User login

Join The Debate

Cast your vote and join the conversation.

Membership is free.


Get Started

You are here

Debates
March 28, 2019
The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump

Americans are gearing up for the 2020 presidential elections, and Republicans have a choice: Should Donald Trump be their nominee? His detractors see a politically vulnerable candidate caught up in the uncertainty of the Mueller investigation, wounded by the longest government shutdown in history, and defeated by House Democrats who refused his demand for border wall funding. But many are standing behind the president. They argue his passionate and loyal base will deliver yet another political win, particularly if his campaign finally has the full support and guidance of the Republican Party. Can Trump deliver key swing states and another victory for the GOP? Or is he the wrong choice for the American right?

  • 00:00:00
    And so, we have an election coming up, not this week, not this month, not this year, but in November 2020, November 3rd, 2020.  And unless something really out of the ordinary happens, a man named Donald Trump certainly seems to be planning to run.

    And is a second Trump run something that the Republican party should be celebrating and embracing and helping to execute, or is it something to be very, very worried about? Well, that, without much more elaboration needed, is the question on the table for us, because we think it has the makings of a debate.

    So, let's have it, yes or no to this statement:  The Republican party should not re-nominate Trump.

    I'm John Donvan.  I stand between two teams of two who are all conservatives, but highly and sharply divided on this question, "The Republican party should not re-nominate Trump."

    As always, our debate will go in three rounds, and then our audience here at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in New York City will choose the winner.  
  • 00:01:04
    And as always, if all goes well, civil discourse will also win. Our motion is this:  The Republican party should not re-nominate Trump.

    Let's meet our debaters.  First, on the team arguing for the resolution, let's welcome Jeff Flake.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Hi, Jeff.  Welcome to Intelligence Squared.  You are, of course, a former senator from Arizona.  Before that, you represented Arizona in Congress for six terms.  

    You're the author of a best-selling 2017 book called, "The Conscience of a Conservative:  A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle." Jeff, your book echoes the title of Barry Goldwater's 1960 book, "Conscience of a Conservative."  So why did you choose that?

    Jeff Flake:
    Well, it does echo it.  Goldwater at that time saw a crisis of conservatism in his day.  I believe that we're experiencing a similar crisis of conservatism today.  And so, my book was a rather modest attempt, after Goldwater's, to explain this and to explain a better path forward.
  • 00:02:08
    It was very much an homage to Goldwater, Arizona's favorite son.

    John Donvan:
    Thanks very much, Jeff Flake.

    [applause]

    And now let's meet your partner, Bret Stephens.  Bret, welcome back to Intelligence Squared. You've been with a number of times.  You are a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist. You're an op ed columnist now for the New York Times, a best-selling author, senior political contributor at NBC.  

    You have reported from around the world.  You've interviewed scores of world leaders.  Share with us your most memorable exchange with a name that we would all recognize.

    Bret Stephens:
    When I was young, I was editor in chief of the Jerusalem post.  And shortly after I took the job, I took an irate phone call from Shimon Peres, the former prime minister.  He was then the leader of the opposition. He claimed that we had missed his side of the story in a piece we reported.  

    It was all I could do to stutter out, "No, we -- story in a piece that we've reported.  
  • 00:03:01
    It was all I could to stutter out, "No, we have your side. It's just on the inside pages, after the jump."  The phone went dead. And a couple days later, I received a letter from former Prime Minister Peres apologizing to me for missing it.  

    And to me, it was a reminder that small graces should never be beyond the reach of great men. And I'd love to see that in our own president.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Bret Stephens.  And the team arguing for the resolution "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump."  

    [applause]

    And we have two debaters arguing against the resolution.  And again, to be clear, that means that they are for re-nominating Donald Trump as the Republican Party candidate.  Our first debater on this team, please, let's welcome Kris Kobach.

    [applause]

    Kris, you have also debated with us before, so welcome back.  You are the former Secretary of State for Kansas. You were an adviser to President Trump.  Now you're an advisory member of "We Build the Wall Inc."

    In your Twitter bio, Kris, you call yourself a full-throttled conservative, which means what?
  • 00:04:01
    Kris Kobach:
    It means that, in a political race, you don't slow down.  You don't turn a different direction. You don't stop. And it's a counter to what we sometimes see in politics, with someone who will talk one way in a primary, and then, as soon as they get to the general, they do the famous pivot.  

    And then, when they get in office, they govern something -- in some other form, completely different. And it happens on the right as well as on the left. And so, it's really about honesty with voters. It's telling voters where you stand from the very beginning and staying on that path.  I'd rather win and be -- I'd rather lose and be honest than win and have deceived voters in the process.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Kris Kobach.  

    [applause]

    And your partner is Liz Peek.  Liz, welcome to Intelligence Squared U.S.

    Liz Peek:
    Thank you.  Thank you.

    [applause]  

    John Donvan:
    You're a contributor to Fox News.  You're a columnist for The Hill and FoxNews.com.  You've written also for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, among others.  Before your writing career, you were a top-ranked research analyst cover oil field companies, and you led the National Association of Petroleum Investment Analysts.
     
    So, there's a career change.  What was that about?
  • 00:05:04
    Liz Peek:
    I was very lucky to be able to take a break from my career to stay at home and raise our three young children.  

    And secondly, I grew up in a literary household. My father was a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, a long-time writer for The New Yorker.  I thought that was pretty cool. I always wanted to write. So, now I am.

    John Donvan:
    It sounds like --

    Liz Peek:
    And very fortunate on both sides.

    John Donvan:
    It sounds like a nice life.

    Liz Peek:
    Yes.  It is.

    John Donvan:
    Okay.  Thank you, Liz Peek --

    Liz Peek:
    Thank you.

    John Donvan:
    -- and the team arguing against the resolution, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump."  And so, onto the debate. We go in three rounds. Round one, opening statements by each debater in turn.  Those statements will be six minutes each. And up first for the resolution, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump," is New York Times columnist, Bret Stephens.  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome once more, Bret Stephens.

    [applause]

    Bret Stephens:
    Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.  Kris, buenas noches.
  • 00:06:04
    [laughter]

    [applause]  

    Onstage tonight, you have four people who identify themselves politically as conservatives.  Some of you in this audience might also identify as conservatives. Welcome to the Borough of Manhattan Endangered Species Club.  

    [laughter]

    Others here in this theater are not conservatives.  Maybe you're looking at this debate the way you would one of those old Star Trek episodes, observing the weird customs of an alien world.  But I want to -- what I want to tell you is that all of you, no matter what your political opinions, all of you have a profound stake in the outcome of tonight's debate.

    Whether you like it or not, there will always be a conservative party in any democratic society.  
  • 00:07:03
    Republicans aren't going anywhere. And the question we need to decide tonight is what kind of party should that be.

    Will it be the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, John McCain, and Jeff Flake?  Will it be a party that believes in opportunity and freedom, openness, and free trade, global engagement, and fair dealing, and the importance of moral character in our leaders?  Or will it be the party of Pat Buchanan, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and Kris Kobach? That is the party that believes in border walls and Muslim bans, truculence toward our traditional allies but ingratiation with Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, conspiracy theories about the so-called deep state, nativism, and birtherism [spelled phonetically].
  • 00:08:04
    Those are the options, and while nothing we say here tonight is going to change the course of history, what you have an opportunity to say with your votes is, "It should not be -- it must not be the second option."  

    Now, I can already guess what some of -- what our opponents are going to say. They're going to tell you that Jeff and I, so called never Trumpers, that we're losers, that we speak for nobody in the Republican Party. As you evaluate that claim, please note that Kris just lost his race for governor of Kansas.

    [laughter]

    And we now have a democratic senator in Alabama because Donald Trump endorsed an accused child molester, Roy Moore, for that position.  
  • 00:09:01
    A republican congressman has been wiped clean from places like Orange County thanks to the orange man in the White House.

    [laughter]

    But it's true.  Our opponents have a point.  

    Donald Trump definitely owns the Republican Party right now.  He will probably get north of 90 percent of the Republican vote.  And yes, he could win the general election, depending on who the Democrats nominate next year.  You know who else once owned the Republican Party? Richard Nixon in 1972. If the -- if popularity of the moment were the only criteria in this debate, Kris and Liz would win it hands down, but anything who thinks that popularity should be the chief criterion of political principle is someone who has no principles.  And people without principles will eventually be found out, and when they are found out, they will be voted out.
  • 00:10:01
    Kris and Liz will also tell you that Trump has delivered on his promises, that he's governing as a conservative.  And, again, there's some truth to this, and both Jeff and I have been willing to give the President credit where it's due.  

    These days, I especially give him credit for the leadership that his administration has shown toward the dictatorship in Venezuela.  But I can tell you right now that, on the things that matter most, Donald Trump is no conservative. Let me ask you, "Would Ronald Reagan have recognized a republican president who takes every opportunity to trash NATO, and who unilaterally ends our military exercises in South Korea, and who endorses the word of a KGB agent over his own intelligence officials?  Would George H.W. Bush have recognized the Republican president who demonizes Latin American immigrants and mocks the handicapped? Would George W. Bush have recognized a republican president who calls our free press the enemy of the people, or forcibly separates children from their parents at the border?
  • 00:11:02
    And would any Republican ever seek to question the courage, much less besmirch the memory, of an American hero like John McCain?  Do you, Kris? Do you, Liz?

