President-elect Donald Trump won the White House on his own.
The media covered his campaign unfairly, and his own party didn’t have his back. He ran against one of the biggest political machines in the world — the Clintons — and put them away.
And he did it by connecting with working class voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Iowa, who never felt the positive effects of globalism and simply wanted the dignity of a job. They had been long ignored by both political parties and voted overwhelmingly for the man who gave them a voice.
Now, Mr. Trump has to deliver on his campaign promises. And Republicans need to go along with him — for it’s Mr. Trump’s party now.
“Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, with his victory this year, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist, America-first party,” Stephen Moore, an economist and adviser to Mr. Trump, wrote this week.
“The world is a different place. The voters spoke with a thunderclap, opting for Trump’s new breed of economic populism. … ‘Never-Trumpers’ who insisted with absolute certainty that Trump could never win the general election or even the primary, can pretend that a political sonic boom didn’t happen. But guess what? It did — while all the highfalutin intellectuals and political consultants were napping,” he wrote.
Even though the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal are lamenting Mr. Trump’s mix of immigration reform, infrastructure spend, tariff use and tax reform, it’s what the voters clearly wanted — and what Mr. Trump must deliver.
That’s why the outcry from some conservative outlets about Mr. Trump’s deal with Carrier — that it was “crony-capitalism” — are so misguided.
The deal was a clear win for Mr. Trump’s presidency and was more than symbolic to the 1,000 employees who were able to keep their job.
Were tax incentives given? Yes. But isn’t that part of Mr. Trump’s tax plan? To reduce corporate taxes from 35 percent to 15 percent? Consider Carrier an advance.
It was also negotiated by the state. Indiana’s Gov. and Vice President-elect Mike Pence worked out the deal, which is not unlike Texas’ two-big economic development programs that have been lauded by the right for creating jobs.
Another aspect of the critical conservative argument is that a president shouldn’t be picking corporate “winners and losers.”
If it’s to make a statement — and to give the country energy and hope — why not?
Former President Ronald Reagan saved American-icon Harley Davidson 33 years ago by imposing draconian import tariffs on Japanese motorcycles. He picked a winner and then made a show of it.
After Harley-Davidson got back on its feet, Mr. Reagan visited their plant in York, Pennsylvania.
“The people who say that American workers and American companies can’t compete are making one of the oldest mistakes in the world. They’re betting against America itself, and that’s one bet no one will ever win,” Mr. Reagan said in 1987.
“The Harley-Davidson example makes a very strong statement about how government, through the judicious application of our trade laws, can help the best and the brightest in American management and labor come together in ways that will create new jobs, new growth and new prosperity.
Government’s role, particularly on the trade front, should be one of creating the conditions where fair trade will flourish, and this is precisely what has been done here. Our trade laws should work to foster growth and trade, not shut it off. And that’s what’s at the heart of our fair trade policy: opening foreign markets, not closing ours,” Mr. Reagan said.
And conservatives felt good. They should today, too.