WASHINGTON – It's not unusual for Donald Trump to do things Republican presidential candidates of the past haven’t done.
But his appearance in Milwaukee Tuesday night was, well, unprecedented in a different way from what he has said and done in 2016.
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Trump made an all-out, coherent bid for the inner-city vote, invading the inner sanctum and holy ground of the Democratic Party for 50 years.
“Tonight, I am going to talk about how to make our communities safe again from crime and lawlessness,” he said, first standing behind police in a city ravaged for days by rioting and violence over a police shooting that, if the facts laid out by law enforcement are true, does not appear to be a violation of policy, let alone the law.
He said the mayhem in Milwaukee is “an assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and peace.”
“Law and order must be restored. It must be restored for the sake of all, but most especially the sake of those living in the affected communities,” he added. “The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-American citizens living in these neighborhoods. It is their jobs, their homes, their schools and communities which will suffer as a result. There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump administration.”
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He called for more police in America’s poorest communities and more effective policing.
“Just like Hillary Clinton is against the miners, she is against the police,” he said. “You know it, and I know it. Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society – a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent – share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee, and many other places within our country. They have fostered the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America.”
Taking a swipe not only at Mrs. Clinton, but at Barack Obama’s policies, he said: “Everytime we rush to judgment with false facts and narratives – whether in Ferguson or in Baltimore – and foment further unrest, we do a direct disservice to poor African-American residents who are hurt by the high crime in their communities.”
“During the last 72 hours, while protestors have raged against the police here in Milwaukee, another 9 were killed in Chicago and another 46 were wounded. More than 2,600 people have been shot in Chicago since the beginning of the year, and almost 4,000 killed in President Obama’s hometown area since his presidency began. How are we serving these American victims by attacking law enforcement officers? The war on our police must end. It must end now.”
Trump continued: “Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, the violent disruptor. Our job is to make life more comfortable for the African-American parent who wants their kids to be able to safely walk the streets. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school. For every one violent protestor, there are a hundred moms and dads and kids on that same city block who just want to be able to sleep safely at night. My opponent would rather protect the offender than the victim. Hillary Clinton-backed policies are responsible for the problems in the inner cities today, and a vote for her is a vote for another generation of poverty, high crime, and lost opportunities. I care too much about my country to let that happen.”
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This was not a tough law-and-order speech designed to appeal to white voters living in suburbs. It was a head-on challenge to almost exclusive Democrat rule in most major urban areas in the country.
Bolstering his case, he had former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani by his side , who, in that role, reduced crime by 76 percent and murder by 84 percent.
“Imagine how many lives could have been saved, all across this country, if Democratic politicians hadn’t blocked in their cities what Rudy did in New York City?” Trump said. “I’ll make sure we deliver safe neighborhoods here in Milwaukee, and all across this country. It’s easy for Hillary Clinton to turn a blind eye to crime when she has her own private security force. I believe all Americans, not just the powerful, are entitled to security. Hillary Clinton has had her chance. She failed. Now it’s time for new leadership.”
Zeroing in ever more on his opponent, he made the case that Mrs. Clinton’s policy prescriptions hurt the poor the most.
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“There is no compassion in allowing drug dealers, gang members, and felons to prey on innocent people,” he said. “It is the first duty of government to keep the innocent safe, and when I am president I will fight for the safety of every American – and especially those Americans who have not known safety for a very, very long time. I am asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different future.”
Playing on themes raised by Dinesh D’Souza in his popular new book and movie, “Hillary’s America,” and others, including Ben Kinchlow, author of “Black Yellowdogs,” regarding the history of the Democratic Party and its political exploitation of blacks, Trump said “it is time for our society to address some honest and very difficult truths.”
“The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community,” he said. “Democratic crime policies, education policies, and economic policies have produced only more crime, more broken homes, and more poverty. Let us look at the situation right here in Milwaukee, a city run by Democrats for decade after decade. Last year, killings in this city increased by 69 percent, plus another 634 victims of non-fatal shootings. Eighteen to 29-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the homicide victims. The poverty rate here is nearly double the national average. Almost four in 10 African-American men in Milwaukee between the ages of 25-54 do not have a job. Nearly four in 10 single mother households are living in poverty. Fifty-five public schools in this city have been rated as failing to meet expectations, despite ten thousand dollars in funding per-pupil. There is only a 60 percent graduation rate, and it’s one of the worst public school systems in the country. One in five manufacturing jobs has disappeared in Milwaukee since we fully opened our markets to China, and many African-American neighborhoods have borne the brunt of this hit.”
About these shocking statistics, Trump said, “To every voter in Milwaukee, to every voter living in every inner city, or every forgotten stretch of our society, I am running to offer you a better future.”
Then he made the direct challenge for the votes of minorities few expect him to win.
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“The Democratic Party has taken the votes of African-Americans for granted,” he said. “They’ve just assumed they’ll get your support and done nothing in return for it. It’s time to give the Democrats some competition for these votes, and it’s time to rebuild the inner cities of America – and to reject the failed leadership of a rigged political system.”
