My advice to Donald Trump: Lead

By Bill Johnson

This election cycle has been unlike any we've ever seen. Many of our fellow Americans are justifiably angry, and they've spoken with their votes. They know that sound bites and practiced political rhetoric haven't gotten us anywhere - except more divided. They're crying out for leadership.

Donald Trump will be the presidential nominee of my party and, if he's going to effectively address this problem and win the White House, he'll need to meet the challenge that many seek, but few achieve: He must do the hard work of creating solutions that build more solid results rather than choosing answers that win easy accolades.

During my 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, I participated in a lot of planning and discussions about potentially putting troops in harm's way. Those were tough decisions that required thoughtful and informed leadership. I've tried to bring that same approach to my career in business and, most recently, my tenure in Congress. So, after three decades of leading in a wide variety of ways, here's the advice I have for Mr. Trump:

The best leaders listen before they speak. It starts by hearing the concerns of the men and women who've been forgotten by so many elites - American working families. Many of those in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio have had their deeply held traditional values mocked by Washington elites and Hollywood. And, they've had their hard work in the coal mines and on the oil and gas rigs attacked by politicians supported by the radical environmentalist lobby.

Mr. Trump should acknowledge and respect the checks and balances that make the American experience the envy and model of governance in the world. President Obama has shown us what happens when there is a deficit of humility in the Oval Office - government grows, individual rights wither, and the clear lines of Constitutional authority become blurred.

Donald Trump's vision must contrast with that of President Obama and Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. That shouldn't be difficult. They don't just think that big government is the best answer; they think it's the only answer. That's not leadership, and it's the same tired political rhetoric we've heard from Washington for years.

Now, I understand why some people have reservations about Donald Trump. He has a brash style about him, and is still maturing in his role as a national leader. Trump's critics, however, often decline to apply the same sharp scrutiny to Ms. Clinton. If they did, they might come around to supporting Mr. Trump.

Some people claim the proposed Trump border wall goes too far. But, border security is a top priority for voters in both parties. As for the illegal immigrants already here, even Hillary Clinton was forced to agree that undocumented children should be "sent back" and reunited with their families in their home countries.

Some accuse Mr. Trump of being a liar. Yet, as for Hillary Clinton, it's hard to even catalog her lies - many with life and death consequences. She blamed the Benghazi attacks on a YouTube video when she knew it was terrorism. In my view, anyone willing to lie to the families of deceased heroes is capable of lying about anything to anyone.

So, as is often the case - we have imperfect people running for president, and we need to make a choice. Given that the future rulings of the Supreme Court hang in the balance, this election is less about who'll be president for the next four years and more about who'll control the Supreme Court for the next 40 years.

After nearly eight years of the most divisive president in modern American history, our country is unlikely to unite behind one candidate. This election will be conflict-ridden and emotions will run high. Yet, alone in the voting booth, each of us must choose.

In the hope that Donald Trump will take up the mantle of leadership that I've described, and with the understanding that Hillary Clinton's judicial nominations could permanently damage our individual freedoms in a way more destructive than even that produced by Barack Obama, I will be casting my vote for Donald Trump.