Henry Olsen to GOP: Embrace Trump and His Issues ‘If You Want to Win’

Of course, no one’s saying Republicans — even insurgent Trump Republicans — didn’t have troubles in the mid-America primaries and the Ohio special congressional election of Aug. 7. While Trump-endorsed Republicans went 5-0, and the three far-left Democrats who had been endorsed and garnered personal appearances by Socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez all lost, the margins were tighter than they otherwise might have been — should have been — simply because Republicans managed lower primary voter turnout percentages than Democrats in Ohio, Kansas, and elsewhere.

So an objective, neutral mainstream press would have been justified in offering some “advice for November” to Republicans, as well as Democrats. (Unfortunately, we no longer have a “Mainstream Press” that even bothers to pretend to such neutrality. Nor can I tell you when we really ever did, since even when we were young we saw them knowingly cover for a John F. Kennedy with known health, drug, and fidelity problems. The playboy senator was lionized as the “handsome, witty young man playing touch football on the beach,” while his opponent Dick Nixon — no matinee idol, true, but surely better prepared for the intricacies of the Cold War — was widely portrayed as a rat climbing up out of the sewer. The only real change is that now it’s about 20 times worse.)

Problem is, precisely because The Associated Press (along with the major TV networks, the Pravda-on-the-Hudson Times, the Izvestia-on-the-Potomac Post, etc.) are still all-in for the “Russian Collusion” fable, still 24/7 “Never Trump,” the so-called “advice” they have to offer Republicans — try to steer well clear of Trump the Demented Oaf — is 180 degrees wrong.

Read “Path to Power,” the first installment of Robert Caro’s mighty biography of Lyndon Johnson. Johnson may have had no aversion to bending the truth, he may have demonstrated an almost pathological drive for wealth and power. (I will take no position here on just how far he was actually willing to go to attain the presidency, over the dead body of a man who never showed him the respect he thought he deserved.) But in terms of accruing and using that power — purely in terms of the MECHANICS of politics, LBJ was one of the consummate politicians in American history.

And — while young Johnson confided to his corporate backers in Texas that the dilettante Roosevelt’s economic program was a cobbled-together grab bag of collectivist Rube Goldberg schemes that would never work, he immediately sensed that in public, out on the congressional campaign trail in the Hill Country West of Austin, the winning tactic was to declare “FDR all the way! Whatever Franklin Roosevelt wants to do, that’s what you’re gonna get if you vote for Lyndon Johnson!”

Of course, the difference between the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt — a yacht club dilettante who failed at every half-hearted crackpot scheme his mommy ever bankrolled — and the trade and economic policies of savvy billionaire Donald Trump, is that while Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary admitted in 1939 that seven years of the New Deal had done no good at all ( see: . . . https://www.dailysignal.com/2009/01/14/were-spending-more-than-ever-and-it-doesnt-work/ ), it’s obvious to anyone who can stop screeching “Trump is Hitler!” long enough to look at the current numbers that Trump has turned around the economy — and is close to a more massive re-set of the pernicious balance of international trade than anyone has accomplished in 70 years — in only a year-and-half, and with virtually no help from a foot-dragging Congress!

There’s only one figure on the national stage — in EITHER party — who can electrify a vast portion of the American electorate. Yet The Associated Press advises local Republican office-seekers not to use him? In fact, to hold him away with a 10-foot poll?

THE ‘COUNTRY-CLUB REPUBLICANS’

Henry Olsen, author of “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism,” spelled it out for us at https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2018/08/09/henry-olsen-to-gop-embrace-trump-and-his-issues-if-you-want-to-win/ .

“What’s going on in American politics is that there are a lot of educated, upper class people who used to be Republican who really can’t stand what the president is doing,” Olsen says. “(They have been) moving to the Democrats in the last two years. There are people who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, but voted for Hillary Clinton to keep Donald Trump from winning. They’re the Romney-Clinton voters. . . .”

