Along with my fellow board members of the Harvard Republican Club, I long wrestled with the prospect of Donald Trump receiving the nomination and potentially winning the presidency. The club’s decision not to endorse him stems from a party-wide hope to regroup and retake the Oval Office in four years’ time, under the pretense that Republicanism would be damaged by a Trump administration. But it is my contention that Donald Trump possesses presidential attributes and ideals that appeal not only to Republicans, but also to everyone honored to dwell in this country.
In 1775, Founding Father Patrick Henry declared, “There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” Trump actively gathers support by reawakening a sense of pride in the identity each of us has as an American. Firm and bold promises regarding border security, military prestige, financial supremacy, and the preservation of capitalism strike a deep and patriotic chord with their connotation of national strength. Trump’s advocacy for American greatness does not signify a lack of compassion for foreigners, but rather is a reply to an erosion of our foundations, embodied by tendencies toward entangling political correctness, dangerous diplomacy, and socialistic infringement on the American Dream. His condemnation of Hillary Clinton’s wish to impose more taxes on the wealthy while reducing the incentive for welfare recipients to rise above unemployment stems from trust in the aptitude and desire of all Americans to diligently meet the needs of themselves and those dependent upon them.
As a Christian and a conservative, I am not alone in questioning Trump’s views on certain social matters, but I am confident that he will not allow a reckless desire for change—or a selfish mission to preserve his image—to bypass due process or to silence members of either party. I admire his faith in citizens’ capacity to wield the Second Amendment in an empowering manner. I echo his message of entrepreneurship applied toward providing for oneself and one’s family. And I commend his efforts to engage with the underrepresented—note his frustration at a rally in Colorado, when event coordinators, to avoid a fire hazard, denied admission to many supporters. He is repelled by the prospect of leaving any listeners on the outside looking in.
Some are quick to mention Trump’s fluctuating stances. For instance, a segment in the recent debate dealt with whether he had initially opposed the Iraq war. Through allegations and controversy, his campaign has unwaveringly demonstrated support for our military, confirming his steadfast loyalty to those like my father who have served and continue to serve our nation. In hindsight it is easy to deem past decisions regrettable, but it is unfair to criticize them solely on this premise, and instead we must focus on using the wisdom that history offers for the present. In further response to critics, contemplate the hypocrisy of current Clinton ads, which speak of her desire to give “every man, woman, and child the chance to live up to their God-given potential,” despite her readiness to dismiss the unfulfilled potential of the unborn, evidenced by unprecedented proposals for abortion.
It’s true that Trump lacks political experience, but one individual’s shortage of experience has rarely doomed any endeavor. Consider President Eisenhower, who with a non-political background settled the Suez Canal crisis, signed the 1957 Civil Rights Act, and established the Interstate Highway System. Hope unfailingly rests on appointing seasoned advisors, and in turn to wisely weigh their counsel. It is chosen individuals such as Governor Pence—those undeniably informed in the political sphere—who will sharpen Trump’s understanding.
Weeks ago, Trump’s rhetoric involved Clinton’s escape from federal prosecution in the wake of her email scandal, generating legitimate concern about the Democrats’ integrity in upholding Constitutionality equally in all cases. Later, he focused on the Democratic Party’s ineffectiveness in combating racial tensions despite an ever-increasing influx of funding in intercity communities. He has noted Clinton’s lack of vigilance, as witnessed by her role in the overly concessive nuclear deal with Iran, whose leader has openly spoken for “death to America”—in fact, sanctions were lifted prematurely last week from two Iranian banks that had supported Iran’s ballistic missile program. In what he has said and written, his attacks have centered on Clinton’s tangible failure (or on matters that would induce failure). Moreover, though she is not to be blamed for shortfalls of President Obama’s domestic policy, the role of any new candidate is to put forth solutions to problems left by his or her predecessor. With Clinton, we instead see a disappointing absence of ideas to remedy the more than $19 trillion national debt and to alleviate racial unrest, and a refusal to recognize the downfalls of the Affordable Health Care Act.
In a scenario where the vote will most pivotally shape our course, I urge all who will listen not to dismiss their qualms about Donald Trump, but foremost to genuinely consider his merits and the capacity he has to admirably serve the United States.
Alexander J. Cullen ’18, the secretary of the Harvard Republican Club, is a biomedical engineering concentrator living in Leverett House. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Harvard Republican Club.
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