By Max Newman
As of writing this, it has been 387 days since President Trump was elected president, and 313 days since Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. And yet, it seems like absolutely nothing has changed in today’s dumpster fire of a Republican Party. Sure, President Trump was elected on a surge of working class fury and ordinary American rage at everything Washington D.C. represents, and interestingly enough, some Democrats have finally seen the light and realize why Trump was elected. Sadly, almost all congressional Republicans still haven’t woken up to the policies, principles and reasons why 62 million Americans and 14 million Trump primary voters voted to elect Donald Trump in 2016. The Republican Party largely is still stuck in the domestic and worldview of the past, and this policy view has led candidates like John McCain, Mitt Romney, Kelly Ayotte, Mark Kirk and Ed Gillespie to failure. It is time that Republican politicians and specifically Congressional Republicans, across the country wake up and listen to the Trump wing of the Republican Party soon or else there will be dozens of pink slips handed out to congressional Republicans on Election Day 2018.
When Donald Trump was inaugurated President, I still had a little sense of hope that congressional Republicans would have learned from the past election that the George Bush era of Republican politics was over. That sense of hope is now fading, and thankfully soon to be irrelevant figures like Jeb Bush, Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Susana Martinez, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Senator Jeff Flake and Senator Bob Corker. I had hoped that the aforementioned people would have realized that their Republican Party as they knew it was crumbling, and the Republican Party of Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, and Jeff Sessions was just beginning. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
The election of Donald Trump, even after the primaries, should have been a clear wakeup call to both the out of touch GOP establishment and the failed constitutional conservative wing of the party that populist nationalism is the future of the Republican Party electorate. Fourteen million primary voters elected an outsider who argued passionately for putting America first. He championed an ideology that emphasized strong borders, opposition to reckless free trade, putting sovereignty and independence of all nation states first, toughness against radical Islamism, and the prioritization of America above all else. President Trump’s campaign, and to a relative degree his presidency, has espoused nationalism. Trump has pledged to help “The Forgotten Men and Women of America”- the working class in Middle America who have been neglected by the political establishment for far too long.
It is the same Republican establishment that still foolishly believes in military interventionism to “spread democracy,” advocate for more disastrous free trade deals and outsourcing when needed and more legal immigration and more foreign workers to compete for American jobs. Repeats lines like “diversity is our strength” are like a broken record and call for even more military strength abroad.
But virtue signaling politicians like Sen. Jeff Flake and turncoat Sen. Bob Corker, along with other out of touch Senators John McCain, Pat Toomey and Lindsey Graham simply don’t believe in the America First Agenda that fourteen million primary voters, the most in GOP presidential primary history, voted for. There are numerous examples that the Republican held Senate are perhaps the biggest obstructors of the America First Agenda, as it is not just Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi who deserve the blame for the lack of legislative accomplishments in 2017. Senator John McCain in October of 2017 slammed Trump’s “half baked nationalism” and passionately defended an activist American leadership abroad, saying “We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We are the custodians of those ideals at home and their champion abroad. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent.” McCain said in his speech that Trump’s “half baked nationalism” belongs in the ash bin of history, but the McCain-Bush foreign policy of sending more American troops abroad simply to “spread democratic values” and act as the world’s policeman like we did in Iraq and Libya is a belief system that truly belongs in the trash bin of history. Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans now disagree with Senator McCain that America should continue to be the world’s police officer, a role that our country has filled for decades, often with disastrous consequences.
