Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions took center stage on the first night of the Republican National Convention to discuss the conservative populist movement that has swept the nation and has inspired one of the most remarkable elections in U.S. history.
Sessions declared that this election has been primarily about the critical issues of trade and immigration.
“Our voters spoke clearly on two critical issues in our primaries: trade and immigration,” Sessions said. “They affirmed Donald Trump and his positions. They oppose Obamatrade. They demand a lawful system of immigration that protects their safety and their financial well-being.”
Sessions has come to be regarded as the intellectual thought leader of the movement that propelled Trump to victory in the Republican primary. For years, Sessions– who was one of Trump’s earliest endorsers– has been the leading voice of the Republican Party on appealing to the blue collar voters who have been abandoned by their political leaders.
Two years ago, Sessions wrote that the GOP should “become the Party of Work”– a sentiment that was recently echoed by Donald Trump with his announcement that, under his leadership, the GOP will be “a workers’ party.” As Roll Call observed earlier this year, in 2013 Sessions wrote a memo that “foreshadowed the genesis of Trump’s candidacy by urging the party to embrace an ‘honest populism’ designed ‘to speak directly to the real and legitimate concerns of millions of hurting Americans whose wages have declined and whose job prospects have grown only bleaker.’” Vanity Fair similarly observed that Sessions laid the “intellectual groundwork for Trump’s campaign and the Republican civil war that he has unleashed.”
Sessions was the first to lead the fight both against Obamatrade in 2015 and the Rubio-Obama amnesty plan in 2013. Many have noted that while other conservatives were too afraid or were unwilling to speak out, Sessions would not hesitate to lead the lonely fight on behalf of the American people. As Rush Limbaugh observed during Sessions’ crusade against Paul Ryan’s omnibus spending bill, which fully funded and even expanded President Obama’s open borders agenda:
Why is the only Republican in all of Congress who is complaining about this Jeff Sessions? […] Jeff Sessions is really the only guy standing up and complaining about it, warning before it happened, trying to alert people what’s on the verge of happening. Is Sessions the only conservative left in Congress?
During his Monday RNC address, Sessions explained that, “It cannot be our policy to have workers from abroad take jobs while we provide support payments for unemployed American. Bad trade deals close factories, and end high paying jobs. Excess immigration floods the labor market reducing jobs and wages.”
Sessions said that the American people have pleaded for common sense trade and immigration policies that put the interests of American workers first, but that corporate, media, and political elites have responded to the voters’ pleas “with disdain, dismissal, and scorn.”
“Our middle class is steadily declining, with our African American and Hispanic communities being hurt the most. But, the Washington establishment, the media, and big corporations have been in denial,” Sessions said.
Earlier during a Monday morning interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sessions explained how the leadership of the Republican Party stands at odds with the Republican electorate on these critical issues. When asked, Sessions said that House Speaker Paul Ryan “absolutely… needs to change” his position on trade. Last year, Ryan stood opposed to Sessions and acted as President Obama’s “partner” to fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership– even though by a nearly five-to-one margin Republican voters think so-called “free trade” deals lower wages rather than raise them.
With regards to immigration, Sessions said that Washington politicians should represent the interests of their constituents and “slow down” the nation’s radical pace of immigration in order to “protect our national security and jobs.” He added:
For 30 years, our good people have rightly pleaded for an end to the lawlessness, and for sound immigration policies that are fair and advance the national interest. To this legitimate plea, our elites have responded with disdain, dismissal, and scorn. But is there anyone in America that does not understand that when we bring in more workers than we have jobs for that job prospects and wages will fall? Top economists and the Congressional Budget Office have told us that. Is it too much to ask that we slow down and protect our national security and jobs?
Let’s consider the facts. We lawfully admit 1.1 million permanent residents annually, more than any other country. In addition, we have 700,000 foreign guest workers taking jobs… From 2000 to 2014, while our existing population increased by millions, the number of jobs held by Americans actually declined. Amazingly, all the net job growth during that period went to immigrants. Combine that with the reality of efficient businesses, robots, and slow growth. The fact is, we don’t have enough jobs for the people who are here… Our duty as elected officials is to get our people jobs first.
Sessions said that while Trump will kill Obamatrade and put forth a lawful system of immigration that prioritizes the interests of American workers, Hillary Clinton supports trade and immigration policies that hurt American workers. He went on:
We are on the wrong track and the people know it. Yet, Hillary Clinton’s plan is more of the same: more government, more taxes, more regulation, more immigration, and more debt. She has been a champion of globalist trade agreements. But the facts are in. They have not worked for our people. When those agreements were signed, Presidents Clinton and Obama promised our dangerous trade deficits with China and Korea would be reduced. But, the deficit with China has increased five-fold and the deficit with Korea doubled. These are job-killing numbers. Worst of all, they are now pushing the disastrous 5,554-page Obamatrade – the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
“Americans want help now. This election will make it happen. That is why we need Donald Trump,” Sessions said. “Donald Trump is the leader that will bring change. He has the strength, courage, and will to get it done. He is attracting more and more Independents and Democrats to our movement. Donald Trump will kill Obamatrade. Donald Trump will build the wall. DONALD TRUMP WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”