A couple of months before the 2016 election, and in the crucible of then-candidate Donald Trump’s contretemps with a Muslim Gold Star family, I wrote a piece headlined “Five Reasons a Sane Person Might Still Vote for Trump.”
Here we are, a year into the Trump presidency, and those five reasons still explain why I would again vote for President Trump. He is on the right side of these critical issues and is actually moving forward on promises he made on the campaign trail. That is rare.
One: The economy. Even his critics have acknowledged that President Trump’s economic agenda has unleashed the animal spirits of American capitalism. An acceleration in growth, continued job gains and a booming stock market are the direct results of the GOP tax cuts and the president’s rollback of excessive red tape.
Federal agencies have withdrawn or delayed 1,579 planned regulatory actions. Rules already rescinded – impacting restaurants, communications companies, power plants, finance, health care, oil drilling and many other sectors – are estimated by the White House to be saving nearly $600 million annually. That number is sure to grow.
Businesses are celebrating the loosening of red tape and the GOP tax reform law, which reduced corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent. CEOs of more than 170 large and small firms across the country have promised one-time bonuses or pay hikes to more than 2 million workers. Some have also announced beefed-up capital spending plans. This was the aim of the GOP tax bill; this immediate outpouring of benefits has exceeded expectations.
The Trump agenda has boosted business optimism, which has led to an upturn in capital investment. Spending by companies, which had been flat during most of the Obama era, grew 6.2 percent in the first three quarters of last year. As even the unfriendly New York Times has reported, increased capital spending is linked to rising productivity, which is essential to higher wages.
Two: ObamaCare. Democrats have fallen in love with ObamaCare now that the GOP has to manage it. In reality, while the health-care law has made insurance accessible to millions who could not afford it otherwise, middle-class Americans are increasingly finding that health care coverage is unaffordable.
The Obama administration front-loaded the law, in part by offering generous subsidies to insurance companies to tamp down premiums, but the country is now feeling the real impact of President Obama’s legacy legislation. President Obama’s promise that his legislation "will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year" did not materialize.
Notably, ObamaCare did not rein in the steady increase in health-care costs. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that last year the average worker paid $5,714 for a family health-insurance plan – 30 percent of the total $18,764 cost. Five years earlier a family shelled out $4,316, or 27 percent of the total $15,745 cost on average. Bottom line: health-care costs have continued to rise faster than incomes.
Republicans have struggled to repeal and replace ObamaCare. By eliminating the individual mandate they have now begun to dismantle its financial superstructure. This will pressure legislators to come up with new ideas to actually save people money – like turning more of the system over to the states, and reforming Medicaid.
Democrats know the current system is unsustainable; their answer is to double down and give the government an even greater role. That is exactly the wrong approach. I count on the Trump White House and Republicans in Congress to pursue free-market solutions that could meaningfully alter the trajectory of spending.
Three: Education. When explaining to my liberal friends why I could not vote for Hillary Clinton, I often cited her opposition to charter schools. That often shut down the conversation. Being in bed with the teacher unions, who routinely shell out millions for Democratic candidates and work to turn out the vote, means standing by the status quo in our public education system. That system that is failing our children, and especially our children of color. That is the grossest liberal hypocrisy.
High school is supposed to prepare kids for college. In 2016, ACT results indicate that just 38 percent of students who took the test were “college ready” in at least three out of the four subjects included: math, science, reading and English. That’s an appalling statistic, and only covers the 64 percent of the country’s young people – presumably the most able – who took the test. That’s not good enough.
President Trump appointed Betsy DeVos, a champion of school choice, to head the Education Department – signaling that his White House would challenge the unions’ grip on our bloated education system. Secretary DeVos has been subjected to the vilest hate campaign, mainly because she has been willing to spend millions of her own dollars searching for alternatives that might give low-income and minority children a leg up. Upward mobility, which Democrats pretend to care about, starts with a decent education.
Four: The Supreme Court. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia imperiled the moderate balance of the Supreme Court. For conservatives alarmed by President Obama’s overreach and the leftward drift of judges placed in lower courts over the past eight years, the appointment of a conservative on the court was essential. Neil Gorsuch was a brilliant choice. It is highly likely that another opening will occur in the next few years. We look to the Trump White House to again choose a capable and responsible candidate.
Five: Dissatisfaction with government. Under President Obama, Americans became increasingly dissatisfied with the performance of the federal government. No wonder. Because of
massive regulations, increased bloat and intrusions of every sort, public satisfaction with the way the U.S. is being governed fell from an all-time high of 59 percent in 2002 to 33 percent in 2016 near the end of President Obama’s second term, according to a Gallup Poll. It has since fallen further, to 28 percent last September.
State and local governments fared better in the Gallup Poll. Indeed, in 2016, 62 percent of Americans said they trust state government to handle problems and 71 percent said they trust local government to handle problems.
The Trump agenda includes sending more power back to the states. This makes sense on so many levels, but Democrats love federal control. We have not seen much follow-through on this notion; we hope it will influence policy more visibly in the years to come.
These are all critical issues. President Trump is on the right side of every one. Would I vote for him again? In a heartbeat.