A Resurgent Strategy in the Age of Trump

The Roman philosopher Cicero once said, “An enemy at the gates is less formidable for he is known and carries his banner openly.” Conservatives who opposed Trump understood this principle well. Donald Trump is set to fully unfurl his liberal banner now that he has won the GOP nomination.

Let me preface my thoughts by disclosing I was (and still am) a staunch Cruz supporter. After my favorite Texan Rick Perry dropped out, I evaluated the field and decided to back Cruz. The choice was really between Cruz and Rubio, and Cruz sold me as a movement conservative. He was better organized, more principled and more prepared for the role of Commander-in-Chief than his rivals.

Having reflected on the state of our country and the Presidential race, I have concluded that conservatives must actively oppose both Trump and the Democrats. We must use our leverage to force Trump to recognize and pay homage to the conservative movement before he embraces full throttle progressivism.

Yesterday’s announcement by Speaker Paul Ryan (a win for the resurgence movement) that he was not ready to support Trump provides an exploitation opportunity, to borrow military terminology. In doctrinal terms, an exploitation is taking full advantage of success in military operations, following up initial gains, and making permanent the temporary effects already achieved. Ryan has shrewdly added some leverage for conservatives. Let’s not squander it.

Since Cruz outmaneuvered Trump on the delegate front, he has the opportunity to play kingmaker by asking his delegates to support a particular candidate for Vice President. This would force Trump to accept a unity ticket nominee as his Vice Presidential candidate.

Both Trump and Hillary are detestable, but we must acknowledge we live in the two party system the founders created. If conservatives want to increase their influence, why not launch a campaign to have a major conservative movement leader one heartbeat away from the Presidency in the unlikely event Trump somehow wins the race? Conservatives would be foolish not to seize this opportunity.

Many of you are mentally throwing flags on the field at this suggestion. Understandable. Trump’s probably going to lose 35 states. Trump gets killed with women, Hispanics and black Americans. I assure you I reside in Realville. But I also didn’t think Trump was going to defeat sixteen other competent and capable Republican candidates—the best GOP Presidential slate we had ever fielded.

It’s time to execute a contingency plan. Even if Trump loses in glorious fashion, a competent VP candidate could at least articulate conservatism and keep free market ideas in the conversation. Ben Sasse could do a stellar job. His ability to explain conservatism is perhaps the best I’ve ever seen. Watch it here. Sasse is eloquent, very intelligent, and like a majority of Americans, loathes Donald Trump.

Another possibility is Marco Rubio. Many conservatives still respect and admire Rubio even after his amnesty fiasco. He also controls delegates. He’s about to finish a Senate term. What does he have to lose? He’s articulate and a true believer in Reagan conservatism. A Jefferson-Burr type relationship could be beneficial to the long-term health of our party. It would certainly be odd having a Vice Presidential candidate admit he dislikes the nominee, but Americans need that kind of honesty and would appreciate the candor.

We are in uncharted territory. One of two pathological liars–a totally unqualified reality tv star or an equally incompetent career leftist will probably become the next President.

Whoever leads the veepstakes offensive needs to establish a simple one or two page core beliefs or “Contract with America” type of document. Maybe some other Resurgent contributors can begin crafting such a document.  Sadly, Trump and establishment Republicans have watered down what it means to be a conservative to the point that most Americans probably don’t even know what it means anymore.

Thinking through these scenarios, my thoughts went to Joseph from the Old Testament. An Egyptian Pharaoh, who was arguably the most powerful man in the world at the time, decided to listen to wise counsel at the right moment. He relied on the wisdom and advice of a Hebrew prisoner, a man who had once been enslaved. Pharaoh essentially appointed Joseph as his Vice President. During the famine crisis, Joseph practically ran the country.

Those of us in the Resurgent movement must be strategic and prepared to take advantage of opportunities to illuminate the path to Judeo-Christian values and free-market policies that made America the shining city on a hill and the leader of the free world.

