There is one overarching message from this campaign season: Republican voters are sick of being betrayed. They are sick of the fact, as reflected by the Conservative Review scorecard, that only a handful of Republican members fulfill their campaign rhetoric and actually fight for us on the important issues upon assumption of office.
As someone who has fought every major legislative battle since Republicans took over the House in 2010, I can tell you these political foxholes are pretty lonely. We tend to know everyone who was down for the struggle when it mattered. Nowhere was this foxhole lonelier than during the pitched battle against Obama’s war on American sovereignty.
As a veteran activist of the 2006-2007 amnesty fight—the fight that inspired me to dedicate my career to politics professionally—I was alarmed that in 2013, when Rubio and the boys were promoting Obama’s amnesty bill, there was no staunch opposition to be seen or heard from. We lost much of our coalition from the previous decade and so many people had been bought out by the open borders cartel. Even talk radio, outside of a few perceptive ones like Mark Levin, was slow to understand what was happening. We were pulling our hair out waiting for the reinforcements to arrive and help us expose the danger of this bill. It was around this time of the year when the Gang of Eight was forging the deal and nobody in the Senate other than Sessions, Cruz, and Vitter could be found fighting it.
This begs the question: Where the hell was Donald Trump’s aggressive voice and impervious persona when we needed him on this fight or any other political battle? We are not talking about ancient history here; this was three years ago. If his passionate words about our sovereignty are to be taken at face value, it’s hard to explain his silence at the time. In fact, a few months later, after the bill had passed the Senate and gained full momentum, Trump was actually pimping the Dream Act and mimicking Rubio’s talking points. As this Buzzfeed article notes:
‘You know, the truth is I have a lot of illegals working for me in Miami,’ he told them, using the term for undocumented immigrants those in the meeting found offensive. ‘You know in Miami, my golf course is tended by all these Hispanics — if it wasn’t for them my lawn wouldn’t be the lawn it is; it’s the best lawn,’ Pacheco recalled Trump saying.
Trump said he knew the work of undocumented people is what makes his golf courses and hotels great.
‘At the end of the day, what we’re looking at is a value proposition for America,’ Tijerino said to Trump at the end of the meeting, referring to immigration legislation.
‘You’ve convinced me,’ Trump said to the delight of the activists in the room. [Buzzfeed: 8/26/2015]
But it gets worse.
You want to know what was a really lonely foxhole? When Obama began illegally implementing his executive amnesty with the Morton Memos in June 2011 and the original DACA amnesty in the summer of 2012. By the time Obama went for the second round (DAPA) in November 2014, our hard work fighting the Gang of Eight had paid off and a critical mass of people were wondering if we still lived in a democratic republic or a monarchy. But it wasn’t always like that. At the time, I wrote a column noting how we were in a constitutional crisis and Obama must be stopped. Yet, Obama was able to expand upon the amnesty in the summer of 2012 – in middle of the presidential election! – and nobody within the party’s establishment wanted to even discuss it, much less make it the central issue of the campaign. In fact, it was at that point that Marco Rubio punctuated Obama’s administrative Dream Act by introducing his own version codifying it into law.
During the summer of 2012 and the general election, Mitch McConnell refused to even discuss the issue and demurred to Mitt Romney because, “he is the leader of our party.” The thing is that Romney refused to make executive amnesty a campaign issue. He declined to even promise to overturn the illegal edict. He was completely mum when the Supreme Court, led by Kennedy and Roberts, sided with Obama in an egregious decision forcing Arizona to follow Obama’s illegal amnesty instead of congressional statutes.
In one of the most consequential and tragic mistakes ever made by the Republican Party, they diffidently joined with Obama and refused to fight him on amnesty. Yet, when Romney lost the election, they had the temerity to blame his loss on Romney’s phony lurch to the right on the issue during the primary. It was this sentiment that led to the two-year push for the Gang of Eight that destroyed our political capital and allowed Obama to irrevocably flood America with illegal aliens from Central America.
Yet, not only was Donald Trump’s belligerent voice absent in this fight, but he also echoed the very obnoxious sentiments promulgated by the worst elements of the GOP establishment. He blamed Mitt Romney for being too conservative on immigration:
‘Republicans didn’t have anything going for them with respect to Latinos and with respect to Asians,’ the billionaire developer says.
‘The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants, but what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it,’ Trump says. ‘They didn’t know what the policy was, but what they were is they were kind.’
Romney’s solution of ‘self deportation’ for illegal aliens made no sense and suggested that Republicans do not care about Hispanics in general, Trump says.
‘He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,’ Trump says. ‘It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote,’ Trump notes. ‘He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.’ [Interview with Ronald Kessler of Newsmax: 11/26/2012]
Isn’t it amazing how politically correct and establishmentarian Trump is when there is no personal political gain at stake?
The tragic irony of the present is that, despite Trump’s unprecedented jingoism, he is following Romney’s 2012 campaign playbook. He is suddenly running to the right on the issue in order to win the primary when, much like Romney, he was never fighting for us before he had a personal political stake in doing so. We know how that story ended. Sadly, when he inevitably loses or [if he wins] lurches back to the left, conservatives would be blamed for it – the same way he blamed Romney for being too conservative!
Last night, Trump appeared with Sean Hannity and defended his foxhole conversions on numerous issues. He said he has “evolved on many issues” just like Ronald Reagan. The problem with this comparison is that Reagan was serving as a robust voice for conservatives on the major issues of the time for decades before running for president. He was fighting communism as president of GE during the ‘50s. Sixteen years before running for president in 1980, Reagan delivered the landmark “Time for Choosing” speech at the Goldwater nominating convention. In sharp contrast, 16 years before running for president in 2016, Trump was on Meet the Press promoting every licentious liberal view under the sun, including partial birth abortion.
Moreover, when Reagan was a Democrat during the ‘30s, it wasn’t exactly like the Democratic Party of today. This ain’t your grandfather’s Democrat Party. And Reagan certainly wasn’t promoting the very talking points of Gerald Ford and the party establishment he sought to defeat just a few years prior to running.
What is so disappointing for most of us who have bled for the cause is that this is about America’s future more than any cult of personality. Trump likes to brag how he is the man who single-handedly shifted the focus to immigration. Imagine if he would have “seen the light” and “evolved” just a few years earlier when we actually could have nipped the irreversible damage in the bud?
We’ve had a number of Republicans stab us in the back, even after fighting for our causes during the early years of their careers. We’ve never had someone fight for us who had never demonstrated a desire to fight for our issues until it came time to win an election. If we are so gullible as to accept a charlatan after being betrayed by these very same establishment liars for so many years, we deserve the governance we get. It’s time for conservatives to overcome the excitement of fighting words, and remember the essential importance of fighting deeds.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.