I Confronted Sen. Jeff Flake at the Local Walmart
My girls needed new shoes, and I've been obsessed with this election, so our trip today to the Alma School/Warner Mesa Walmart worked out great.
I was going one direction and Flake was coming from another, but when I saw him I did a double-take: 'That's Jeff Flake'. I popped into his aisle and said, “Jeff Flake!” He smiled, and when I approached he shook my hand – he's very approachable. My first impression was that he's a born politician, ruggedly handsome and confident. He's also a strapping fellow, he appears to be strong and fit.
Not sure how to begin, I went with my gut, “You need to tone it down on the Trump stuff.” He asked why, and I said he should support the party's nominee. We spoke for about five minutes, most of it about his reasons for opposing Trump. He seemed very confident that “He can't win”. Here are the various issues we discussed:
- He said that he wasn't supporting Clinton, and I argued that he was, by omission.
- He said that Trump's policies weren't really republican, and when I asked him to clarify he went, of course, to trade. He misstated Trump's tariff desires, saying that Trump wanted to impose a 45% tariff on incoming trade. I corrected him (it's 35% on selected products), and noted that Trump wouldn't be a dictator - congress would have their say. He said that Trump's trade position wasn't really republican, and that only with multilateral trade agreements could we hope to close our trade deficits. To that I argued that past GOP presidents have supported tariffs, but more importantly, Flake was using an outmoded definition of the GOP trade policy which is no longer supported by the rank and file, a policy which has denuded America of manufacturing jobs. I said that with our tax and regulatory policies, no manufacturer has any incentive to produce goods here, unless the goods are too bulky or costly to ship – even high technology goods are largely made overseas. (Aside: This issue is what rankles the establishment the most about Trump. They have tolerated the tax and regulatory climate for decades, content to watch capital flight year after year. They could have made manufacturing jobs an issue in every election, but the truth is that corporations don't care where things are made. Why not locate your production in a low-wage/high pollution country if it helps the bottom line? Businesses respond to incentives, which is why Trump's combination of carrots and sticks is likely to work. Not everyone can be a computer programmer, particularly given the state of American education, and the promises made to improve education when NAFTA was passed have not been kept. This issue isn't going away, and if the GOP leaves it alone, the trade issue will eventually be addressed by democrats, in a decidedly anti-business fashion.)
- He argued that Trump can't win because he's insulted too many people. I asked who in particular, and he said women and Hispanics. Regarding women, I noted that almost everyone knows some women who are pigs. Though the conversation was temperate and friendly, he started to disengage at that point. I recaptured his attention when I suggested that if you looked at a list of 100 people that Trump has insulted, 95 of them (aside: more likely 98-100) had hit Trump first. To that he said that Trump has also insulted Hispanics, and I said that in the last decade, 700,000 crimes have been committed by illegal aliens in Texas alone. To that he answered with Judge Curiel, and I asked if he was aware that Curiel belonged to a group that wanted to put Trump out of business. He questioned my claim and I said that Curiel belonged to a group that has advocated a boycott of all of Trump's businesses, so how could the judge be fair?
- Finally, I said that I didn't know if Kelli Ward could defeat him in 2018, but that his opposition to Trump would generate more problems for him, particularly if Trump wins. He admitted that he has already lost support, but repeated that his opposition to Trump is a matter of principle for him.
That was the end of the discussion, aside from the senator saying he appreciates the fact that I am following the issues so closely.
Even with those closest to us, it is hard to know exactly what is in someone's heart. Does the senator favor open borders and globalist trade policies because he honestly thinks that they benefit Americans, or because his corporate donors support such policies? Low-cost labor is just one part of it: American companies and retailers don't care where people come from or where their money comes from (work or welfare) so long as it is green and it is spent on their products and in their stores.
I take the senator at his word that his opposition to Trump is based on principle, but that tells me that his principles are from another age: the country is circling the drain. It also tells me that he is more of an ideologue than a pragmatist: he could just as easily say something like this about Trump: “Mr. Trump is our nominee. Though I think that some of the things he has said are objectionable, none of us are saints, and almost everything about Ms. Clinton and her policies is objectionable, and decidedly bad for America. I would prefer not to campaign alongside Donald Trump, but I will vote for him because most of his positions are conservative, the party chose him, and the other candidate is unthinkable. I will have a hand in shaping Mr. Trump's policies if he is elected, so his divergence from republican orthodoxy can be mitigated. Ms. Clinton has no conservative positions.”
THAT is a statement of principle; it would have distanced him from Trump in the ways that the Senator says matter, but signaled a willingness to work with the party and support its voters. The fact that he has gone another way is troubling, both for the party and for the Senator's future. Whether Trump wins or loses this year, I will be supporting Dr. Kelli Ward in 2018.
If you missed it, please check out my recent piece from The American Thinker, and share it with republicans who are still reluctant to support Trump: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/10/13_headaches_republicans_against_trump_havent_considered.html