The Art of the Steal: How Trump Won Over the GOP I’m hard pressed to think of another instance of this happening in American history, but one candidate has essentially seized the mantle of leadership for an entire political party. For lack of a better analogy, it’s like a hostile corporate takeover. If votes were akin to shares of corporate stock, Donald Trump is rapidly closing in on the 50.1% ownership needed for complete control. If you own 50.1% of the voting shares in a corporation, you can pretty much dictate its direction. Usually some consideration is given to the people who own the other 49.9% but Trump doesn’t impress me as that kind of person. That being said, it’s virtually impossible to imagine how the Republican Party will be able to formulate a cohesive set of policies addressing the concerns of all the groups which have traditionally supported it.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that Trump has taken charge of the Party through legitimate means. It would be one thing if he had gained his position through a blatant disregard for Party rules, but he hasn’t. He has won it through votes. You can’t intimidate millions of people into voting for you…..or can you?

Which Candidate Do You Support in the Republican Primaries?

I think the title of Trump’s campaign book, Crippled America, pretty much says it all. I’m no apologist for Obama, but is the country truly crippled? Are we really in such bad shape? There is a lot of fear amongst the American people that America has somehow totally lost its way…that somehow we have ceased to be relevant in the world. There is tangible fear that our country is operating in some diminished capacity.

Trump will always see himself as more of a businessman than politician. In his own way, Trump is applying business concepts to politics. In business, you figure out what the consumers want and you give it to them. In politics, you figure out what the voters want to hear and you tell it to them. In business, you find a product or service people want and you convince them that you can provide it at the cheapest price and with the best quality. In politics, once you identify what people want to hear, you have to convince people you are sincere when saying it and convince them you are the best person to turn ideas into reality.

What I had hoped for in this Presidential election was a Republican candidate that represented the right and who would take measures to reverse the course this nation has been following under Obama. However, I never expected the Republican Presidential candidate to be someone who could best be described as a maverick. I would far more prefer Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio as the GOP candidate. Cruz is to my way of thinking the best option. Think about it this way: Trump’s popularity is an indictment of the GOP and its leadership. It reflects the fact that the establishment of the GOP has lost touch with its constituents. Cruz has made himself an enemy of the establishment GOP by refusing to play along with the Party’s overall lack of direction and leadership. Cruz is often described in very negative terms by establishment Republicans BUT the fact that they dislike him, tells me he is way more in touch with the GOP constituency than the current leadership. Some GOP members, sensing the winds of change have thrown support behind Trump. This makes no sense. If the establishment has been displeased with Cruz’s behavior on the floor of the Senate, do they seriously believe Trump’s behavior will somehow be less divisive and that he will adhere to whatever unwritten rules of decorum that might exist? Whatever perceived wrongs Cruz has committed, I’m sure Trump will top hundredfold.

In general, people have a very negative perception of politicians. Absolutely…some of it is warranted, but at the same time you have to be pragmatic about it. Elected officials are always in a position to significantly influence public policy and their actions have a direct impact on citizens. Problems happen when a politician’s agenda isn’t reflective of the needs and desires of their constituents. If that is the case, the politician is violating the public trust, BUT there are mechanisms in place to limit the damage.

Americans often fail to realize that we do NOT live in a pure Democracy. The United States is a Republic. Remember the part of the Pledge of Allegiance that says “..and to the Republic for which it stands..” Our Founding Fathers made chose the Republic form of government for good reason. In a pure democracy, every person would get a vote on every issue. The problem with a pure democracy is that the majority would always overrule the minority. It would also be hopelessly inefficient in terms of making decisions. Therefore, we have a Republic where elected officials represent groups of voters. The Constitution is a brilliant document that simultaneously gives people a voice in government without completely disregarding the minority. At its finest, this design has resulted in things such as civil rights and equal treatment for African Americans. At its worst, it has resulted in situations where the minority is given disproportionate consideration compared to the majority. When that happens, the voters have the freedom to vote the offender out of office. If an elected official has grossly misrepresented and/or betrayed their constituency, that candidate can spend all they want on their reelection campaign, but it’s hard to swing the tide of public outrage.

Enter Donald Trump. His appeal is rooted in disproportionate representation, which is another word for political correctness.

Webster’s dictionary defines political correctness as: “avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”

I think a better definition of the word political correctness is: “The fuel which propelled Donald Trump to the White House.” To many, the term political correctness evokes negative emotions because some people have taken it too far. It’s one thing to be respectful of others, but it’s an entirely different thing when the majority is ignored while the wishes of the minority are served..even celebrated.

For me the tipping point was the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. I do not hate gay people or anyone else for that matter. I would not treat such a person maliciously nor would I accord them less respect than I do anyone else. It is however against my own religious beliefs. If states pass laws to recognize same-sex marriage, I’m ok with that. I don’t have to like it. If laws are passed legitimately, who am I to say they are invalid? Given that there is a significant portion of the population who oppose the concept on religious grounds, I think it’s an issue that should be handled delicately. For me the the Supreme Court’s ruling was a direct threat to my religious liberty. After all, it’s the Courts who have mandated the removal of the Ten Commandments from public property. If I run the scenario out in my head, it isn’t unreasonable to see the Courts mandating that my Pastor must either marry same-sex couples or go to jail. If it comes to that, I now fully appreciate the 2nd Amendment. If a law were passed instead of imposed, then it would be reasonable to foresee that such laws would be written in a manner or amended later to protect religious freedom.

