s “What difference at this point does it make?” admonition to congressional investigators concerned about the terrible murders of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, including the American ambassador there.
Hillary couldn’t catch a break. The revelation that Democratic National Committee members supported her over primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) combined with record increases in health insurance premiums under ObamaCare — The (Un)Affordable Care Act — didn’t help.
Let’s face it: Being a terrible candidate doomed Clinton’s efforts to become the first woman president. She wasn’t friendly or engaging, and when small crowds showed up at her rallies she would screech and remind everyone of someone’s ex-wife.
Americans took notice of all these factors and looked for an alternative. For conservatives, Republicans and some Democrats, they were looking for someone new instead of someone who would continue the failed policies of the Obama Administration.
A new kind of candidate
Why would conservative Republicans, like myself and many others, support Donald Trump? There were plenty of other candidates. The first few GOP debates included mostly the standard bearers of the establishment and the heroes of the conservative-right, but they failed to gain the support of the majority.
We wanted a candidate who would protect our liberties, make great appointments to the Supreme Court, protect our borders, fight terrorism, protect the unborn, grow our economy, fight government waste and fraud, lower taxes and — simply — MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN (which really ticked off liberals and Democrats). By comparison, Hillary’s “I’m with Her” was weak.
We wanted a candidate willing to take on critics. Trump is that man. Being from New York, he provided a fresh way of dealing with other candidates and the national media. As a former reporter who has helped political candidates with communication training, I admired Trump’s ability to communicate and fight back. Compared to Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), former-President George W. Bush and a handful of others, Trump’s skills were a refreshing blast of fresh air.
America’s last Republican president spent nearly eight years being kicked in the groin every day by Democrats, and the response was seemingly, “May I have another, sir?” The lack of response by President George W. Bush helped destroy the Republican brand and provided nothing for the grassroots to support. The lack of effort to fight back, for whatever reason, helped the Tea Party and other conservatives from both parties cooperate to elect those who represented them.
Long live the new Republican Party
The “base” of the GOP had been told, “If you only!” The pledge was, “If you ONLY give us the U.S. House, we can do what you need us to do — repeal ObamaCare and balance the budget and get rid of the waste and fraud in the federal government.” But they never delivered.
Then, they upped the stakes: “If you ONLY would give us the U.S. Senate majority — then we could achieve those goals to repeal ObamaCare and balance the budget and get rid of the waste and fraud in the federal government.”
Conservatives and others provided the Senate to the GOP, but we got jack squat because, they said, the Democrat president would veto any of efforts. So, they said, we needed to get the presidency!
Funny, it doesn’t matter to the Democrats. They always figure out a way to win and derail their opposition. It often appears they are playing chess and we Republicans are playing checkers. Sometimes, we aren’t very good at checkers, even.
Trump is now the president-elect, and Republicans have earned the majority of both branches of the Congress. The Americans who voted for Trump will now demand that he, the Senate and the House deliver.
The Republican Party is dead. Long live the new Republican Party. The change is dramatic, and those who refused or rejected Trump could feel the wrath of voters at the federal, state and local levels. The “Never Trumpers” who may have future political plans could have trouble gathering support from the GOP leaders who did support Trump. In addition, new Trump supporters may get involved in the political process and upset some of the plans of those who have waited in the wings patiently for term limits to go into effect.
Two big losers
There are two big losers in the national campaign. National media comprise the first. Media showed they were the sock puppet for the Democrats, something many believed but had never seen such blatant partisan evidence of given the media’s behavior during the campaign. Many media sympathizers shed tears when the decisive electoral Trump victory began materializing on election night.
The Democrats are the other big losers. Republicans have struggled to gain and retain control of all the three branches of government since the 1930s, and Democrats may struggle similarly moving forward.
The once-proud Democrat Party of Jefferson, Jackson, FDR and JFK — where conservative principles and social liberalism melded into prudent public policy — has been overturned. Now, candidates must believe in certain social goals to successfully become the party’s nominee. Many of those social issues are an abomination to the rest of the nation.
Now, the fun begins
Is America a divided nation? Yes. The great swath of America’s backbone — the conservative spine, which includes Oklahoma — divides little pockets of the most liberal places in America.
It’s going to be fun to see what happens now.
(Correction: This article was updated at 2:20 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21, to remove specific reference to the last time Republicans controlled all three branches of U.S. federal government.)