Las Vegas Review-Journal
These are turbulent times.
More and more Americans express frustration and disillusionment today with the political institutions that govern the nation. They clamor for an alternative to the incestuous and pernicious atmosphere dominating the capital. They see a vast array of lobbyists, elected officials and entrenched interests manipulating the levers of power for their own enrichment at the expense of ordinary citizens.
The discontent isn’t confined by ideology or political philosophy. As Donald Trump confounded the pundit class in ignoring convention and protocol on his way to securing the Republican presidential nomination, a long-time socialist generated throngs of enthusiastic supporters on the left and almost derailed the Democratic coronation of Hillary Clinton.
“Change is in the air,” activist Marianne Williamson wrote, “as old patterns fall away and new energies are emerging.”
And so it is.
History tells us that agents for reform often generate fear and alarm among those intent on preserving their cushy sinecures. It’s hardly a shock, then, that the 2016 campaign has produced a barrage of unceasing vitriol directed toward Trump. But let us not be distracted by the social media sideshows and carnival clatter. Substantive issues are in play this November.
Our allies on the world stage watch nervously as America retreats from its position of strong leadership leaving strife and conflict rushing to fill the void. The past eight years have pushed us $20 trillion into debt, obligations that will burden our children and grandchildren. The nation’s economy sputters under the growing weight of federal edicts and regulations that smother growth and innovation. Obamacare threatens to crash and burn. The middle class struggles. An administration promising hope and unity instead brought division.
Yet Hillary Clinton promises to lead us down the same path. She’ll cuddle up to the ways and perks of Washington like she would to a cozy old blanket.
Trump instead brings a corporate sensibility and a steadfast determination to an ossified Beltway culture. He advocates for lower taxes and a simplified tax code, in contrast to his opponent’s plan to extract another $1 trillion from the private economy in order to enlarge the bureaucracy. Trump understands and appreciates the conditions that lead to prosperity and job creation and would be a friend to small business and entrepreneurship. Clinton has spent most of her adult life on the public payroll.
Of particular importance is the U.S. Supreme Court. The next president may be charged with filling multiple vacancies, shaping the court’s direction for a generation. Trump prefers nominees who recognize the Constitution’s checks on federal authority as a bulwark against tyranny. Clinton would be a disaster in this regard.
Protections enshrined in no fewer than five amendments in the Bill of Rights could be eliminated or diminished under a progressive high court. Clinton has already expressed support for empowering censors to regulate political speech — and even ban movies and books — by rewriting the First Amendment under the guise of campaign finance reform. Count on this to be a litmus test for her high-court nominees.
Expect the Second Amendment to fare no better. The individual right to bear arms would be a likely casualty of a Clinton presidency. In addition, it’s not hard to envision a liberal court further eroding the Fifth Amendment’s restrictions on government confiscation of private property and simply pulling the plug on the Ninth and 10th amendments, which have long been on life support.
Make no mistake, a Clinton administration would indulge the worst instincts of the authoritarian left and continue to swell the bloated regulatory state while running the nation deeper into the red in pursuit of “free” college and health care.
Yes, Trump’s impulsiveness and overheated rhetoric alienate many voters. He has trouble dealing with critics and would be wise to discover the power of humility.
But neither candidate will ever be called to the dais to accept an award for moral probity and character. And we are already distressingly familiar with the Clinton way, which involves turning public service into an orgy of influence peddling and entitlement designed to line their own pockets — precisely what a disgruntled electorate now rises up to protest.
Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave. But he promises to be a source of disruption and discomfort to the privileged, back-scratching political elites for whom the nation’s strength and solvency have become subservient to power’s pursuit and preservation.