You know those folks. In New England where I grew up — where any normal young person of Irish or Italian or Polish descent was automatically expected to be raised a devoted Democrat — we used to call them “Country Club Republicans.” A friend of mine — an accomplished lawyer and jurist of Mexican extraction — says the old joke is that the Republicans say they’re delighted when they learn the Hispanic voter is changing his registration, coming over to the GOP. In fact, they invite him out to the country club, that evening! And, when he arrives . . . hand him a towel and tell him to start cleaning tables.

“The Obama-Trump voter is the opposite,” continued Olsen. “This is the blue-collar, working class person who feels left out and abandoned by the establishments of both major parties, and they heard Donald Trump speak and said, ‘Finally, someone is listening to and caring about us.’ . . .

“The Democrats made a much bigger sale with the Romney-Clinton voter than the Republicans have made with the Obama-Trump voter,” Olsen explained, on the day after the GOP’s narrow Aug. 7 win in Ohio District 12. “We saw that on display last night. There’s very high turnout in the formerly Republican areas — now more Democrat-leaning areas — of Franklin and Delaware County, and there was low turnout in the Obama-Trump area. . . . The turnout disparity was huge.”

Olsen tied Republicans’ 2018 political fortunes to their embrace — or rejection — of Trump and the president’s political priorities.

“Making the sale with the Obama-Trump voter is really crucial to GOP hopes in November,” Olsen said. “If (Romney-Clinton voters) were Republicans, Mitt Romney would be in the middle of his second term. What the Republican Party needs to get hold of is, there’s no path to a majority without winning these voters over, and that means actually starting to listen and caring about what they think about.”

“(Obama-Trump voters) are worried about a culture that seems to disrespect ordinary working people,” explained Olsen. “They’re worried about an economy that seems to care more about making foreigners well-to-do than American citizens. They’re worried about a foreign policy that often seems to care more about helping our allies than helping Americans.”

BUT DO THEY HAVE TO BE SO . . . COARSE?

Olsen cast Troy Balderson’s (R-OH) Tuesday victory in Ohio’s 12th District special election as partly dependent on Trump’s support. “I think Trump pushed Balderson over the line. I think that was the difference between losing by one point and winning by one point. . . .

“If you want to win, you’ve got to embrace the guy who’s a winner (and) the ideas and issues that he brought to the table, and that means listening to Donald Trump,” Olsen explains. “If what you’re going to do is basically treat the president as an interloper who is welcome only so long as he acts like Mitt Romney, you shouldn’t expect to get the voters who made him president and made the Senate majority possible, and that’s just short-sighted and dumb.” . . .

“Trump has brought that group that’s felt kicked out of the Republican party back into it, and that is driving the Republican establishment crazy,” Olsen explains. “Reagan said in 1977 that if you’re going to make the new Republican Party the workers’ party, you actually have to have room at the party table for the cop on the beat, the factory worker, and the farmer; and the Republican old establishment didn’t want that, and (Romney-Clinton voters) still don’t want that.”

Olsen said America’s commentariat and political establishment misunderstand Trump’s appeal.

“They misunderstand what Trump ran on,” Olsen says. “They think Trump ran on anger. I think a lot of them believe that Trump won because of a veiled racial appeal, and I think if you talk to the Trump voters, what attracted them was somebody who is going to fight, somebody who is going to put Americans first, and somebody who is going to make everybody a part of America rather than a divisive some-against-some dog fight. . . . It was coming out of a spirit of patriotism.”

It may indeed be that simple. The Republican Party has a champion, armored up, ready and able to lead them to victory. And too many of them are holding back, afraid of being called names by the hysterical Far-Left press or the self-destructing Hollywood Loonies, afraid of being (falsely) branded racists or Deplorables or whatever.

I see it in my own congressional district, here in Southern Nevada. Cresent Hardy, the Republican candidate, is a fine and decent man who once went to bat for a local organic farm that had its harvest “farm-to-fork” dinner raided by state authorities who turned out not to even have a warrant, shrill by-the-book bureaucrats who insisted all the cooked, ready-to-eat local produce be poisoned with bleach so it couldn’t even be fed to the pigs, over an allegation that someone didn’t have the right kind of “permit” to hold a dinner for their customers.

