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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Mia Love and Trump are both right: Republicans could stand to talk more

Why is it whenever President Donald Trump names names and publicly criticizes a Republican it’s universally condemned by #NeverTrumpers and the media but when a party member returns the favor on the president it’s seen as principled and forthright by Trump haters?

Media pundits went berserk a few weeks ago when Trump delivered his post-balloting press conference and called out a bevy of Republican establishment “moderate” election losers who failed to embrace his presidency Dog is a Democratand ended up succumbing to liberal Democrat challengers. Trump insinuated these unfortunate pols would’ve otherwise prevailed if they’d only run on his administration’s platform and success (an ongoing debate, of course).

Most folks recall the occasion for the president’s testy and cringe-worthy exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta (and the banishment, lawsuit and judicially-ordered reinstatement that followed), but it was Trump’s chastisement of his own party members that had a lasting effect.

One of those Trump singled out was Utah Republican Congresswoman Mia Love, who was behind (in the tally) on election night, surged back into the lead during additional counting and then suffered defeat when all was said and done. Trump remarked, “Mia Love gave me no love, and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

Love waited awhile, then this week responded with a formal concession speech. Brett Samuels reported at The Hill, “Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) rebuked President Trump on Monday… ‘When the president, President Trump took a jab at me because he thought that the race was over, and he lamented that I wouldn’t ask him to come to the state of Utah, I was somewhat surprised at first… The president’s behavior toward me made me wonder, what did he have to gain by saying such a thing about a fellow Republican?’ said Love, the first African-American Republican woman elected to the House.

“’It was not really about asking him to do more, was it? Or was it something else?’ she said. ‘Well, Mr. President, we’ll have to chat about that.’

“Love then stated that Trump's actions presented a ‘clear vision’ of his view of the world. ‘No real relationships, just convenient transactions,’ she said. ‘That is an insufficient way to implement sincere service and policy.’”

One could almost sense the tingle making its way down the legs of Trump’s establishment media enemies as Love spoke the hurtful words. Here was a Republican congresswoman – and a minority GOPer at that – dissing on Trump in front of the whole world and confirming the narrative they’ve advanced since the beginning of his political career, namely that Trump’s an ambitious and indifferent self-absorbed jerk who only cares about Number One and pays no mind to anyone else if he feels they can’t (or won’t) contribute to the legend of Donald Trump.

Many conservatives, myself included, expressed similar observations during the 2016 GOP primaries, arguing Trump was only running for president as a publicity stunt; after all, his background was chock full of personal foibles, contradictions and outright hypocrisies that could never be rectified no matter how many times he stood before the cameras and claimed his love of country and desire to “Make America Great Again” was what powered him.

Then came the kicker – Trump won enough delegates to earn the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, so he would be the only alternative to the oh-so-crooked Hillary Clinton. The fate of the republic lay at the feet of American voters who could either take a chance on the image-obsessed celebrity real estate billionaire or inevitably die in flames when the country went down under four or eight more years of Democrats’ culturally destructive and socialistic rule.

At that point myself and others of a similar mindset asked about Trump, “So what?” It didn’t matter whether Trump turned out to be a relationship-less egomaniac or handled politics strictly on a “transactional” basis. Every politician acts in a similar manner – there simply isn’t time for anyone, much less a president of the United States, to sit down and have heart-to-heart chats with troubled souls and get to know them and their families.

Bill Clinton is notorious for remembering everyone’s name but he took personal “relationships” a little far, didn’t he?

If Trump seemed cold and aloof to Mia Love and other unseated Republicans it’s because they’re having difficulty getting over their own feelings of loss and we’ll never know whether more “love” from Trump might’ve helped them prevail on November 6. This group, largely composed of Republican lawmakers from districts Clinton won in 2016, faced an uphill battle from the outset.

A good number of them, probably at the advice of establishment consultants who are always wrong, chose to keep Trump at a distance figuring their constituents wouldn’t look favorably on public displays of affection with a man thought to be a lout by the “cool” people. This is the era of #MeToo and Trump was a recognized playboy in his pre-Melania days. If someone like Mia Love was too closely associated with the “old” Donald Trump, wouldn’t it cost her dearly?

Samuels’ article indicated Love lost by fewer than 700 votes (to Democrat Ben McAdams). Would a little additional attention and aid from the president have netted the Republicans’ first African-American congresswoman enough votes to return to the House in January?

At this point it’s a question for scholars and political data crunchers to ponder. Polls might hint at the answer but it does appear Love was not furthered by keeping Trump at arm’s length. Facts are facts… she lost, right? If Love had accepted assistance from Trump and still was beaten, we’d all know for sure. But she didn’t. More’s the pity.

Love’s other criticism of Trump probably has more merit. Again, from Samuels’ article, Love indicated, “[T]he campaign was indicative of broader problems that politicians in Washington, D.C., and Republicans in particular, have connecting with minorities.

“’It’s transactional, it’s not personal,’ she said. ‘We feel like politicians claim they know what’s best for us from a safe distance, yet they're never willing to take us home. Because Republicans never take minority communities into their home and citizens into their homes and into their hearts, they stay with Democrats.’”

Considering all the pre-election polls indicating black voters are warming to Trump, this critique really stings. Trump’s friendship with rapper Kanye West and practically nonstop touting of the historically low unemployment figures among African-Americans and Hispanics apparently didn’t win him much “love” from these folks either.

Democrats were wholly successful in maintaining their stranglehold on minority demographic groups and women this year. Numbers don’t lie and any Trump 2020 reelection strategist who isn’t worried by the hard data is either lying or ignoring reality. Maybe Mia Love was right – there’s a lot of work to be done to try and turn things around…and soon.

