10 Nov

Let’s Give Political Peace a Chance

Much like Reagan, Trump can bring the American people together in pursuit of more freedom, less government

by Mari Maseng Will | Updated 10 Nov 2016 at 8:04 AM

In conceding defeat Wednesday, Hillary Clinton gracefully urged her supporters to give Trump a chance. In accepting victory, President-Elect Trump pledged to be the president of all the people and “bind the wounds of division.” Here’s to giving peace a chance.

Donald Trump supporters delivered increased Republican control from state legislatures to the Congress to the White House — an aggregation of power not seen since the early part of the last century. Even the Reagan landslide in 1980 was not as significant. And it appears that the coalition which elected Trump consists largely of the same people who elected Reagan, just in their 21st century incarnation.

Government has a chance to get smaller. Freedom has a chance to get bigger. Regulations will come off and the entrepreneurship that is the engine of America prosperity can rebound in the fresh air of opportunity.

Working people, religious people, small-business owners; those who believe in American exceptionalism, peace through strength, and who yearn for a return to domestic law and order — these are the people who propelled Donald Trump’s victory. The glue of this coalition of populists, evangelicals, social conservatives, and economic conservatives is a shared feeling that political elites neither like, respect, or understand them, and that time is running out if we are to wrest away power before they ruin the last great hope on earth.

Although President-Elect Trump is perhaps the antithesis of the happy, skilled communicator Ronald Reagan was, he has hinted that his worldview is not that different.


Trump’s appeal has been based on crude but clear rejection of the progressive march toward a government run by executive fiat, nursing what elites consider an incompetent, slothful, and culturally backward citizenry. What else could Hillary’s “basket of deplorables” mean? Voters understood exactly.

A similar disdain dripped from Jimmy Carter’s attribution of U.S. woes to an American people mired in an epidemic of “malaise.”

Neither Carter nor Obama nor Hillary have the capacity to consider that the greatest nation in the world was and is suffering from policies corrosive to freedom, self-reliance, and trust in God — foundations of our historic prosperity. If there was hate in this election, it was the hate on the Left for our foundational values.

Thankfully the American Alt-Left is still a small, if powerful, minority in America. It was so when it supported Communism in the 1950s, during the debacle of the 60s, and when it mocked Reagan as a dangerous simpleton throughout his presidency.

In the ’80s, the American people were quick to learn to decode the press coverage of Ronald Reagan. If you tracked their views on a weekly basis, as we did in the Reagan White House, it was clear that the people learned to ignore headlines and analysis masquerading as news, focusing only on his direct quotes. If they agreed with the words in quotes, they supported him. Today, most members of the media no longer see themselves as objective purveyors of news. They, for the most part, are joined in common cause with the left wing of the Democrat Party. Abraham Lincoln could have debated Hillary Clinton and lost.

Although Reagan brought about the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and spelled out his vision for a series of ever-expanding regional free trade pacts, he also responded to political pressure to put limits on Japanese car imports and protect the steel industry. While he liberated Grenada, he withdrew our troops from Lebanon after learning a lesson soaked in American blood.

We have only glimmers of Donald Trump’s policy parameters, but wanting to get a “better deal” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and limiting American interventions abroad may not be so different from what Reagan would advocate.

Trump’s sweeping election victory makes possible the elimination of even the memory of the authoritarian presidency of Obama as we go about our daily lives. We can get rid of Obamacare. The EPA could well become a shadow of itself, the Keystone pipeline will be built, American energy independence could become a fact, and the hundreds of thousands of workers still hanging on to their jobs in the fossil fuel industry can wake up from the nightmare of living under a government which despised them.

Government has a chance to get smaller. Freedom has a chance to get bigger. Regulations will come off and the entrepreneurship that is the engine of America prosperity can rebound in the fresh air of opportunity.

Writing about coming together after the Civil War, Woodrow Wilson called attention to the winning argument, which was “to fight for the abiding peace, concord and strength of a great nation.” We have God to thank for America’s founding and should take up Wilson’s words as our prayer going forward. Peace in our Republican Party. Concord in our nation. Let’s give it a chance.

Mari Maseng Will served in the Reagan White House as director of communications, presidential speechwriter, and director of public liaison. During her Washington career, she served as press secretary or communications director for both Bob and Elizabeth Dole — during his presidential campaigns and her tenure at the Department of Transportation and the American Red Cross.


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