Trump Is Building a New Party

In the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan describes how President Trump is rebuilding the GOP into a populist worker’s party… and how Democrats have no idea how to react.


Peggy Noonan: Trump Tries to Build a ‘Different Party’

Evan McMullin Should Not Be Architect of New GOP

Independent presidential protest candidate Evan McMullin is a decent man and an American patriot, but under no circumstances should his view of conservatism form the basis of a rebuilt Republican Party post-2016, or form the bedrock of a new conservative moment.

There is no question that at time when both major political parties have nominated fundamentally distasteful and deeply flawed candidates, individuals whose basic human decency is open to question based on their previous records and remarks, Evan McMullin is a respectable human being. But while respectable and decent are now – remarkably – enough to fuel a nationwide protest campaign, they are not all that is required to rebuild a GOP that will emerge deeply divided on November 9th.

From social issues to foreign policy issues, and even touching an important fiscal issue, McMullin’s articulation – or lack of articulation – betrays good intentions that are not backed up by concrete principles or policy proposals.

Maggie Gallagher, a social conservative activist, expressed skepticism of McMullin back in August in a piece for National Review Online. Citing his general silence on domestic policy issues, she asserted that the former CIA officer turned Capitol Hill staffer is “not the savior conservatives are hoping for.”

On the life issue, Gallagher pointed out that McMullin’s website was then – and still is – pretty sparse on details even though the candidate declares that, “Our respect for life is the most important measure of our humanity.” Well put, and certainly very much in line with a conservatism that respects the equality of human beings and a belief that government should protect human life. But the only policy specific McMullin embraces is no taxpayer funding for abortion. “A culture that subsidizes abortion on demand runs counter to the fundamental American belief in the potential of every person – it undermines the dignity of mother and child alike,” his platform reads.

A ban on taxpayer funding of abortion is already the law of the land. What is still allowed – and what McMullin is silent about – is the use of taxpayer money to fund the non-abortion operations of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. That’s a recent debate that McMullin, if interested in proving his pro-life credentials as a serious candidate, could have easily weighed in on. Instead, he has remained silent on his website and a search for news clips and public statements turned up nothing.

Gallagher suggests that McMullin may be seeking “to be a unifier through vagueness, as many consultants would no doubt advise.”

In contrast to his one paragraph statement about the importance of human life, McMullin spends 19 paragraphs outlining his immigration reform plan. The plan is chock full of policy principles that McMullin wants to see implemented after the border is secured. It is a realistic and thoughtful plan – proof that even as a last minute candidate, McMullin can put meat on broad position statements provided the issue is one he cares about.

On another social issue – the hot button topic of the definition of marriage, and who defines it – McMullin has adopted a passive tone. Professing that he personally believes marriage is a union between a man and a woman, McMullin told Bloomberg that he “respect[s] the decision of the [Supreme] Court and I think it is time to move on.” Pressed if perhaps the issue should be resolved at the state level, a position similar to those embraced by Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio or Sen. Ted Cruz, McMullin again emphasized the matter is settled law: “Ideally, yes, but it has been handled by the Supreme Court, and that’s where it is.”

When queried about whether or not he favors appointing Supreme Court justices who might take the view that Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that forced all states and the federal government to accept same-sex marriage, was decided incorrectly, the nascent candidate said he would not favor those types of judicial nominees.

Sen. Marco Rubio famously said of Obergefell that, “I don’t believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it.” Promising to nominate strict constructionist judges, the then-presidential candidate told NBC News, “I don’t think the current Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate marriage. That belongs at the state and local level.”

Rubio wasn’t afraid to use some political capital to defend his position. According to another NBC News story, “Rubio seems unconcerned his positions on social issues might cost him younger voters.” He also pushed back against the argument that supporting the traditional definition of marriage makes someone a bigot.

For his part, Sen. Ted Cruz promoted the idea of an amendment to the Constitution that clarifies that the definition of marriage is settled at the state – not federal – level.

Beyond just social issues, however, McMullin has been oddly unwilling to say whether or not he agrees with a widely embraced conservative reform proposal for Social Security. Facing financial unsustainability, the entitlement program is certainly not poised to live up to its promise to future generations of retirees. One plan to make it more sustainable is to allow younger workers to take a small portion of their current Social Security and Medicare payroll deduction and put it in a personal savings account that could be invested in traditional retirement securities. It’s a plan championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and it’s modeled on federal employee retirement plans.

