Let’s fervently hope that 2024 GOP presidential contenders don’t follow the divisive Trump attack advice of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who has announced his intent to run.
In a big editorial spread bequeathed him by The Wall Street Journal’s consistently featured darling Peggy Noonan, Christie argued that the party can’t move forward until Donald Trump’s opponents make him a toxic liability issue.
Noonan quotes Christie: “We can’t lead and convince Trump folks if we’re unwilling to stick our necks out and say his name. …There needs to be a fight out loud, in public. The only way it becomes a winning argument is transparent and public.”
Whereas it’s understandable why a political backchannel opportunist such as Christie — along with wily Democrats — might welcome a circular GOP firing squad among far stronger and more winnable candidates, it’s a losing strategy for those wishing to advance conservative values and agendas.
Here, I’ll repeat contrasting advice in this column quoting reliably insightful Wall Street Journal writer Kimberly Strassel.
As Strassel points out, “choosing your fights is as important as fighting. … Spend your fight on nasty jabs at the opposition, invective at party rivals, cable-show drama, and personal crusades? Yeah, you’ll fire up some in your base, but at the cost of alienating even more of the population.”
Strassel wisely concludes, “Spend your fight on policies that make voters’ lives better — give them optimism and back it with results — and you’ll be rewarded at the polls.”
Former President Trump appears to recognize the importance of positive policy messaging which was evident in his recent Mar-a-Lago candidacy announcement speech which avoided digs at prospective rivals … most notably a rising GOP star.
Gov. Ron DeSantis now leads Trump in multiple Club for Growth Action polls ahead of a potential faceoff for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
DeSantis is following suit to avoid stirring dissention between the two likely competitors.
During a post-midterm news conference, he advised that “people just need to chill out a little bit” when discussing a potential 2024 Trump matchup.
After all, there’s lots of other important stuff to discuss — topics that people of all political stripes need to know about regarding where various candidates stand on vital domestic and foreign issues.
Like, for example, how will each of them work to curb rampant Biden administration inflation and get the economy back under control while preserving critical entitlements such as Social Security and medical benefits without putting more burdens on the backs of middle class wage earners and taxpayers?
Regarding energy, should America continue to dole out endless subsidies for wind/solar and electric vehicles which depend upon rare earth minerals from China while simultaneously allowing federally supported Environmental Social Guidance rules to divest essential money manager investments away from fossil sources?
What should a GOP administration do with many millions of illegal migrants that will have crossed America’s open southern border during Democrat White House control; end sanctuary cities and states which have encouraged this; and combat powerful narcotic and sex trafficking cartels?
How do presidential candidates view the federal government’s role in prosecuting crime, ending cashless bail, and ensuring that Second Amend rights for citizens to protect themselves are not eroded through arbitrary firearm restriction designations?
Should the Department of Education controlled by powerful teachers’ unions be abolished; voucher system school choice opportunities be incentivized; and parental rights to prevent racially divisive, unpatriotic, and age-inappropriate sexual indoctrination of children be codified in law?
Can national voting deadlines, mail-in ballot signature validation requirements and ballot harvesting prohibitions be mandated without violating state responsibilities over election control to restore lacking public confidence in fairness and security?
Which candidates, if any, support Donald Trump’s proposal for congressional member term limits and lifetime prohibitions on government lobbying following their periods of service?
What policies should be pursued regarding China economic and military threats, ranging from intellectual property theft and money manipulation to potential Taiwan invasion and other neighboring South China Sea offensives?
Do we continue to endlessly fund the Ukraine-Russia war “so long as it takes,” and what, exactly are America’s most important military and space national defense priorities?
The good news in all of this is that — unlike Democrats — Republicans have an excellent prospective pool of presidential candidates who can bring informed track record credentials and ideas to such urgently needed public dialogs.
Along with Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, I’ll readily include former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott in my personal list.
We already know what we’re against — dreadful American experiences over the past two years have made such painful realities abundantly clear.
Now let’s agree right up front to unite behind whichever candidate ultimately appears to be the best person to deliver what we’re for.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is "Architectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design" (2022). Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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