    But that's the Republican Party that Kris and Liz, here, not only accept, they extol it. They think it's great.  They want not more -- not just four more years, they want four more decades of this. Ladies and gentlemen, heaven forbid. Jeff and I are not naïve.  We know that the chances of the GOP not re-nominating Trump are slim, but we are not here to argue about what will happen. That's beyond our control. We are here to argue about what should happen.  Republicans must not re-nominate Donald Trump because, to do so, will indelibly put his foul stamp on the party. It will turn the party that once stood for opportunity and enterprise into the party of exclusion, and the party that stood for courage and optimism into the party of fear.  
  • 00:12:01
    Tonight, together, we cannot let that happen.  That is why you must vote, "Yes," to the resolution.  Thank you very much.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Bret Stephens.  And that resolution again, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump."  

    Our next debater will be speaking against the resolution. Here is Fox News contributor and columnist, Liz Peek.  Ladies and gentlemen, Liz Peek.

    [applause]

    Liz Peek:
    Good evening.  Kris and I are here to argue against the notion that Republicans should not re-nominate Donald Trump as the party's candidate in 2020.  It's a head scratcher but stay tuned. First of all, we have a favor to ask of you. Our arguments will only make sense to Republicans. So, tonight, we need you to suspend your political proclivities, and imagine, just for tonight, that you are a Republican.  I know it's difficult for tonight that you have Republican.
  • 00:13:06
    I know that it's difficult.  This is not Trump country. It is not even Rockefeller country anymore.  But please try to look at it from the point of view, what makes best sense for the Republican party.

    We often hear that the next election is the most consequential of our lifetime.  

    This time, Republicans think that is true. Democrats have taken such a hard-left turn that we think the American dream is under attack.  What does that mean? The American dream is the belief that anyone in this country can raise themselves up, do hard work and endeavor, they can take advantage of our free enterprise system to provide a comfortable and secure life for themselves and their families. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders don't believe in the American dream.  They think it has been profoundly corrupted by billionaires and big corporations.  
  • 00:14:02
    They think they need to fix that by imposing on American society the kinds of programs that will lead us down the road to socialism as it is practiced in Europe.  

    They haven't looked around to figure out that for decades, the United States has outperformed Europe, and there's a reason for that.

    I believe in the American dream.  I believe in a society that allows someone from the projects to become the head of Starbucks.  I believe in the American dream that means that my doorman in my building, who barely speaks English, has daughters on the way to Harvard.  That is something we cannot afford to trash in this country.

    I've met so many people with these stories, people living the American dream.  Republicans believe that individualism, capitalism, and freedom are essential to that dream and that those things are under attack in 2020.
  • 00:15:06
    The left uses "millionaire" and "billionaire" as a slur today.  Since when did becoming successful become a bad thing in our country?

    We all need to be worried about this. That is not a bad thing. Success is what has driven this country. Interestingly, while the left says the American dream no longer exists, Americans think it does.  Pew polled Americans last year and found that an astounding 82 percent think they've either achieved the American dream, or they're well on their way.  That's an amazing number. We have to make sure that everyone believes in that and that they all have their shot. And there is no way that we're going to guarantee that if a Democrat takes the White House.  So, who can take the White House for the GOP? Obviously, only President Trump.
  • 00:16:00
    Bret mentioned, and he's completely correct, that Donald Trump has enormous standing in the Republican party.  92 percent of the people who voted for him say they'll do it again. Ninety-two percent of Republicans are in his camp.

    Why? Because he has indeed followed through on his campaign promises. He has had an incredible list of accomplishments.  And in fact, those were listed by Bret Stephens in a column at the end of 2017, from which I'll quote: "Tax cuts, deregulation, more for the military, less for the United Nations, the Islamic state crushed, Assad hit with cruise missiles, troops to Afghanistan, arms for Ukraine, a tougher approach to North Korea, Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the Iran deal decertified, Title IX kangaroo courts on campus condemned, yes to Keystone, no to Paris, Wall Street roaring, and consumer confidence high."  
  • 00:17:04
    Bret, I could not have done it better.  That was just year one. He could now add "pressuring China on intellectual property theft, remaking NAFTA, rising wages, productivity and workforce participation on the increase, record low unemployment for blacks and Hispanics, half a million new manufacturing jobs, banning bump stocks, criminal justice reform."  

    Trump supporters will turn out in 2020 because of those accomplishments. They will also turn out because they're angry. They're angry at the liberal -- excuse me -- media that has slimed their president. They're angry because for two years, a false Russian narrative hung over the White House, casting a cloud of suspicion.  And they're angry that Democrats have gone to unprecedented lengths to undermine the administration.

    By the way, Trump supporters will not turn out for anybody else.  
  • 00:18:04
    They will stay home and feel aggrieved.  Recent models show that if the economy stays on track, Trump will win.  But we don't know who the Democrats are going to run.

    It appears likely they are going to nominate a candidate who will hike taxes, renew regulations, and energetically grow the government's role in our society.  They will do in short exactly what Bobby Jindal warned of in 2016, replace the American dream with the European nightmare. We ask you to vote no and indeed support Donald Trump because we need the Republicans to win the White House in 2020.  Thank you very much.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Liz Peek.  And a reminder of where we are.  We are halfway through the opening round of this Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.  I'm John Donvan. We have four debaters, two teams of two, arguing it out over this resolution:  The Republican party should not re-nominate Trump. You heard the first two opening statements and now onto the third.  
  • 00:19:04
    Here to debate for the resolution, "The Republican party should not re-nominate Trump," former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.  Ladies and gentlemen, Jeff Flake.

    [applause]

    Jeff Flake:
    Thank you, John.  In true senatorial fashion, I'd like to yield to the gentleman, Mr. Stephens, for six minutes if that's okay.  But maybe not. No. 30 years ago, I was a 20-something young kid in the country of Namibia in Southern Africa, 1989, 1990.  I was there to witness Namibia receiving its independence, drafting their constitution, having their first elections. It came at a great time.  The Namibian election was the same week that the Berlin wall came down. The Soviet Union was in glorious free fall, shedding republics seemingly by the day.  Freedom was breaking out everywhere.
  • 00:20:02
    Free markets, liberal democracy was spreading across the globe.  It was a heady time, and people looked to the United States for leadership.

    I remember clearly being in Namibia at that time, and a few months after it happened, receiving Time magazine -- this is before the internet came along -- to read Vaclav Havel's address to the United States Congress.  Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia had just been in prison for years. He was now the newly minted president of Czechoslovakia. He poured out his soul and gratitude to the United States, not just for liberating his country once again, he said, but for being the moral example to the world.  No replacement, he said, for the United States leadership.
  • 00:21:01
    Around that time, Natan Sharansky, famous Russian or Soviet dissident who was released from prison.

    He talked about how he and his cellmates were inspired by Ronald Reagan's speeches where he clearly identified the enemy, clearly identified those that he was with and who the United States stood for, those like Sharansky and his cellmates, searching and looking for freedom.  

    The United States, particularly, since World War II, has been that beacon to the world.  We helped establish, we molded this international order that has led to untold freedom and prosperity the world over.  We have trade relationships, security arrangements that have given to this kind of freedom and prosperity. Fast-forward to today.  What would a young 20-something kid in the country of Namibia think of U.S. leadership and what our leadership is saying?
  • 00:22:09
    I don't have to imagine.  

    By fate, my third son spent the last two years in Southern Africa, part of that in Namibia.  While he was in Namibia, he heard our president refer to that country that he was in and other African countries as S hole countries.  He heard our president refer to the press in the United States as the enemy of the people. He heard our president refer to his political opponents as losers and clowns.

    Around that same time, what are political prisoners still in Russian thinking?  Who do they look to? They've seen our president stand with their leader, Vladimir Putin, and take his word over the word of our intelligence agencies.  
  • 00:23:04
    What do political prisoners in prison camps and labor camps in North Korea think when they hear our president refer to their president as a "great leader" -- a great leader for his people?  

    Who do they think that we affiliate with? What people in the Philippines, when they see our president stand next to their leader, Duterte, as he refers to the media in the room as "spies," with our president laughing along with him?  There is no replacement for U.S. leadership. We mean a lot to the world. We need to keep that. This president has not. We cannot go another four years this way.

    Those arguing for the resolution will argue that this president can be re-elected.  They're right; he can. And he might.
  • 00:24:02
    But the question that we're trying to answer here, as Republicans, as conservatives, is should he be re-elected?

    Should we go another four years?  I think that four years is difficult enough -- to unravel some of the damage that has been done internationally to our role, to our leadership position.  We cannot -- should not go another four years. You know, we hear -- and we'll talk a lot about the economy. It's doing well. As a conservative, I cheer de-regulation, lower taxes, things that make us all more prosperous.  But we are more here than the sum of our gross national product. We present and project values to the world, and that matters. That matters a great deal. That's why I hope that you'll vote for the resolution that the Republican Party should not re-nominate this president for another four years.
  • 00:25:07
    Thank you.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Jeff Flake.  And that is the resolution.

