Adam Walinsky once worked for President John F. Kennedy. He wrote speeches for Bobby (RFK) Kennedy, and Bill Clinton once worked on his National Committee for the Police Corps. He is a longtime Democrat operative, politician, and leader, and in a recent article for Politico, Walinsky shocked the nation when he announced that he would be voting for Donald Trump on November 8th.
I was a Democrat all my life. I came to Washington to serve President John Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. When the president was murdered and his brother struck off on his own, I joined his Senate campaign and staff as his legislative assistant and speechwriter, until his presidential campaign ended with his own assassination. I ran on a (losing) Democratic ticket in the New York state elections of 1970. When I was working to enact my own program of police reform in the 1980s and 1990s, then-Governor Bill Clinton was chairman of my National Committee for the Police Corps.
This year, I will vote to elect Donald Trump as president of the United States.
The question many are asking today is, why? Why would a long-time and highly respected Democrat defect at such a crucial time in our history? Why would Walinsky abandon the most establishment-friendly candidate in recent memory, to vote for a Republican outsider who eschews much of the Democrat Party platform.
So profound a change, and a decent respect for old friendships, requires me to deliver a public accounting for this decision.
Walinsky focused on one key aspect of the campaign – foreign policy:
Here it is. John and Robert Kennedy devoted their greatest commitments and energies to the prevention of war and the preservation of peace. To them that was not an abstract formula but the necessary foundation of human life. But today’s Democrats have become the Party of War: a home for arms merchants, mercenaries, academic war planners, lobbyists for every foreign intervention, promoters of color revolutions, failed generals, exploiters of the natural resources of corrupt governments.
Walinsky hammers one key area of today’s Democrat Party that many libertarians and some conservatives have decried for years. The Democrat Party is the party of hypocrisy when it comes to war and foreign policy. The very same people who for years marched against war during the Bush administration, have fallen silent during the Obama years. This reality is stunning, considering that President Obama has led us through 8 years of constant warfare (numbers below accurate as of May 2016):
—2,499 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq so far under President Obama, according to the independent Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.
—Of those, 1,906 have been killed in and around Afghanistan, and 593 in Iraq.
—Under Obama, the United States has been at war for 2,687 days. That’s longer than under George W. Bush — or any other U.S. president, for that matter.
—Obama has conducted airstrikes on seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria. (That’s three more countries than George W. Bush bombed.)
—U.S. combat forces are deployed on the ground in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. That’s one more war than Obama inherited, and which his successor will likely have to contend with.
Because of these truths and the reality that much of Obama’s foreign policy vision was crafted, developed, and carried out by Hillary Clinton, have led Walinsky to the realization that Donald Trump may be the most likely candidate to bring peace to our nation.
Throughout this campaign, he has said that as president, he would quickly sit down with President Putin and seek relaxation of tensions between our nations, and possible collaboration in the fight against terrorists. On this ground alone, he marks himself as greatly superior to all his competitors, earlier in the primaries and now in the general election…
Donald Trump has been mocked mercilessly for saying, “America first.” But to demand that all the actions of government, at home or abroad, be first directed at the interests and well-being of our own country is not old-fashioned or outmoded. Rather it represents the deepest wisdom and tradition of American statesmen from the founders on. Only with a clear vision of what is truly in the interests of our nation and our fellow citizens, and a full commitment to those interests, can we act wisely at home and in the world beyond.
I urge you to read all of Walinsky’s well-crafted argument in support of Donald Trump. He delivers paragraphs of excoriating commentary against the Democrat Party, while explaining why, despite his faults, Donald Trump may indeed be the man for this moment.
If you believe America is starved for change, and many voters do, then the only candidate who offers any hope of real change is Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton not only represents “more of the same” from Washington, D.C., she is the progenitor, and an ardent supporter of many of our worst, most ineffective policies, ideas, and plans. Voting against Clinton doesn’t only mean voting for change; it means voting against some of our worst political failures of the last 30 years.