A third party attempt is just not feasible, at least at the moment. The odds are conservatives would end up with a Perot style scenario that enabled a Clinton to win (again) by a plurality instead of a majority. That potential disaster is unacceptable.

It’s time to strike back against Trumpism and liberalism to advance conservatism.

Now Ted Cruz has some major decisions to make. He can urge his delegates to back a solid VP nominee. Cruz cares deeply about the conservative movement and the future of our country. Now those close to Cruz need to petition him to give serious thought to this course of action.

The Music Man Arrives in Indiana

As a child, I remember watching the movie, The Music Man. My favorite song from the musical is “Gary, Indiana” sung by “Opie” (Ron Howard). It’s the story of a traveling con man who convinces an entire town to buy musical instruments. He promises to give lessons to the children, so they can form a band. But the Music Man has no plans to give any lessons. He intends to skip down after exploiting the good people of River City.

The towns folk finally figure out they are being conned and arrest the Music Man. But he is freed when the townspeople again lose their sanity at the site of their children playing (rather badly) their newly purchased instruments. They release the charlatan into the arms of a woman who fell in love with the con artist. It’s a happy ending fit for Hollywood and Broadway.

The Music Man has arrived in the form of Donald Trump. A liberal New Yorker with no national security experience and no substantive policy proposals has decided to run a reality-tv style campaign for President while masquerading as a conservative Republican.

Many Americans, fed up with eight years of disastrous liberal policies, loved the idea of a guy running for President who talked plainly and freely said things not politically correct. Finally, somebody was calling our leaders stupid (many of them fit the bill) for making bad deals with the Chinese and was willing call for the deportation of those who violated our laws. Trump said we needed to build a wall—and here was a guy who’d actually built something!

But a problem we run into with Trump is that he flies by the seat of his pants and is overconfident in his own abilities. Here’s a guy who was born on the half yard line in the red zone by inheriting over 100 million dollars. Yet he thinks he marched ninety-nine yards down the field and scored the Super Bowl winning touchdown.

He amassed more wealth by buying off politicians, dealing with the mob, bullying an elderly woman in one episode so he’d have more parking space for limos at his casino. He’s basically lived as a Corinthian morally. If Trump were to be elected President (never going to happen due to his unprecedented unfavorable ratings with women and minorities), he would have more ex-wives then every other US President combined. Let that sink in. What does that say about his judgment? His trustworthiness? His integrity?

Trump is not a brilliant businessman. His casinos crashed and burned. (How do you even do that—bankrupt a casino? But I digress.) Trump launched a massive scam with Trump University that conned thousands of students out of thousands of dollars. (The case goes to trial the day the Republican convention begins. Yay!)

I tried to make it through all of Trump’s foreign policy speech. I worked in the national security realm for seven years, so I gave it a go. I punched out about 20 minutes in. It was low energy. And Trump kept repetitively flashing “loser” and “ok” finger signs to the audience. (Watch it, you’ll see what I mean.) It was amateur hour.

Trump’s speech was a word salad of nationalistic buzz words. Let’s take, for instance, Trump’s buzz phrase “America first.” Great, I want an American first foreign policy. But what does that mean? The answer is…not much. It means whatever Trump needs it to mean. It was a third grade level speech delivered by a nearly 70 year old man. Trump is a con artist and simply out of his league.

So why do millions of people go for the con with Trump? Part of the reason is our failing education system in America along with our cultural and spiritual decay. We don’t teach skills like “critical thinking” or the vitality of “In God We Trust” much anymore. Just watch this exchange between a patient Ted Cruz and a Branch Trumpidian from earlier this week. Cruz responded logically to the woman’s question. She is emotionally attached to Trump and refuses to mentally engage with what Cruz was saying. It’s rather remarkable.

There’s now a dynamic duo in Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina telling anyone who cares to listen that Trump is trying to con the American people. Cruz and Carly are truly speaking for “we the people” and taking on the corrupt Washington Cartel that Trump has financed for decades. They have few allies, but there are some warriors rallying around them. Mike Lee gave a particularly passionate defense of Cruz’s character and integrity on the Mark Levin show. Yet Trump’s best super PAC, the drive by media, is attempting to drown Cruz and Carly out by parroting Trump’s lies.

