Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke at Senator Joni Ernst’s annual Roast and Ride Saturday afternoon. In Iowa on Saturday, Trump backed up the anger for which he’s known with facts that should anger all Americans. This is different, and it is what makes me think Trump might have it in him to lead.
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With all the ammunition he’s been given from the Clinton email scandal in the past week, many feared he would simply repeat what we all know to be true. Yet Trump managed to keep his comments constructive.
“As I’ve said many times in recent days, it’s hard to tell where the Clinton Foundation ends, and where the State Department begins,” He said in what now seems like his warm-up. “The Clinton Corruption scandals have been a sad time for America. The illegal server, the foreign hacking, the deleted emails, the secret schedules, the lying to Congress. It’s all just too much. How much more can voters take?”
Yet casting himself as Clinton’s opponent won’t be enough to get him the votes he needs to win, and so he’s focusing much more on policy—and giving specifics that the Republican party can rally behind. Immigration, health care, even veterans’ rights–they’re all here, but how he’s talking about this is new.
“Together, we are going to give working people a voice for the first time in a very, very long time. Let’s talk about what that means. For our Veterans, it means a guarantee that they can seek medical care at either a VA facility or at a private medical doctor.”
“Never again will we allow a Veteran to die waiting for the care they need. We will protect those who protect us.”
The Iowa speech continues an overt audience shift that Trump will have to make in order to win in November. His push for African-American voters continued, but he’s shifted his tone away from the headline grabbing “what the hell do you have to lose” moments, and has pivoted: “Let me also tell you what you have to gain: millions of jobs, better schools and safe communities.”
“I am asking for the support of all Americans who want more opportunity, higher wages, safe communities, competent leadership, and honest government.”
Expanding opportunity, protecting rights, overhauling housing, creating jobs—even the right to live in safety. These are typical talking points of those on the left. Trump is rightly taking this beyond questions of race and pointing out how many blue-collar Americans are displaced by the illegal immigrants who end up with their jobs.
“Every time an African-American citizen, or any citizen, loses their job to an illegal immigrant, the rights of that American citizen have been violated. Equal protection under the law must include the consistent application of our immigration laws.”
For those who preferred the in-your-face-Trump, he’s still with us. Near the end of his speech, he outlined his plans for handling illegal immigration.
“On Day One, I am going to begin swiftly removing criminal illegal immigrants from this country – including removing the hundreds of thousands of criminal illegal immigrants that have been released into U.S. communities under the Obama-Clinton Administration.”
How will he do it?
“I am going to build a great border wall, institute nationwide e-verify, stop illegal immigrants from accessing welfare and entitlements, and develop an exit-entry tracking system to ensure those who overstay their visas are quickly removed. If we don’t enforce visa expiration dates, then we have an open border – it’s as simple as that.”
“I am also going to cancel all unconstitutional executive orders and empower rank-and-file ICE officers and Border Patrol officers to finally do the jobs they were hired for.”
Donald Trump, who has brutalized by the media for what many call scare-tactics, is opening up the optimism in his message. Make America Great Again looks like less of an abstract catch-phrase, and more of an aspiration precisely because he’s fleshing out his policies.
“This November 8th,” Trump said in closing, “the American people are going to reject the cynicism of the past and embrace the optimism of the future.”
If Trump can continue with this message—empowering all of the citizens of the United States of America—he may very well end up as the 45th President.