- - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan, for whom we each worked and ardently supported because of his consistent, thoughtful, effective and eloquent conservatism. But Donald Trump is his own success story, and an American patriot committed to making America great again.

Hillary Clinton would only continue Barack Obama’s failed foreign and defense policies, as well as his Keynesian economic theorems that have proven dead wrong. Obamanomics failed because it consistently adopted the opposite of everything that Reagan did, and so got opposite results: the worst economic recovery from a recession since the Great Depression. Plus, it has resulted in soaring poverty (nearly 50 million Americans), declining middle-class wages and incomes, and skyrocketing inequality, Mr. Obama’s rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding.

America simply cannot endure another four years like the eight we’ve just experienced. Add the reality of as many as four Supreme Court appointments that will shape the court for the next quarter-century, and conservatives must help elect Mr. Trump. (His just-released list of potential Supreme Court appointees is very reassuring). Those toying with “third party” candidates are apparently willing to split the Republican-conservative vote, elect the Democratic nominee, and corrupt the judiciary.

Mr. Trump’s recent meetings with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders augur well. As Mr. Trump pivots to the general election he must demonstrate to millions of Americans that his command of the range of issues facing our nation is solid and his policies will cure the nation’s ills.

The Republican candidate’s competence will be demonstrated as he simply steeps himself in the issues and policies that will make thoughtful voters realize he is knowledgeable and on target. His tremendous success in business obviously confirms that he is very bright, a quick study and very discerning, so this will come naturally.

Fortunately, a policy “road map,” or Republican agenda, is currently being developed by Mr. Ryan and his House team — aided by many of us from outside think tanks, policy and grass-roots groups, including the National Tax Limitation Committee, Heartland Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Tax Reform and others. That consists of six working groups focused on the following issues:

• Reform taxes to stimulate rapid economic growth and job creation, with even lower rates than under Reagan (by restoring 4 percent economic growth — Reagan achieved 5 percent — our economy will double every 17 years).

• Grow America’s energy industry through deregulation, liberating the private sector to make America the world’s No. 1 producer of oil, natural gas and coal (reversing the Obama-Hillary genocide of mineworker jobs).

• Repeal and replace Obamacare with patient power, consumer choice, free-market competition medicine.

• Attack poverty and dependency by sending “safety net” programs back to the states with finite block grants and work requirements, as in the fabulously successful 1996 “Reagan-style” welfare reforms (making deep cuts in dependency and federal social spending).

• Stop executive overreach and invasion of Congress’ legislative authority, restoring separation of powers and the rule of law (terminating Mr. Obama’s “I have a pen and a phone” substitute for congressional action and authority).

• Rebuild Reagan’s “peace through strength” national defense, which won the Cold War without firing a shot.

The policies and programs that emerge from this process will be a de facto second Contract with America, facilitating unification between Mr. Trump, Mr. Ryan and other Republican leaders as well as grass-roots conservatives. Mr. Trump recently hired as his chief domestic policy director a solid “movement” conservative with years of Capitol Hill experience, who joins several strong conservative intellectuals also advising Mr. Trump: Newt Gingrich, Larry Kudlow, Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Jeff Sessions. Fellow billionaire Carl Icahn has become a strong adviser and advocate for reforming America’s punitive corporate tax code, which is driving companies and jobs offshore.

It will be exciting to watch as the traditional conservative wing of the Republican Party is united with the populist-Tea Party wing led by Mr. Trump. This is a goal anticipated by Mr. Ryan following his meeting with Mr. Trump. This expanded Republican voter base might include some Bernie Sanders voters, 40 percent of whom have said in exit polls that they prefer Donald over Hillary. Ben Carson and Alveda King just might make inroads into the black vote, as well.

This can become a team effort in which harmony is achieved with everyone singing off the same sheet. The right policies and programs advanced in civil discourse by a united conservative team can carry the day and make America great again.

Lewis Uhler is founder and president of the National Tax Limitation Committee and the National Tax Limitation Foundation. Peter Ferrara is senior fellow and policy adviser for budget and entitlement policy for the foundation and the Heartland Institute.

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