    And our final debater making his final statement against the resolution is Kris Kobach, former Kansas Secretary of State. Ladies and gentlemen, Kris Kobach.

    [applause]

    Kris Kobach:
    Thank you.  Tonight's resolution concerns what the Republican Party can and should do in 2020.  and as Liz has reminded you, we have to address this from a Republican perspective. So, the party's top objective at the nominating convention in 2020 is going to be one objective only, and that is to win in 2020.  Now, if that is our objective, there is no question that we as a party must re-nominate Donald Trump. This is empirically true, statistically true, and true in terms of the electoral college, as I will soon explain.  Let's begin empirically. Since 1900, there have been 19 presidents who have sought re-election for their party -- both parties combined.
  • 00:26:04
    Of those 19, 14 have won.  That's a 74 percent winning record for incumbents seeking re-election.  That is extraordinary.

    Indeed, it has been 30 years since someone fail to win re-election, and that was Bush 41. And his loss to Clinton can largely be attributed to the presence of Ross Perot in the race. And you may recall, Perot took 19 percent of the vote.  So, it is an extraordinarily strong trend in American politics. It would be foolhardy for either party to give up the advantage of incumbency. Incumbency gives the president a bully pulpit.  He can get the [unintelligible] whenever he wants. Incumbency also allows the president to run in front of voters who have already voted for him once before. Second reason.

    Trump right now is the only Republican candidate who can thread the needle and win in the electoral college.  I think it's undeniable that the reason President Trump won in 2016 is he was able to hold onto Ohio and Florida in the Republican column, and break through the blue wall in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
  • 00:27:03
    And it was a slim victory.  He won Pennsylvania by only 0.7 percent of the vote.  He won Wisconsin by only 0.8 percent, and he won Michigan by only 0.2 percent -- or, to put it in raw numbers of voters, 80,000 people in those three states voted for Trump, and in so doing, made him our president.

    That's how close it was, and that is the only path to victory for the Republican Party. If we are going to win again, the Republican Party has to have somebody who can win in those three states all over again. And although we do have a strong bench, I don't think there's anyone in our party, at this time, who can do it.  And so, that is an important reason why we have to have Donald Trump. Now, look, if you're a liberal Democrat sitting in this audience right now, you should be jumping up and down, rejoicing.

    Because I don't have any doubt about 2020; we're going to win 2020 with Trump on the ticket. My doubt is about 2024. I don't know if any Republican can do what Trump did in those blue-collar states and break through the Rust Belt.  We -- the party -- after Trump, we might be toast if we don't find somebody who has his special sauce, that can connect with voters in those three states.
  • 00:28:08
    Now, why is it that I'm confident that President Trump can win again in those three states?  It's because he delivered on one of his main promises, and that was to look out for the American working class, blue-collar voter.  

    And he has done so. The numbers are pretty staggering. In terms of wages in the last 12 months, we've seen 3.4 percent increase in nominal wages.  That's extraordinary, the largest wage gains in the last 12 years. It is a massive achievement for the working, blue-collar voter, and that's why blue-collar voters in exit polls voted 66 percent for Donald Trump in the last election.  He's the only one that can pull it off again, and that's a direct result of his position and his policies on the signature campaign issue, which of course is immigration.

    President Trump has done what no other president -- presidential candidate has done in recent years, made that a centerpiece issue, and has governed with that as a centerpiece issue.  He has recognized that illegal immigration really does affect all of us.
  • 00:29:00
    Every state is a border state now. Indeed, the -- we're all paying for it right now, everyone in this audience.

    The cost falls overwhelmingly on the taxpayers.  No matter what you think about open borders, or immigration, or illegal immigration, you're paying for it whether you like it or not.  

    The net cost of illegal immigration per year is $100 billion at state, federal, and local levels combined. That means net -- after you take into account the taxes that the illegal aliens pay, we're still paying for $100 billion in public benefits.  And then, of course, there's the cost in terms of human lives, and this is something that President Trump recognizes. He repeatedly has the angel families beside him at the White House or wherever.

    In a typical year, about 6,000 Americans die, either through homicide or vehicular accidents caused by illegal aliens.  Both are deaths that would not have occurred if our immigration laws were fully enforced. President Trump realizes that this is important in the American public, people of both parties or of neither party recognize that this is important. So, he has connected there. And one further point on the immigration issue, that has helped drive up wages.  
  • 00:30:03
    By reducing illegal immigration, you drive up wages, especially in unskilled labor categories.

    And so, therefore, he -- they have seen those wage gains and he has delivered.

    I want to talk about another issue where he has delivered, and that is, of course, on the issue of judges.  President Trump said that he would nominate conservative judges, and he did so, and he's done so much better than past Republican presidents.  Remember Bush has the Harriet Myers hiccup? Remember the elder -- the elder Bush had David Souter, Nixon had John Paul Stevens.

    In contrast, Trump has nominated people who have held to a constitutionalist line and have been consistent.  In terms of appellate court justice, he's gotten 30 judges through in his first years in office. That's better than any of the previous five presidents, and that's largely due to him. And no thanks, of course, to Jeff, who helped to freeze 21 of them in committee.  Some of them were also district judges and helped to derail one on the Senate floor. He has pushed through, and he has gotten his White House very effective in doing so. That has helped. So, he has delivered for conservatives.
  • 00:31:02
    And finally, I would note, in terms of delivering on issues he promised, the Heritage Foundation 13 months into the presidency said President Trump had delivered on 67 percent of his promises.

    They looked back to Ronald Reagan at the same point.  Only 49 percent of his promises. So, in -- finally, in response to Bret, I won't stoop to an ad hominem argument, but I will say, to put it in your terms, if we don't re-nominate Trump, the Republican Party, or America, can say to the Republican Party, "Hasta la vista, baby," or as we say in Kansas, "Hasta la winnebago."  But the point is the party is going to fade very quickly from the electoral stage if we don't not only re-nominate Trump and try to find somebody else after Trump who can capture those three states because, if we don't, we will be a party of the past like the Whigs. Thank you.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Kris Kobach, and that concludes Round One of this Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate, where our resolution is, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump."  Now, we move on to Round Two and, in Round Two, the debaters address one another directly as they take questions from me and also from you, our live audience at the Cape Play House, here in New York City.  
  • 00:32:10
    On the resolution, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump," on the team arguing that there should not be a re-nomination, Jeff Flake and Bret Stephens, we have heard them say that Trump may actually win if he's re-nominated, but they're really arguing that that's not the point, that while there will always be a conservative party, they're not sure that there will be a conservative party that -- the Republican Party if Donald Trump continues to lead it, that popularity is not the point, that the issue is that Trump is among people who really don't exercise principles, that a true conservative -- and they cite names like Ronald Reagan, a true conservative, is one who stands as a leader of the United States as a symbol of liberty in the world, that a true conservative would not be trashing NATO. Would not be reducing military support for South Korea, and on, and on, and on, that on basic things that conservatives have always stood for, that Donald Trump is not a conservative, and that, in the long run, his leadership of the party is going to in the long run his leadership of the party is going to ring out its conservativeness, and therefore there will really only be a hollowed party left.
  • 00:33:16
    The team arguing against the resolution, Liz Peek and Kris Kobach, they're arguing primarily from a position of practicality, a pragmatic issue. Can Donald Trump win? And could anyone else win if he were replaced? Their basic argument is he makes -- he's the only candidate who makes sense for the Republican party.  He's the only one who can empirically win. He has the advantage of incumbency which historically has been an ace card for any candidate running.

    They also say that he is the best defense, the best bulwark against the alternative, the Democratic alternative, which they describe as being basically socialism. And that he's actually kept his word, he's kept his promises on a range of issues, that his supporters will vote for him because of keeping his promises, because of -- in the particular case of blue-collar voters, their situation improving, and that if anybody else were nominated, the Republicans would lose.  
  • 00:34:10
    So, theirs is very much a practical argument.  So, I want to go to some questions. The first I want to say is, during the opening statements, I was almost reaching in my pocket for a yellow card because it was getting a little personal.  I would encourage the debaters to not have to name people on the other side of the table to make their arguments because then they'll listen to them. They actually weren't critical to the points you were making, and it's not in the spirit of what we're doing.  So, I'm not going to do that because it didn't come -- go that far, and I also don't actually have a yellow card in my pocket. But I just want to kind of keep it -- the temper a little bit in line in that regard.

    I want to go to the team arguing for -- against the resolution, which means you're arguing for the Republican party to re-nominate Trump, and start with you, Liz Peek.  What your opponents basically made the case of is that Donald Trump is not a conservative.
  • 00:35:01
    He -- acknowledging everything that you said in terms of his winnability, and they concede many of the points that you made that he's been -- delivered on this and that, their core point is that he's not actually a true conservative, certainly not in the model of Ronald Reagan.  

    I want to know; do you agree with that?  And I want to know, does it matter to you --

    Liz Peek:
    Okay.

    John Donvan:
    -- if Donald Trump is a conservative.

