It’s the economy, stupid. And open borders. Plus, what seems to be a never-ending war in Ukraine, even as Americans suffer at home.
In last week’s Republican presidential debate, few of those on stage offered solutions to what poll after poll shows are the primary issues worrying the average voter. What they did prescribe was a repeat of the policies former President Trump enacted during his four years occupying the White House.
It raises the question: If you have the real deal, why vote for an imposter? Why support a return to the establishment Republican party, which relishes war, champions globalism and continually loses elections to a Democratic Party intent on destroying conservatism and the values many Americans hold dear?
Mr. Trump — despite his personality flaws — delivered more economic prosperity for the country in four years than the Obama-Biden administration did in eight.
He secured historic tax cuts while restoring American manufacturing by enacting or improving trade deals with Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan and others. He implemented a pro-energy agenda and far exceeded his promise to cut two government regulations for every one enacted.
The results were demonstrable. Real GDP in October 2020 — the month before the 2020 vote — rose 33.1%, nearly double the 70-year-old U.S. record as the economy rebounded from the COVID pandemic. For much of Mr. Trump‘s term, the economy saw massive increases in business, residential and inventory investment, as well as real wage and wealth gains for the poor and for Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans.
When Mr. Trump left office, gas prices were $2.38 a gallon, the inflation rate was 1.3%, and a 30-year-fixed mortgage interest rate was 2.77%.
No other GOP candidate on stage in Milwaukee last week can claim credit for those numbers — and, after two-plus years of “Bidenomics,” the American people are longing for those numbers once again.
It’s not just the economy. The Republican establishment decries Mr. Biden’s open-border policies — but only after Mr. Trump made border security a key tenet of his 2016 campaign. During his administration, Mr. Trump secured funding for 740 miles of southern border wall and doubled the length of the existing physical barrier. At the end of his tenure, the wall was going up at an average rate of two miles per day.
After Mr. Biden dismantled Mr. Trump’s policies in his first two years as president, the U.S. has seen more than 7.2 million illegal crossings.
So what did the newcomers to the Republican presidential contest offer to address the illegal immigration crisis? Once again, a return to Mr. Trump’s policies.
Looking farther abroad, voters see that during Mr. Trump’s presidency, there were no new wars.
Now, America is dealing with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, of which the U.S. has directed more than $113 billion in aid (with more promised). Moreover, U.S. munitions are being depleted, and the Biden administration hasn’t articulated what a Ukrainian victory would look like, let alone tried to negotiate a peace deal, even as casualties on both sides soar.
Yet no one on the Republican debate stage — with the exception of newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy — seems to have any problem with any of this. Nebulous, unconditional “support” for Ukraine must continue, the would-be GOP standard-bearers argue, just as the Republican establishment class of yore sought out and supported U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
Only Mr. Trump echoes the overarching sentiment of the GOP base — the Ukraine war must end, and compromises will have to be made. It’s time to put America first.
“I don’t think in terms of winning and losing. I think in terms of getting it settled,” Mr. Trump told CNN of the Ukraine war in May. “I want everybody to stop dying, they’re dying … and I’ll have that done in 24 hours.”
The sky didn’t fall when Mr. Trump moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem when he exited the Iranian nuclear deal or pulled away from the Paris Climate Accords. Mr. Trump ran on defeating the Islamic State caliphate, and as president, he decimated their stronghold. Against all conventional logic, Mr. Trump made a major breakthrough in ending Israel’s regional isolation with the Abraham Accords, which despite Mr. Biden’s best efforts, are still going strong.
No one on the Republican stage could say the same – not even former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who likes to claim credit for Mr. Trump’s foreign policy wins.
That’s why Mr. Trump doesn’t need to attend the Republican primary debates: He — and he alone — already has a record that speaks for itself.
- Kelly Sadler is the commentary editor at The Washington Times.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX News and is published from a syndicated feed.)