Senator Jeff Flake, a continuous virtue signaler, slammed the America First Agenda that helps the Forgotten American as “backward looking, resentful and angry”. In late October, Flake also said, “It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative, who believes in free markets, is devoted to free trade, is pro-immigration, has a narrower path to nomination in the Republican party”. Flake’s cluelessness to even think that traditional right wing candidates run on being openly pro immigration shows Flake’s coming retirement will thankfully make him, and his lemmings, has beens in the new GOP. Senator Pat Toomey on November 29, 2017, defended a DREAMer amnesty proposal to offer a path to citizenship over one million illegal immigrants, despite Toomey admitting his proposal would “lead to a flood of new illegal immigrants and their families”.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who dared South Carolinians to vote against him because he believes in outsourcing American jobs and amnesty for up to three million illegal immigrants, is also clueless on the “America First” agenda. Not only has it been words, but it has also been actions in the Senate that have imperiled the Trump agenda. Two common sense border security bills, Kate’s Law and No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, are sitting in a dark room, collecting dust as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to schedule a hearing or vote on either bill. Both of the bills were passed in July 2017. It was McConnell who told Trump after his November 2016 election that he “didn’t want to hear anymore talk of Draining the Swamp.” This evidence shows that the Senate is clueless. Unfortunately, most of the House Republican Caucus is not much better.
On the other hand, some bills have been passed by Republicans in the House of Representatives, such as the Agricultural Guestworker Act, where Republican representatives in the House Judiciary Committee makeup actually had the nerve to argue for more foreign workers. Prominent Rep. Darrell Issa defended the bill, while Democrats forcefully opposed the Agricultural Guestworker Act in committee. It was the congressional Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee instead of the Republicans who slammed the bill as “destroying American jobs,” “insulting to American workers” and warning that the bill “would flood the country with cheap labor.” Conversely, it was the Republicans who defended the need for more foreigners to come to America and work in the agriculture industry as cheap migrant labor. The October 23rd hearing showed numerous Republican congressmen as being absolutely clueless to what tens of millions of Americans voted for. We deplorables did not vote for more cheap migrant labor flooding our shores so corporations can increase their bottom line and not have to pay native, American born workers. We deplorables in Middle America also did not vote for most of the Senate GOP to vote to cut Medicare for the coal miners and laid off factory workers along with Medicaid for unemployed seniors who rely on such programs corporate shill Paul Ryan wants. That is not exactly putting the Forgotten Man and Woman of Middle America first, Speaker Ryan.
Very few House Republicans truly understand and advocate for the Trump agenda in every fiber of their being, and figures such as Lou Barletta, Louie Gohmert, Steve King, Mo Brooks and Marsha Blackburn are four examples of those few House Republicans who do understand Trump’s policies. Senator Mike Lee is one of the few Republican senators who realizes that Trump truly does have a strong appeal to the working class of America, who have been forgotten for decades. He also stated that the GOP needs to do more to address their needs.
When President Trump summed up the movement he was leading at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, he declared, “The forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no longer. That is the heart of this new movement and the future of the Republican Party. Global cooperation is good. But there is no such thing as a global anthem, a global currency, or a global flag. This is the United States of America that I’m representing, not the globe. There is one allegiance that unites us all, and that is to America. No matter our background, or income, or geography, we are all citizens of this blessed land. And no matter our color, or the blood, the color of the blood we bleed, it’s the same red blood of patriots.”
This, in essence, is the beating heart of the Trump agenda. Trump laid out an agenda that puts America first and it is one that was voted for by 14 million people. Congressional Republicans must know that under Trump’s America First agenda the days of Bush era interventionism to “spread democracy” and police the world, the days of a Reagan era amnesty to four million illegal immigrants, and the days of George H.W. Bush’s policy of blindly putting faith in the United Nations are all over. It is time Congressional Republicans wake up and get on board not just with Trump, but more importantly with the agenda that he espouses. Furthermore, it is time for congressional Republicans to realize that if they do not adapt to the changing GOP, as numerous polls show “America First” policies are taking root with the Republican electorate, then those same out of touch, milquetoast Republican establishment members in Congress will need to be fired en masse and replaced. Therefore, after a disappointing first year with President Trump’s relations with Congress, it is vital that Republicans in Congress actually behave like they sit in the majority and pass an America First Agenda that voters instead of big donors want.