Four years ago I ran to become a delegate to the Republican National Convention (and failed) for the sole purpose to help nominate any Republican candidate other than Donald Trump.
That fall I agonized over voting for Trump.
Finally, I decided I would vote for Trump in hopes he would nominate a proper and ideologically similar replacement for US Supreme Court Justice Scalia.
This year I am again voting for Trump. But this time I’m doing so proudly and without any hesitation.
When Trump won in a stunning upset, I made a conscious decision on just how I would evaluate his presidency. I would judge him solely, yes, I said solely, on what he did, not what he said.
Specifically, I would judge him on what he put his signature to — legislative bills that would turn into law, executive orders and judicial appointments. And I would not judge him for the way he acted, what he said or anything he tweeted. Viewing the world through my spectacles, all that is distraction. To me policy is what counts most. I’m increasingly rare that way.
Americans have grown to see their president as a spiritual leader, the Moses of our country. They expect him to comfort us in times of panic, inspire us during our challenges and, with great dignity, embody and project the American character.
Funny though, there ain’t nothing in the Constitution that puts any of that in the job description.
His job is to sign or veto legislation, appoint judges, be commander of the armed forces and oversee the machinery of the federal government.
We’re not electing a pope, a shrink or Tony Robbins.
Most Americans don’t think about the yardstick by which they will measure a future president, or any elected official. I strongly recommend you think about the criteria you’ll use going forward, for if you don’t, the media will impose theirs.
I’m not discounting measuring a president as father figure for the nation, example for children, and moral representative of our nation to the world at large. But I find all that more symbolic than substance. I want legal changes.
From my world view — that the individual is sovereign, and government exists to protect our liberty, Donald Trump has created more positive policy change than any president in my lifetime, including Reagan.
Reagan set the tone for his administration when he fired the illegally striking air-traffic controllers.
Trump set the tone when he pulled the U.S. from the Paris climate accords, something that would have only stifled our economy while China continued enjoying a carbon orgy. Whether he did it for the right policy reasons, or just to get attention, I don’t care. It was the first of many big decisions.
Trump ended the penalty for refusing to purchase government-mandated Obamacare insurance, to stop punishing people for NOT doing something.
His tax reform is the most important change to the tax code since Reagan’s. No wonder jobs were fleeing the country: We had the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.
Trump achieved what his Republican and Democratic predecessors wouldn’t. He kept us out of protracted and costly military entanglements while still dealing a death blow to Isis.
If the left can’t bring themselves to give Trump credit for his reduction of our military morasses, you’d think they could recognize his criminal justice and sentencing reform.
His HUGE unseen success is in the massive deregulatory efforts as his administration calmly untangles decades of choking rules.
He forced our NATO partners to finally to pay more of their share. He moved our embassy to Jerusalem. He facilitated a landmark peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (Obama would have gotten a second Nobel prize).
To Colorado he brought the Bureau of Land Management and the Space Force.
His most lasting policy impact will be originalist judges, and judges and more judges.
If your value is wanting a respectable guy you can imagine having a beer with, introduce to your parents and tuck you in at night, vote Biden.
If your value is to get coercive government out of our lives, vote Trump.
Through what glasses will you judge the next four years?
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.