What America Needs: The Case for Trump
by Jeffrey Lord
Regnery Publishing, 192 pages, $12.71 (paper)
I have fallen in love with American names, wrote poet Stephen Vincent Benét. The sharp names that never get fat. John Wayne. The Beach Boys. Babe Ruth. Muhammad Ali. Geronimo. Names whose bearers could never be anything other than American. Names that an American cannot hear without feeling a tug of pride, a sense of membership in a common clan. Names like Donald Trump.
Names that are fingernails on a blackboard for a certain class of Americans, names that remind them that they really aren’t Englishmen or Frenchmen, or the inhabitants of some imagined country south of Iceland and east of the New Yorker. Names that remind them that they are, after all, American, and that visiting some quaint little Left Bank café they risk being unmasked by a waiter who asks them how they like their coffee in their beau pays des Apaches.
Nothing reveals how we’ve become a class society so much as the way our betters have reacted to Donald Trump, as Jeffrey Lord reminds us in his splendid new book, What America Needs. They tell us Trump is vulgar, but if you want real vulgarity turn to the post-Buckley National Review and read what they say about him. A “witless ape,” a “baboon,” who had had his “balls cut off” by Carly Fiorina (remember her?). Clearly, Trump has gotten under their skin in a way that fairly pleads for psychological counseling.
Worse still, Americans like Trump, for reasons Lord makes clear, in his admirable little book. Trump has sensible things to say about political correctness, tax policy, and, yes, immigration reform. And what Trump has shown, along the way, is what empty things our pundits are, how little a $100 million campaign stash means, how insignificant the Republican establishment really is.
I won’t go through Lord’s detailed discussion of Trump’s policies. Read the book. It’s worth your while. What he conveys is something more important still. Trump has a detailed plan for tax reform that Larry Kudlow has blessed, but it doesn’t matter if Trump has the marginal rates exactly right. Mitt Romney had a 59-point plan to grow the economy. Did anyone ever read that through? Did it matter to anyone? In 2012 Obama sent Americans the message that he had their back, while Romney came across as the man about to give them their pink slip. It didn’t matter that Obama’s message was false. At least he knew what people wanted to hear.
Give Trump credit for understanding that politics is something more than an intellectual puzzle, a matter of getting the perfect set of tax brackets, that life is action and passion, and that too many Republican politicians are lifeless and passionless, that they’ve failed to show their allegiance to ordinary Americans as opposed to a crony class of lobbyists and political insiders. America has become an increasingly corrupt country, dominated by interest groups and a smarmy New Class, and worse still the Republicans have handed that issue to the Democrats. It’s no wonder that many Democrats now begin to see Trump as the leader best able to make America — and not just its elites — strong again.
The official conservative commentariat, people hired by the Washington Post and the New York Times to tell us how too-too beastly conservatives are, complains that Trump isn’t really a conservative. It is they, however, who fail to understand what conservatism is. They strain at health care reform but swallow the camel of a country whose rankings on measures of freedom and corruption are mediocre, a country no longer one where everyone has an equal shot at bettering himself. Trump gets it. So does Lord. Read the book.