Guest Essay by Tom McClintock
For 36 years now, I have looked back on 1980 as the most important election of my lifetime. I’m beginning to realize that it was the second most important. The election that looms…now is the most important election in the lifetimes of any of us in this room, and in fact, it is one of the most important elections in the life of our country.
I believe this is it for our country: there are no do-overs or “wait-for-the-next-elections” this year. I believe we are at the precipice, and we must take back our country this year, or risk losing it forever.
Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, Rosie O’Donnell and AI Sharpton all say that they’ll move to Canada if Donald Trump wins this election. But ladies and gentlemen, there are plenty of other good reasons to elect Donald Trump president! And I’d like to talk a little about them tonight.
Of course, it’s important not to over-promise. The fact is, when Canada sees this mass influx of pretentious, pampered, obnoxious leftist celebrities flocking to the Canadian border, they’ll build a wall and gladly pay for it! But it’s fun to think about.
Let me put all my cards on the table. I am not a lock-step Republican. My loyalty has never been to the Republican Party or its candidates. My loyalty has always been solely to the principles of the American founding. My loyalty to the Republican Party and its candidates extends only as far as they are loyal to those principles. I have occasionally voted against Republican candidates who have traduced the principles of our Constitution or who have tried to turn our party away from those principles and I would do so again.
And let me also say that Donald Trump was not my first choice for our nominee. I first endorsed Scott Walker for President. When Scott Walker withdrew, I endorsed Ted Cruz. So Donald Trump wasn’t my second choice either.
But ladies and gentlemen, the voters of our party have spoken — I can sure as hell tell the difference between a fire and a fireman!
In 1960, Barry Goldwater first ran for the Republican nomination for President, only to be swamped by the overwhelming choice of Republican primary voters: Richard Nixon.
Some conservatives wanted Goldwater to run anyway. That’s when he mounted the convention rostrum and spoke these words (that are just as applicable to us today as they were when he spoke them). He said:
“We’ve had our chance: we’ve fought our battle. Now let’s put our shoulders to the wheels … Let’s not stand back. This country is too important for anyone’s feelings: this country in its majesty is too great for any man, be he conservative or liberal, to stay home and not work just because he doesn’t agree (with the nomination). Let’s grow up, conservatives:’
Today, it is time for Republicans to grow up and defer to the opinions of the vast majority of Republican primary voters across our nation.
And if the self-appointed royal families of the Republican Party don’t approve, well tough!
This is clearly a choice between a fire and a fireman. It ought to be self-evident that we can’t keep going down the road we’ve been on these last 8 years, and Hillary Clinton offers nothing more than Barack Obama’s third term. Four more years of debt and doubt and despair. Four more years of Obamacare and Obamanomics. Four more years of the very taxes and regulations that are killing our economy.
If you have any hesitation over Donald Trump, just do the math of the Supreme Court. Barack Obama has already chosen two Supreme Court justices, and so has Bill Clinton. Those four justices have all proven themselves to be devoted leftist activists who vote in lockstep on every important issue coming before the court.
A few months before he died, I had the honor to attend a small dinner with Antonin Scalia. As he reflected on his nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, he noted somewhat bitterly that in this last session, he had written more dissenting opinions than he had ever written in his entire career. And he said, “If you want to know where the center of the court is today, Stephen Breyer has written the fewest dissenting opinions this session.” And that was with Antonin Scalia still on the court.
According to the actuarial tables, the next President will make four Supreme Court appointments, starting with filling Scalia’s chair. The average length of service on the Supreme Court is 16 years. That means this election will decide who is President for the next four years—but it will decide who controls the Supreme Court for the next 16 years—and probably for a generation to come.
This week, Donald Trump released his short list of Supreme Court nominations—after thorough vetting by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. They include some of the strongest defenders of constitutional principles and conservative values on the bench today.
Can you all tell the difference? Of course, you can.
I don’t agree with Donald Trump on everything. In fact, the only candidate I agree with on absolutely everything is ME, and I’m not running. Everybody else is a compromise.
But he’s absolutely right about illegal immigration. He’s absolutely right about ending government cronyism in the economy. He’s right about repealing Obamacare. He’s right about defending the Second Amendment. He’s right about balancing the budget before we bankrupt our country. He’s right about Islamic fascism and the threat that un-vetted Islamist immigration now poses to our country. Most of all, he’s right that we cannot continue doing business as usual in Washington.
Is there anyone here who thinks for a moment that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is better for America on these—or for that matter any of the major issues—facing our country?
