Early last year, I wrote an oped for Fox News about the “forgotten Americans” and the fact that they were getting involved once again in the political process.
The term “forgotten Americans,” actually originated with late President Richard M. Nixon. Before he called them the “silent majority,” Nixon called them the forgotten Americans.
Well, in 2016 the forgotten Americans stayed involved in the process and came out to vote in record numbers in Rust Belt states and in rural America. Because of them, America has its second true populist President since Andrew Jackson and the forgotten Americans have a commander in chief they can call their president.
After the holidays, my wife and I were driving back to Washington, D.C., through rural Eastern North Carolina.
The forgotten Americans love their country, but today they believe their government and its leaders have let them down.
We went through town after town with closed up shops and stores. We saw homes and trailers in need of repair. We saw small businesses that looked like they were barely open, and we saw schools that were falling in.
There is something else, though, we saw along the way. We saw Trump sign after Trump sign in front of the little stores, trailers and homes that still showed the damage from Hurricane Matthew.
Eastern North Carolina is the place where Donald Trump received a huge “over vote” that propelled him to victory in North Carolina. It is also the place, like so many others in America, where the forgotten Americans live.
As we continued to drive through rural Eastern North Carolina and saw more homes and businesses still with Trump signs out front, my wife looked at me and said, “He can’t let these people down.”
My wife is right. Besides keeping America safe, our new president’s greatest priority must be to rebuild the economy in rural America and in our Rust Belt states. He must show them that we will have a new America that does not leave them behind.
The forgotten Americans love their families and want a better life for their kids. The forgotten Americans work hard – they weren’t born on third base and thought they hit a triple. They worship their God and they go to church. They pay their taxes and obey the law.
Yes, the forgotten Americans love their country, but today they believe their government and its leaders have let them down.
Something is wrong and the forgotten Americans know it. They see the America they love slipping away and worry about their children’s future in an America with less freedom and opportunity.
The forgotten Americans really aren’t political, but in 2016 they got involved in the political process like never before. Many of them saw it as the last opportunity to save the America they once knew.
Fortunately, two of President Trump’s most important and best appointments show that he understands the need to build the American economy in rural America and the Rust Belt and to give hope to the forgotten Americans of a better future and way of life for them and their families.
Make no mistake, the appointments of Wilbur Ross to be Secretary of Commerce and Dr. Peter Navarro to be Director of the National Trade Council, are two of the Trump administration’s best appointments.
Ask anyone who knows them and you’ll find that both of these men care about America’s working class and understand the importance of creating real jobs for the American worker at the outset of the Trump Administration.
For years, Wilbur Ross has been known as a man who would go into economically depressed areas of America and buy distressed companies and even some in bankruptcy, and then turn them around to save and create thousands of American jobs. Not surprisingly, he often had the support of union workers.
Peter Navarro is a noted economist, whose book "Death by China" shows a keen understanding of the real threat that China poses to the American economy and worker. A former U.S. Peace Corps worker, Navarro has a passion for helping people.
President Trump could not have made two better appointments than Ross and Navarro for rebuilding the economy for the forgotten Americans.
As President Trump’s “Economic Team” moves forward, they will hopefully be guided by the understanding that America doesn’t need “Wall Street Capitalism.”
What America needs, as so eloquently described and coined by economic strategist, David Smick, is “Main Street Capitalism,” that can create an economy and jobs for all the American people.
The forgotten Americans have given the Republican Party one more chance to get it right.
They have their president in Donald Trump.
Trump and the Republican leadership must hear their voices and rebuild an America that will enable the forgotten Americans to provide for their families and build a better future.
Van D. Hipp, Jr. is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army. He is the author of the newly released book, "The New Terrorism: How to Fight It and Defeat It." All of the author's proceeds go to the National Guard Educational Foundation to fund scholarships for children of fallen Guardsmen. www.thenewterrorism.com Follow him on Twitter @VanHipp.