- The Washington Times - Monday, December 5, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Democrats, still reeling from their White House loss, are blaming everyone but themselves.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook believes it was the FBI directors’ fault Mrs. Clinton lost, and her communications director Jennifer Palmieri made clear she believes Donald Trump’s team stoked the flames of white supremacists, thereby leading to his victory.

What Mr. Trump did do was connect with middle-class voters in rural America — winning about one-third of the 700 counties that President Obama won twice. So in other words, Mr. Trump appealed to blue-dog Democrats, who felt their party had abandoned them.

For all those who believe Mr. Trump’s rhetoric is divisive, racist or inflammatory, really much of what he says comes from Bill Clinton’s old playbook. The Democratic Party has just become so progressive since his presidency — built on identity politics and coastal elitism — it can’t even speak to realities anymore.

Here’s a few examples of where Mr. Clinton and Mr. Trump sound almost alike — and a lesson to all those on the left who believe Mr. Trump won simply because the alt-right movement.

Immigration

Bill Clinton, in his 1995 State of the Union address, spoke about illegal immigration and didn’t mince words. He even used the word “illegal aliens,” not “undocumented”— gasp!

“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country,” Mr. Clinton said. “The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.

“That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens,” he said. “In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace.

“We are a nation of immigrants,” Mr. Clinton said. “But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

Sound familiar? Here’s Mr. Trump in his immigration-focused speech in Phoenix in August.

“If we’re going to make our immigration system work, then we have to be prepared to talk honestly and without fear about these important and very sensitive issues,” Mr. Trump said. “For instance, we have to listen to the concerns that working people, our forgotten working people, have over the record pace of immigration and its impact on their jobs, wages, housing, schools, tax bills and general living conditions.”

He proposed building a wall along the Southern border, ending catch and release, having zero tolerance for criminal aliens, blocking funding for sanctuary cities, and canceling all of Mr. Obama’s executive orders, among others.

Make America Great Again

This is Mr. Trump’s slogan, which Mr. Clinton has ridiculed as racist.

“That message where ‘I’ll give you America great again’ is if you’re a white Southerner, you know exactly what it means, don’t you?” Mr. Clinton said. “What it means is ‘I’ll give you an economy you had 50 years ago, and I’ll move you back up on the social totem pole and other people down.”

Except during Mr. Clinton’s first presidential campaign, when apparently the slogan didn’t mean that. At a 1991 campaign event in Little Rock, Arkansas, Mr. Clinton declared, “Together, we can make America great again.”

He used the same phrase again during a speech in 1992 and during a television interview that same year.

Obamacare

Speaking at a Democratic rally in Flint, Michigan, in October, Mr. Clinton had some choice words for Mr. Obama’s signature health care plan, Obamacare.

“So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world,” Mr. Clinton said.

Yup. Mr. Trump has echoed the problems with Obamacare.

“It is going to be amazingly destructive,” Mr. Trump said in a speech kicking off his presidency in June 2015. “Doctors are quitting. I have a friend who’s a doctor, and he said to me the other day, ‘Donald, I never saw anything like it. I have more accountants than I have nurses.’ It’s a disaster. My patients are beside themselves. They had a plan that was good. They have no plan now.”

Concerns for the white working class

In a speech given at one of his wife’s fundraisers in Canton, Ohio, last year — and released by WikiLeaks — Mr. Clinton expressed disappointment that the most recent Democratic primary debate hadn’t a single mention of the fact that “84 percent of the American people, after inflation, had not had a raise of 1 cent since the financial crash.”

“And in the middle of all this we learned, breathtakingly, that middle-aged, non-college-educated white Americans’ life expectancy is going down and is now lower than Hispanics, even though they make less money,” Mr. Clinton said. “And the gap between African-Americans and whites is closing, but unfortunately not because the death rate among African-Americans is dropping but because the death rate among white Americans is rising. Why? Because they don’t have anything to look forward to when they get up in the morning. Because their lives are sort of stuck in neutral.”

That’s the exact nerve Mr. Trump hit, which helped propel him to the White House.

“My message is that things have to change — and they have to change right now,” Mr. Trump said at the Republican National Convention during his nomination acceptance speech in July. “Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored and abandoned.

“I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals,” he said. “These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice.”

And four months later, he became the president-elect.

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