    Liz Peek:
    I don't agree because the list of accomplishments that I read off started with tax cuts, deregulation and went on for a whole series of things that he has done, including what Kris talked about, appointing conservative justices.  I would argue he has had the most consequential conservative agenda of any president in my lifetime. I think what our opponents dislike about Donald Trump -- and I think probably everyone in this room could talk about this -- is his manners, his personality.  I don't think -- so does it matter, to answer your question? I prefer outcomes.
  • 00:36:01
    At this point, as I have mentioned, I think, really, this country is at a crossroads. We always talk in that terms. But when you have people out there really proposing socialism or European-style socialism, this is not a time to be finicky about someone's language or about someone's coarseness, which I think is really at the heart of it what offends a lot of people, including our opponents.  

    So, yes, I think he's a conservative.  I think his actions show that. No -- and yes, I do think that's important, but I think winning is more important.

    John Donvan:
    Bret Stephens?

    Bret Stephens:
    You quoted me, Liz, earlier in your set remarks about Trump's accomplishments.  You didn't mention that it came in a column called, "Why I am a 'never Trumpist'."

    Liz Peek:
    Right, I know that.

    Bret Stephens:
    And the reason is that policies come and go.  Many of what you described as Trump's accomplishments, and I might agree with accomplishments, will vanish when the next Democratic administration inevitably comes to power, as it will, whether it happens next year or five years later.  
  • 00:37:15
    But principles last.  Principles define a party.  When I was young, I was inspired by the sight of Ronald Reagan at the Statue of Liberty talking about the value of immigration for a very personal reason.  My mom is a refugee to this country. Not one of you in this room is more than two or three generations away from someone that Donald Trump would rather not have in this country.  Think about that.

    And think about what it says for the Republican party that the message is that immigrants are a threat, not an asset to this country, which is a large part of what Kris was talking about.  
  • 00:38:00
    you know that immigrants, legal and illegal, commit crimes at a much lower rate than native-born Americans? That's a fact.

    Do you know that immigrants start businesses –

    [applause]

    -- at a much higher rate than native-born Americans?  That's a fact. And do you know that if we didn't have the kind of immigration we had in this country, one out of three Nobel prize winners who are Americans would never have made it here.  So simply --

    [applause]

    -- to have a president whose stock-in-trade is to demonize people from so-called S hole countries -- my family's from Moldova, that's an S hole country, okay -- is not Republican, not conservative, and fundamentally not American.

    [applause]

    Liz Peek:
    Okay.  Can I respond?

    Male Speaker:
    I just thought of that.  Let me --

    John Donvan:
    Let me say this:  I do not want to spend 10 minutes debating immigration, so I think the point was packaged in a relative way that it relates to the principles of the party.  Kris, I know immigration is an issue for you, but --

    [laughter]

    -- one you're interested?

    [talking simultaneously]

    John Donvan:
    -- touching on it briefly, but I'll have to stop you if you go on too long because what I really want you to address is I think the outer package of Bret's point just now, which is that the attitude, the presentation is not conservative, and therefore is not truly Republican.  
  • 00:39:23
    Go.

    Kris Kobach:
    Okay, so let me start with that immigration briefly, and go to that.  So, the point Bret has made is one that is one of the biggest fallacies -- factually incorrect statements out there that immigrants generally commit crimes out of -- they always conflate it -- at a rate less than -- lower than U.S. citizens.  CIS, Center for Immigration Studies, recently broke this down and showed it very clearly using the actual percentages that, yes, legal immigrants do commit crimes at a lower rate because, guess what?

    We get to screen them before they come in, and so you screen out those with a criminal history.  Then you have U.S. citizens who are -- were here, some are criminals, some are not; and then you have illegal aliens who commit crimes at a higher rate even if you don't count the crime of coming in illegal, which is a crime if they came across the border.
  • 00:40:12
    Still commit crimes at a higher rate.  So, you have to break it down that way.  And then Texas did another study with the Department of Public Safety.

    John Donvan:
    Wait, wait.  We aren't --

    Kris Kobach:
    Same conclusion.

    John Donvan:
    We are not going down the --

    Kris Kobach:
    Okay.

    John Donvan:
    -- immigration road.

    Kris Kobach:
    So, the larger point of packaging and conservatism, I think the conservative position's clearly on that issue, the one that Trump has taken.  But look at all of the other issues, taxes, Constitutionalist judges, the reducing regulations. These are all core conservative principles that Trump has embodied.

    John Donvan:
    Stop there.

    Kris Kobach:
    And he got them --

    John Donvan:
    Let me take that very point to Jeff Flake.  You just heard some very, very strong conservative achievements by President Trump that are core.  I don't think you would disagree that those are core. What -- why not bring that into your calculus when you're saying that he's not a true conservative?

    Jeff Flake:
    Well, that's only part of the equation.  Let's take taxes. We get lower taxes. I think that's a good thing.  In particular, we need it to lower the corporate rate in order to be competitive globally because we compete globally.
  • 00:41:04
    And hopefully, we'll continue to compete globally with free trade agreements.

    John Donvan:
    So -- so, are you --

    Jeff Flake:
    But -- but -- but the point is, tariffs are also taxes, and the president has imposed tariff after tariff right now in ways that have put soybean farmers in Iowa, for example, basically having to receive federal assistance now because they would like to trade, but they can't because of counter tariffs that are imposed because we imposed tariffs in the first place.  Starting a trade war is not conservative. Republicans have, if there's any defining, animating principle that we have had in the party for generations now, it's free trade. And the president has really tossed that overboard. So, there are certain elements that the president -- that there's -- that are conservative, but [unintelligible].

    John Donvan:
    So, in a sense, it sounds like we're -- to some degree, we're giving more weight to certain conservative goals and principles than to others.  
  • 00:42:02
    I think everybody on the stage is going to agree that free trade is a conserve -- high on that level. If you want to challenge me on that, please go ahead.  I'm not debating with you, but I think you probably concede that. So, I want to take that to Liz Peek.

    Liz Peek:
    Okay.  But I would argue that we don't have free trade.  I would argue that the United States, over two decades, has gradually lost ground.  The playing field is not level. The tariffs on goods that are made in the United States and exported to Europe even, our closest allies, are two to three times higher on average than our tariffs on those goods that are coming in for Europe.

    In China, there's not even any comparison. China, once it became a member of the World Trade Organization, has perennially cheated on all kinds of aspects of their dealing with us, including, obviously, relying on the state-owned enterprises and subsidizing those enterprises to export goods into this country at cheap rates.
  • 00:43:02
    So also --

    John Donvan:
    May --

    Liz Peek:
    -- imposing very high tariffs [unintelligible].

    John Donvan:
    May I break this for clarification --

    Liz Peek:
    Yes.

    John Donvan:
    -- to ask you, are you therefore saying that we're in a situation where some trade warring is called for and --

    Liz Peek:
    Yes, absolutely.

    John Donvan:
    -- doing it does not violate the sort of [unintelligible] spirit.

    Liz Peek:
    It's protecting the --

    John Donvan:
    And doing it does not violate the conservative spirit.

    Liz Peek:
    It -- protecting the United States' interests, which is what Donald Trump has over and over said he wanted to do, includes protecting our trade relationships, yes.  That is a conservative --

    John Donvan:
    Okay.

    Liz Peek:
    -- principle.  

    John Donvan:
    Thanks.  Bret Stephens?

    Bret Stephens:
    Well, that's -- the argument that Liz is making is that we need to burn the village in order to save it.  I mean, I think there's no one in this room who wouldn't agree that we have a serious problem with China when it comes to the misuse of intellectual property.  By all means; let's deal with the problem of intellectual property with China. But we're not just starting trade wars with China, for example. We're doing so with that notorious enemy of the United States, Canada.  We're doing so with that terrible enemy, Mexico.
  • 00:44:00
    We are sparking trade wars or threatening trade wars with our friends --

    Liz Peek:
    Well, actually, we just re-did NAFTA.  We are not doing that.

    Bret Stephens:
    -- with our -- no.  We re-did NAFTA, but let's see if we actually get --

    Liz Peek:
    If the Democrats will vote for it.

    Bret Stephens:
    -- get it enacted --

    John Donvan:
    But Bret --

    Bret Stephens:
    -- and essentially, you threw out a perfectly good agreement.

    Liz Peek:
    It was not.  It was not a perfectly good agreement.

    Bret Stephens:
    The president brought a perfectly good agreement that was working in order to make cosmetic changes so he could claim a political victory.  And now, the question of North American free trade --

    [applause]

    -- is in doubt --

    Liz Peek:
    That's actually --

    Bret Stephens:
    -- okay, because not only is the president not conservative --

    Liz Peek:
    That is actually not true.

    Bret Stephens:
    -- he's incompetent.

    John Donvan:
    Kris?

    Kris Kobach:
    The fallacy of Bret's argument is that there's some other way that we could get these nations who are imposing tariffs on us -- we have tried begging.  We've tried pleading. We've tried everything other than an actual tariff, which, Bret, is not a tax like a normal tax. The tariffs that we are imposing are meant to go away.  The president is begging, "Please let me take these away. They're not going -- they're only going to stand as long as the unfair trade situation endures."
  • 00:45:02
    So, it's not a tow tax position, to put a tariff in place, to try to reduce the tariffs that our producers have to see on the opposite end in the other country.  So, it is a conservative position, and I really don't think you can say that these tariffs are like other taxes that are intended to generate revenue, ongoing, for decades –

    John Donvan:
    Jeff Flake, in your --

    [applause]

    -- in your opponents' opening statement, they were making the pragmatic argument for who can win for the Republican Party next time around.  And I think you and Bret are conceding it's very, very likely that if the -- that it's plausible that if the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump, they'll win, and if they don't nominate Donald Trump, the Democrats will win.

