Trump Needs a Contract With Conservatives - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Trump Needs a Contract With Conservatives

He must know conservatives expect nothing less.

Donald Trump’s impressive list of potential Supreme Court nominees was a very smart move at a pivotal time. It came amid news of the Little Sisters’ ongoing battle not to be compelled by Caesar to fund abortion drugs, and amid Barack Obama’s bathroom edict thrust upon every school in America—as our President of Fundamental Transformation stoically promises to slay the world’s new great scourge: “transphobia.” Our fearless commander-in-chief knows he cannot wage this just war alone. The crusade must be carried forth by left-wing nature-redefiners poised throughout the courts. A President Hillary Clinton would duly pick up the torch, inserting still more morally insane judicial activists to advance the cultural revolution. Trump’s list came the week following his meeting with Paul Ryan, which surely was an impetus.

So, kudos to Team Trump. But the judges list needs to be merely the start. I here suggest that The Donald go further. I recommend that he and his team create a literal Contract with Conservatives, taking a page from Newt Gingrich’s brilliant Contract with America in 1994. Then, Newt pledged a list of popular common-sense conservative initiatives that he vowed a Republican Congress would vote on during Bill Clinton’s presidency. My thinking of Newt right now is partly precipitated by suggestions—including by The Donald’s top male cheerleader, Sean Hannity—that the former House speaker join Trump as a running mate. Newt might want to talk with Trump about the potency of the contract concept. The idea should resonate with Trump, being a businessman whose business is contracts, and as the namesake of the Art of the Deal.

What would this contract include? It needs to underscore 10 or 12 defining issues by which conservatives need reassurance before doing the unpalatable if not unthinkable in pulling the lever for Donald Trump.

Topping the list must be the guarantee to nominate only conservative judges, which is the paramount concern to conservatives holding their nose to vote less for Donald Trump than against Hillary Clinton. I talk to these conservatives constantly. For many, the only reason they will vote for Trump is to try to save America from unchecked activists inventing Constitutional rights and redefining the country and culture from the bench.

Really, liberals, you have helped enable Donald Trump with eight awful years of Barack Obama and the prospect of eight more with Hillary Clinton. Barack’s bathroom edict, endorsed by longtime abortion-fanatic and newfound “LGBTQ” warrior-queen Hillary Clinton, merely serves to advance Trump’s presidential prospects. My word to Obama and gang: You people are not only ideologically ridiculous but politically oblivious. Barack’s public bathroom obsession repulses the electorate about as much as Donald Trump’s public behavior does. Obama’s toilet fiat is so politically idiotic that it makes me wonder if the current Democratic president is secretly working with The Donald to defeat Madame Hillary. Nice job, liberals. You don’t like the Trump monster you’ve helped build, but every day you enliven it more.

One “NeverTrump” conservative emailed me yesterday saying he might now vote for The Donald. What changed his mind? The left’s bathroom follies combined with Trump’s list of conservative judges.

I digress. My point is that point one of a Trump Contract with Conservatives needs to be about restoring sanity to a nation-culture gone mad by restoring rationally thinking human beings to the federal courts.

Beyond judges, we could easily come up with a dozen other issues for a Trump Contract with Conservatives, ranging from a direct pledge to repeal Obamacare to promises to cut federal income taxes (Trump is already reneging on this one), to defund Planned Parenthood, to eliminate the Department of Education and Common Core, to abolish the IRS, to increase military funding. Trump must also somehow vow not to aid and abet the left’s fanatical efforts to redefine human nature, from marriage to gender. This is key, because Donald Trump, despite all the hype about him being politically incorrect, has long been a cultural liberal of New York values, whose only “political incorrectness” is actually mere brashness and rudeness and crudeness. The New York cultural liberal needs to promise to resist the bathroom battlers and left’s lieutenants of gender madness.  His comments on the North Carolina situation a few weeks ago were not reassuring.

The Contract with Conservatives might even go so far as to include actual names of people that a President Trump would place in crucial posts from the Department of Defense and State Department to the National Security Council and Treasury. That hasn’t been done before, but neither has (in my recollection) a pre-presidential list of potential Supreme Court nominees. It would be unprecedented, but The Donald himself is unprecedented.

Team Trump should start now behind the scenes quietly working with leading conservatives to devise a list to announce at the Cleveland convention. Tap Newt Gingrich. Newt does know conservatism, which is vital to a Republican presidential nominee who can’t spell conservatism. The value of releasing such a list in Cleveland would be immense. It would also give The Donald coherent talking points to corral him, rather than him bloviating with his usual litany of platitudes from a podium.

Key caveat: Would a President Donald Trump abide by this contract? That’s not certain. Trump is a man of (at best) new principles and (at worst) no principles. He boasts of how he can change on a dime. His ability to flip-flop could be unsurpassed in the annals of presidential history. Nonetheless, he is a businessman and deal-maker who has some devotion to the weight of contracts. Maybe a contract, done with great fanfare, could hold him accountable to a degree (it’s better than nothing).

To be sure, such a Contract with Conservatives will not mollify all conservatives. Many of us remain convinced that Donald Trump is fundamentally unfit and unsuited for the most significant office in the world — temperamentally, emotionally, intellectually, ideologically, even morally. I have seen enough over the past year. Watching Donald Trump’s astonishing antics and policy ignorance has told me everything I need to know. He has exhibited enormous character instability and psychological flaws. His childish behavior on the campaign trail does not merit the votes of serious adults. Whatever coaching he gets now on how to behave, and in devising whatever deals to better pretend to look conservative, none of it should convince us he’s something he’s not.

Nonetheless, if Trump is looking for a way to appeal to a larger swath of conservatives who dread the radical left’s (i.e., today’s Democratic Party) further transformation of America into a cultural hellhole where nuns and bakers and photographers and florists and marriage clerks and wedding caterers and churches and companies and schools are forced, sued, fined, closed, threatened, picketed, boycotted, jailed, debased, demonized, dehumanized, and destroyed often simply for asking for conscience exemptions in a country that has a 220-year-old First Amendment enshrining religious freedom, then Trump should seek ways to attract them.

To be sure, I still find it highly unlikely to impossible that Donald Trump can win in November. A man of such overwhelmingly historical negatives with vast segments of voters really doesn’t stand much of a chance, even as polls tighten and even as Barack Obama does his surest to have adult men share restrooms with our daughters. I am sympathetic to George Will’s plea that conservatives should work to defeat Donald Trump rather than help him because of the enormous brand damage he could cause to the party of Lincoln and Reagan. However, if Trump is looking for a way to try to reassure conservative voters in his bid to stop another post-modern Democrat from further torching our civil liberties, a Contract with Conservatives might be a good option. For the good of my country and culture, I would like some guarantee from Trump of some semblance of conservativism and resistance to the left-wing juggernaut should he seize the Oval Office for the next four years.

Now is the time, when The Donald needs conservatives because his goal is to win, win, win (i.e., when the goal is himself), for conservatives to try to hold him accountable to their movement that he’s hijacking for his own purposes.

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Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is Editor of The American Spectator. Dr. Kengor is also a professor of political science at Grove City College, a senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values, and the author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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