Many voters leaning toward Donald Trump, including me, have been alienated by his vile comments recorded in 2005 about sexually assaulting women. Others have been discouraged by polls and the mainstream media echo chamber proclaiming that Trump can’t possibly win now and that Hillary Clinton has already won.
But here’s why those voters should consider voting for Trump anyway.
Even if Trump has turned out to be a flawed bearer for his populist message, he has presented a set of original positions embraced by many voters, including at least a majority of Republican voters, much to the surprise of the American elite that dominates both political parties.
Trump was the only candidate of either party to defy the conventional wisdom that said winning candidates had to define themselves as favoring more immigration, less rigorous enforcement of immigration law, and a “comprehensive” approach to reform that included legalization for illegal immigrants, which, of course, would encourage even more illegal immigration.
From the beginning of his campaign, Trump stated that immigration needed to be restricted to protect the jobs and wages of Americans and national security.
Trump was the only Republican candidate to declare (as Bernie Sanders did on the Democratic side) that trade deals like NAFTA effectively exported American jobs, harming poor and working-class Americans, while making the rich even richer and dramatically increasing inequality in America.
Trump was the only Republican candidate to state clearly that Americans did not want to see their Social Security and Medicare benefits reduced and that he would protect them.
From the beginning of his campaign, Trump was the only presidential candidate (with the possible exception of Sanders) to consistently denounce U.S. military intervention in the Middle East from Iraq to Libya to Syria.
If Trump had turned out to be a normal candidate who could stay on message, repeating these four points again and again without being distracted, he could very likely have defeated the unpopular Clinton. Consider the contrasts: She champions amnesty and sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants and advocates for free trade and trade deals like NAFTA. She voted, as a U.S. senator, for the invasion of Iraq and, as secretary of state, led the U.S. intervention in Libya, which resulted in chaos and a terrorist beachhead there. And she continues to support President Obama’s regime-change policy in Syria.
But, of course, Trump wasn’t a normal candidate. He is easily baited into name-calling and petty disputes harmful to his candidacy. And then there was the tape and the harassment allegations that followed.
Even if some of the polls and pundits are right – at least those released before the FBI announcement Friday about Clinton’s emails – that Trump is headed for an epic defeat, every vote for him on or before Nov. 8 will still accomplish the following:
Reduce or eliminate assertions of a Clinton “mandate” to act unilaterally on nonenforcement of immigration law, on job-killing trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, on continued U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, and in the appointment of federal judges and Supreme Court justices.
Encourage other politicians, hopefully more politically skillful than Trump, to embrace and advocate the positions he has popularized, including restrictions on legal immigration, reduction of illegal immigration through law enforcement, using the power of the largest economy in the world to negotiate better trade deals that protect the jobs and wages of American workers, and a “Walk softly, and carry a big stick” foreign policy.
Encourage the development of a broadly based populist political movement supporting the issues and policies that have been advocated by Trump, both inside of and independently from the major political parties.
This article originally appeared as an op-ed at Philly.com. The original article can be read here.