A presidential campaign puts the country through a rugged exam. It tests the candidates against each other, this year Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton.
It tests the parties, Republicans warning of what government can do to you versus Democrats purring of what government can do for you.
But America itself is also tested: What do we the people value? Where does the nation want to be heading?
Though Trump was my last choice in the GOP primaries, I believe he is the best choice for president against Hillary, unless you want a third term of Obama’s leftism. Maybe that’s what most voters do want, however. We’ll soon know.
Election 2016 presents us with five crucial decisions that will shape our future for decades to come. Will we choose dynamism or decline, survival or subjection, sovereignty or surrender? Are we determined to be free-thinking or thought-controlled, self-governed or servile?
We’ll answer these exam questions in voting for Trump and the more-conservative, more-constitutional, more-nationalist party, or for Clinton and the more-transformative, more-bureaucratic, more-globalist party. Here’s a look at each of the five:
(1) How urgently do we want relief from stagnant living standards that punish the middle class while the rich thrive?Obama’s anti-Main Street, pro-Wall Street policies, which Hillary embraces, grew the GDP at barely 1.5% a year. Reagan’s encouragement of free enterprise, closer to Trump’s approach, brought a rising tide for all boats at twice that rate. Democrats seek to con voters with “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"
(2) How alarmed are we about the global Islamic movement’s intent of conquering America through jihad and sharia? Orlando and San Bernardino have brought Muslim holy war from Paris and Brussels to a neighborhood near you. Hillary and the Dems, on whose watch ISIS metastasized, are desperate to distract us with gun control. Trump wants to pause immigration from high-risk countries while we get a grip. Another reason to be with him, not her.
(3) How much do we value our sovereign nationhood in the face of a silent invasion by foreigners contemptuous of our laws? The “fundamental transformation” leftists promised for America in 2008 has nowhere been more aggressive than in the millions pouring in from many lands to the detriment of our communities, our culture, public safety, and the rule of law. Trump has risen meteorically by saying “Enough.” Now the test is for us: to shrug or show some spine.
(4) How fed up are we with anti-American elites telling us what words are unspeakable and what thoughts are unthinkable? The decisive issues of peace and prosperity aren’t clear to voters unless the battle of ideas is fair. Political correctness, the shame game, the guilt racket, rig the battle in favor of our “betters” and against common sense. Rough-hewn as Donald Trump may be, he’s having none of it. Neither should we.
(5) What’s left of the “Don’t tread on me” spirit that once kept Americans from being herded like sheep by slanted media and corrupt politicians? This one is for all the marbles. I’m betting our fellow citizens know what the country needs — the dramatic right turn a Trump presidency would provide — and won’t be cowed from voting for him, no matter how the DC establishment howls. Join me in that bet.
I was there when Nixon was nominated against JFK in 1960. I was for Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1980. I was outside the Supreme Court the day they decided Bush v. Gore. None of it prepared me for this crazy year.
But now the story line is clear: Americans have realized we’re being had, and the favored candidate, Clinton, is neck deep in the big con. The underdog, Trump, stands for real hope and change. November 8 will test us all.