Elgin Hushbeck: A Cautionary Note On the Current Political Environment
by Elgin Hushbeck, Jr., Engineer, Christian apologist, and author of Preserving Democracy, What is Wrong with Social Justice?, Christianity and Secularism, and Evidence for the Bible,.
There is no question that Liberalism in general, and the Democrat party in specific are in trouble. Not only did they lose the last election, but with their defeats starting in 2010, they have lost over 1000 seats nationwide, completely reversing the solid majorities they once enjoyed. They are now clearly a minority party in turmoil, divided as to whether their problem is that they were too liberal, or not liberal enough.
To be clear, I am nowhere near ready to declare the party dead. The reason is that the Republican party, even though it has a strong majority of the state and national elected offices across the country, is not without its problems. In terms of the number of elected offices, the Republicans are where the Democrats where just 8 years ago. So things can change very quickly and now it is their turn to deliver and should they fail, things might reverse yet again.
The simple fact is that there is a reason Trump won and it has nothing to do with fake news stories desperately seeking to find some connection between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Did the Russians meddle? Of course, they did. They have been trying to influence things here for a very long time. That is what other governments do. Just as Obama tried to meddle in the Israel elections to defeat Netanyahu or the British election and Brexit. And let us not forget that one of FDR’s chief advisers at Yalta later turned out to be a Soviet Spy.
The real question is: Did they actually affect the outcome in any meaningful way? Here, barring some yet unknown evidence, the answer is a clear “No.” Trump won and Clinton lost because of factors far beyond the Russians. The Russians may have leaked some of the DNCs emails, but they did not cause Hillary to set up her own email server and then lie repeatedly about how and why she used it. And it was not the Russians that caused the new revelations in the week before the election but an FBI investigation of Anthony Wiener on possible emails to minor girls that discovered a whole new batch of emails resulting in the late minute uproar. It was not Russians that caused Hillary to take the election for granted such that she, for example, never came back to my state of Wisconsin while Trump was campaigning here vigorously. In short, Hillary was a bad candidate who ran a bad campaign.
While that explains why Hillary lost, it does not, except by default, explain why Trump won. While my view during the election was that both candidates were un-electable, but one was going to win, and frankly I thought it would be Hillary, I have come to believe that Trump actually won, and not just by default.
One thing that was abundantly clear during the election was that voters are unhappy and angry with politicians. Democrats were hardly happy with Clinton, as was seen in the strong challenge from Sanders. Republicans of course rejected some of the best rising stars in their party to nominate Trump. While I will let Democrats speak to the democratic issues, for Republicans the reason was pretty clear. Since the 1960’s there has been an ongoing struggle within the Republican party between what might be called the Establishment Republicans and the Conservatives. Within the rank and file, Conservatives won long ago, but because of the power of incumbency, and other factors, Establishment Republicans remained dominate among elected officials.
Thus, for decades Republican elected officials have campaigned on solid conservative principles, but have not governed that way. Whether it was government reform, repealing Obamacare, building the boarder wall, or a whole range of issues, election after election of strong promises, were followed by term after term of excuses. It would have been one thing had they fought and lost, after all no one ever thought that President Obama would sign a bill repealing Obamacare. Rather it was the perception that Republicans had talked themselves out of even fighting. For example, after years of pushing Republican elected officials, they finally passed a law to fund and build a wall along the Southern Border, but then the law was ignored, and the wall was never built even under a Republican President.
In addition to this was the fact that for decades those in Washington on both sides seem so focused on their issues and agendas, that in a very real sense they had forgotten the people they represented, and more importantly the problems and struggles they face. It was not by accident that the states that switched from Blue to Red to give Trump the election were Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
This is what Trump both saw and tapped into. He clearly does not speak the language of politics, but he spoke a language the people heard; and no, contrary to Liberal hyperbole, it was not a language of racism and bigotry. All of the Republican candidates this year, as in past years, said they would build the wall. The difference is that people believed, whatever his faults, Trump would actually do it. As Salena Zito summed it up “the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”
So Trump is now the President and is moving ahead with his agenda as he promised he would do. Both Republicans and Democrats should be wary. For Republicans, it is important that they do not go back to business as usual. At the end of the day they must fulfill their promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare, build the wall, reform immigration, rebuild our infrastructure and our military and improve the economy and wages. In short, do the things that they campaigned on.
There will surely be a place for negotiation and compromise. After they build the wall and get immigration under control, I believe most Republicans would support allowing those already here illegally who have not otherwise broken our laws a way to gain permanent legal status, though not citizenship. Given the narrow margins in the House and Senate, this however, might require some Democratic support.
This brings me to the Democrats and Liberals in general. Many are clearly in denial that Trump won and is now the President, so much so they are becoming completely irrational, as with the constant desperate attempts to find any hint of a possible connections between anyone connected to Trump and the Russians, as if that would suddenly reverse the election and Hillary could magically become President.
Yes, we have desperate and irrational people within the Republicans ranks as the whole birther silliness demonstrated. But for the most part they are at the fringe. The current irrationally among the Liberals is found at the highest levels of the party and throughout the Mainsteam Media. There are repeated stories of how no President has ever done X or Y before, such as the comment I heard the other day of a reporter claiming no President has ever criticized his predecessor before Trump. Really? Such claims are normally played to great amusement on talk radio followed up by clips many Democrats in the past doing what supposedly had never been done before.
As many know I was not a supporter of Trump. I did not think he would be elected. I think he still has a lot to learn about being President. But he is President and he is learning, and so far has done an ok job and I think over all his cabinet choices are pretty good.
Elections have consequences. While I would not expect Democrats to just fall in line and support Trump, I would hope that the knee-jerk opposition to everything Trump, would be replaced by a more reasonable opposition that recognizes that he won. Dragging out every single confirmation battle as long as possible, only serves to make the government even more dysfunctional than it already is.
I would remind them that an all or nothing approach can lead to victory, but it can also lead to ruin. Will some people be hurt by the repeal of Obamacare? Of course! In a country of 319 million people there will be some who it has helped, but there are vastly greater numbers have been harmed by it. The law was never popular and Republicans have won election after election across the country running on trying a different approach. Perhaps Republicans are wrong, but Democrats, and the people they represent would be better served if they productively join in and actively sought ways of mitigating any deficiencies they see, than their current block anything and everything approach. All or nothing often leaves you with nothing, and there are many in both parties that would benefit from learning that lesson.
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