“I support most conservative solutions to entitlement reforms,” McMullin said when specifically asked about the idea of allowing younger workers to take Social Security contributions – taxes – and invest some of them into personal accounts. Pressed for a more clear-cut answer, he refused to say whether he agreed with the Ryan plan.

In the area of foreign policy, McMullin has sounded extraordinarily hawkish notes. Having spent a decade of his life helping chase down terrorists and bad guys who threaten America’s security, there’s no question that McMullin has personal credibility on the topic. But experience doesn’t always begat wisdom even as it reveals impeccable intentions.

Speaking at TEDx event earlier this year, and before he entered the presidential race, McMullin argued that genocide is a good enough justification for American and Western economic and military intervention in foreign affairs. Complaining about Western “governments’ lack of political will” to stop genocide, he proposed a fairly sweeping interventionist outlook where the public pressures democratic governments to do more to halt internal violence in troubled nations.

“Western countries and governments are some of the most empowered to stop atrocities given their economic and military strength. But they also happen to be democracies. And in these systems political will begins and ends with the people on all issues,” he explained.

But in making the case against genocide (an easy case), McMullin didn’t explain why it was moral or appropriate for democracies to always intervene in cases of genocide even if none of their strategic or security interests were at stake. If evil is justification for military action, endless conflict may be had at any point. Expending American blood and treasure to right the world’s wrongs without any other justification will not only be a tough sell to the American people, it will be a questionable use of national resources.

In an editorial for Foreign Policy magazine, McMullin did appear to want some unspecified limits placed on the employment of military force. Saying he disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, he went on to outline why the U.S. should do more in Syria, even though the Obama Administration’s policy there has been one of eventual increase of military commitment.

Then he claimed this: “As president, instead of being constrained by rigid doctrines that call for either constant action or total passivity, I would carefully evaluate the situation at hand and determine how best to respond.”

In calling for both more strident military, economic and diplomatic action, while also promising to eschew “rigid doctrines” in foreign affairs, McMullin sounds remarkably like candidate Barack Obama and his foreign policy advisors in 2008.

If the new conservative movement is to be erected on a foundation that avoids social issues – particularly the pro-life issue – refuses to offer concrete fiscal solutions to looming entitlement problems, and promotes a moralistic but confused foreign policy, it is not a movement destined to seriously shape American politics. It will cede much to those who do not constrain their view of government to the parameters of the Constitution.

Death of a political party



The deep schism in the Republican Party has given rise to speculation that the GOP is finished. While it is certain that the Republican Party is deeply wounded, it is premature to say that is dead. As conservatives and Republicans contemplate their future, it may be helpful to remember how the Republican Party was born from the death of the Whig Party.

The Whigs were formed in 1834 to oppose what many saw as the authoritarian tendencies of Andrew Jackson. They took their name from the British anti-royalist party and stood against the Democrats led by the man they derisively called “King Andrew.” Like the later Republicans, the Whigs were derided as a rich man’s party by their opponents.

The Whigs had a 20 year run as a successful party. Politico noted that their decline began with the election of an outsider candidate, Zachary Taylor. Many Whigs felt that Taylor did not share their beliefs and that the party had embraced Taylor’s personality as a hero of the Mexican War rather than nominating a candidate who shared their values. Horace Greeley, the founder of the New York Tribune, said that the party was “at once triumphant and undone” as it elected a man who might have been called a “Whig in name only.” Once in office, Taylor, who had campaigned on his personality since the Whigs did not even write a platform that year, soon began to anger party loyalists.

The election of Taylor deepened a rift between Northern and Southern Whigs over the issue of slavery. After his death in 1850, his vice president, Millard Fillmore, passed several pro-slavery laws with the Compromise of 1850. As the party became more pro-slavery, Northerners began to leave. In 1852, the Whig candidate carried only four states, losing in a landslide to Democrat Franklin Pierce.

It was the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 that finally killed the Whigs and led to the creation of the Republican Party. A March 20, 1854 meeting of opponents to the act is generally considered the birth of the Republican Party according to Two years later, in 1856, the Republicans fielded their first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont. By that point, the Whigs were nonexistent. Four years later, the Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected president.

There are several lessons to be learned from the demise of the Whigs. The Republican Party was the result of a coalition of anti-slavery activists. The Republicans focused on that issue and swayed enough voters with their argument that they won the election of 1860. Republicans knew what they believed and fought for it. They focused on what was important and kept their eyes on the prize.

Though not part of the campaign, the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in 1858 established a logical and moral basis for the party’s existence. Lincoln was able to eloquently argue the evils of slavery and the impracticality of having a nation that was split between slave and free states. The debates not only helped to cement the regional factions of the new Republican Party, they also established Lincoln as a powerful intellect and a popular and persuasive speaker.

