This opinion piece represents the views of Cinzia Croce alone. It does not represent the editorial perspective of The New American Perspective.
After famously descending the escalator at Trump Tower, Donald Trump opened his campaign for president with a simple statement of fact: “Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore.” For me, these words crystallized the stakes in the election. All the other candidates – with the exception of Bernie Sanders – represent the same political class, sponsored by the same donor class, promoting the same policies that have led to the current sad state of affairs both at home and abroad. Bernie is not a viable alternative for the simple reason that he has been in Congress for decades and has little to show for it. We don’t need another well-intentioned but ineffective president. If the objective is to change the status quo, there is only one candidate: Donald J. Trump.
Many of my friends are appalled at my support for Trump. They just cannot understand how I could vote for such a vulgar, bombastic blowhard. He is just a reality television star, they say, while ignoring the fact that Trump has been a successful businessman operating in the toughest political and business environment in the country. Others agree with me that the status quo is unsustainable but claim that Trump is not the answer. I agree that Trump is a roll of the dice — but look at the other candidates. They will only deliver more failure, and we can’t afford it.
Some of my friends blame the voters. If people are so unhappy with the status quo, why do they keep re-electing the same politicians? This question implies that voters have choices at the ballot. They don’t. The two major parties have colluded to make it nearly impossible for any alternative political party to gain any traction. Very few insurgent candidates have the resources or ability to overcome the institutional advantage held by incumbents. The donor class routinely hedges its bets by lavishing contributions to both parties, ensuring that nothing fundamentally changes in DC, even if the candidate runs on “Hope and Change.”
From the outset, Trump’s critics charged that his campaign does not offer an uplifting message. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trump has given hope to Americans like me who have been wondering for years whether we would ever have the means to overcome the power of the status quo. For the first time in a very long time, I feel optimistic about a better future for America than the one I was staring at before Trump entered the race.
Trump’s detractors accuse him of scapegoating the “outsiders”, another unfounded criticism. Trump places the blame exactly where it belongs: with our leaders in Washington. They are the ones who have failed to stop illegal immigration. They are the ones responsible for $19 trillion in debt, stagnant wages and a younger generation of Americans loaded with student debt and fewer job prospects. Trump is not scapegoating. He is holding our political class accountable.
Another constant criticism is that the Trump campaign lacks substance: it is allegedly not about issues, and Trump doesn’t offer any detailed plans. For the record: his campaign has offered detailed plans concerning veteran care, immigration reform, and tax reform. Ironically, it is the criticism of Trump that lacks substance. It has been mostly his vocabulary choices, demeanor and tone, or cherry picking some statement or tweet and cranking up the faux-outrage machine.
Where is a detailed critique of Trump’s proposals on trade and immigration? I have yet to see a forceful, sustained rebuttal to Trump’s claim that free trade and high levels of immigration have resulted in Main Street losing ground while Wall Street enjoyed higher returns. Instead, the response has been to declare Trump’s proposals unrealistic, impractical. Mexico will never pay for the wall, we are told. You can’t deport millions, adds another critic. It is never about whether Trump’s proposals are misguided or bad for the country. It is just that they are not doable. This is a charge that Trump can easily slap down by saying that, unlike ordinary politicians, he will be able to deliver. And even if Trump doesn’t get Mexico to pay for the wall, his supporters will be thrilled simply to have a wall.
Whether or not Trump reaches the White House, he will have performed a tremendous service for the country by neutralizing the race card. The proponents of unlimited immigration for too long have been able to avoid defending the merits of their ideas by simply labeling any disagreement as racist, nativist or xenophobic. Trump’s temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration – whether one agrees with it or not – reasserted the principle that nation states do have the right to determine who can come into their country by whatever yardstick they choose to apply. It also exposed those who would prioritize pursuing some multicultural utopia over protecting the lives of all Americans (that includes Muslim Americans).
Perhaps the most laughable accusation hurled at Trump is that his rhetoric about Islam will only make terrorist groups like ISIS stronger. Starting with George W. Bush, we embarked on a strategy of avoiding any criticism of Islam. We even pretended to believe that Islam is a religion of peace. Barack Obama doubled down on his predecessor’s approach by making a concerted effort to reach out to the Muslim world. He granted his first interview to an Arab news outfit. He gave a speech in Cairo praising the virtues of the hijab and calling for a new beginning in the relationship between the United States and Muslims around the world.
The foreign policy experts told us that an assiduous effort to portray militant Islam as an aberration would deny the terrorists their wish to turn the conflict into a clash of civilizations. It would result in the overwhelming majority of Muslims joining forces with the West to defeat the handful of extremists besmirching the good name of Islam. Fourteen years later, radical Islam is stronger than ever. ISIS has grown from a terrorist group into an Islamic State while our president still insists “it has nothing to do with Islam.”
I would like to urge everyone to set partisanship aside, not worry about one’s sensibilities being insulted, and ask themselves whether they believe the course we are on is desirable or sustainable. Only Donald Trump has the independence, strength, political and communication skills to stem the tide of failure that has plagued our country for nearly thirty years. The choice before us is between the status quo and the chance for America to be great again.