The Apostle Paul (kind of an important guy in an important book many of us used to read and teach our children in America called the Bible) warned us about people who abandon the truth and tell us things we want to hear. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3).

My fellow Americans—we are at the point where many of our countrymen simply just want to hear what they want to hear regardless of its grounding in reality. We’ve accumulated politicians like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to suit our passions. We want our ears scratched. Meanwhile, they pad their bank accounts and accrue more power by stealing from us and our children.

Now the question remains is what will the people of Gary, Indiana and elsewhere across the state do on Tuesday? Will they go for the con and vainly hope for the Hollywood happy ending?

Or will they listen to a message from somebody who’s been in the arena and fought valiantly against the Washington Cartel who tells them the truth? A guy, mind you, who actually wrote a book and titled it “A Time for Truth”!

Let’s all pray Hoosiers kick the Music Man to the curb on Tuesday and put their stock in Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. The fate of the Republic may very well depend on it.

Contesting A Convention: A Scenario (Part 2)

“John, thanks for letting me mull over your pitch. Have a seat. Make yourself comfortable. How about something to drink?” Ted Cruz stepped behind the bar and reappeared with John Kasich’s favorite Cincinnati craft beer.

“First of all, let me just say, I agree with you,” Cruz began. We are stuck. I need you. America needs you.” You have won 14 elections. You know how to win Ohio. But you’ve also lost 49 elections this year.”

“Now hold on, Ted…” Kasich interrupted.

“Hang on, John,” Cruz held up a couple of fingers and continued. “We’ve won Texas, California, Maine, Alaska and a lot of other states in between. There’s just no way you can lead the ticket and lead us to victory over Hillary. The establishment has been slaughtered this election. If you led the ticket, we’d have a good ole fashioned Republican establishment versus Democrat establishment race, and we lose. America wants a street fighter that is committed to advancing conservatism. Our people are tired of losing and being lectured by out of touch liberals who are incompetent on the economy and foreign policy.”

“All right. You make some fair points, Ted. But you need Ohio and you need my support,” Kasich responded.

“You’re ____ straight. But at the end of the day, you’re with us. You care about the country more than your ego. You’re a patriot, not a narcissist,” Cruz stated matter of fact. “You realize Donald is a dumpster fire just as much as I do.”

“Ted, I beat Hillary in the polls. You lose,” Kasich countered.

“John, part of that is the favorables. You have great favorable because nobody bothered attacking your record. You weren’t a threat, so Trump and I really didn’t bother coming after you. That’s just reality. I beat Hillary in most of those polls too and when I prosecute the case against her, we will win big.” Cruz fired back.

Cruz continued. “The last time we ran a hardline conservative against the liberals, we won 49 states. Now we tried a moderate governor in the last election. We tried a moderate establishment guy the time before that. We lost those races big. There’s a reason you, Jeb, Marco and Christie never caught fire this primary season. We gotta flip the script and run somebody new who can articulate conservatism and offer a real contrast and choice. Americans are disgusted with the corruption in Washington. They want a Reagan conservative.”

“Look, Ted, you are passionate about the conservative movement and you came of age during Reagan. I respect that. I served during the Reagan era too, but I’m more of a pragmatist. Thing is when you’re in the driver’s seat, you gotta lead. Great speeches won’t cut it. I get things done,” Kasich replied.

“You do. John, you are fabulous at balancing budgets and turning things around. I have great respect for your fiscal record in Congress and in Ohio. Fact is, I have an important assignment in mind for you.”

“What are you thinking?” Kasich asked leaning in.

“John, the VA is a complete mess. It’s outrageous how our veterans are treated. Our service men and women are very important to both of us. You served on the armed forces committee, so you know the issues and red tape more than most. I know you can turn this organization around. Do that successfully, and then I want you to move over to Defense.”

“I don’t know, Ted. You need me on the ticket,” Kasich protested.

