Then came the Reagan years when conservatism was in favor. But Reagan’s immense popularity could not push his former vice president over the finish line for a second term. George H.W. Bush learned the hard way that when you promise “No new taxes,” you had better stick to it. And so entered the name of Clinton into the national limelight, despite all the character flaws.
And so it went with the reign of Barack Obama. Would we ever again vote for a conservative or even a moderate for president? Despite the Democrats’ willingness to overlook the problem of illegal immigration, their push through the courts to set aside voter identification requirements, the inclination of certain Democratic governors to wave the laws in denying convicted felons the right to vote, and attacking everything from drug laws to marital traditions, all of it smacked with the intention of seducing the population into casting their votes for the progressive candidates. Following the thrashing of both Romney and McCain in the previous two elections, a melancholy had swept over the conservative loyalists.
But with the election of Donald Trump, all of that has changed — once again. Aside from the never-Trumpers, conservatives are walking on air. Conservatives optimistically point not just to the office of the President and both Houses of Congress, but also to the more than 1,000 state legislative seats and governorships that have been lost to Republican candidates during Barack Obama’s tenure. It’s springtime in America!
But not so fast. What President Obama has done to weaken the American foundation in eight years, by bypassing Congress, ignoring the will of the American people and decreeing executive actions and privilege on everything from the Fast and Furious investigation to signing off on global environmental practices, to demoting our military from being a warrior class to becoming a political laboratory for social experimentation and everything else in-between, means our landscape may take longer to set right than the one or two election cycles that will be allowed Donald Trump.
Take warning. Conservatives cannot be content and sit on their laurels. The progressives see the election of Donald Trump as a fluke. They view the overwhelming number of popular votes cast in the big, liberal states of California and New York as justification for their pouting, believing the popular vote should take precedence over the need for the electoral college.
The progressives will take heart from accounts like the Washington Post Schar School Poll, which reported that “Among people who said they did not vote, 45 percent said they wanted Hillary Clinton to win, compared with only 23 percent who said Donald Trump.” The progressives will in the future mobilize such voters in an effort to counter those they believe to be “deplorable.”
Conservatives and Republicans must not only exercise unity, they must also strongly continue to sell their message of American values and the importance of a constitutional form of government. We know we will not be supported by academia. We know that school curricula at all levels of education will continue to push political correctness. We know that subversive leftist organizations will protest at any event they see as conservative leaning. We know that the progressives will continue to describe conservatives as racists and bigots and homophobes any chance they get. And we know that the mainstream media will not be our pals.
Conservatives cannot afford to rest. We are just at the beginning of the road in bringing America back to what she was meant to be.
Bob Rinearson is a resident of Fort Wayne.