Of course not. Yet amazingly, there are some in our party who apparently do. As Ogden Nash once wrote, “They have such delicate palates they can find no one worthy of their ballots. Then when someone terrible gets elected they say, ‘There, that’s just what I expected.’”
Or more pointedly, as Thomas Paine once said, “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot, will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he who stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
So, I love and thank every one of you for everything you are doing in the great campaign now before us.
For years, we’ve been told by these party elites that we must abandon our principles so that we can make room for more voters under this big tent of the Republican Party. Yet here comes a candidate who unabashedly proclaims our principles—who engages and energizes a historic wave of new voters—and yet these same self-proclaimed leaders can’t find room for him or for them in this big tent of theirs! Today, it is a much bigger tent—no thanks to them—but it’s just not theirs anymore!
Has it actually escaped their notice that despite a field of 17 candidates splitting the vote, Donald Trump is on track to win the most primary votes cast for any Republican nominee in our history?
Has it escaped their notice that where Democrats and independents have been allowed to cross over and vote in the Republican primaries, Donald Trump has done his best?
Has it escaped their attention that the turnout in Republican primaries this year is way up compared to 2008 and Democratic turnout is way down?
The latest Rasmussen poll released 48 hours ago reports that Donald Trump is ahead of Hillary Clinton by five percentage points—42 percent to 37 percent. Two weeks before he was ahead by two points. Two months ago, Trump was behind Clinton by five points. The FOX news poll showed a similar ten-point swing to Trump over the past several weeks, with him now ahead of Clinton by three points.
Of course, there is a huge gender gap.
But as Rasmussen and FOX report, that gender gap favors Trump and not Clinton. A higher percentage of men are voting for Trump than women are voting for Clinton.
And there is a huge case of party defections. But as Rasmussen reports, those party defections are also favoring Trump and not Clinton. More Democrats are voting for Trump than Republicans are voting for Hillary. Trump now leads [among] independents by a stunning 13 points.
Polls change and there’s a long way to go to the election—but anyone who tells us that Trump can’t win is either a liar or an idiot. There is no other explanation.
What I think we are seeing is a tectonic shift in American politics that happens only once every several generations. The old politics no longer works. The old coalitions are breaking apart. And the more that people focus on the election before us, and everything that is at stake for our country, the faster they are moving toward Donald Trump and the New Republican Party.
If that term, “The New Republican Party” sounds vaguely familiar, that was Ronald Reagan’s vision in 1977. He said,
“And let me say so there can be no mistakes as to what I mean: The New Republican Party I envision will not be, and cannot, be one limited to the country club-big business image that for reasons both fair and unfair, it is burdened with today. The New Republican Party I am speaking about is going to have room for the man and the woman in the factories, for the farmer, for the cop on the beat and the millions of Americans who may never have thought of joining our party before, but whose interests coincide with those represented by principled Republicanism. If we are to attract more working men and women of this country, we will do so not by simply “making room” for them, but by making certain they have a say in what goes on in the party.”
In this remarkable primary election year, the working men and women of this country have had their say, and they have spoken clearly and unmistakably.
That shouldn’t surprise us. I believe that Trump’s promise to secure the borders and enforce our immigration laws is resonating deeply in many very non-Republican ethnic working class neighborhoods. After all, it is their jobs being taken by the illegals. It’s their schools being overrun. It is their families threatened by the Mexican gangs.
Eight years ago, those same working class families put their faith in Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. And for eight years, they have seen their incomes shrink, their energy and food bills skyrocket, and their safety drastically diminished at home and abroad. They have seen the health plans that they liked, that they could afford, and they were promised they could keep taken away from them. They’ve seen their deeply held moral values ridiculed and violated.
Today, the Democratic Party offers to take them four more years down that path. Of their two candidates, one is an avowed socialist. The other is a crook who can’t describe the difference between socialism and the Democratic platform—because there is none. The New Republican Party offers a candidate who has spent his life having to kowtow to politicians just to run his business and he’s sick of it. Meanwhile, Americans are watching the final death throes of socialism in those countries that were foolish enough to have embraced it.
And don’t think for a second that the millennials are socialists in any conventional sense. I spoke with Scott Rasmussen about this several months ago. “Yes,” he said, “half of millennial voters claim to be socialists. But then we asked a follow-up question: ‘Do you favor a consumer-driven economy or a government-managed economy!” He said that by an overwhelming margin, millennials preferred a consumer driven economy. He said, “When you hear “Capitalism” you think free markets. When millennials hear it, they hear “government favors and cronyism.”
