A Republican’s view of the 2016 presidential election

by Michelle Loftus

Republicans of San Juan County

Many of us are glad the 2016 presidential election is over and many want a “do over.” We political enthusiasts are busy dissecting numbers and outcomes. Nationally, we saw two uniquely strong movements. Bernie Sanders ignited interest in socialism, which a large portion of Democrats embraced. I still see your signs and bumper stickers around our island. This truly worries many of us on the conservative side, as we believe socialism is a pathway to private sector economic weakness, then anarchy and eventually overbearing government control over all aspects of our lives. History provides example after example of this sequence. Socialism looks compassionate, initially, as it tries to care for the masses or the environment, but eventually there is no well to draw from and the economic collapse begins.

The Trump train shocked many on the conservative side. Often, I was asked, “Why would a nice woman like you vote for Donald Trump?”. My answer, prior to the primary elections, was that I thought Trump was just in it for the name recognition. I supported Ted Cruz from the wide field of very experienced politicians and became disappointed as the wave of Trump support across the nation grew and grew. I began paying attention to the Trump supporters. Who were they and what part of Trump’s message did they like? I concluded most Americans are very tired of the political establishment on the liberal and conservative sides. People blame the political establishment for the lack of jobs due to overregulation of business and immigration laxity, the political correctness circus and, of course, Obamacare. Hillary Clinton represented the establishment on the liberal side. The only person on the stage of Republican presidential candidates who was not a politician, but did have a substantial list of successes for himself, his businesses and his community, was Donald Trump. Thus, the appeal was strong.

His message included specific plans for immigration reform, economic growth in the private sector and military strength. Ben Carson and Rudy Giuliani supported Trump. Trump’s national convention speech supported the gay/lesbian community, which had never been heard from a Republican presidential candidate before. Trump declared himself a pro-life supporter in the same speech. President-elect Trump is like many of us who can’t check all the boxes with either party. The expectation to be labeled Republican or Democrat is fiercely avoided by the ever-growing independents. Trump’s victory reflected a voice of a very diverse group of voters.

What about Trump’s inappropriate remarks? I have worked around many men in my career. Most have been perfect gentlemen. Some have had salty language and implied very inappropriate things to me. The inappropriate category includes some of the best doctors, surgeons, businessmen and engineers I have ever known. I expect Mr. Trump will watch his language as president. I expect he will continue to support women’s roles in our society as mothers, businesswomen or government leaders as he has demonstrated in his business relationships. God bless America.

Loftus is a state committee woman and serves as a Washington State Republican Party executive board member.