    Jeff Flake:
    Possible.

    John Donvan:
    Sorry?

    Jeff Flake:
    Possible.  

    John Donvan:
    Okay.   I'll switch it to possible.  My question is, is that a risk that you're willing to take?  In other words, somebody else challenges him in a primary; it either weakens him or, in a extraordinary circumstance, replaces him, and he loses as a result of that.  Are you willing to lose a cycle for the Republican Party because of the principles that you're arguing?
  • 00:46:03
    Jeff Flake:
    Oh, yes.  Yes. Let me

    [applause]

    -- let me talk about a corollary here.  In 1994, in California, Pete Wilson was the governor -- a Republican governor.

    He wanted a second term. There wasn't much excitement for a second term at that time.  So, along came Prop 187, a measure that went hard at illegal immigration, to deny benefits for illegals.  That's how it was cast, as a way to gin up the Republican base and get people excited to come out and vote again for Pete Wilson.  It worked. Pete Wilson got a second term. Does anybody remember anything that Pete Wilson was able to do in the second term in California that justified the fact that, in the past quarter century now, since Pete Wilson was governor -- or won that second term -- only Arnold Schwarzenegger, who later switched parties, and an insurance commissioner have been elected as Republicans statewide in California.
  • 00:47:08
    That's it. As Bret mentioned, there are no Republicans representing California from Orange County, Reagan Country, in Congress anymore.

    California may be a generation before they elect another Republican to office, because that Prop 187 campaign, much like it has done elsewhere in the country, it can galvanize people for a while, maybe for a cycle or two. But in the end, it turns people off. It turns off minorities.  It turns off women.

    John Donvan:
    So --

    Jeff Flake:
    It turns off suburbanites.

    John Donvan:
    So, to boil --

    Jeff Flake:
    And so, you sacrifice a generation, and you think, "Man, we might get some policy goals in the next year or two."  Look at the long term. Look at the long term, at what you're doing for the party, because people don't want to be associated with it.

    John Donvan:
    So, to boil it down, better for a Democrat to win in 2020 if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, than for Donald Trump to win?
  • 00:48:07
    Jeff Flake:
    Yes.  We would certainly like it to be a Republican.  And this notion -- this narrative that's been built up, that Donald Trump is the only one that can cobble together the electoral college and win is just a fallacy.

    John Donvan:
    Kris Kobach.

    Kris Kobach:
    I would suggest that Jeff is in la-la land if he thinks the Republicans have a chance at winning California or should even be, at this point, spending a lot of money and effort trying to win California.

    John Donvan:
    I don't think his --

    Jeff Flake:
    I'm not saying -- my point was that it was an analogy.

    Kris Kobach:
    Well, no, but it -- but your point is that we could -- yet, somehow we could or we could have if only Pete Wilson hadn't favored Prop 187.  Prop -- most Californians don't remember what Prop 187 was, which was more than 20 years ago. It was, of course, something that he used in that election, but that is not why California is where it is in terms of the Electoral College.

    California is where it is because of Demographics and because of the high tax policy, highest in the country with state taxes, that has pushed so many people to Texas. And this is one of the biggest stories in the news. I think we all agree there is a mass exodus of U.S. citizens to places like Texas and Arizona which had lower tax structures or no tax -- no income tax in Texas.
  • 00:49:05
    Jeff Flake:
    We can --

    Kris Kobach:
    As of -- because of that, the Electoral College today is not what the Electoral College was 30 years ago.  You have states that are going to be in the Democratic column like this one no matter what the republican president does, and no matter who he or she is.  

    You have states in the Midwest, like mine, that haven't voted for a democrat since 1964, and they probably won't vote for a democrat for the next 50 years.  We have gotten to an Electoral College where, now, so many states are off the table, and we're all competing for the small number in the center. And you have to look at it that way.  [inaudible] being realistic.

    John Donvan:
    Let me let your opponents respond to some of that real quick.

    [applause]

    Bret Stephens:
    I would just -- I would just say that a good maxim in politics is to imagine that you only have friends or potential friends.  The Trumpian maxim is to imagine that you only have enemies or likely enemies. California was the home of Richard Millhouse Nixon and Ronald Reagan.  Reagan was the highly successful governor of the state. The reason it's not high tax California is because republicans lost it on the immigration issue.
  • 00:50:12
    They lost it by becoming not a party of opportunity, and entrepreneurship, and optimism, but becoming a party about borders and bigotry. That's why republicans lost California.  We should be imagining, as republicans, "How can we win it back?" because the Republican Party could, in a better scenario, have something to offer California. Lower taxes -- taxes are a huge problem in the state.  Overregulation is a huge problem in the state, but we have no purchase as republicans. Why?

    Because we've driven away minorities by demonizing them and by demonizing their cousins in Mexico and in Latin America, and by becoming a party that's obsessed with cultural issues and not what California is about, which is the free -- the spirit of opportunity, enterprise, and imagination.
  • 00:51:02
    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Liz Peek -- Liz Peek, your response -- your reaction to hearing your opponent say, "It would be better for the country.  It would be better for the Republican Party in the long run if, in 2020, Donald Trump is denied the White House, even at the price of the Democrats winning?"

    Liz Peek:
    Yeah, well, I -- as I said earlier, I think that it's a very consequential election.  I think that, yes, a lot of policies are temporary. I think a lot of the changes the democrats want to impose on this country are long-term in nature and very, very damaging to what we think of as America's core values, and the essence of our success, capitalism, individualism, free enterprise.  Those things are the reasons this country is great and the reason this country is exceptional.

    I would like just to mention a couple of things. I understand that Trump has made, obviously, a very big issue of illegal immigration. Please stop conflating illegal and legal immigration.
  • 00:52:02
    This administration has done nothing to discourage illegal -- legal immigration, and in fact, has talked about increasing it.

    Secondly, Trump received a higher share of the Hispanic vote in 2016 than Mitt Romney. Very recently, there was a poll, admittedly a small poll, so I wouldn't take this to the bank, where 50 percent of Hispanics said that they would vote for him in 2020. Guess what? Hispanics are very interested in jobs, in wages, and they are doing much better under this president than they have done in a long time. I don't think republicans have completely walked away from every sect of our minority communities.

    John Donvan:
    Okay, Jeff, you can respond to what Liz just said.

    Jeff Flake:
    I was just going to say that's often the narrative, as well, that the president is not against legal immigration, only illegal immigration.

    The only proposal that he has supported -- the White House has supported in Congress that we voted on, would have been one that cut legal immigration by half.
  • 00:53:01
    [applause]

    And the president supported that.  So, this notion that he's going to support more legal immigration, I haven't seen it, so it certainly doesn't make it into policy.

    John Donvan:
    Okay, questions.

    Female Speaker:
    Kelly Possner [spelled phonetically], Columbia University.  So, this is for the opposition. And I understand "means to an end."  I just -- our children are our future and educating for moral leadership is something that I we all really have to care about.  And you spoke about how -- you know, how he says or acts is not necessarily what we have to prioritize. But when we have a culture where we see that reinforced and celebrated, what is your response, do we have to worry about that actually undermining the very fabric of our future and what we're teaching our children?

    John Donvan:
    And you're -- and you're relating that to four more years.

    Female Speaker:
    Yes, exactly.

    John Donvan:
    Okay.  I want to bring that to either Kris or Liz.

    Kris Kobach:
    I'll take it.  Look, I'm a father of five young girls.  And we are very, very conscious of what we watch on TV, what they're exposed to.  And we're -- as parents go, we're some of the most, you know, strict there are.
  • 00:54:06
    And -- but I'm not afraid of having them listen to President Trump or the way he talks.  The reason is -- well, no, he -- this is -- this is important because your point is that there's a character question, and there's -- look, oftentimes politicians -- this is one of the reasons Trump won.

    One of -- politicians speak in polished, canned terms. You have all seen it. Jeff and I have seen it where they just, every word is so fluffy, and it's meant to appeal to anyone no matter where you are. Trump is very direct, and he says exactly what's on his mind.  I've been in cabinet meetings in the Bush administration where everybody walked out of the meeting wondering what was the president going to do.

    With President Trump, you don't have to be in a cabinet meeting to know what he thinks. He's going to Tweet about it a few minutes after the meeting is over.  He is the most open president we have ever seen. And so, I think, yes, his coarseness is certainly a fact. But his honesty and directness with the people -- telling you, hey, you may not like it. Telling you exactly how he feels is also refreshing. So, I don't see his character is expressed in his criticisms as being a moral factor.
  • 00:55:14
    John Donvan:
    Kris, welcome to New York.

    Kris Kobach:
    Yeah, thank you.  Well --

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:
    I'm going to not --

    Kris Kobach:
    -- it's New York.

