It’s hard to keep up with all the labels.
According to the mainstream media, anyone who voted for Donald Trump is a hate-filled bigot who objectifies women, can’t stand immigrants, denies global warming, has no education, and earns less today than he did in 1999. He must be resentful that a black man occupies the White House today and apoplectic at the possibility that a woman might do the same thing.
That’s a lot to carry around… and it’s not who I am… even though I voted for Trump.
But my vote really wasn’t for the man. It was for the possibility that his candidacy represents, and the chance to end some policies that I think a President Clinton would have continued.
In a very real sense, I voted for Trump in spite of who he is.
I wasn’t giddy as I filled out my absentee ballot. I considered the choice for a long time.
Is it the candidate who has zero experience, doesn’t really put forth a policy statement of any kind, says reprehensible things, and brags about declaring bankruptcy, or the candidate who moves to a state she’s never lived in simply to capture a Senate seat on her way to the White House, uses her position to build personal wealth, and then operates as if the rules we all must live by don’t apply to her?
When it came to personal failings – bombastic navel-gazing compared with an elitist lust for power – neither one represented what I think of as an ideal presidential candidate. But, one of the two would be elected, so the choice remained.
And arguably, even if I loved how a candidate lived his or her life, that shouldn’t be the test for occupying the Oval Office. I should evaluate how the person will shape policy, both foreign and domestic, and how they will inform the judicial system through court appointments.
I’m a small-government guy. I want decisions handled at the lowest level of civil organization possible. This means allowing states to govern as they see fit, and taking the federal government out of the picture in most, but not all, instances…
We are all people, bound to make mistakes. The more decentralized we are, the less opportunity people have to collect undue power, and the more likely we are to find innovative solutions to the problems before us through experimentation at the state level.
I believe we’ve granted government agencies excessive power through regulatory interpretation, creating an expensive maze for businesses that eats up far more capital and time than its worth.
And I think our tax and healthcare systems are dreadful. We spend tens of billions of dollars simply trying to prepare our tax returns, and everyone knows the state of medical care.
The president can mold these things. Through agency appointments, court appointments, direction given to cabinet members, and consent with Congress, the president can sway decisions in these areas in ways that I believe will unleash innovation, get government off the backs of businesses, and provide a solid foundation for decades to come.
A Clinton administration would, as illustrated by her policies, continue down the path we’ve been on since her husband’s time in office. More government intervention, more spending on programs that are insolvent, and new programs such as free tuition that address symptoms, not causes.
It appears that her team believes that elected officials know more, and know better, than those who are governed, hence the reason for such extensive regulation and greater government programs.
I don’t agree.
Finally, there is the question of special-interest groups. Trump seems to have few, if any. Perhaps this freedom will give him the ability to go after programs that have strong popular support, like ending carried interest tax treatment for hedge funds and providing school choice for kids that seem to fade away once lobbyists get involved.
President Trump, with a slight conservative majority in Congress, might be able to address some of the issues we face. Or he might be so unpredictable as to become a lame duck before the end of his honeymoon.
No matter what he does, I don’t think his election success was because of the caustic and irresponsible things he said. I believe that many of the more than 60 million that voted Trump, like me, voted for him in spite of the bad. He was not my perfect candidate, but I’ve never seen that person on a ballot.
Even if he doesn’t succeed in reforming the tax code or codifying school choice, hopefully his win will inspire others to push for the highest office, renouncing the existing political machine and forging their own path.
In that way, his election is already a success, showing that such a thing is possible.
Follow me on Twitter @RJHSDent