Alec Tyson of the Pew Research Center reported, “…Women favored the Democratic candidate in their district by 19 percentage points (59% to 40%) while men voted for the Republican 51% to 47%...

“The exit polls show divisions across racial and educational groups, too. As was the case in the 2016 presidential election, white men voted Republican by a wide margin (60% to 39%) while white women were divided (49% favored the Democratic candidate; as many supported the Republican).

“Blacks voted overwhelmingly (90%) for the Democratic candidate, including comparable shares of black men (88%) and black women (92%).”

In other words, all the outreach and appeals to minority communities Trump’s done in the past two years has produced little positive political growth. There are quite a few factors at work here, though it’s apparent improving economic figures among minorities aren’t motivating many of them to choose Republican candidates.

It might also be black voters like Trump personally but still won’t vote for the GOP when Trump isn’t on the ballot.

Let’s not forget Trump was very public in his condemnation of African-American NFL national anthem protesters and it’s clear many black voters took the criticism personally. This is where Love’s comments are particularly relevant (when she said a relationship-less “transactional” Trumpian modus operandi ain’t cutting it with minorities).

At the same time, if Democrats’ “relationship” with black and Hispanic voters isn’t “transactional,” what should it be called? Democrats’ over-the-top pandering to Hispanic voting blocs over the immigration issue is the very definition of “transactional” -- basically offering amnesty and citizenship to illegal aliens in exchange for stuffing the ballot box on Election Day. In a little less than two decades Democrats went from strongly promoting border enforcement (to protect union workers’ jobs from cheap labor competitors) to a de facto open borders “let ‘em all in!” position.

Democrats’ ever-expanding goody bag also includes Medicare-for-all universal federal healthcare benefits, free college tuition, abolishing ICE, and, to the extent possible, doing everything they can to lessen welfare work requirements and place shackles on law enforcement. The giveaway, buy-votes-at-any-cost attitude is now the only acceptable viewpoint in Democrat circles.

Democrats are all socialists now, race-baiters and dividers. Democrats’ “transactional” tactics and interminable playing of the race card worked like a charm in 2018; will it continue to do so in 2020?

Republicans shouldn’t wait to find out. Instead of assuming Love’s comments were unfair (and perhaps unwarranted), the GOP should invest more time and energy into chipping away at the Democrats’ advantage with minorities, establishing “relationships” and, if anything, being anti-“transactional.”

Trump has done as good a job as any Republican in promoting black conservatives (such as Michigan Senate candidate John James, now apparently under consideration to replace Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador), but more must be done to advance policies minorities care about, such as improving inner-city education, school choice and vouchers. A large and visible infrastructure program would also draw notice and take some of the sting out of Democrats’ persistent accusations that Republicans don’t care about people in urban areas.

America’s crime infested, crumbling metropolises are all controlled by Democrats. City dwellers keep voting ‘em in despite nothing ever changing in their communities. Can Trump break the cycle? If anyone can, it’s him. Who else would be more effective, Mitt Romney?

What Trump and Republicans shouldn’t try is to outdo Democrats in devising big federal welfare programs and subsidies. Despite all the liberals’ race pushing nonsense, minority voters essentially demand to be listened to and heard – Trump would certainly do it. These folks seem to want what everyone, everywhere desires: safe streets, good schools, economic opportunities and most of all, stability.

Government is limited in its ability to provide these things on its own. Common sense says Republicans would increase the size of their voter “tent” by pushing policies that make a difference…and perhaps, easing off the political games at the same time.

What do liberals and Democrats offer in the alternative? More hysteria and Trump obsession. Tammy Bruce wrote in the Washington Times about one of them, “[Barbara Streisand is] right, many things have come undone since Mr. Trump became president, like … The cancer of ISIS. The mad rush in North Korea to build a nuclear ICBM. MS-13’s sex-trafficking network, drug dealing, kidnapping and general terrorizing of immigrant communities and major urban areas. The opioid epidemic. Record high poverty levels, unemployment rates, and reliance on food stamps. Many coming undone, and all being addressed.

“One could guess that Mr. Trump not only sleeps at night, he sleeps well, just like the rest of us. As far as ‘the world burning,’ it’s the burn of realizing America is back and the nonsense of shrugging at the Islamic State terror group, looking away as Syria gassed its own people, and sending a pallet of $150 billion to the terrorist and criminal Iranian regime, are over...

“Ms. Streisand could serve as even a more serious role model for liberals everywhere by not allowing a complete stranger, whom she loathes, to control what she eats and how she treats her body. Just a thought.”  

One wonders whether anyone listens to what Barbara Streisand – or any celebrity – thinks about Trump or the GOP. Like bacteria in a petri dish, ignorance finds a welcoming environment to thrive at Democrat gatherings, where reality is completely disregarded and one’s own impressions constitute absolute truth (no matter how unsupported by facts). Would a million Trump accomplishments (like Bruce listed above) ever make a difference with these people?

Bruce’s piece details how Streisand even devoted a song on her new album to Trump… why? It's no secret conservatives weren’t big fans of Obama’s during his eight years though their angst never reached a crisis level. As far as songs go, country singer Bryan Lewis’s “I think my dog’s a Democrat” summed it up nicely without being paranoid or mean.

Conservatives’ only nightmares stemmed from Obama’s policies, not the man himself.

Perhaps Mia Love was right – Trump would do better to establish relationships rather than offering “convenient transactions.” One can only hope the next two years contains a lot less mutual criticism and a lot more cooperation and teamwork from Republicans. Something to learn for everyone.

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