Who do you think those voters are going to choose: a crooked politician who got rich trading in those favors or a businessman who is sick of making crooked politicians rich having to trade in those favors?
The Democratic Party has doubled our nation’s debt in the last eight years. In fact, six years from now, on our current course, interest on that debt will exceed our current defense spending. The Republican Party offers a blueprint to get back to balance before we bankrupt our country and a nominee determined to get us there. Meanwhile, we’re watching the convulsions of nations that have pursued similar policies and are now in debt spirals that have destroyed their futures and are now consuming their countries.
The Democratic Party has described the Tea Party as terrorists but it calls Islamic terror attacks “human caused disasters.” For eight years, it has actively encouraged and rewarded unprecedented illegal immigration. The Republican Party offers a return to the rule of law, and the old-fashioned process of assimilation in which immigrants are admitted only when they demonstrate a sincere commitment to becoming loyal Americans by obeying our laws. Meanwhile, in recent weeks, Americans have seen the spectacle of a foreign flag carried by mobs attempting to shut down the right of Americans to rally around their candidates -and that, by itself, speaks volumes about the central question at stake in this election.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are watching a new coalition emerging in American politics and gravitating to a New Republican Party. It is made up of forgotten and abandoned Americans from every walk of life, every background and every part of the country who want to restore their country to its former greatness. They want to awaken one day and realize that it is morning again in America. They want their country back. They want their culture back. They want their Constitution back. They want their freedom back.
On election night four years ago, I saw two rays of hope. I told our gathering that night that the American people were about to get a four-year graduate level course in Obamanomics, and at the end of that course they were certain to be sadder and wiser. And I pointed out that the groups that have been the strongest supporters for Barack Obama and the new Democrats are precisely the same groups that have been most harmed by their policies. That’s a political disconnect and it could not last.
Or as Abraham Lincoln often said, “If the voters get their backsides too close to the fire, they’ll just have to sit on the blisters a while:’
As they have gone through that painful learning experience, we have watched historic gains for our party — a net shift from Democrats to Republicans of 69 U.S. House seats, 13 U.S. Senate Seats, 11 state governors, and more than 900 state legislative seats. And we are seeing it again this year in the overwhelming and enthusiastic turnout of new voters that Donald Trump has generated—despite the opposition of the media, the party establishment, and the institutional and international left.
Yes, I wish Donald had a little more of Ronald Reagan’s eloquence and pleasantness. But I think things have been so bad in this country for so long, people no longer want a president who is going to hold their hands and feel their pain. No, they want someone who will speak his mind, tell it like it is, go to Washington, kick butts and take names. Is there any doubt from friend or foe that Donald Trump will do exactly that? And isn’t it about time? In fact, isn’t it way past time?
The fine point of it comes down to this:
America has enjoyed its greatest prosperity and happiness when it has known its greatest freedom. Our Founders created a society where we were free to make our own decisions as we go through life, make our own choices, enjoy the fruit of our own labors, take responsibility for our own decisions and lead our own lives with a minimum of governmental interference and intrusion. Government protected our fundamental rights and left us otherwise alone to live our own lives as we saw fit.
Today, a very different vision competes for our future: an all-powerful government that commands our economic decisions, micro- manages our daily lives, and consumes more and more of our earnings. In the last eight years, it has disrupted our healthcare system, shrunk our family incomes, threatened our constitutional rights, doubled our national debt, overwhelmed us with illegal immigration and placed our children in danger of becoming the first American generation to be less well off than their parents.
The election of 2016 will decide whether America becomes another failed socialist state or whether this generation of Americans revives and restores the founding American principles of individual liberty, constitutionally limited government and personal responsibility that produced the happiest, freest and most prosperous society in human history.
This is the fight of a lifetime that will decide the future for generations to come. Isn’t that worth doing everything we can between now and Election Day…to make America great again?
These excerpts from Tom McClintock’s Capitol Commentaries, July 2016, Issue Twenty-One were first given as an address to the 10th annual Tuolumne Republican Party Salute to Reagan Dinner, May 21, 2016.
The Honorable Tom McClintock is United States Representative for the 4th District of California, a district that spans California’s Sierra Gold Country Lake Tahoe through Yosemite Valley and Kings Canyon National Parks. (View his campaign website here.) Congressman McClintock’s career has spanned public service in several public offices including 22 years in the California legislature, always fighting for limited government and fiscal responsibility. His public career began here in Ventura County with an editorial column for the Thousand Oaks News-Chronicle (Ventura County Star).
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