Last Saturday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Donald Trump gave a historic speech laying out his Contract with the American Voter.
Trump’s contract is an impressive document--a 100 day action plan for restoring a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. That is why he introduced it at Gettysburg, where Lincoln resolved to save the union on behalf of the same cause.
The Trump Contract with the American Voter might be the most serious proposal to end Washington corruption ever made by a candidate for president. It also includes seven actions to protect American workers, five actions to restore our security and our rule of law, and ten legislative proposals to be introduced in Congress on his first day in office.
Just as important as the proposals themselves is that with his contract, Donald Trump is asking the voters to hold him accountable. He’s not merely offering an eight point plan for his campaign website, to be quickly forgotten when he gets into office. He’s offering voters a contract that tells them exactly how he will govern if elected president.
That was the key to the Contract with America when Republicans won in 1994. It wasn’t about our personalities. It was about telling the voters exactly what we were going to do, and inviting them to fire us in two years if we didn’t.
Once we won, the explicit commitments we’d made in the Contract with America were the key to actually getting it done. In this sense, it was a management document for the Republicans in Congress as much as it was a campaign document. We really had made a Contract with America.
We were compelled to introduce and fight hard to pass the legislation, because we knew the voters would hold us accountable if we didn’t--just as we’d told them they should. And so that’s what we did. It led to historic achievements including welfare reform, four straight balanced budgets, and the largest capital-gains tax cut in American history.
In his Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter, he has made the same kind of commitment. He’s told voters clearly what he will do if elected president, and invited us to hold him accountable if he doesn’t. That alone is a historic step for a presidential candidate.
In the first and most important section of the Contract, he outlines a specific plan to clean up the corruption of our political system and rein in our sprawling federal bureaucracy. These measures include a Constitutional amendment to put term limits on members of Congress (echoing the Contract with America), a hiring freeze on non-essential federal employees to cut the size of government, a “one in, two out” rule that would require two federal regulations to be eliminated for every new one, and a host of new ethics rules to stop the revolving door and limit the corrupting influence of foreign money on our system.
Trump’s Contract with the American Voter should also alleviate any concern among traditional Republicans that their party’s candidate is somehow not Republican enough. The provisions in the Trump Contract would reduce the size and scope of government as much as any president in our lifetimes, including Ronald Reagan. Its ethics reforms and bureaucracy-cutting measures would significantly reduce the power of the executive branch Trump seeks to lead. And they would help restore accountability and honesty to government once again.
It in addition, the Trump Contract would strengthen the American military, restore law and order, adopt pro-growth economic policies, secure the border, guarantee school choice for all, and put Justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. No principled Republican could support Hillary Clinton over a candidate who has made such clear commitments.
As Trump made clear a speech in Charlotte this week, the Trump Contract also represents what he called “a new deal for black America.” This too is historic. Trump’s promises of universal school choice starting with the least well off would alone transform opportunity for African Americans who have been so poorly served by the Democrats under the Obama administration.
Newt Gingrich, a Republican, was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. He is the author of the new novel "Treason" (Center Street, October 11) and co-author, with his wife Callista Gingrich, of "Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation's History and Future" (Center Street, May 17, 2016).