    John Donvan:
    -- go to this side for the same question because I think we -- you guys have expressed your view on that question.  But I would -- does anybody have a question that's directed to this side specifically? Right there.

    Female Speaker:
    Oh, sorry.  My name is Rebecca [spelled phonetically]\

    John Donvan:
    Thank you.

    Female Speaker:
    The question is, if Donald Trump wins, what message of hope will you give to Republicans that don't support Donald Trump?  And what message of hope will you give to immigrants like me that now live in this country and will stay in this country?

    Bret Stephens:
    I guess one message of hope if he wins again is that we have limited the president's terms to two.

    [laughter]

    So -- but that's a long time as I said in the opening statements.
  • 00:56:03
    We have a lot of damage internationally to clean up after two years and what will be four.  After eight, these things start to cement. And so, it is a problem. But there is that hope that -- and I do believe that the party will tire of it eventually and will say, "We did this.  We justified this for this man." And so, in the end, ultimately, I think the party will come to that realization.

    John Donvan:
    The question was a little bit framed against your side, so I feel like I should give you a crack at responding if you want to, or we can pass and move on.

    Jeff Flake:
    I'd love to.  The -- from an immigrant's perspective, I see the hope in several ways.  One is wages, the 3.4 percent increases in wages. Those have benefited people and overwhelmingly served the bottom half of the economic ladder which is overwhelmingly immigrant labor, legal immigrant and illegal immigrant labor.
  • 00:57:05
    Growth in the 3s percentage-wise, which is extraordinary. That provides economic opportunity for immigrants who are legally here in the United States. And finally, if you poll this issue -- and I've seen every poll there is on this question just about -- the people who are most opposed to illegal immigration are usually legal immigrants because they did it the right way.  And so, there is importance in rewarding those who do it the right way.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Okay.  Right down front there.

    Female Speaker:
    Hi.  My name is Clara.

    I'm just wondering about the issue of climate change.  Do you have absolutely no problem, first of all, not debating it as policy?  And secondly, of re-nominating a president who has basically dissolved the Environmental Protection Agency?

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Let's save at the end there.  I --

    [laughter]

    You gifted [spelled phonetically] on the table, so let's take that to -- I want to let both sides have a crack at that, but –
  • 00:58:05
    Liz Peek:
    I'm happy to start on that.

    John Donvan:
    Liz Peek.

    Liz Peek:
    I think you will find -- perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think you'll find much sympathy for Green New Deal amongst these four people or other radical approaches to curbing climate change.  It isn't that conservatives don't believe in climate change, although I don't think it's something that, like a religion, has to be believed in or not. I think we have to assess it, have to watch it, have to respond to it if it seems appropriate.

    But I think what we are looking at in this country right now amongst conservative Republicans is the view that we don't want to give up America's -- one of America's greatest competitive advantages as we look at our place in the universe, which is an incredibly abundant resources of natural gas and crude oil and also coal.

    John Donvan:
    And you feel four more years would protect that.
  • 00:59:01
    Liz Peek:
    Well, I -- yes, I do.

    John Donvan:
    Okay, I'm just trying to keep it on point.

    Liz Peek:
    Yes, okay.

    John Donvan:
    I realize that there's a very natural tendency to start diving into these topics for good reason because these are about real things.  But I don't --

    Male Speaker:
    Let me say on point, though, I do think that that's an area where Republicans are very vulnerable.  And millennials, we're going to need them in the future.

    Liz Peek:
    I agree.

    Male Speaker:
    The boomers are going down, millennials are going up in terms of voting block.  And they can't understand why -- not that we're going to the Green New Deal, but that we can do something and that we can do maybe a revenue neutral carbon tax or something like that.

    And I think Republicans do have to get with the program if we want to be relevant in the future politically and just to dismiss climate change as a hoax brought on by China or whatever else doesn't do that.

    John Donvan:
    Okay. Down in the front, sir, right in the aisle.  

    So, folks, the Republican party should not re-nominate Trump. That's the question that I'd like you to --

    [laughter]

    Male Speaker:
    My name is Bert.  I have a question.  If we go back a couple years, Mr. Trump promised to drain the swamp.
  • 01:00:15
    Irrespective of the Mueller findings, there were a couple of people who were found to have done untoward things and may end up in jail.  There are a number of people who have been elected for cabinet posts who have insubstantial credentials to earn those cabinet posts. Is this something that is going to continue?  Is this something that would be a reason to --

    John Donvan:
    Okay.  Hiring practices are questionable you're saying.

    Male Speaker:
    Yes.

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:
    But state the question -- who would like to take that first?

    Bret Stephens:
    Well, I mean, I think this is absolutely important because Donald Trump was elected on the promise that as a businessman, he really knew how to get things done.  But what we've seen -- and this is no secret in the management of the White House, how many chiefs of staff, there were three or four, multiple secretaries of state, defense, CIA.
  • 01:01:02
    This is the management of this administration. And scandals that are genuine, at the Interior Ministry, at EPA, other ministries -- other departments of government.  That's a serious problem and a serious failing that these -- that our opponents seriously, you know, simply don't want to address --

    John Donvan:
    Liz --

    Bret Stephens:
    -- which is that in addition to a foul ideology and a mood of constant denigration of our opponents, we have a government that's not functioning and an inability to pass any kind of bipartisan legislation.  Think about George H.W. --

    John Donvan:
    Wait -- but let me --

    Bret Stephens:
    Just one point.

    John Donvan:
    Very fast.

    Bret Stephens:
    Think about George H. W. Bush getting -- raising taxes in order to balance the budget or getting the Americans with Disabilities Act passed.

    Think about Ronald Reagan getting tax cuts through a Democratic Congress. That's because Republicans, at that time, didn't see Democrats as the enemy of the people.  They treated them as partners in making the country better.
  • 01:02:06
    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Liz Peek?

    Liz Peek:
    I think -- I would respond with arguing that criminal justice reform was pretty much the same kind of achievement for this administration, working across the aisle, and something that Democrats and Republicans supported.  


    However, in terms of the swamp -- the swamp exists. Donald Trump talked about it because he didn't know how deep that swamp was. And I think --

    [laughter]

    -- I think it's true. I think that he could drown in that swamp, if he really took it on.  What do I mean by that? I'm talking about lobbyists. I'm talking about the fact that special interest groups -- not just corporations, but labor unions and other groups that are self-interests, basically own our representatives and our legislators.

    And my view of this is, term limits cannot come soon enough. It'll never happen, probably, in my lifetime, but that is what we really need to argue about.
  • 01:03:02
    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    I have a question that I want to put in that I thought would come up, and we only have a few minutes left, so I'll do it very quickly -- the fact that the Mueller report found that there was no reason to prosecute -- wrong language -- the fact that the Mueller report found no reason to -- grounds for believing that the president was involved with the Russian -- collusion with the Russians on his election --

    Male Speaker:
    [affirmative]

    John Donvan:
    -- affects your position tonight how?

    Bret Stephens:
    I don't think it affects it at all.  I'm delighted that the -- that Mr. Mueller found no collusion.  I'd like to see the full report, obviously. All Americans should be happy about that.  But most of all, my friends on the other side should be particularly happy that the president did not succumb to voices on Fox News and within his own administration to fire Robert Mueller.

    We now have a conclusive investigation that all Americans can get behind.
  • 01:04:00
    The media certainly has a lot to think about it, in terms of the way it dealt with that story. There are all kinds of problems.  But the simple fact is that Trump should be happy that he didn't give in to voices in his own party demanding that he simply liquidate the investigation.

    And by the way -- by the way -- that investigation was well-founded because the president continued to act in ways that gave reasonable people suspicion that there was questionable behavior in his campaign and throughout his presidency.

    John Donvan:
    And Jeff, I want to let you take a short crack at that question before your opponent.

    Jeff Flake:
    Oh, sure.  As was mentioned in Kris's opening statement, that I held up judges in order to protect Robert Mueller, I did.  I'm glad I did. I'm glad he was able to finish his report. That's important, for us to know what's going on.

    And I think everybody, left and right, is glad that he finished his report.  
  • 01:05:01
    So -- but it doesn't change my position. I never assumed that that campaign was in a position to or capable of collusion. And so, I -- my opposition to the president has not been based on colluding with the Russians at all.

    John Donvan:
    Kris Kobach?  Do --

    Kris Kobach:
    Yeah.  The outcome of the Mueller report is definitely one that has bearing on this debate, and on our position, and it -- from the perspective of our point that Trump is going to win -- is most likely to win -- it takes -- if he had an Achilles heel, that was it.  I mean, if Mueller had come out with an opposite conclusion and found that there was collusion, that would have probably been very damaging going into the election of 2020. That issue is off the table now. And I think what we've seen happening, just in the last week, suggests that it may even rebound further to President Trump's favor, and that is, some Democrats are making the mistake of frantically trying to keep it alive and frantically trying to tread water, and stay in these waters, and keep it going.
  • 01:06:06
    And I think that will be a mistake for them, because they will lose time as we get closer and closer to November 2020, establishing what their policy plan is, what their alternative plan is.  They'll be spending so much time talking about collusion. There's only so much oxygen in the media out there, and if they're -- if they're consuming it all over here, they're not going to have much left to spend over here.  And so, I think it -- they need to move on, as well, if they want to have a chance.

