The Democrats will not be afraid of the Republicans until the Republicans are not afraid to be Republicans.
President Donald Trump’s CPAC speech last month made clear why he is still the head of the Republican Party. Donald Trump is not afraid of being a Republican.
After 28 years of wandering in the political wilderness, we finally elected a leader who reflected our Republican values in actions and deeds and not just in words. No other politician in recent memory could legitimately leave office saying: "Promises made, Promises kept." Presidents Ronald Reagan and Calvin Coolidge kept their promises. To a lesser degree, so did Newt Gingrich with his Contract with America, but no one matched the boldness of Trump’s MAGA plan.
We do not need to remake the Republican Party.
What we stand for is not wrong.
What we believe in is right.
The problem is how we follow through when America hands us the opportunity to govern.
We had great hopes in 2017 when we had the White House, the House, and the Senate.
When put to the test, however, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell became afraid to govern as Republicans.
We had great hope with Paul Ryan, perhaps he just caught the "I’m scared to govern as a Republican virus" while campaigning with Mitt Romney.
Mitch McConnell was just being Mitch McConnell.
Trumpism is simply Republicanism with follow through. The foundation of the Republican Party is solid, 75 million Americans knew it and saw it in Donald Trump. It’s time for our elected leaders in Washington to also embrace it.
We need to focus on our core beliefs: A-American exceptionalism, B-Belief in God and protecting the unborn, Following the C-Constitution, D-Defending the rule of law and those who enforce it along with our military, E-Energy independence, and F-Family first.
These are the basics of Republicanism are as simple as ABCDEF.
Why is it so hard for many Republicans to govern reflecting our values?
There is hope. Some Republicans are stepping up and showing they can also govern as Republicans. Trump has been an example for others to actually be a Republican in action and not just in words. Governors DeSantis and Noem are governing as Republicans on the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida and South Dakota governors have shown that Republicanism works, that small government works best. Success can be achieved without government overreach against the virus.
They have proven that we can have healthy medical outcomes and a healthy economy at the same time.
When other Governors who call themselves Republicans like Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Larry Hogan in Maryland, and Phil Scott in Vermont, do not govern as Republicans they hurt our national brand.
Some in Washington now seem to understand that Trump was such an effective President because he governed as a Republican. Rand Paul and Mike Pompeo clearly get it. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz might as well.
But Donald Trump is the only one that has done it at the Federal level since Ronald Reagan.
It’s not Trumpism that makes America Great. It’s Republicanism. But it took someone with the guts of Donald Trump to deliver on what it means to be a Republican.
It does matter if Donald Trump runs again for President in 2024. More importantly it matters that we elect a Republican President who embraces the example President Trump’s MAGA plan and policies. America needs is a Real Republican like Donald Trump who is unafraid to govern like a Republican to win the White House once again. Donald Trump has taught many in the Republican Party that you don’t need to be afraid to govern as a Republican. It is no longer good enough to talk the talk unless you walk the walk.
Donald Trump did a great many things to Make America Great Again.
His greatest and longest lasting contribution, however, may be that of a teacher showing young (and even old) Republicans that success and greatness comes from governing as a Republican.
Republicans need it, but more importantly America needs it now more than ever.
Jay is the former Vice-Chair of the RNC and currently serves as the National Committeeman for Vermont to the RNC. Delivered invocations at both the 2016 and 2020 Republican National Conventions. He is also a media advisor on U.S. Senate, U.S. Congressional, and Gubernatorial races. He is an ACEK Board Member and national messaging consultant.
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