Is Donald Trump A Blue Collar Conservative? (Part 2 of 5)

BCC Trump question mark title

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Trump’s signature focus has been on immigration and how it has hurt American jobs and wages and that economic policies here have sent American manufacturers packing to Mexico and China. He’s called for an aggressive approach to illegal, and to a lesser degree, legal immigration, and is roundly credited for being the first and only one in this race to address the problem of immigration in this light and vows to bring manufacturing back to American shores like no other. It’s going to be like, legendary HUGE. He’s going to make America great again by having America make things again. And it’s all Trump’s own ideas and policies that will accomplish this. He was the FIRST one to talk like this. At least that’s what the media, ALL media, tell us. Hmmm.  I. Don’t. Think. So.

Let’s step back again in time to the Summer of 2014, way pre-Trump, when Rick Santorum first pointed out that immigration was having a devastating impact on American jobs and wages due to illegal immigration and the masses of people coming into this country legally as well.  At The Family Leadership Summit in Iowa in August 2014, Santorum threw down the gauntlet on immigration policy, delivering a poignant and passionate boatrocker message how out of touch the GOP had become over the years for singularly focusing immigration policy on achieving some form of amnesty to meet the demands of big business owners seeking cheap foreign labor to bump up their profits and how Democrats push for amnesty to reclaim power via a guaranteed voter base.  His message was a follow up to his Tour de Force at CPAC months earlier, shaking up a stale and tone deaf Republican Party and chastising them to refocus message and policies on the 90% of Americans who aren’t business owners and work for others for a living.  It was a total departure from the boilerplate fare routinely served up at conservative political venues like this, a truly bold move by Santorum to blaze a new trail forward to not only unite the Republican Party but actually make a connection to voters who have divorced themselves from an abusive and negligent Democrat Party.

 

 From Breitbart News  March 7, 2014:

Rick Santorum Goes Populist at CPAC: ‘Do We Really Accept There Are Classes in America?’

“The speech was a surprising one. It served to distinguish Santorum from the rest of the amorphous pack of Republicans who may or may not resurface in 2016.    Santorum might not be holding public office right now or showing up strongly in polls, but he remains the runner-up to Mitt Romney in 2012, and that position    always carries weight in the Republican Party. He is also offering voters something no Republican is offering: a sensibility for the proletariat, a soft spot for the poor, and a desire to engage in the economic debate that other Republicans deem “class warfare.” Santorum might be calling for the abandonment of a “leftist” language, but he is speaking Democrat in economics, and doing so in a way that makes him unique in the field. “

 

Despite a national media blackout, Santorum’s message caught the attention of two major American worker focused  immigration organizations, NumbersUSA  and VDare, both who lauded him for raising the bar on the immigration debate with his unique pro-worker, pro-growth immigration policy putting Americans, not immigrants first.  For over a year leading up to and in the midst of the primaries, Rick Santorum had the lone “A” grade on the NumbersUSA immigration scorecard for presidential candidates with the next closest grade a “C” by Scott Walker who did a hasty 180 on his pro amnesty plan to mimic Santorum’s policies and succeeded in bumping up his grade to a “B” and then an “A-” with Trump later following suit. Currently, Ted Cruz is under fire for his own immigration on steroids policy, exposed on the campaign trail by Santorum, and he likely will do a major flip flop to bump up his own immigration score to mirror Santorum’s. Clearly a cut and dried case of political Follow the Leader here. The national media, conservative talk hosts, and bloggers have only covered Walker and Trump and as they received praises for bumping up their initially dismal grades on the immigration scorecard. Conveniently omitted was any mention of Santorum and his rock solid steady “A.”  Watch for Cruz to receive major praise when he no doubt undergoes his extreme makeover on this hot button issue now driving this election. It’s coming, folks. You just know it is.

