While everyone in conservative media seems fixated on commenting on the Democrat primary debates, they are missing the raging internal GOP debates. No, there is no high-profile debate stage for Republicans this year, and Donald Trump is running for the presidential nomination essentially unopposed. But there is a behind-the-scenes fight for the heart and soul of the Trump presidency that will determine what sort of second term may be waiting for Trump’s base at the other side of this election cycle.
Second terms of Republican presidents don’t work out well for conservatives. It’s truly hard to remember a good second term from a GOP president since Calvin Coolidge (and that was his first and only elected term). Bush’s second term was essentially the forerunner to Obama’s presidency on almost every major issue. Reagan was better, but we got a failed amnesty bill.
Contrary to what loyal GOP voters think – that re-election against the onslaught of the media will push the Republican president into righteous principled governance – Republican presidents tend to move leftward and lose steam in their second term. The GOP swamp is already chomping at the bit to promote amnesty, another expansion of foreign workers to displace Americans, a massive pro-criminal bill, a global warming agenda, and endless new entitlement and spending programs during a second term. Those with the elitist swamp mindset are all over the White House and executive branch, and the leadership in Congress is nearly identical to the leadership that turned off Republican voters last decade and prompted them to vote for Trump in the first place.
Take a look at the Cabinet-level officials in this administration and count how many of them are cut from the “MAGA” cloth and support an America-first agenda. If you get ambitious, go down to the deputy secretary and agency-head level as well. You’ll be able to count the number of true believers in Trump’s original campaign message on one hand, perhaps two if you go down low enough. Every day, they work with swampy Republicans in Congress and the business interests, donors, and trade associations on the outside who prop them up to promote everything Trump voters detest.
This GOP debate – something much more important than Elizabeth Warren sparring with Mike Bloomberg – played out between Rep. Chip Roy and Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday. And unlike with the Democrat debate, conservative influencers can actually sway the outcome of this debate and determine whether we will have a party and a Trump second term more in line with Chip Roy – or with Lindsey Graham. The gulf between a Chip Roy and a Lindsey Graham is greater than the gulf between Graham and Bloomberg. In fact, Graham and Bloomberg agree on an awful lot of issues.
Following revelations that Lindsey Graham, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and other high-profile GOP senators and administration officials are trying to get Trump to buy into a massive amnesty and foreign worker proposal, Rep. Chip Roy sent him a letter expressing his concern. Noting our dangerous border and criminal alien crisis, Roy admonished Graham that there “should be no amnesty considered as we should be squarely focused on re-establishing actual operational control of our border, which we currently do not have.”
Roy, who once served as a staffer on the committee Graham now chairs, currently has a bill calling for the destruction of the Carrizo cane, vegetation that grows up to 25 feet tall along the Rio Grande River, where the cartel scouts and smugglers hide out, and for building access roads for Border Patrol along the river. In the letter to Graham, Roy lays out what GOP leaders should be focused on:
Dangerous cartels are at war in Tamaulipas along the Mexico-Texas border, maintaining operational control along much of the border. We have not taken the steps necessary to treat cartels like the terrorist actors they are. Only a little over 100 miles of actual fencing has been completed, largely on areas that already had at least barriers. Narcotics flow is as bad as it has ever been, with fentanyl now littering our cities across the country. We are relying on Mexico to hold the line for us – which is tenuous at best. We have not fixed Flores or ended catch-and-release policies, we have not fixed our asylum laws from the potential of abuse, and we have not fixed TVPRA to allow for the safe and easy return of children and immigrants to their homes. Border Patrol and ICE need more resources and beds. We have vast areas of the border which are overrun by cane and have no roads allowing navigation along the Rio Grande. I could go on, but to be clear, we’ve taken maybe 5 steps of 100 needed to actually secure the border.
Indeed, those were Trump’s campaign promises. But this language that Roy is speaking may as well be Swahili to swamp Republicans and the special interests that seem to have home field advantage both in Congress and at the White House. They don’t consider victims of crime, illegal immigration, human and drug smuggling, or the American worker in their calculous. That is not the language they speak. The question for conservatives is whether we will enjoy a second term where the MAGA agenda is the native language or not.
Will we have a second term that prioritizes the needs of American taxpayers and workers over the open-borders cartel?
Will this be a second term where we finally control our immigration system from espionage, terrorism, trade secret theft, and labor exploitation, or will we continue serving the gods of Big Education, Big Ag, and Big Tech who suck us dry to the benefit of China, India, and Saudi Arabia?
Will we have a second term of clamping down on the cartels and drug traffickers or one that continues misdiagnosing the drug crisis, going easy on traffickers, and harming pain patients?
Will we have a second term that cuts all the programs Trump promised in his budget blueprint and bring welfare reform, or will we have a second term creating new entitlements?
Will we have a second term where Republicans finally take on the health care cartel and the endless Medicaid handouts for big conglomerates and insurance companies that are destroying private practice and boxing out consumers and instead promote health care freedom by cutting out the middlemen? Or will this be another term of Republicans promoting endless Medicaid, while warning about the next rung of socialism from the Democrats that they will inevitably join in a few years?
Will this finally be the term where Republicans in Congress and the executive branch take back stolen power from the unelected courts, or will this be another shell game of promoting judicial supremacism while losing our country to district judges and the ACLU?
Will this be another term where Republicans pass gun control while releasing violent felons from federal prison, or a term where we protect law-abiding citizens by locking up the bad guys and arming the good guys?
Will we have a second term of House Appropriations committee chairs like Kay Granger who will fund increased bureaucracies and Planned Parenthood, but not more ICE officers? Or will conservatives finally focus on GOP primaries and support people like Chris Putnam, her primary challenger?
The ball is in the court of those who claim to be conservative and hold sway with the White House. Trump cares deeply about the priorities of conservative leaders and, nine times out of ten, will listen to their requests. But just what are their priorities?