If Joe Biden were running for the title of Mr. Congeniality, he’d win in a landslide. But this election is not a popularity contest and should not be about selecting the nicest guy to fill the highest office in the nation. Policies may matter more than personality traits and the election this year may be less about the candidates themselves than about the policies they plan to implement.
As I’ve said before on these pages, I didn’t vote for Donald Trump in 2016 despite being a registered Republican because I disapproved of his confrontational manner, his impulsiveness, some of his remarks concerning women, his communications style and his lack of experience in government. I still do. I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, either, because of her email security scandals, the Benghazi fiasco and her liberal policies. Instead, I wrote in the names of others for president and vice-president whose policies I could support.
But times have changed and we face much greater challenges than we did in 2016 including dealing with a pandemic, rebuilding the economy, dealing with racial unrest and violence, improving policing, eliminating all remaining racism, getting Americans back to work and dealing with a resurgent Communist China whose objective is to surpass us in both economic and military strength and global influence. In dealing with China and other potential adversaries a strong and resolute leader is absolutely essential and in this regard it is instructive that Beijing would much prefer the easily-persuadable Mr. Biden to win the U. S. presidency. As for the domestic issues noted above, choosing the right policies matters most.
In 2020, Mr. Trump is no longer burdened by lack of experience, if it ever was a burden. Inexperience didn’t hurt him in2016. In fact, many voted for him because he was a political outsider and they were tired of politics as usual. And there is no better preparation for the job of president than having been president. Eight years as vice-president and several decades as a U.S. Senator doesn’t match four years in the oval office as the ultimate decision maker.
When Mr. Trump campaigned in 2016 he promised to make America great again by, among other things, trade deals and immigration policies that would put America’s interests first. He promised tax reform that would boost the economy that was in the midst of an historically slow recovery from the Great Recession. He lowered taxes instead of raising them and the economy grew by 3% the following year. Labor rate participation increased to 89% of working age men before he was halfway through his term.
Before the pandemic struck, unemployment had fallen to a record low of 3.5%. Unemployment for minorities, including Blacks, was the lowest since such records were first kept. He eliminated scores of regulations that inhibited business expansion and got rid of many restrictions on energy production including drilling, fracking and pipeline construction that catapulted the nation to become the largest producer and a net exporter of energy, ending our dependence on foreign oil and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. He slowed the exporting of businesses and jobs overseas and brought some manufacturing jobs home. He increased border security. He increased funding for the military but kept us from engaging in more endless wars. He facilitated the establishment of relations between Israel and the UAE and moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as some of his predecessors had promised but failed to do. He appointed hundreds of judges and justices who interpret laws as they are actually written, not as others wished they had been written.
In short, he actually did most of what he said he’d do and he did it with little or no cooperation from the opposition party which expended most of its time and energy in undermining his administration and trying to remove him from office. They disputed the very legitimacy of his election, launched a politically-motivated investigation based upon a discredited Russian collusion theory. The Democrat-controlled House finally voted to impeach him in an election year without a single Republican vote, even though they knew full well that he would not be convicted in the Senate. They did it anyway, hoping it would at least hurt his re-election chances.
Donald Trump certainly didn’t do everything right but he did do more of what he promised in three years than any president in recent times, whether one agrees with what he did or not. Whatever one may think about his performance, it has not been politics as usual. He now runs for reelection on the same platform as in 2016 but adds that he will rebuild this economy, restore the growth and jobs, restore respect for law and order and the safety of all Americans. Democrats, on the other hand, seem focused mainly on removing Donald Trump, undoing most of his accomplishments and implementing the Sanders/Biden platform offering free stuff for all, wealth re-distribution, higher taxes, abortion on demand and open borders. Policies matter and they will affect the rest of your life and the lives of your kids and grandkids.
Dr. Kelly is a freelance writer and retired Navy Captain who commanded three san Diego-based ships and a personnel research and development center and taught ship handling, seamanship and navigation at Naval Base San Diego. He earned his doctorate in education from USD, taught graduate students and was a senior vice-president at Great American Bank. He has written over 1500 newspaper and journal articles and has been a regular contributor to the Eagle&Journal since 2001.