America has been blessed with exceptional leaders for truly tumultuous times, but we must thank God for giving our Founders the foresight to root the country’s strength in unbending principles when we aren’t as fortunate.
Hillary Clinton was not every Democrats’ first choice to assume the party’s nomination. In fact, most young Democrats favored her septuagenarian challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and had she not secured a nearly insurmountable lead of over four hundred super-delegates before a single vote was cast, it might have been the wispy-haired Brooklynite running against Donald Trump in the general election. Alas, Clinton relied on the minutiae of a well-oiled machine to beat Bernie, and the FBI, to secure for herself and her closest “friends” the sympathy and support of millions of voters who loathe and distrust her. Because, they’ll cry, “what of the alternative!?”
Likewise, Donald Trump was not the first choice of many Republican primary voters. With a field of over sixteen current and former Senators and Governors campaigning not to lose the “crucial primaries”, Trump was, with the help of billions in free media, able to pursue his favorite pastime: “winning.” And through a tough primary fight, he did a whole lot of it as he secured the nomination of a party he didn’t even belong to until recently and secured his own batch of supporters that aren’t really sure what he’s going to do at any given time, or for the next four years. But, they cry, “what of the alternative!?”
Many of us stopped along the way to ask “are we really doing this? With them? With her?”
Clinton is an unaccomplished partisan with nearly thirty years of “service” marked by a failed attempt at health care reform, racking up the most mileage on a taxpayer funded photo-op of a tenure as Secretary of State, and becoming the first woman to earn a major party’s nomination for President after losing it eight years prior to the first African-American to do so. Her speeches, when not interrupted by coughing fits, are uninspired drivel delivered robotically. Her ties to Wall Street give Democrats nightmares, and her transparent pandering comes off like that of a tin-eared millionaire trying to feign empathy with a group of striking employees.
She recently accompanied her collapsing poll numbers with a physical collapse on the pavement outside of a 9/11 commemoration ceremony. Had a citizen with a camera not been there to capture it, we might have never heard of this incident and it might have never been revealed that she was recently diagnosed with walking pneumonia. It’s been over a week since she was whisked away in a black van only to emerge, with walking pneumonia, to hug a small child permitted to get close to her outside of her daughter Chelsea’s Manhattan apartment. While she was holed up, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, has been doing what he does best, and I’m not talking about campaigning.
No, Bill is out on the news circuit to convince the public that all is well, there’s nothing to worry about. Bill Clinton is America’s gas lighter in chief. If he’s being sent out to assure that “nothing’s wrong”, something’s wrong. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” and “Hillary is just fine.” All of it, though, was enough to circle the wagons. After all, politics is tribal, and “what of the alternative!?”
Before her episode, Hillary was taking a different kind of stand, taking the opportunity to serve up a heaping helping of scorn on “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters, saying she separates them into “a basket of deplorables”. From the creator of “a vast right-wing conspiracy” comes her latest “gross generalization”: the “basket of deplorables: the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, what have you” supporters of her opponent. It’s the latest in a dispiriting devolution of discourse this cycle. It was Hillary, after all, that used her closing time in a primary debate to declare that she’s “proud” to call the Republicans her “enemies”. Nixon kept an enemies list. Hillary’s got a “basket of deplorables.”
This didn’t need to happen. It’s true that Trump agitated and more recently exalted a class of provocateurs with thin resumes and an even thinner sense of human decency. His promotion of Steve Bannon from Breitbart.com CEO to Trump Campaign CEO put the icing on this cake from Hell’s bakery, literally a batch of trolls operating out of a basement in Washington D.C. that identify themselves as “honey badgers” that “just don’t give s**t!” Hillary effectively condemned the rise of the alt-right in a speech recently, laying into the conspiratorial and dehumanizing provocations of some of Trump’s truly detestable sycophants.
But Hillary offered Trump supporters a chance to distance themselves from “the deplorables. She immediately offered that, to her, the other half were just people that feel left behind by the economy, by a political system that offers little but empty promises and out-of-touch elitists. In other words, a political system that foists upon us people like her! If Trump’s supporters are “the deplorables” what does that make her supporters!? What of the alternative!?
And perhaps it’s the Trump mantra of being all things “anti-PC” that led to the embrace of a label such as “deplorable” but if you lie with dogs, don’t be surprised if you get fleas. The alt-right trolls have been putting on their red arm bands since their demigod descended down a golden elevator. They’ve been telling “immigrants” on twitter that they need to go “back where they came from” and railing against “beta cuckservatives” that don’t understand the need to bow down to the “alpha dog.” If Trump and his supporters want to know why many conservatives didn’t flock to Trump Tower asking for jobs and phone-banking scripts, they could simply look at their Twitter timelines.
Hillary could have further explained that many of Trump’s supporters originally opposed him in the primary. Take Marco Rubio, who once got all riled up declaring in Huntsville, Alabama that he “would get in his pickup truck and drive cross-country to keep a con-man from stealing the nomination of the party of Reagan.” The pickup truck is still sitting in the Rubio’s driveway after he made a different journey, from that to this, a hostage video reminiscent of the Hunger Games, a journey many Trump voters have made. Because what of the alternative!?
And so, it’s “the deplorables” against the sycophants - the partisans and a lap-dog media covering for a ruthless, untrustworthy scion of a corrupt global empire.
As both sides dig in the trenches trying to make this election about the alternative, it helps to remember that truly making America great isn’t about electing just anyone, but electing someone who will unite our country in common cause and shared principles.Conservatives understand this better than anyone. After all, some of our greatest luminaries would describe conservatism as “the politics of reality”, “the conscience of mankind,” the imperative to always “stand athwart history yelling ‘stop!’” lest the ambitious and cynical prey upon uncertainty to advance causes that will leave us all worse off. We arrive at this turning point in history once again tasked with a fateful decision.
If uniting our nation, fighting for equal justice and opportunity for all is what Donald Trump means by “Make America Great Again”; if ensuring safe streets and the equal application of the rule of law is what he means by “law and order”; if he can provide the principled leadership America needs, Trump will win. If not, he will lose, and he’ll deserve to lose.
But what of the alternative?
Hillary Clinton is not the paragon of progressive values that so many saw in Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. With Clinton and her pals assuming full control of the Democratic Party, it is clear that Obama was only permitted to rent it for a short while. They’ll double-down on the “progress” he has made but it can’t be buried deep — the knowledge that she remains close to Wall Street, that she and Bill have been running a corrupt slush fund taking foreign donations in exchange for access to the State Department and the upcoming Clinton Presidency. No one could possibly squander this opportunity, but relying on stealth as always, nothing is certain when it comes to the Clintons and their relentless, unscrupulous ways.
Conservatives have the unique opportunity of proving the exception yet again.. We haven’t done well explaining what principled leadership means and what it doesn’t. We know the road ahead is longer than ever. We know that Trumpism and progressivism are natural manifestations of a political system removed farther than ever from the principles of our founding. Our leaders have become detached from the people granted power by our Constitution and the tremendous promise of liberty is eroding before our eyes under the pressures of modern society.
Principled leadership is not always easy, but it is always right. I believe that it is the key to unlocking the enormous potential of our country, that we can only make America greater, stronger, safer, unbound by unlimited prosperity through examples of good stewardship: earnest effort, honest disagreement, fearless outreach, and a steadfast commitment to principle. I believe that from this foundation we can build the biggest, most far-reaching conservative movement ever, one that will live up to all of our highest ideals.
After all, what of the alternative?
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