    John Donvan:
    Okay, I have time for one more question.  Yes?

    Female Speaker:
    Hi, my name's Deidre, and my quick question is actually for the -- for Mr. Flake and Mr. Stephens.  Mr. Flake, you had said that you thought that conservative principles and policies would be advanced if Donald Trump weren't re-nominated, and maybe the republicans didn't win the White House for a cycle.  And so, I'm curious what policies or principles do you think would be advanced in that instance if a democrat took over the White House, and then we had a cycle in 2024 where another Republican -- what –

    John Donvan:
    What would be left?

    Female Speaker:
    -- what wins?  What does our side get?  And I'm a Republican.
  • 01:07:10
    Jeff Flake:
    Okay, that's a great question.  I -- one, we're arguing here whether the Republican Party should re-nominate the president.  Bret and I will contend that, if the Republican Party nominated somebody else, that person is just as likely or perhaps more likely to win that the president.  That's what I would argue. So, it's not to say that we want a democrat elected. I'd like another republican elected. But if we -- if we continue and go with President Trump, I think that republican principles, conservative principles, will be damaged more in the long run by having President Trump with a second term than they would by limiting him to a first term.

    John Donvan:
    Liz Peek, you get last word.

    Liz Peek:
    Well, I mean, I think it's a very good question because no other Republican can possibly win if Donald Trump is nominated, because Trump voters are very agreed.
  • 01:08:02
    They're very angry. They're not going to -- anyway, the list of people who are considering running at this point, there is -- they have no purchase whatsoever in the Republican Party.  However, I think you go fast forward four years, or during the next four years under a democrat, which conservative principles are going to do well under that circumstance?

    John Donvan:
    And that concludes Round Two of this Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate, where our resolution is, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump."  And now we move on to Round Three: Round Three, our closing statements by each debater in turn.

    These will be two minutes each, making -- and Bret, you can make your way to the lectern. Speaking first to make his closing statement in support of the resolution that, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump," here is New York Times columnist, Bret Stephens.

    [applause]

    Bret Stephens:
    I'm a conservative, but I'm a journalist, and I wanted all of you to get a little taste of what it means to be a journalist, and particularly, what it means to be an opponent of Donald Trump as a columnist in this day and age.
  • 01:09:09
    So, do you mind playing the clip? This is a message [inaudible] --

    Male Speaker:
    Hey, Bret, what do you think?  You think the pen is mightier than the sword or that the AR is mightier than the pen?  I don't carry an AR, but once we start shooting you fuckers, you're not going to pop up like you do now.  You're worthless. The press is the enemy of the United States people.

    And, you know what, rather than me shoot you, I hope a Mexican, or even better yet, I hope --"

    Bret Stephens:
    I cut it off because then it gets worse and I didn't want you to hear it.  That's what we deal with.

    Liz talked about angry Trump voters.  Oh, boy, they are angry. They are angry at what?
  • 01:10:00
    At me for expressing an opinion, for being part of the free press, for not liking the current occupant of the White House?  Those sorts of messages are being relayed all over the place. You need to know about them. The founder of the Republican Party, the real founder, Abraham Lincoln, talked about the better angels of our nation.  He said that in his appeal in his first inaugural address. We have a president who, every day, consistently appeals to the very opposite, and it's not just harming the Republican Party.

    It's harming the American people.  That is why Trump should not be re-nominated. That is why I plead with you to vote, "Yes," tonight.

    Thank you very much.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Bret Stephens.  And that resolution -- again, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump."  And here to make her closing statement against the resolution, Fox News contributor and columnist, Liz Peek.
  • 01:11:06
    Liz Peek:
    In 2016, after the release of the Billy Bush tapes, a lot of my friends said, "How can you possibly vote for Donald Trump?"  And I said, "Because there is one issue that is most important to this country, and that's education reform.” Hillary Clinton --

    [laughter]

    -- Hillary Clinton, along with her democratic colleagues, opposes school choice, and she opposes charter schools.  

    That's in their plank. Donald Trump supports school choice and supports, also, charter schools.  In New York, just to bring this home, fewer than one in five black kids is proficient in math in the fourth grade. Parents get this.  They know that there's a tremendous disparity. One of the reasons that Trump's popularity with Hispanics is going up is he kept talking about school choice.
  • 01:12:03
    In New York, you had 76,000 families last year at private charter schools. On 25,000 spots were open. Imagine the heartbreak for those tens of thousands of families who know that their kids are not going to get a fair shot.  In Baltimore -- this is a true statistic -- 13 high schools had not one young person who was proficient in math. This is a national disgrace. Democrats cannot take this on. They are in bed with the teacher's union.

    They're funded by the teacher's union.  Donald Trump can take this on.

    [applause]

    It is my hope -- it is my hope that, in the next four years, they are going to push very hard on school choice.  They know this is a winning issue with minorities and with the country at large. If you believe that this is a burning issue, as I do, please vote, "No," against the proposition that Donald Trump should not be re-nominated.  It is a head scratcher. Thank you.
  • 01:13:07
    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Liz Peek.  Again, that is the resolution, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump."  Here to make his closing statement in support of the resolution not to re-nominate, former Arizona senator, Jeff Flake.

    [applause]

    Jeff Flake:
    You know, recently, it's been brought to the fore the kind of choices we have to make in terms of what parties the Republican Party wants to be in the future.

    When we've had the president, for some strange reason, go after John McCain, who has been dead now for seven months -- I sat at the bedside of John McCain along with his family the day before he died, and we reminisced and talked about the kind of man he was and the kind of party he wanted the Republican Party to be, and the values that he wanted to go forward.  
  • 01:14:07
    In a speech not long before he died, when he received the liberty medal, John McCain said, "We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home and the -- and their champions abroad." Again, we are the custodians of those ideals at home and their custodians abroad.

    The Republican Party has always been, and needs to be in the future, the party that will be the custodian of those ideals at home and their champions abroad.  If we don't, if we re-nominate Donald Trump, and give another four years.  

    That's not who the party will be. Right now, this is the president's party.
  • 01:15:05
    The Republican party is the president's party, no doubt. It doesn't have to be.  It can't be if the Republican party wants to be relevant in the future, if conservatism is going to be ascendant for the long term, not just a few policy gains here or there in the short term, but ascendant in the long run.  Please vote in favor of the resolution. Thanks.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you.  And one last time, that resolution, "The Republican party should not re-nominate Trump."  Here to argue against it, former Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach making his closing statement.  Ladies and gentlemen, Kris Kobach.

    Kris Kobach:
    Three points --

    [applause]

    Kris Kobach:
    First, I'd like to address something Bret closed with.  He suggested that Trump's demeanor has somehow caused an instability in politics.  And he played one statement from one kook, and we don't even know if the guy ever did anything violent.  

    But that's his own piece of evidence. Let's look at the real body of evidence.  Did you know that there have been 334 hate crimes or bias crimes committed against Trump supporters since September of 2015?
  • 01:16:02
    And Democratic leaders have done for more -- far worse than Trump and their rhetoric. Remember when Maxine Waters and Corey Booker urged their followers to go out and publicly attack, cajole, get in the face of Republicans?  Look, Senator Flake should know. He was the victim of one of those in a capitol elevator.

    Look, we have been headed in a much more combative era in American politics.  I think we all agree with that. But I don't think anyone can honestly say it started with Donald Trump.  We've been headed down this road for the past decade.

    Second point, there is a very important point we all ought to consider here regardless of your party.  We ought to re-nominate Trump in 2020 because it makes politics more entertaining. It's more fun. It's more fun with President Trump in the race.  And I'll bet -- I'll bet -- look, I'm a political junkie. I bet we all watch presidential debates.

    But I'll bet everyone, if you were honest, would say, you know what, that debate between Bush and Gore just was a real snooze fest.  And most debates are. But with President Trump in the debate, you don't know what he's going to say next.
  • 01:17:02
    His handlers don't know what he's going to say next. And that makes debates more interesting, and that, in turn, means more people watch the debates.

    Did you know that the first Trump-Clinton debate in the 2016 race had 84 million voters?  That is an all-time record in the history of televised debates. It even beat the 1980 debate between Carter and Reagan by 4 million votes.  It blew away all the others in the recent decades. We get more people energized. We get more people activated. We get more people interested in politics.  And so, there is an advantage, regardless of your political perspective, of having Trump in the race.

    It's going to be a lot more fun to watch those debates. And if you're a conservative like me, I know my principles are going to be intact because he has done so much to advance them.  So far, all these reasons, we urge you to vote no and oppose the resolution with us.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you very much, Kris Kobach.  And that concludes closing statements for this intelligent squared U.S. debate.

    And now it's time to learn which side you have found most persuasive.  Before we do that, you know, we did a debate a few months before the midterm election last fall where we had four democrats on stage.

    And the resolution -- unfortunately, I can't remember the exact wording, but the thrust of the resolution was whether or not the Democratic party needed to move more to the left in order to win.  And so, it was a pragmatic argument versus an argument about principles.
  • 01:18:24
    And it reminded me in many ways of the conversation we had tonight, and very much in a good way in that there were four people on this stage who basically shared overwhelmingly their world views, but they had very, very bitter and intense disagreement on one particular point.  And what happened that night is that did stay civil, and they could all shake hands and walk away afterwards and give the audience a sense that this kind of tough, tough conversation can be had a way that doesn't have to leave blood on the floor.

