The debate is finally over. It actually has been over for more than a generation, but old habits are hard to break. The debate I’m talking about is the old adage that Democrats are the party of the working class. 

In reality, you would be hard pressed to find someone that could logically make that argument today. Democrats have become obsessed with illegal immigration and a radical job-killing agenda like the Green New Deal — policies that will destroy the auto and airline industries, as well as other manufacturing jobs around the country. This is a far cry from the 1960s when Democrats like John F. Kennedy put American workers first. 

Workers now realize they are much better served and supported by President Trump and the Republican Party, and it’s easy to see why. While Democrats fight for policies that crush working-class communities, Republicans and our president are fighting for good-paying, blue-collar jobs, and traditional American values.

My father, a retired UAW/Ford worker, was a life-long Democrat who always carried his union voting card into the polls. However, in 2016 he proudly voted Republican because, in his words, “I don’t know that damn Democrat party anymore.”

Is it a surprise that middle-income workers and retirees like my father have turned their back on Democrats, when the party clearly holds blue-collar and union workers in contempt?

In 2016, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton openly touted the fact that: “We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business!” 

Michigan autoworkers like me cringed, knowing it wouldn’t be long until the Democrats came for our industry. We were right to be frightened. The Green New Deal treats Michigan autoworkers and the blue-collar jobs it creates with open hostility. 

Here in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been no better. One of the Democrat's first acts was to torpedo an already-agreed-upon sale of the Ionia Correctional Facility to a private company that would have brought almost 300 highly-paid jobs to the area, all because of her party’s stance on protecting illegal immigration. 

In addition, the governor’s 45-cent gas tax will come as a major blow to the American auto industry’s leading products: trucks and SUVs.

The debate is over.

Today’s workers may have heard the “old adage” from their grandparents.  But reality has shown them that the Democrat party is actively working against them, their families, and their communities.  That is why, in 2016, we saw a huge rise in blue-collar and union worker support for a Republican candidate.

Donald Trump has been the president that workers have been waiting for. An outsider that has taken Washington by storm, President Trump has created more economic prosperity and opportunity for American blue-collar workers than any other president in my lifetime. 

President Trump's policies have led to record low unemployment, wage increases after a decade or more of stagnation, and tax cuts that helped workers when they needed it. 

Most importantly, the president has been steadfast in his support for American jobs.  “America First” is not just a fancy slogan, it is the banner through which Trump fights to protect American jobs. Workers have noticed and in 2019 alone the Big Three automakers have pledged over $7 billion in new manufacturing within our state.

Michigan Workers know the debate is over. Trump and the Republican Party are the guardians of blue-collar jobs, economic growth and American values.

Perhaps it is time to share it with our grandkids.

Terry Bowman is a 22-year UAW/Ford worker and the co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

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