I’ll vote for Cresent Hardy in November. But his current Web site ( https://www.cresenthardy.com/ ) is full of “Issues” boilerplate that could be four or eight or 12 years old, about wanting (slightly) smaller government, seeking (slightly) lower taxes, returning (slightly) more local control of the schools, etc. Not a WORD about President Trump or the current Trump Economic Miracle. Not a WORD about immigration, or illegal immigration, or Building the Wall. Not a WORD about going to Washington to back up and support Donald Trump and the Trump agenda.

There’s nothing wrong with those tried-and-true Republican positions . . . except that voters have been hearing them for 30 years, and they know once these guys get to Washington NONE OF IT GETS DONE. Repeal-and-replace Obamacare? “Gee, sorry, can’t do it ’cause we don’t have majorities in both houses. OK, yeah, now we’ve got majorities in both houses, but we still can’t do it ’cause we don’t have the White House, see? Uh-oh, now we’ve got GOP control of both houses and the presidency? Um, gee, we THOUGHT we had that repeal-and-replace bill around here somewhere, can’t seem to lay hands on it right now . . .”

Only one man in recent memory has gone to Washington and — instead of putting his feet up on his desk as he explains how nothing he promised can really be done (“All very complicated, you see, wouldn’t be prudent . . .”) — has started tearing into the job like a badger. But Republican office-seekers are going to hold back, play it safe, “wait and see,” let him continue to try to do it all alone? They can’t even come out for “merit-based immigration”?

How many chances do you think you GET?

I’ve e-mailed my local GOP congressional candidate’s campaign to ask why they seem to be part of the “see-no-Trump; hear-no-Trump; speak-no-Trump” GOP resistance. No reply. Is it too far-fetched to infer there’s some kind of “play-it-safe” attitude, here? “Why risk offending Democrat or even Non-partisan voters? After all, President Trump seem to be a bit of a polarizing figure. . . .”

And this is how their battle is lost.

4 Comments to “Henry Olsen to GOP: Embrace Trump and His Issues ‘If You Want to Win’”

  1. Bob Ashman Says:

    Vin:
    Thank you for these posts – a breath of fresh air. I moved to LV in 1990 from Michigan; and was delighted to discover a newspaper dedicated to libertarian (lower-case) politics and Austrian-school economics in my newly-adopted hometown – its primary voice being first Rafael Tamariello (sp?); and then Vin Suprynowicz, Sherm Frederick & Tom Mitchell. Hell, I even appreciated John L Smith – though I usually disagreed with him – because he forced me to THINK.
    That’s a quality that is sadly lacking in 2018. Thank you again – BA

  2. Mitch Says:

    I’m no fan of Trump and think his trade war ignores the invisible hand concept and Friedman’s warnings about the foibles of controllers, but your reasoning about political reality is convincing.

  3. R.R. Schoettker Says:

    While your analysis of the political reality may be valid I remain unconvinced that politics will ever be of any value to anyone but the politicians. Trade wars are stupid and self destructive and tariffs are just taxes on domestic consumers. Participating in the murderous dirty work of evil Saudi Arabia in Yemen is a criminal perversion without a shred of utility to the American public’s safety or security. And the last time I looked, Obamacare was still in place. The Trump agenda is; just like the Clinton agenda would have been if that life long criminal had won, a maintenance of the status quo where the deep state runs things for its and its corporate crony’s sole benefit.

  4. John Rogers Says:

    Vin, Thanks for the breath of fresh air on your website.

    I always enjoyed your columns back when you were on the Los Vegas Review Journal, and am so happy I’ve found your web site and can read your columns once more.

    You have a excellent supply of Common Sense, which, sadly, is becoming less and less common, especially among journalists and the political set, which has been radicalized, as you say, for decades.

    Unfortunately, thanks to Hollywood and the radicalization of our educational systems, common sense is being actively discouraged among our future generations.

    I fear our only hope for maintaining a common sense voting majority, represented by politicians in Trump’s mold, is to build the wall, enact the rest of Trump’s policies (true free trade, not free trade for everyone but the US producer), and to keep reminding Americans that low regulation, low taxes, LESS government will invariably lead to great economic growth. History shows that it only works EVERY TIME IT”S BEEN TRIED.

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