If my religion is threatened, now we are talking about something that makes me angry and afraid. In what can only be described as quintessential Obama behavior, he shone a rainbow light on the White House to celebrate the high court’s decision. The White House belongs to the American people not the President. The lights on the White House represented him celebrating an event that left me deeply worried about religious persecution. He totally disregarded the feelings of many Americans and in the process was telling us what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. That is overstepping some serious bounds.

At the same time, however,  I haven’t lost my sanity over it. I can see worst-case scenarios developing, but I’m not going to start selling hate to alleviate my fears. Sure, my faith in the Constitution, or rather an overly liberal interpretation over it scares me. However, America has experienced many difficult periods throughout its history. Times way worse than the present and we have always endured as a nation.

Obama and his fellow liberals do many things that incite anger over a broad range of the American populace. Take your pick:

– Obamacare strives to socialize medicine and has imposed new burdensome taxes.

– The Iran nuclear deal is preposterous. The Iranian government has never given us any reason to trust them. Obama is proud of an agreement that isn’t even worth the ink on the paper it was signed on?

– Why not bring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the American mainland? Who doesn’t love having a terrorist nearby?

– It always makes sense to trade prisoners in exchange for soldiers who have deserted their posts. Seriously, if you abandon your unit in battle, and run to the enemy I would argue hardcore action is warranted, such as a court martial and possible death penalty. I always thought treason was a capital offense.

Finally, ‘containment’ is not an acceptable policy. Some liberals actually think global warming is a greater threat than terrorism. Americans really expect a stronger stance from its commander in chief. If you want to put human nature in the context of a schoolyard playground, the situation is basically this: the U.S. is the biggest and toughest kid in the group. ‘Containment’ is the equivalent of letting the other kids take potshots at us without responding. The presumption being that if the big kid doesn’t exert their muscle, it will make the other kids less angry and less likely to attack. That is how Obama thinks. What he fails to grasp is that the other kids don’t hate us because we are the biggest and strongest (or at least not solely for that reason). If the biggest kid on the playground is also the richest, then all the anger directed towards them isn’t solely because they are seen as a bully. It’s because people resent success and wealth. Therefore, taking a pacifist stance doesn’t keep the fear in check.

Donald Trump has built his campaign on deliberately being politically incorrect. It absolutely makes for entertaining TV. Now he can basically say whatever he wants and people could care less about what he says as long as it’s inflammatory. What seems to be lost in all the confusion is the fact that we need to elect a President based on ability, not entertainment value. Remember, as President, Trump will by extension represent the entire American populace. We will be held accountable for his actions. If someone wants to repudiate the entire political system, then vote for Ben Carson. He has the same level of political experience as Trump, but if elected, he isn’t going to alienate half the globe within his first month in office.

We are no longer talking fun and games. I pray we have a GOP nominee that will act in a reasonable manner and hold himself accountable to others. In the grand scheme of things, Cruz and Rubio, the only remaining serious competitors to Trump, will ultimately act in a rational manner. By rational, I mean they won’t order a nuclear strike against China for failure to agree to our trade demands. Trump sees government as a business to run. Sure, business experience is a plus, but so is diplomacy. You can’t run the Federal government like a corporate conglomerate. The same principles don’t apply and if you try to do it that way, the problems are immeasurable. All I want is a level-headed candidate representing the GOP. Is that too much to ask?

Trump has actually invented what I would call a new concept: anti-political correctness. An overly politically correct environment gets tiresome because it creates a disproportionate voice. However, anti-political correctness stands to be even worse. Why? Ultimately it breeds hate.

Call me nuts, but if the former leader of the KKK endorsed me for President, I’d drop out of the race. It’s one thing to prey on fears, it’s another to inspire hate. People who lean towards the right are often falsely accused of being close-minded and intolerant. No. It’s just that some people have the opposite view of people who lean towards the right. It has nothing to do with crossing the line over into hate. Does the GOP really need someone like Trump? A person who will only confirm misconceptions about the right? What does it say about those who have already endorsed Trump? Do they even realize the parallels between Trump and some of history’s most notorious leaders?

I almost forgot–why do some nations hate us? Because we are the wealthiest nation on earth. If we were in the midst of a Great Depression or if the Japanese had just destroyed our Pacific fleet, making the entire West Coast vulnerable, if busses were blowing up in major metropolitan areas each day, if the Mexicans had a military force on par with our own and the threat of military invasion were constant, then we can talk about an extreme candidate who will take extreme measures. If the Democrats retain the White House another 4 years, perhaps it will be time for radical change. The main thing to remember is that others hate us because we remain the richest, most powerful country on earth. It seems like the only people who have forgotten that fact are Americans themselves.

Michael Russell

A native, of Indiana, Russell has always been interested in politics. He is a Libertarian and strong supporter of conservative causes. He has spent the last 20 years as an investment analyst. Russell and his wife Ginger have 3 children.

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