Of particular note among others, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have endorsed Donald Trump for president. Let me add someone of absolutely no note, to wit, me. I had wavered for a time between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and I like John Kasich and who doesn’t like Ben Carson?. But facts must be faced. Ronald Reagan is no longer around and this is not the time for yet another politician bought and paid for by lobbyists or, perhaps, for a career politician at all.
Strategic mistakes made by George Bush weakened the United States militarily and fiscally. Since then a feckless president is on course to leave a legacy of overwhelming debt, a fragile economy, a more race-divided country, a weakened military, a nuclear-ready Iran, a belligerent North Korea, an expansionist China, a sabre-rattling Russia, and complete Islamic-driven chaos in the Middle East and in North Africa. Of course this hasn’t been entirely Obama’s fault. But who could possibly have done a worse job? The best that might be said is that he often simply stood by. Being a bystander is not a bad option in good times, as Coolidge showed. It is a bad option when enemies are at and inside the gate.
What do Australians understand about US politics? Not much, in my experience. And what they think they know is skewed beyond belief. Republicans are nut jobs. Democrats are middle of the road.
Of the fifty states, thirty-one currently have Republican governors. Maybe US voters appreciate that Republicans are good for business and jobs. The only three states which have recorded 10% or more of private sector job growth since the depths of the last recession (circa July 2009) are Texas, Utah and North Dakota, all with Republican governors.
Democrats might once have been middle of the road. But the fact that avowed socialist Bernie Sanders is giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money, and that her response is to try to outflank him, is symptomatic of the way the party has lurched to the left.
Another complete blind spot is the view that it doesn’t really matter who is elected to the presidency. Let’s get it straight, the entire civilised world needs a strong, outward-looking America. To bring it home, this is what ultimately safeguards the freedom of 24 million people living on a large-island land mass in the ‘wrong’ hemisphere. And we will depend upon the Americans for a long time to come. This is fact, and then there is fantasy. Lots of people live in a fantasy world from which the bad guys have taken permanent leave.
This is an edited version of Leigh Sales interviewing Defence Minister Marise Payne on the 7.30 program on February 25: “Can I start by asking you to make the case to Australians as to why defence should get more money instead of health or education?” Response: Politico-waffle, waffle, waffle.
“Why not just six submarines because then you could use the remaining $25 billion to cover, say, easily five years of the Gonski education funding or it would take care of a year of the NDIS?” Response: More waffle, waffle, waffle.
“But who in the 21st Century is going to potentially attack us in that sort of a geographic sense that it matters that we’re an island nation?” Response: Politico-bafflegab.
Ms Payne should have put Ms Sales in her place, just as Mr Trump might have done, and along these plain lines: We won’t have any Gonski funding or NDIS if we can’t defend ourselves. As it is, we may well have difficulty if attacked and might need to call on the US, which might not be impressed if we haven’t spent a dime on our own defence. And who might attack us? I won’t say for obvious reasons, but use your imagination and stop asking such a silly question betraying your complete ignorance of history.
Trump cannot do anything about the fantasies that have taken over the minds of those on the left, wherever they live. But he can rejuvenate America. He can make America energy independent, he can reduce job-killing environmental regulations, he can rebuild the military and he can control the borders. Of course, all of the Republican candidates claim they will do these things. But will they? Trump is the only one with the guts to have said that he will stop Muslim immigration.
Immediately he said this, to howls of outrage coming from Republican elders to David Cameron, I started to tilt in his direction. Leaving aside terrorists and their many millions of sympathisers, hundreds of millions of Muslims support religious intolerance — as they must if they follow their scripture. There is no mystery about that. The mystery is why anyone would support risking more of this fetid baggage of intolerance being carried into America; or, for that matter, into anywhere where Western values prevail.
Taking on the Pope in building a wall finally convinced me. A borderless world lets the jackals in. And Trump was right to remind the Pope of the risks he faces in appeasing those who see him as an affront to God. It isn’t Trump who needs to curb his language and policies; it is leaders of Christian churches who need to understand the danger that Christians are in and to respond assertively. Maybe Trump could lend them his playbook; as it, their abject servility is appalling. Christ was forgiving but He was anything but a door mat.
As a strong America is an essential part of keeping Australia (and other Western nations) free and safe, the relevant question is who is more likely to make America stronger, both economically and militarily. An important precursor to answering that question is to assess who is able to defeat Clinton (assuming the email scandal doesn’t undo her) in November.
Potentially, Rubio could win, but on the whole Trump is best placed to eat into the Democrats’ base. Like Reagan he might be able to attract blue-collar Democrats who want well-paid jobs and who retain patriotic pride in their country and will respond to Trump’s message ‘to make America great again’. He may even be able to attract a larger proportion of Hispanic and Black votes than could other Republicans because of his aspirational message.
OK many Republican voters don’t like him. Here the Supreme Court vacancy will work to his advantage. Many who might otherwise stay at home won’t want to risk Clinton installing a Democrat lackey to stack the court. This is precisely why Obama will try to fill the vacancy (and take the issue out of the election) with a much less activist candidate than he would normally nominate. The Republican establishment, as weak-kneed as it is, will surely refuse to take the bait.
The candidate best able to beat Hillary is also the candidate most likely to do what he says he will do when in office. He is perhaps uniquely fashioned for the times. Cometh the moment, cometh The Donald — warts and all of course.