“John, here’s the reality. If you’re on the ticket, we lose too many Trump supporters. Then we lose all the purple states. I’m an outsider. The Washington Cartel hates me, because I’ve come at them like a wrecking ball. But I’ll note that Americans hate Washington too. This electorate is about sticking it to the establishment. We’re 18 trillion FREAKING dollars in debt, and they rightfully blame politicians on both sides for cronyism and the anemic economy. That’s why you and Marco won just two states between you. Beltway bubbas are toxic this election.

So I need Carly, Scott or Rick—somebody who can shake their fist at DC with some conviction and authority–and without the scarlet W on their resume. Fact is, you are a Washingtonian–an insider, John. If I put you on the ticket, you undermine my whole case against Hillary.”

Kasich sipped his drink in quiet contemplation.

Cruz pressed his case further. “You’re not as politically sharp as you once were either, John. You can’t make comments about women leaving the kitchen and refer to yourself as the “Prince of Light.” That stuff flew under the radar when you were a dark horse. But it’s reminiscent of Mitt’s “binder full of women” gaffe. Now I’m a preacher’s kid. I get that I come across too preachy sometimes. But when you start talking about Medicare, you sound like a preacher man yourself. Two preachers on the ticket ain’t gonna fly.”

Kasich fidgeted with his drink and leaned back.

“Look, I understand it’s a tough pill to swallow,” Cruz continued. “You’ve served your country faithfully for 30 years. But a Kasich presidency is just not in the cards,” Cruz said.

Cruz paused. “Take some time to talk to Karen. We can go a long way in getting our country back on track by uniting. Give it some serious thought. We need to lock this up, so we can defeat Hillary. Let’s do this.”

To be continued…

Sleep Walking to Ford’s Theatre

The American journalist, William Shirer, who penned one of the greatest books of the 20th century, The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, observed that no other political party “came close to attracting so many shady characters,” as Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists as they accrued power in Germany.

While the Nazis battled for power, some senior leaders such as Joseph Geobbels and Gregor Strasser, advocated allying with the Communists and Socialists. Both factions believed more government control would solve Germany’s problems. But for Hitler this was heresy. He had won the support of prominent industrialists who opposed the unions, socialists and communists. His financial support would collapse if he embraced his political adversaries. The die was cast. The National Socialists and the Communists clashed until Hitler’s Nazi’s finally gained more power and political influence.

Hitler promised a reinvigorated Germany, and he consistently blamed Germany’s leaders for stabbing the country in the back at Versaille. As the Weimar Republic began its gradual collapse, Hitler’s shadow government was waiting in the wings, ready to seize power. Astonishingly, the Nazi’s never earned a majority of the German vote. Hitler took advantage of Germany’s multiparty system and through assassinations, intimidation and effective propaganda coerced Hindenburg and others to cede political power to him.

America shares some unnerving similarities with 1930s Germany with the existing political environment.

A weak and feckless President has depleted our military, abandoned our allies and appeased our enemies. ISIS exploits our weak national security and immigration system by ruthlessly attacking our citizens in California, Tennessee, Texas and elsewhere. Americans feel unsafe and uncertain about the future. Our economy is anemic, and millions of Americans are out of work. Obama has aggressively destroyed jobs in coal country and refuses to unleash American job growth. Instead, he bows to environmental extremists in rejecting the Keystone Pipeline.

Our countrymen (rightfully) feel betrayed by an out of touch ruling class that has engaged in profligate spending and burdened Americans with a 19 trillion dollar debt. Our politicians routinely lie, abandon promises to constituents and commit political adultery with K street lobbyists. America’s immigration process is ridiculously complicated and in need of major reform. We were promised a wall that was never built. The rule of law is ignored by President Obama, and he habitually ignores and disrespects the Constitution. The major parties have frontrunners campaigning on nationalist and Marxist propaganda. The truth is being ignored by the main stream media, but Americans still have time to rally. Many Christians recognize the division, disorder, deception and hatred from both the Trump and Sanders political factions as the spirit of antichrist. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Instead of building a shadow government as Hitler did in Germany, Donald Trump has constructed a shadow party within the GOP. He’s essentially mounting a hostile takeover, much to the alarm of principled conservatives and the GOP establishment.

