Trump seeks to forge a center-right coalition

Trump seeks to forge a center-right coalition

By Phil Kent –

“They are a rotten crowd,” Nick Carraway tells Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, referring to the careless, corrupt rich elite at his parties. So it is with the rotten crowd on the political left.

Now that the Republican Party has unveiled its Trump-Pence ticket, the left’s lies, smears and misinformation — aided by its media allies– will increase. That’s why it will be vital for conservatives to join with enough independent/centrist voters in a wide-ranging coalition to elect Donald Trump over Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.

Some Republicans grouse that Trump is not a “conservative.” True, he is not a classical conservative as epitomized by, say, the late William F. Buckley Jr. He had no guiding political ideology for much of his life. Yet Trump’s powerful acceptance speech contains conservative themes on major issues with special emphasis on workers’ protection.

Furthermore, this brash but successful businessman is a proud patriot. He boldly declares “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.” That resonates far beyond the Republican base.

Republicans of all stripes should appreciate that he secured Reaganite free market economists Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore to help craft his tax- and regulation-cutting proposals. Then there’s Newt Gingrich, former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani and other GOP heavyweights advising him on national defense and homeland security. The center-right also cheers when Trump cites the “beloved Antonin Scalia” as a constitutional role model for judicial appointments. His list of Supreme Court nominees is approved by none other than the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell points out, in a recent interview, that a President Trump’s team in the White House, and those backing him in Congress, will include “right-of-center people. I think he will inevitably be pulled into the place that most of us think is the right place to be for America.”

Let’s also consider the “populist” label often applied to the GOP nominee. What exactly does that term mean? Victor Davis Hanson, writing in National Review, puts this into proper perspective:

“His traction derives from opposing unchecked and cynical illegal immigration, not diverse and measured legal immigration. And he is rebelling not so much against a flabby, sclerotic status quo as against a radical, even revolutionary regime of elites who are now well beyond accustomed norms. It is hardly radical to oppose the Confederate doctrine of legal nullification in more than 300 sanctuary cities, or a de facto open border with Mexico, or doubling the national debt in eight years, or ruining the nation’s health-care system with the most radical reconstruction in the history of American health-care policy, or systematically running huge trade deficits with an autocratic China that does not adhere to international norms of free trade and predicates expanding political and military power in the South China Sea on its commercial mercantilism. Trump seemed incendiary in the primaries, but as he is juxtaposed to the official Clinton extremist agenda, he will likely be reinterpreted increasingly as more mainstream — a probability enhanced by his selection of Mike Pence as his running-mate.”

Along with job growth and prosperity themes (“Make America Great Again!”) which appeal to millions of underemployed or unemployed working men and women, Trump vows to be “the law and order candidate.” This is in contrast to Clinton’s fawning over Black Lives Matter radicals. Spending far more time indulging lawbreakers than condemning them is losing Clinton votes.

How must Trump pivot as the general election campaign begins? He should remain laser-focused on two key words: Supreme Court. The Trump-Pence administration’s lifetime judicial appointments will decide which America you, your children and grandchildren will live in. Will it be one resembling the failed socialist state of Venezuela or one guided by the rule of law and our traditional Judeo-Christian culture?

Consider a favorite among the rotten crowd: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This Bill Clinton-appointed justice violated all judicial norms by attacking Trump’s candidacy, saying she’s glad Scalia isn’t around to provide court majorities and, incredibly, even declaring how she’d vote on future cases! Hillary Clinton would nominate such arrogant Court liberals. Ginsberg is a reminder that the Clintons see the law not as the people’s shield, but as a weapon in the hands of activist judges.

“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote. Trump understands this as he pledges to fight this small elite, this rotten crowd. It is a theme appealing not only to many Republicans but to a large swath of independent voters – and it could win him the presidency.

The author is CEO of InsiderAdvantage and is a panelist on WAGA-TV’s “The Georgia Gang.” This column first appeared in the July 23 Atlanta Journal-Constitution.