Most of you likely heard nary a word about Rick Santorum on this because he’s the main target of the Republican establishment effort to blackball him for the 2016 presidential race. (More about this in an upcoming blog.)  He is routinely the only speaker left out of media coverage of CPAC and other major political speaking venues, so it was low hanging fruit for Trump to swoop in and make off with Santorum’s message and policies as his own.  Imagine Santorum’s surprise to hear HIS message, issues, and policies delivered, at times near verbatim, by Trump and Walker at the Iowa Freedom Summit this past January, the first official candidate forum of the 2016 race.  Santorum’s own speech, centered around the premise of his book, was a serious and mature conversation with the audience, substantive in the depth and breadth of major issues this election needs to be framed around if we are to win in 2016 and actually unite and restore our fragile and fragmented Republic. No pie-in-the-sky promises or rhetoric, just a meaty, realistic assessment of the political landscape focused through a new lens.  In contrast, Trump and Walker hit the stage using much of Santorum’s blue collar message as hollow talking points in aggressive pre-campaign stump speeches chumming the audience for cheers and those coveted standing O’s for good PR purposes.  Along with Trump’s long established tabloidish celebrity came all the obligatory cameras and media, and it was he who succeeded in suctioning all the attention and shortly thereafter was crowned a blue collar champion the likes we’ve not seen since Reagan. Walker rode this new blue collar message to soaring heights for a time as well but it took the media megaphone of Rush Limbaugh to get him there. Trump being Trump, however, was carried to the top by a gold-plated, media drawn carriage.

 

With bombastic flare and bloody em up verbal jabs at his GOP rivals, Trump has muscled his way to record poll numbers and continues to hold his grip on the hopes and imaginations of supporters who want a browbeater in charge. Donald Trump is the Biff Tannen of the 2016 election. Remember the bully in Back to the Future? He’s that guy, only he’s smarter because he has some big, albeit stolen, ideas and people actually seem to like him, or should I say like what he says and how he says it.

Without Santorum’s issues and policies as the framework of his campaign, Trump would just be a big mouth bully grasping wildly for some issue that might just stick with the same moderates he appealed to on behalf of Romney in 2012 or trying to commandeer the angry Tea Party title away from Ted Cruz and others running on anti-government issues. He’d likely be jostling for a place somewhere in the debates with much the same message as Jeb Bush or he might actually be backing Bush instead. It was Santorum’s blue collar message and policy prescriptions Trump latched on to that spurred him to throw his hat in the presidential primary ring. If you’ve seen the original text of Trump’s planned announcement speech it reads like a combination of the Table of Contents from Santorum’s book and his speeches minus the moral fiber of faith and family. Make no mistake, Trump’s campaign to “Make America Great Again” is NOT  a family values campaign although Trump has recently taken to buttering up Christian voters with a now routine show and tell of his grandmother’s Bible and boasting about the quantity of Bibles he has in his home. Trump opted to ditch reading the original speech, and sans a disciplined outline, he detoured in a good deal of confusing albeit entertaining squirrel chasing throughout his tortuous near hour long diatribe against the Republican Party and Obama, peppered here and there with the same braggadocio we’ve all come to expect from Trump any and every time he’s in the media spotlight.

I’ve spoken to a number of people who like what Trump says but don’t really like or trust him.  I hear it frequently on talk radio and elsewhere in the media too. His history of supporting liberals, his character flaws and personal and professional failings, and his arrogance that eclipses even Obama’s all send up red flags for many who support him or are willing to support him because he says what they want to hear. Most are also a bit concerned that Trump doesn’t give details about his newfound policy prescriptions and how he will actually achieve them.

Maybe they don’t care where or from whom Trump got his campaign mojo, just that the message is out there now and he successfully recast himself the red baseball capped messenger. I’ve heard this from people I’ve enlightened about Trump’s hijacking of Santorum’s message.  Reality is, it’s actually Santorum’s message and policies they like, not Trump’s. But the more Trump detracts from and embellishes the original talking points he pilfered from Santorum with some of his own fantastical ideas and hints of imperial ambition, the further away he gets from reality and credibility of offering serious and doable solutions to the critical problems we face with our nation on the brink of collapse. This I do know; if Santorum had even a fraction of the media attention Trump has gotten so he can share his policies in depth, I am confident we’d have a very different race going on right now. Santorum does not have the personal baggage and trust deficit that are problematic for Trump, and his successful record and credibility on the issues of this election are indisputable. On rare occasions, Santorum is tossed media table scrap three minute bits of airtime which in no way affords him the opportunity to communicate his message with viewers who see and hear the other candidates, namely Trump, on a weekly if not daily basis on those same shows. So much for fair and balanced.

Go to Part 3