Hitting Mrs. Clinton, as he frequently does for corruption, greed and ties to special interests, Trump said, “I’m not part of the corrupt system. In fact, the corrupt system is trying to stop me. I’ve been paying my own way. The voters in the Republican Party this year defied the donors, the consultants, the power brokers, and choose a nominee from outside our failed and corrupt and broken system.”
“The other party – the Democratic Party – nominated the personification of special interest corruption,” he added. “The Democratic Party rigged the nomination to give it to Hillary Clinton, thus giving the soul of their party this year to the special interests. I am running to listen to your voice, to hear your cries for help. The quiet voices in our society, not the loudest demonstrators, need to have their demands heard.”
His campaign theme, he said, comes down to “Jobs. Safety. Opportunity. Fair and equal representation.”
Then he accused Mrs. Clinton of racism.
“We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton which panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes, not as individual human beings worthy of a better future,” he said. “She doesn’t care at all about the hurting people of this country, or the suffering she has caused them. The African-American community has been taken for granted for decades by the Democratic Party. It’s time to break with the failures of the past – I want to offer Americans a new future. It is time for rule by the people, not rule by special interests.”
Returning to a familiar campaign theme, Trump said: “Every insider, getting rich off of our broken system, is throwing money at Hillary Clinton. The hedge fund managers, the Wall Street investors, the professional political class. It’s the powerful protecting the powerful. Insiders fighting for insiders. I am fighting for you.”
He returned to an attack on the Democratic Party, again, tying it to less prosperity to the very people the party counts on – especially minority voters.
“It’s time to break through the television noise, the entrenched interests,” he said. “I understand that a lot of powerful people in our political system – a lot of people who’ve created our problems – will lose a lot of their contracts, and their special gigs, if African-American voters, and all minority voters, support my campaign. It’s time to stop making the special interests rich. It’s time to make the American people rich. I am going to make America wealthy again.”
He reminded voters that the Democratic Party has run nearly every inner city in this country for 50 years, and run them into financial ruin.
“They’ve ruined the schools,” he said. “They’ve driven out the jobs. They’ve tolerated a level of crime no American should consider acceptable. Violent crime has risen 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities last year. Killings of police officers this year is up nearly 50 percent. Homicides are up more than 60% in Baltimore. They are up more than 50 percent in Washington, D.C. This is the future offered by Hillary Clinton. More poverty, more crime, and more of the same. The future she offers is the most pessimistic thing I can possibly imagine. It is time for a different future.”
He then laid out a familiar plan that tied in his key positions that have not yet resonated with the Democratic base, which he appears to be targeting.
- “First, on immigration. No community in this country has been hurt worse by Hillary Clinton’s immigration policies than the African-American community. Now she is proposing to print instant work permits for millions of illegal immigrants, taking jobs directly from low-income Americans. I will secure our border, protect our workers, and improve jobs and wages in your community. We will only invite people to join our country who share our tolerant values, who support our Constitution, and who love all of our people.”
- “On trade, I am going to renegotiate NAFTA, stand up to China, withdraw from the TPP, and protect every last American job.”
- “On taxes, I am going to give a massive tax cut to every worker and small business in this country, bring thousands of new companies and millions of new jobs onto our shores – and make it very difficult for our businesses to leave.”
- “I am going to reform our regulations so jobs stay in America, and new businesses come to America to hire workers right here in Milwaukee. Every policy my opponent has sends jobs overseas. I am going to bring trillions in new wealth back to the United States.”
- “On education, it is time to have school choice, merit pay for teachers, and to end the tenure policies that hurt good teachers and reward bad teachers. We are going to put students and parents first. Hillary Clinton would rather deny opportunities to millions of young African-American children, just so she can curry favor with the education bureaucracy.”
He then laid out some newer policy prescriptions – many of which played on Mrs. Clinton’s vulnerabilties:
- “I am going to allow charter schools to thrive, and help young kids get on the American ladder of success: a good education, and a good-paying job.”
- "On crime, I am going to support more police in our communities, appoint the best prosecutors and judges in the country, pursue strong enforcement of federal laws, and I am going to break up the gangs, the cartels and criminal syndicates terrorizing our neighborhoods. To every lawbreaker hurting innocent people in this country, I say: your free reign will soon come crashing to an end.”
- “On healthcare, we are going to get rid of Obamacare – which has caused soaring double-digit premium increases – and give choice to patients and consumers. Aetna, just today, announced they are dropping out – as are many of the major insurance companies.”
- "On government corruption, I am going to restore honor to our government. We’ve seen the corruption of Hillary Clinton, the mass email deletions, the pay-for-play at the State Department, the profiteering, the favors given to foreign corporations and governments at your expense. We’ve seen a former Secretary of State lie to Congress about her illegal email scheme, risk innocent American lives, and bring dishonor onto our government. In my Administration, I am going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information. No one will be above the law.”
- “I am going to forbid senior officials from trading favors for cash by preventing them from collecting lavish speaking fees through their spouses when they serve. I am going to ask my senior officials to sign an agreement not to accept speaking fees from corporations with a registered lobbyist for five years after leaving office, or from any entity tied to a foreign government. This is all just the beginning.”
He concluded by pledging: “I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and hatred and oppression in all of its forms, and seek a new future of security, prosperity and opportunity – a future built on our common culture and values as one American people.”