Trump-Tribe Described

The Trump-Tribe:

  • Trump says what we say among ourselves
  • Trump is a Strong Leader
  • Trump will promote Capitalistic Values
  • Trump is an Alpha Male

 

This is a reprint of Ben Sasse’s excellent essay written just after Trump’s Election.

The key quote from this is, “The marketplace of ideas should be civil, but it should also be contested. We should disagree respectfully. Reflexive tribalism and reflexive partisanship are signs of a sick republic, not a healthy one.

Ben Sasse: Everyone’s duty is to hope for Trump, work for America

The author is the junior U.S. senator representing Nebraska.

Americans sent an unmistakable message Tuesday: Washington is broken and needs disruption. I hear that and agree.

In recent days, Nebraskans who voted for Donald Trump, or Hillary Clinton, or none of the above, have all asked me this question: “Now what? For over a year, you were concerned about Donald Trump’s character and about whether he recognizes the Constitution’s limits on presidential power. So are you going to oppose him now, or will you get on the Trump train?”

I get why folks are asking but, humbly, this shouldn’t be an either-or question.

If you voted for our president-elect, you should not now become an uncritical follower. And if you voted against Mr. Trump, you should not now be a knee-jerk critic. (As has been reported, I voted for Mike Pence on my presidential ballot.)

Now that the people have spoken, every American has two patriotic duties regarding our president-elect and the policy agenda he will outline:

First, we root for him, and especially for his steady hand as commander in chief. We pray that God grants him wisdom and discernment in his new calling. (My family has prayed for him for weeks at our breakfast table and will do so every morning.)

Second, even as we hope for his personal effectiveness and success, we should all still argue for principles we believe in. In the American system, the vast majority of policy is to be made by the people’s legislative representatives — not by the executive branch or by unelected judges. And thus the Congress needs to hear from the people on the issues.

There will be disagreements — between neighbors, between the executive and legislative branches, between political parties. This is a good thing. This is an intentional feature of our system, not a bug.

The marketplace of ideas should be civil, but it should also be contested. We should disagree respectfully. Reflexive tribalism and reflexive partisanship are signs of a sick republic, not a healthy one. And so we should argue about Mr. Trump’s coming proposals.

Millions of Americans — many inspired by Trump, but also a great many who are skeptical of him yet still reluctantly voted for him — understandably want Washington disrupted. We’re demanding an end to self-dealing and the one-size-fits-all answers of that city’s elite. Frankly, that’s why I ran two years ago.

Yes, there are absolutely some things that worry me — from his comments surrounding our First Amendment freedoms to his trade agenda, which would make it harder for Nebraska’s farming families — but while we won’t agree on everything, I am also encouraged by the policies that he appears now to be prioritizing with a Republican Congress.

These include many items conservatives have long championed:

» Nominating judges who reject lawmaking from the bench.

» Ending cronyism with an ethics package that starts with term limits.

» Repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a system that empowers families and patients over bureaucrats.

» Securing our borders as a prerequisite to any rational national security policy.

» Passing big tax reform, aimed not chiefly at the marginal rates of the wealthiest but at lowering the cost of trying and succeeding in America.

» Repealing large portions of the Dodd-Frank Act that make it especially difficult for small banks to lend in Nebraska.

I am delighted there is a moment of opportunity to advance a conservative agenda. And President-Elect Trump has an opportunity to make that conservative agenda his own.

Some Nebraskans will be less zealous about parts of this agenda. That’s OK. No voter — whether thrilled or worried about our new president — should uncritically join his “train” or uncritically hope for his failure. All or nothing isn’t how Americans think about government.

We are not North Koreans, swearing a loyalty oath to the “Dear Leader.” Nor are we the French Resistance, plotting against the new regime from day one. Rather, we should hope for his personal flourishing and his wisdom, and we should simultaneously vigorously debate his ideas.

Senators should not be reflexive antagonists. Nor should senators go along to get along. Rather, I’m there to do what Nebraskans hired me to do: Uphold my oath to defend the Constitution regardless of partisan politics, hear and represent their concerns in Washington, fight for limited government and for the limitless potential of every American and look for big solutions that create more opportunity for all.

I am going to be looking for places where we share common ground with the president. Yes, there will also be times when Congress and the White House disagree — that is part of our system. That’s why the founders created different branches of government.

Let’s get to work. Let’s look for common ground. Let’s reaffirm a Constitution that checks and balances the three branches of government.

And let’s all hope for our president’s success.

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