In order to successfully reoccupy the White House in 2016, Republicans need to learn from their mistakes of 2008 and 2012 and rally behind one candidate early in the process, political commentator Michael Reagan said Friday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.
"You don't want to have the conservatives split their own votes and then allow someone that the base doesn't like to win the nomination," cautioned Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan. "You know my dad in 1980, he was the only conservative in a sea of moderate and liberal Republicans. He was the only conservative, wasn't splaying the vote with anyone, had a great message.
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"So I don't want to see 20 people out there in fact running where it becomes a train wreck. We should pick our candidates a little bit earlier and get behind them and back them and be there on Election Day for them.
"You're going to have people on the right, you're going to have people in the center, you're going to have people on the left running. But my goodness gracious, as a party, thank God they're all members of the Republican Party. Let's not kick them out. We don't have a big enough party to kick people off the bus. We need to be that Republican Party and embrace all of them and support whoever the nominee is."
Future candidates need to stop comparing themselves to Ronald Reagan and instead expend their efforts imparting their own message to Americans, Reagan said.
"We were lucky enough to have a Ronald Reagan in our lifetime, why the heck are we looking for another one beyond it?" Reagan said. "What we need is a leader and let's find that leader, that person who can lead us into the future and be that person who's going to be strong for America no matter if it's home or abroad and we do a disservice by looking for Ronald Reagan because nobody's going to match up.
"We weren't looking for Abraham Lincoln when we elected Ronald Reagan. We were looking for a leader and we found one. So let's look for that leader and quit putting him up against my father because they will all fail in comparison to Ronald Reagan. They make a mistake by trying to attach themselves to my father. Remember, most people voting today don't know who the heck Ronald Reagan was."
What candidates need to remember, he continued, is that the nominee in 2016 must inspire people with a message beyond 'let's beat Hillary.' "
"Ronald Reagan had a message, a unifying message and a message that people wanted to be part of," he said. "We have to find what that message is going to be in 2016 and embrace whoever that messenger is. And something else, be a cheerleader for America. We have no cheerleaders for America right now and America needs a cheerleader. America needs to feel good about herself, where she's going, and who she is in the world that we live in."
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