It’s official: Donald J. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. In a stunning political upset, he defied most pollsters’ predictions and defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had the full-fledged support of President Obama and the Democratic machine. He galvanized millions of Americans who were fed up with establishment politics, political correctness, economic stagnation, etc., taking the political world by storm in the process. Between now and January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day, President-elect Trump must manage a transition into the highest office in the land, and part of that entails nominating people to serve in his Cabinet.

Whereas President Abraham Lincoln famously formed a “team of rivals” (a group of Cabinet secretaries and advisors with clashing political perspectives), I believe that President-elect Trump should assemble a team of allies. He should look around the country and find the most qualified and competent individuals from all walks of life (business, medicine, education, technology, etc.) who share his vision for America. Considering President-elect Trump’s populist, blue-collar agenda, I believe that the position of Secretary of Labor should be filled by Rick Santorum, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

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Senator Santorum was elected to the Senate in 1994, and he served for two terms before he was ousted in the Democratic wave of 2006. He ran for president in 2012 and again in 2016, and each time he tried to appeal to blue-collar workers, the forgotten working men and women of this country who, more often than not, have seen their communities devastated by the forces of globalization. In 2014, he wrote a book called Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works. I read it for the first time this past summer, and it lays out a bold agenda to strengthen the Republican Party (and America), not by playing the Democrats’ favorite game of identity politics, but by appealing to all Americans as workers. That agenda was largely adopted by President-elect Trump during his campaign, and it would only make sense to nominate its architect to be Secretary of Labor.

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On page 8 of Blue Collar Conservatives, Senator Santorum writes,

We Republicans must show the unemployed, the underemployed, and the struggling worker that we are on their side and want their support. We cannot forget the blue collar conservatives who are the backbone of this country.

Appealing to all Americans as workers will help us with minority outreach, something that the Republican Party has struggled with during the past several elections. It will also help us to counter the perception that the Republican Party is the party of the rich, a notion which still persists despite economic inequality and corporate profits reaching record highs under President Obama and the Democrats.

In order to appeal to workers, the first step has to be repealing and replacing Obamacare. President Obama’s signature achievement has led to millions of people being forced into part-time work or out of work completely, and millions more people are now relying on government assistance than they were eight years ago. On page 111 of Blue Collar Conservatives, Senator Santorum writes,

Americans want a hand up, not a handout. But instead of lifting people up, Obamacare is pushing countless Americans down into a state of dependency, uncertainty, and reliance on the whims of bureaucrats.

Senator Santorum proposes eliminating the artificial lines around states that prevent insurance companies from competing nationally, and he promotes the idea of health savings accounts. Both would go a long way towards improving life for working Americans.

Among other things, the Department of Labor is charged with improving economic conditions that promote the welfare of job seekers. In order to help job seekers, both personal and corporate taxes need to be cut and scores of job-killing regulations need to be eliminated. People should be able to keep more of what they earn, and businesses should be able to open and hire employees without a lot of government red-tape. Senator Santorum proposes cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent with no loopholes; for manufacturers, he proposes eliminating it entirely. On page 152, he writes, “That will attract investment capital to American manufacturing plants, and capital creates jobs.” Another reform to help American manufacturing would be renegotiating trade deals like NAFTA that have cost countless Americans their jobs. As Senator Santorum writes, “I am a free trader, but we have to look at the effect of free trade on the average person” (p. 155). These bold conservative reforms will come to fruition with President-elect Trump in the White House and Senator Santorum leading the Department of Labor.

Working Americans need a government that will look out for their interests again. Under President Obama, more people are out of work (as a percentage of the labor force) than at any time since President Carter was in office. Wages have flatlined, purchasing power has decreased, and globalization has ripped apart countless communities across the country. Senator Santorum has been a consistent advocate for issues that concern working Americans. He knows that they don’t want more government handouts, higher taxes on “the rich,” or red tape that strangles businesses and entire sectors of the American economy. They want better trade deals, lower taxes, a revived manufacturing sector, healthcare that is actually affordable, etc. Senator Santorum is someone who supports the president-elect’s populist, blue-collar agenda, and since he is from Pennsylvania, he knows how to connect with the hardworking people who built this country and who keep it running every day. I strongly urge President-elect Trump to nominate Senator Santorum to be his Secretary of Labor.

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