The arrogant and out of touch GOPe continually anger the Republican base. Just this week, Mitch McConnell and his minions demanded Ted Cruz kiss the ring and apologize to them for calling them exactly what they are–a cartel controlled by special interests. No wonder Americans are so disgusted with Washington. They understand so many Washington work for K Street instead of Main Street. They’re quite ready to beat the daylights out of these political sell outs at the ballot box.

So the party of Lincoln and Reagan finds itself in a deep trance, sleep walking to Ford’s Theater. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and his sycophants, populists, low information voters and useful idiots eagerly await to do the deed. Many Republicans see the imminent demise of the party of Lincoln but nobody can seem to stop it. The spirit of Lincoln–of freedom–is dying before our eyes. Ted Cruz and principled conservatives are waging an intense battle to disrupt the rendezvous and wrestle control away from a propagandist nationalist. It is a battle worth fighting but the odds of victory grow dimmer by the hour.

It’s midnight in America. Will America wake up before its too late?

Cruz Must Flip the Script

The South Carolina primary results raised red flags for Ted Cruz.

Evangelicals have not coalesced around his campaign like he had hoped even though he is the solid evangelical in this race. This reality reflects the sickness of the church, but it also reveals Cruz must rethink some elements of his communications strategy.

Rick Tyler is an honorable man, but he has made a series of unforced errors lately. The most recent one is latching on to a drive by media hit piece against Rubio where he allegedly insulted the Bible. Cruz needs a change at the top. Amanda Carpenter has the experience, connections at Cruzworld and current outsider view to make mandatory changes. She’s young but extremely articulate and presents a great image. The campaign may need her to right the ship.

Cruzworld cannot rely on Fox News, which a lot of Cruz supporters have concluded is pretty openly playing favorites with Cruz not at all a favorite. Last week I watched incredulously as Rick Tyler played defense of Fox about a postcard instead of turning the narrative around and pointing out the Rubio campaign’s unfounded accusations on robocalls, facebook pages, etc. The Rubio campaign has made several mistakes over the past several days, but the Cruz communications team has proven inept in taking advantage of any of them.

Cruz understands he is running against the media, the establishment and K Street. But Americans have to be reminded of this reality—daily. His team must relentlessly point out the corruption and stakes and find ways to win news cycles and reframe narratives. One way is for Cruz to go straight to the people. Cruz’s strength is that more than anyone on the Republican side, his campaign comes from “we the people.” Cruz ought to do a daily TED Talk where he spends 5-10 minutes every day delivering his vision direct to America and occasionally use props to drive his message home. Cruz should take a question or two directly from voters every single day and answer them via Facebook or his YouTube channel.

Heidi Cruz should go door to door live on Facebook to explain why she’s doing it and how it will take “we the people” to win the election. Cruz should field questions from voters that have doubts about him, so he can answer them honestly and show he’s directly connected to normal Americans. Emulate the Trump strategy of dominating the media by rolling out some edgy, cutting edge tactics. Tweet some provocative and cryptic messages that draw attention to issues that Americans care about. Hold an impromptu press conference with dozens of reams of paper that represent Trump’s and Rubio’s tax plans (maintaining the status quo that keeps lobbyists and cronyists in power and normal Americans screwed). Then shove the reams of paper into a dumpster. Hold up a postcard and explain the flat tax plan. Show up at a debate in a sports coat instead of suit. Explain that guys in “suits” are screwing the country every day and he feels the need to highlight it from time to time. Keep a running debt clock on the campaign bus and talk about its impact while his daughters sit next to it.

These are the kind of tactics Cruz needs to regain momentum and communicate his message. The race has reached an inflection point. Rubio has seized momentum from Cruz. But the dynamics can still shift to Cruz’s favor. Cruz must flip the script by making some tough and strategic decisions very quickly.