The night of the election, I posted this picture and broke my policy of being non-political on Facebook (I am quite political on Twitter, however, @rw_bennett). I congratulated President-elect Trump and announced I was celebrating with a victory cigar. The day after the election, I received this question from a high-school classmate:
Hi Bob~ I am curious about something. I saw your post of you having a victory cigar. I need some encouragement and information, if you would be willing to share with me. I will respect your opinion and value your insights. Would you share with me a couple of the main reasons you voted for Trump? I want to be more informed about people’s motives behind their vote. I want to be convinced that this truly was a good choice for our country. If you should choose not to share with me I will respect that as well, b/c I would never want to interfere with our friendship and history. I am looking for clarity. Thanks, Bob!
Carolyn, the friend who asked me this question was the prettiest girl in my class, and – as you can tell by the respectful tone of her question – was one of the sweetest as well. I never dated her in high school; she always seemed a bit, well, unobtainable. Here is my response:
Carolyn, I was late to the party for President-elect Donald Trump. Unlike my brother, who enthusiastically embraced Trump from the announcement of his candidacy, I much preferred almost all of the other Republican candidates. Trump seemed vulgar and coarse, symptomatic of the unfortunate coarsening of America. Some of the women who came forward and claimed that Trump had acted in a sexually abusive way seemed credible. Others did not. I was troubled by these claims and disappointed in the Access Hollywood tape. The fact he lacked political experience was not much of a problem for me; his business experience I believe is more valuable than President Obama’s scant political experience when Obama took office. He appears to have been a good father as his children seem like quality people. His employees feel that Trump treats them with respect; otherwise, we would have heard all kinds of negative stories in the press.
If Hillary Clinton had left the State Department four months before she did (before the attacks on the Benghazi consulate which killed four Americans), she would be President-elect Clinton today. She did not, and the events revealed many of the flaws in Secretary Clinton’s character. Concerned about the political appearance of beefing up the security of the consulate – it went against the Administration narrative that Libya was an example of a US foreign policy success – she refused to grant repeated requests from Ambassador Stevens for more security. We still do not know what she was doing during the attacks, other than not sending military aid. After the attack, she blamed it all on “an internet video,” an excuse she knew was not true. She repeated that lie to the American public and even to the families of the Americans killed that night.
As Congress looked into the events at Benghazi, they discovered an amazing fact: Secretary Clinton went to the trouble and expense of setting up a private email server in the basement of her Chappaqua home for both her professional and personal email. The FBI believes there is a 98% probability this server was hacked by five or more foreign entities. Any other person would have been prosecuted for what James Comey, the Director of the FBI called, “reckless handling of classified material.” Hillary lied about the emails, saying that there was no classified material when the FBI found otherwise. Her team deleted some 33,000 emails that were under congressional subpoena, and then used a program, “Bleachbit,” to ensure they were permanently destroyed.
Why would Secretary Clinton set up a private server? It goes to her paranoia and penchant for secrecy. She did not want her emails to be subject of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests or anyone else looking at her business. When the Clintons left the White House in January, 2001, they were – in Hillary’s words – nearly “dead broke.” Huge legal fees incurred defending Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment proceedings depleted the Clinton’s financial resources. Yet today, their net worth is estimated at over $200M. How did they get so rich as public servants?
Enter the Clinton Foundation, supposedly a charitable organization. Donors seeking access to the Clinton State Department and/or favors from a sure President Hillary Clinton contributed millions of dollars to the Foundation. The Clintons used the Foundation as a personal piggy bank, using it to pay for Chelsea’s multi-million dollar wedding and to employ Hillary’s insiders until they would work on her presidential campaign. Secretary Clinton is still under criminal FBI investigation regarding the activities of the Clinton Foundation.
On the other hand, I find her to be a hard-working, well-spoken and intelligent person. It’s too bad her flaws disqualify her from becoming president because I do believe a woman president would be a good thing for America. However, I – along with millions of other Americans – simply consider Hillary too untrustworthy to hand over the office of the presidency.
Besides their personal characteristics, I believe Trump’s policies are much better for America. Hillary wanted to double down on the unworkable Obamacare health care system, while Trump will replace it with a much better market based system where people actually will be able to “keep your doctor, if you like your doctor.” The Republican plan will protect people with pre-existing conditions and won’t include all the mandates that Obamacare contains. After all, Carolyn, neither one of us is likely to incur maternity expenses at our age, yet Obamacare mandates that coverage!
I prefer Trump’s positions on immigration (but not mass deportations, which Trump has backed away from), tax policy, education, abortion and military preparedness. I prefer Clinton’s policy on trade.
I acknowledge that the election of Trump is a risk. He’s volatile and inconsistent (he’s been registered as a Democrat, and Independent, and a Republican, all in the last ten years), yet I believe he is worth the risk to move the country in a better direction. The upshot is that I voted for Trump because he has the potential to lead the country and to make American’s lives better. Carolyn, Trump carried Iowa by almost ten percent. Iowans, by and large, have a pretty good collective judgment.