Since 1971 when veterans made up 72 percent of the United States House of Representatives and 78 percent of the Senate, the numbers of veterans in Congress has dwindled. In the latest Congress, only 20 percent of Senators served in the military and only 18 percent of House members claimed military service.

Much of that decline is due to the all volunteer force and the shrinking number of veterans in the country as a whole. World War II veterans are almost gone and Korean and Vietnam War Veterans are aging.

Despite declining numbers of veterans in Congress in the past three decades, Rebecca Burgess, manager of the American Enterprise Institute’s Program on American Citizenship said their recent survey indicates that the “pipeline of potential veteran candidates for national office may be refilling.” Her survey found an increase of veterans seeking office at the state and local level. “I think it’s fair to think that we’ll see an increase in the number of veteran candidates at the federal level in coming years,” Burgess said. “For some, state offices are like getting your feet wet.”

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s2smodern

A farm boy without a career plan had retired after an eventful 26.5-year career in the United States Army. After retirement, he filled the days with substitute teaching, cutting wood and planting trees. Nothing challenged him like the years at Clemson when it was an all-male military college and most jobs he had in the military including leading an organization for 6 years with about a hundred military personnel and more then ten-thousand civilians. At night he watched television news, studied history, including the Bible and read everything he could find about current events.

It was the 1980s and the nation had barely survived the incompetent administration of Jimmy Carter and had taken a chance on Ronald Reagan. The leftists that had forced the abandonment of South Vietnam to the Communists hated Reagan, but were unsuccessful in destroying him as they had successfully destroyed President Nixon.

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s2smodern

Donald Trump has defeated 16 Republican Candidates in the Republican Primary contests. He is the only candidate standing and is presumed to be the ultimate winner at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July. He humiliated candidates Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush in the South Carolina Primary. The entire Bush family, including two former presidents, is furious with Trump and refuses to endorse or promise to vote for him in the General Election.

Establishment Republicans who fear losing their power and prestige are taking out their revenge on Trump, however, it is the voters with whom they are really angry. For decades conservative Republicans have supported the candidates the party bosses selected for them. They made promises and never kept them. The voters are angry and have decided not to support the party regulars this time. They have chosen instead to take their chances with an outsider who has promised what they want in a leader. The nation is shocked at his success and the party leaders are terrified. 

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s2smodern

As a retired soldier with both enlisted and commissioned service including the Vietnam War, I have serious concerns about the present and future of the Republic for which many of my friends and their families sacrificed and some gave their lives. Therefore, I am extremely interested in who becomes our next President. Those of us who served, and especially those who served in combat, know that the choice of a Commander-in-Chief is a matter of life or death for all those in uniform.

Tragically, unwise decisions by President Obama during his two-terms in office have resulted in the loss of many lives and will cost lives and cause untold suffering far into the future.

I don’t know who, if anyone is advising Donald Trump on national defense, however his teleprompter speech on foreign policy contained a lot of common sense and more than a little sound military strategy.

You never commit American troops to war unless it is clearly in the national interest and there is no acceptable alternative.

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s2smodern

The racial strife and week-long demonstrations at Clemson University alleging racism and discrimination, coupled with administrators struggling to find ways to meet demands of small groups of students remind me of the contrast with “Old Clemson College” of the 1950s.

Clemson was created as an all-male military college with a proud heritage to provide educational opportunities for rural children of modest means.  It was an agricultural and mechanical college that in the 1940s and 50s featured mostly agricultural and textile graduates. Clemson provided more commissioned officers for World War II than all the US military academies combined. Freshmen from as far away as New York City were required by their upper classmen to become conversant in the history of Clemson and South Carolina. Discipline was administered to students by students with minimum supervision and guidance from the college administration.

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s2smodern

A merger of Trump and Cruz political campaigns is not likely, but could capture the Republican Party for Conservatives and create a real contrast between Democrats and Republicans for the first time in modern History. The two camps control 70 to 80 percent of the Republican electorate.

There is much in common between the true Conservatives in both camps. However, there is little chance that the two campaigns will be allowed to get together at the convention in Cleveland. Such a merger would be very detrimental to the party elite that hold the power at the top and the RINOs (Republicans in name only) that hold the power at the county and state level in many cases.

Neither candidate is perfect, however both Trump and Cruz have a lot to offer in terms of returning the nation to a constitutional republic based on laws rooted in morality. Both candidates are very intelligent and the best at what they do.

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s2smodern

Governor Nikki Haley has been a disappointment to many citizens who worked hard for her election. She is the most recent in a series of South Carolina Governors who have been able to trick voters into supporting a mythical candidate who was much different from the real person.

Haley replaced Gov. Mark Sanford who was one of our better governors, but had a problem keeping his zipper zipped.

David Beasley was a young Democrat who became a “Christian” and won the Governor’s office as a Christian Republican. Beasley had a great personality but lost a bid for a second term by trying to please both his old liberal friends and his new Conservative supporters. Governor Beasley, like Haley, was considered ideal as a vice presidential candidate. He announced that he favored removal of the Confederate battle flag from the capitol dome. This pleased the liberal media and enhanced his national political potential. He lost credibility when in an effort to calm his Conservative Christian political base, Governor Beasley announced that God woke him up in the middle of the night and told him to take the flag down. Beasley instantly became a one-term governor and South Carolina suffered through 4-years of a Democrat Governor.

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s2smodern
Mike Scruggs