You might call it an, “I told you so,” moment. Tuesday’s wildly popular State of the Union address by President Donald Trump, offered time for satisfied reflection for Trump supporters including Congressional candidate Neal Tapio, whose unwavering support for Trump’s candidacy in 2016 flew in the face of all of South Dakota’s GOP establishment elite, most of whom are now racing to catch Trump’s coattails, but who could be found issuing disgusted demands that Trump abandon his Presidential campaign just over a year ago.
“This President, in his words and his actions is doing something we don’t often expect from our political leaders,” Neal Tapio said.
“He’s keeping his promises to the American people.”
“I might say some apologies are in order from a long list of people, including here in South Dakota, but aside from Dennis Daugaard and John Thune, I won’t name names. And I’m not going to hold my breath for anyone to admit they were wrong,” Tapio said, wryly.
Both Daugaard and Thune made public calls for Trump to drop out of the 2016 Presidential race just weeks before his stunning election victory over Hillary Clinton. Tapio isn’t allowing either of them, or anyone else, to forget it.
“That’s just proof of how far out of touch South Dakota’s GOP leadership has been when it comes to understanding what the American people have been saying and shouting for years, to deaf ears,” Tapio said.
“Donald Trump came along and encapsulated perfectly the ignored cries of a large section of working and middle class Americans who were being squeezed from every direction by rising taxes, falling wages and rising consumer prices that were far outpacing family incomes. And as we saw Tuesday night, the American people love Donald Trump for not just listening, but for getting things done to fix the problems,” Tapio said.
Tapio, whose daytime four city tour to announce his own Congressional campaign Tuesday dovetailed intentionally with the President’s SOTU address that evening, says the nation’s economic rebound alone should be enough not only to silence Trump’s dourest critics and policy detractors but to make rank and file and even GOP party brass think long and hard about the future of the Republican Party and the ongoing fight between populist political newcomers and private citizens now seeking to join the Trump wave and establishment mainstream politicos desperately clinging to their long held grip on the levers of control and an equally dismal resume of losses and poor showings in national and Congressional elections since 2010.
“The Dow Jones Industrial Average is at 26,000 and climbing. Economists are now predicting unemployment at 3.5% by the end of the year and more than 300 companies have announced company-wide bonus packages awarding $1,000 or more to each and every employee,” Tapio said.
“Combine all of those fundamentals with a tax policy that’s allowing companies to bring business back to the United States and is letting workers keep more of what they earn and I think we are poised to see a roar out of the American economy that hasn’t been heard for decades,” Tapio said.
And Tapio believes the 2018 elections and the ultimate fortunes of the GOP hinge on whether or not voters and party leadership learned anything at all from 2016, and whether Americans have the courage to continue the Trump wave of success by filling Congress with a crop of fresh faces and people willing to help President Trump continue to implement his policies for the rest of his first term and beyond.
“Sending more establishment and phony politicians to Washington is the definition of insanity,” Tapio can be heard to say in a newly produced radio ad playing on stations across South Dakota.
“If we keep doing what we’ve always done, not only will nothing change for the better, but all the progress and improvement that has been made in the first year of the Trump Presidency will be turned back and wiped away,” Tapio said.
“We as Americans have to continue to believe that it’s within our power to take this country back from the political mainstream that has held control for so long and that until very recently were still working very hard even inside the establishment GOP to obstruct and frustrate the implementation of the Trump agenda,” Tapio said.
Tapio believes that politicians at every level and in both parties are beginning to sense the natural gravity of the Trump plan and the political loyalty and momentum that will be produced as the successes continue, resulting in a marked shift to a more unified GOP with the 2018 midterm elections looming large on the horizon.
“Voters and our leadership are going to have to make some very hard, very concerted choices in the coming months about how we move forward as a nation,” Tapio said.
“It’s easy when victories start happening to believe that things are finally in good hands and that things will be ok. But it’s crucial to remember that most of the establishment is still plotting and scheming for a way to get back into power and to make the Donald Trump era of an outsider with a populist message nothing more than a bad dream that interrupted their dreams of big government and crony corruption,” Tapio said.
“I’m running for Congress because like Donald Trump, I believe this is a moment of destiny for the American people where we finally and once and for all say, enough is enough and send career politicians and the establishment GOP packing for a museum display,” Tapio said.
“There’s only one true Trump populist in this race and that’s the person who believed enough in him from the beginning to push back against the phonies and the establishment leaders who were doing their best to make sure Jeb Bush, or Lindsay Graham, or essentially anybody but Donald Trump was the nominee,” Tapio said.
“They’re running like crazy now to adopt the Trump brand because they know that’s what conservatives and people across America are using as the standard in choosing a candidate at every level of government. But they need to be careful enough to read the label and the voting record and the fine print on each and every candidate,” Tapio said.
“Fake Trump candidates are out in force in 2018. And in South Dakota and elsewhere, we can’t afford to get fooled by the dog and phony show.”