BOOK REVIEW

Dethroning the Political Establishment

According to a recent report issued by the Pew Research Center, the American middle class is shrinking, even vanishing. This is a critical, dangerous development.

“For decades,” notes CNN, “the middle class had been the core of the country. A healthy middle class kept America strong, experts and politicians said.”

The weakening of this core and what to do about it forms a central, underlying issue of the 2016 United States presidential campaign. It also forms a central theme of “Crippled America” by Donald J. Trump, a leading candidate, if not the front-running candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. The book is subtitled “How to Make America Great Again.”

Indeed, to many, including this reviewer, Trump seems to be the only candidate who appears to have the combination of knowledge, experience, business success and strength of personality to deal successfully with the country’s underlying issues at the White House level.

Trump is against American corporations outsourcing good American jobs to other countries. He castigates American government officials who initiate and promote international agreements that facilitate exporting of American jobs, thereby diminishing the American middle class. This assault on American workers undermines American voters’ stability, job security and hopes for the future.

Trump would bring those jobs back to the United States by a combination of trade policy changes, economic inducements for domestic producers, tariffs on certain foreign produced goods, and favorable “deals” in specific cases.

He also would rectify the mass immigration of unskilled workers who take jobs away from American citizens and thus undermine Americans’ employment possibilities, but would promote the immigration of skilled personnel in order to facilitate the growth of our economy.

While the media has made much of his attacks on illegal immigration, they seem to have missed the message of his program in its entirety. Trump said, “I don’t want to stop legal immigration in this country. In fact, I would like to reform and increase immigration in some important ways. Our current immigration laws are upside down – they make it tough on the people we need to have here, and easy for the people we don’t want here.

“This country is a magnet for many of the smartest, hardest-working people in other countries, yet we make it difficult for these bright people who follow the laws to settle here. It’s amazing that people who come here to earn a master’s degree and who demonstrate wonderful skills are forced to wait on a very long line when they want to stay and contribute to this country. In fact for a lot of them, their number may never be called. Bright young kids come here from all over the world to study in our colleges. They get the best education in the world. They graduate with honors and we hand them a diploma and a plane ticket. Their mistake is that they are honest people – they follow the law. They want to stay here, but we send them back to their countries, and ultimately they use the knowledge they gained here to compete against us.

“If you’re a criminal, though, or an unskilled worker, or someone escaping criminal charges in another country, you are able to sneak into our country and in many cases get some benefits and never leave. These ‘enforcement’ policies and this backward approach to immigration have to change. Our immigration policy needs to work to make America great again.”

Last year, Trump rose almost overnight as a popular political figure because of press reporting of his positions on immigration.

In “Crippled America,” Trump writes his “immigration policy is actually pretty simple. We need to make changes in our laws to make it easier for those people who can contribute to this country to come here legally while making it impossible for criminal elements and other people to get here illegally. I want good people to come here from all over the world, but I want them to do so legally. We can expedite the process, we can reward achievement and excellence, but we have to respect the legal process. And those people who take advantage of the system and come here illegally should never enjoy the benefits of being a resident – or citizen – of this nation. So I am against any path to citizenship for undocumented workers or anyone else who is in this country illegally.

“They should – and need to – go home and get in line.”

One of the major tenets of Trump’s book on our “Crippled America” and of his campaign for the presidency to “Make America Great Again” is an explanation of why we need to dethrone the current political establishment and replace it with competent patriots.

Trump believes the current situation has led to America’s losing out to other countries economically, diplomatically and militarily. He wants the country to cease rewarding political incompetence.

By rewarding competence and hard work, America will be able to develop the strength necessary for once again becoming educationally, economically, diplomatically and militarily preeminent. Trump would like to see America so militarily powerful that no other nation would dare to challenge the United States. At the same time, he sees no good reason for the American military to get into conflicts of foreign countries that have been fighting each other for centuries.

He wants to keep potential proponents of radical Islamist terrorism out of the United States.

Obviously, millions of Americans agree with him and with his general national outlook and policies. Trump is a genuine political phenomenon – a sophisticated New York multi-billionaire businessman connecting directly with ‘Joe Six-Pack’ all over the country. These are the so-called Reagan Democrats the GOP establishment has ignored since Ronald Reagan left office.

Trump is a non-traditional politician who has outclassed many professional politicians in appealing to millions of voters. He’s never held political office but seems well on his way to being elected to the highest political office in the land because people want to join him in turning over our “Crippled America” to “Make America Great Again.” Clearly, his message is resonating with the middle class.

Among his 17 chapters, Trump includes one on “The Energy Debate: A Lot of Hot Air.”

Trump also includes a fairly comprehensive chapter on “The Right to Bear Arms.” He holds a New York permit to carry a concealed firearm. He thinks national policy should allow an individual with a permit to carry a concealed firearm issued by a state to be able to carry in every state. Trump is a firm supporter of Second Amendment rights. He thinks anti-gun laws undermine the ability of decent citizens to acquire firearms for legitimate purposes, while making it easier for criminals to perpetrate their nefarious activities.

“A purpose of a gun among other things is to offer protection,” Trump writes, “to warn those people who would try to harm us that we are carrying a weapon and that we will use it. In order to protect the Second Amendment, there are several significant steps we need to take. Most important, we need to start getting serious about prosecuting violent criminals.”

In the book, Trump also discusses the complicated American tax system. He wants to lower the tax rates by reforming and streamlining the tax codes. He believes that the lifting of government encumbrances would free up the money needed to promote private investments and reverse the skyrocketing national debt, thereby increasing the national wealth, which would lead to greater government revenue.

Although “Crippled America” is not an autobiography in a traditional sense, Trump does include some information and photos of his family, early childhood and education. It contains a fairly lengthy list of Trump properties, perhaps in the belief that readers, seeing the list, will be induced to conclude that Trump also could rebuild our failing country.

“We can take a crippled country and make it great again,” Trump writes. “Our country has been allowed to languish and become a tarnished second-class place in the eyes of the world.

“The challenges ahead are many. The naysayers from the media and the political establishment are out there because they fear any changes in the status quo from which they benefit.”

Trump writes he has “a vision and I understand the process by which we’re going to accomplish our goals. We need to strengthen our military, help our vets, stand up to our enemies, deter illegal immigration, rebuild our infrastructure, revamp our tax code and educational system, and rip apart the ridiculous policies of the past, including Obamacare and the Iran nuclear ‘agreement.’”

Trump’s “Crippled America” is an easy read. Readers get a clear idea of how presidential candidate Donald J. Trump would “Make America Great Again,” if he becomes President Donald J. Trump on January 20, 2017.


John M. Snyder, called “the dean of Washington gun lobbyists” by the Washington Post and New York Times, for 50 years has defended American gun rights as an NRA editor, director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Second Amendment Foundation, and founder/director of www.GunRightsPolicies.org. He is founder/manager of Telum Associates, LL.C, founder/chairman of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc., and serves on the boards of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Federation of Police & Concerned Citizens. Author of the book Gun Saint, he received his AB and MA from Georgetown University. Mr. Snyder is a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.