    I think tonight we saw the same thing.  All four of you really sharply disagreed on some very, very important stuff.  But you're all conservatives, and that all showed. And it was interesting how often I heard the two of you talking about the same thing actually.
  • 01:19:00
    So, I want to congratulate you for the way you did that, the way you brought style.

    I want to congratulate the audience also for making these folks on this side of me feel so welcome here as well.  But I think the whole thing worked tonight, so I want to thank you all for that.

    [applause]

    As we're waiting for the results. I'm curious, for the different sides -- I'm curious on your side, the side that is very enthusiastic about another Donald Trump run, who should be on the -- vice president on the ticket?

    Liz Peek:
    I'll answer that.

    John Donvan:
    Yeah.

    Liz Peek:
    All right.

    So, I wrote a piece several months ago -- actually, quite a few months ago -- about Nikki Haley running with Donald Trump.  Nikki Haley is brilliant. She is in very good stead with the Republican Party, has very high approval ratings. And obviously, Trump has a problem with educated women.  They don't vote for him in large numbers. And I think Nikki Haley would be helpful to him.
  • 01:20:03
    I think Mike Pence has been a very loyal VP, so obviously, he would have to find some way -- some job that Mike Pence might aspire to, and I have ideas on that -- not on the government, but elsewhere -- for that.  

    [laughter]

    Well, no, I mean -- anyway. We can talk about that. But anyhow -- but I thought that would be a great team.

    John Donvan:
    Kris, your thoughts on that?

    Kris Kobach:
    You know, I think, if I were counseling the president on that point, I would say there's always -- there's more risk than reward in shifting your running mate at this point.

    And the way things look, I really do think he's going to cobble together two of those three states that I mentioned, and I -- there's too much of a downside risk, unless something changes dramatically.  But I do think she would be a good person on the ticket at some point.

    John Donvan:
    And what I'd like to take to the other side -- I know that you made it clear that you would like another Republican to run and win.  You're not that enthusiastic about a Democrat being in the White House, obviously. But among the candidates who are out there now, assuming Trump runs, are there any that you think actually represent a threat to him or could defeat him?
  • 01:21:05
    Jeff Flake:
    Yeah, I do.

    John Donvan:
    Who do you --

    Jeff Flake:
    Well, I think somebody who can appeal to one of the states that Donald Trump picked up -- obviously Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania -- I think -- I said the other day that the one that I think strikes fear in Trump's heart, whether he admits it or not, is Joe Biden, because he can appeal to the center.  And it's going to take somebody who appeals to the center and can get swing votes.

    But there are others. He's the one that comes to mind.

    Bret Stephens:
    Well, I would say -- first of all, just to make a point of agreement, I think Nikki Haley is terrific and I would love to see her at the top of the ticket --

    [laughter]

    [applause]

    -- in 2020.  As a daughter of immigrants, as a woman, as a governor, and as a fantastic ambassador, she has all the qualifications to redeem the Republican Party.
  • 01:22:05
    And what a contrast between someone like Nikki and someone like the Donald.  Among the Democrats -- I think -- she's a long shot, but if she were to win the nomination, Amy Klobuchar would be a phenomenal --

    [applause]

    -- a phenomenal challenger because she hails from the Midwest. She's got Midwestern values.  She is not appealing to the party's extremes. Look, as Kris -- I think, right -- you put it, Trump won by a nose in the states he needed to win.

    He is not as strong in those states today as he was a few years ago, when the alternative was Hillary Clinton.  So, all you have to do is have a Democratic candidate who doesn't scare the bejesus out of suburban moms and, you know, sort of the Midwest America. They're going to win. One thing I'd wish I'd said in this debate is Trump is an extraordinarily weak candidate who's never gotten above 42 percent [unintelligible] popular [inaudible] --

    John Donvan:
    Okay, but that was the debate.
  • 01:23:04
    [laughter]

    Male Speaker:
    [inaudible] Jeff said.  If I -- looking at the democrat field, the one I personally think is the most difficult for us on the republican side is Joe Biden because, in those rustbelt states, I think he has the most purchase in those states.  So, again, I'm just looking at the Electoral College. I think he's the biggest threat there.

    John Donvan:
    All right, well, thank you very much for that.  I have the results. It's all in now. On the resolution, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump," one side argued for and against.

    And remember, you voted before and after the debate to tell us where you stood. It's your second vote that makes the big difference because we give victory to the team whose numbers move up the most between the first and the second vote.  So, here how -- here's how it played out. On the resolution, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump," before the debate, 61 percent of you agreed with the resolution, 21 percent were against the resolution, 18 percent were undecided.  
  • 01:23:59
    In the second vote, on the team arguing for the resolution, "The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump," they did not want Trump, the first vote was 61 percent, their second vote was 81 percent. They pulled up 20 percentage points, which is the number to beat.  The team against the resolution, meaning they support the re-nomination of Trump, their first vote was 21 percent. Their second vote was 16 percent. They lost five percentage points. That means the team goes to -- that means victory goes to the team arguing that the Republican Party should not re-nominate Donald Trump.

    [applause]

    Congratulations to them.  Thank you from me, John Donvan, and Intelligence Squared U.S.  We'll see you next time. Thank you, everybody.

    [end of transcript]

    This is a rough transcript. Please excuse any errors.
Post-Debate
Winner

For The Motion
81 %
16 %
Against The Motion
3 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
For The Motion
61 %
21 %
Against The Motion
18 %
Undecided
Breakdown
For The Motion
11% - Swung From the Against Side
57% - Remained For the For Side
13% - Swung From Undecided
Against The Motion
10% - Remained For the Against Side
3% - Swung From the For Side
3% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
0% - Swung From the Against Side
1% - Swung From the For Side
2% - Remained Undecided
Post-Debate
Winner

For the Motion
64 %
34 %
Against the Motion
1 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
For the Motion
60 %
34 %
Against the Motion
6 %
Undecided
Breakdown
For the Motion
6% - Swung From the Against Side
55% - Remained For the For Side
3% - Swung From Undecided
Against the Motion
28% - Remained For the Against Side
4% - Swung From the For Side
3% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
0% - Swung From the Against Side
1% - Swung From the For Side
0% - Remained Undecided
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
Is Donald Trump a Conservative?
New York Times columnist Bret Stephens compares Donald Trump to presidents of the past, including Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
Promises Made, Promises Kept
Fox News correspondent Liz Peek argues that President Trump is keeping his promises and preserving the American dream.
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
Swing States
Former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach says Trump has what it takes to win the Rust Belt again.
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
Immigration
What is the Republican Party’s message on immigration? New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach debate.
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
Audience Question: Climate Change
Liz Peek and Jeff Flake discuss the Republican Party’s handling of – and messaging for – climate change.
About The Debaters
For The Motion
An image of Jeff Flake
Jeff Flake − Fmr. U.S. Senator, Arizona
The Honorable Jeff Flake is the former U.S. Senator from Arizona, where he served from 2013 to 2019. Before that, he... read bio
An image of Bret Stephens
Bret Stephens − Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times
Bret Stephens is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who is currently an op-ed columnist for the New York Times and... read bio
Against The Motion
An image of Kris Kobach
Kris Kobach − Fmr. Secretary of State, Kansas
Kris W. Kobach is the former secretary of state for Kansas and former professor of constitutional law at the... read bio
An image of Liz Peek
Liz Peek − Fox News Contributor & Columnist
Liz Peek is a Fox News contributor and a columnist for The Hill and FoxNews.com. She has written for the bipartisan... read bio
Main Points
For The Motion
  • The GOP is the party of free markets, and Trump’s deployment of tariffs strays from Republican ideals. It’s time for Republicans to nominate a candidate who embraces all conservative values.
  • Since he took office, President Trump and his inner circle have been entangled in controversies, and the Trump administration has left nearly 40 percent of cabinet positions unfilled. It is in the GOP’s best interest to nominate a new candidate who will appoint strong and experienced officials.
  • From pulling out of international agreements and dismissing our European allies to cozying up to dictators in Russia and North Korea, critics question Trump’s foreign policy agenda and whether it’s right for America.
  • Trump’s stance on immigration – including the border wall, child separation policies, and the Muslim ban – have drawn criticism and in some cases, been questioned by the courts. The Republican Party should support a primary challenger who will advocate for less divisive immigration policies.   
Against The Motion
  • The United States is enjoying a prosperous and thriving economy under Trump, and Americans are taking notice. Supporters say a change in leadership could imperil economic conditions.
  • Trump maintains an impassioned and loyal base of supporters, plus he has history on his side: As an incumbent, Trump is more likely to beat a newcomer in the primaries, and a challenger could hurt his chances in the general election. 
  • From the JCPOA to the TPP, President Trump has shown his supporters he isn’t afraid to pull out of agreements he believes to be against America’s interests. And, they say, he’s putting America’s security and prosperity above that of other countries. 
  • The president is keeping his campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration with the goal of securing America’s borders, and he should be re-elected to see these policies through.