Yesterday, I turned forty-five. I wasn’t really inclined to celebrate this birthday; I don’t expect to live to be ninety so I’ve long since stopped kidding myself that this is “middle age”. But that didn’t stop my friends and family from burying me under an avalanche of generosity. Some of you gave me gifts of humbling magnitude. Others gave me time and effort to attend my surprise party two weeks ago, help out with my trio of October races, or visit with me in places as diverse as Powell and Las Vegas. Still others called, texted, e-mailed.
Yesterday, the American people decided to chip in for one last birthday present — namely, the defeat of Hillary Clinton. I voted for Mr. Clinton in 1992, but in the years since I have come to think of myself as a populist. I believe that full employment is more important than free trade; I believe that this country cannot survive unless we are a net producer and a net exporter; I believe that native-born Americans have the right and the duty to determine this country’s direction; I believe that immigration is only helpful when it occurs in a reasonable and prudent manner.
Mrs. Clinton’s plans to bring several million more people into this country who in no way share our common beliefs, combined with her determination to export more working-class and middle-class jobs to further enrich her plutocrat backers, were incompatible with traditional Democratic or Republican values. It is too soon to tell what Mr. Trump will do. But in the words of the recently famous essay, “A Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.” In other words, we have hope now, where we would have had none. Thank you for that.