Conversely, the Whigs didn’t know what they stood for any longer. The party had no platform or statement of principle to rally around. The party that had opposed the Mexican War nominated a war hero and Taylor’s nonpartisan stances alienated Whigs rather than attracting voters from other parties. A successful political party must preserve its base while persuading unaffiliated moderate and independent voters at the same time. The Whigs won new voters at the cost of splitting their base.

Winning elections is not the only reason a party exists. The Whig party won the election of 1848, but lost its soul in the process. Winning the election with a candidate that did not share their principles doomed the party in the long run. There is little point in winning an election if the end result is not to move the country in the direction that the party believes is best.

Finally, if the Republican Party does die, it doesn’t mean that conservatism dies with it. There will be opposition to Hillary and the Democrats even that if that opposition is does not fall under the Republican label. Millions of conservatives will not cease to exist if the Republican Party dies. They will reorganize and rally under a new banner.

One new conservative banner that competes with Trumpist Republicans is the one being hoisted by Evan McMullin. McMullin said in the Washington Times, “In the long term, we’re building a new conservative movement we think is badly needed in this country. The party needs to be more welcoming to people that don’t look like me, people of different races and religions.”

If the Republican Party does go the way of the Whigs, there will be a period of confusion and rebuilding, but the party that emerges may be stronger than what came before. The Whigs lasted for 20 years. The Republicans have lasted for more than 150 and have produced some of the greatest presidents in American history. Abraham Lincoln, generally acknowledged to be among the top presidents, emerged when the party was only four years old.

In the nearly 250 years of the American republic, many political parties have come and gone. There were political factions before the Democrats and the Republicans and there will be new parties that one day take their place. Political parties come and go, but principles never die.

RIP Social Conservatism: Trump Tape Response Highlights Triumph of Progressive Culture

The argument that social conservatives have debased themselves and invalidated the credibility of their future arguments by supporting Donald Trump has been made in a number of places since the tape showing Trump bragging about sexual assault surfaced on Friday.

However, less attention has been paid to the capitulation of a number of high-profile conservatives on one of the left’s core arguments against social conservatism: that those advocating for some level of cultural moral standard are merely repressed hypocrites, saying one thing publicly while acting differently behind closed doors. According to the left, conservatives are merely afraid to be honest about their licentiousness; “fun for me but not for thee.”

The push for “openness” around sex has undergirded some of the most radical sexual policies of the left for decades, including hiring Planned Parenthood to teach students about pornography and other explicit sexual practices in public schools. To object to the explicit sex talk, and introduction of what were once deviant behaviors privately practiced by a tiny minority into the mainstream, in any venue, is to be labeled by the left as a hypocrite, in favor of “repression” instead of “honesty” about the subject.

(Just don’t try to introduce any honesty about the differences between male and female brains, that’s truly offensive.)

In the course of defending Trump’s comments, his surrogates have downplayed them as “locker room talk,” and argued that men all over the country brag about groping women’s private parts and pursuing unwilling married women. Whether consciously or unwittingly, Trump’s surrogates are ceding victory to the left on one of its key attacks, and making defending the rest of the social conservative platform a virtually impossible task going forward.

Billionaire Trump investor Carl Icahn told CNBC, “it’s amazing that everyone is outraged by something that everyone knows is going on in every locker room in the country.” Rudy Giuliani told Jake Tapper on CNN, “men talk like that.” Supporter Scottie Nell Hughes defended the comments as just the talk of a man who did not yet realize he was going to be a politician, implying that only polished, insincere candidates would never say similar things behind closed doors.

Trump surrogates attempting to normalize the behavior on the tape – which, lest we forget, includes criminal sexual assault as well as adultery – are just reflecting the old leftist trope that holding men and women to any kind of sexual moral standard is just a hopeless exercise in pearl-clutching prudishness.

Even before the Trump tapes were released, his utter disregard for sexual morality has forced his Republican surrogates to fall back back on this old liberal argument in a way that shows just how internalized leftist cultural mantras have become. Giuliani, for instance, responded to a question about his own infidelities with a glib, “everybody does [it],” before walking those comments back in another interview.

The acceptance of these culturally-progressive attitudes and arguments on the right probably spell the short-term electoral death knell for social conservatives, especially when many of their leaders have shown that their votes can be bought so cheaply.

The power of social conservatives and Evangelicals in party politics is clearly much lower than it was even four years ago, when, with just an email, FRC’s Tony Perkins was able to muster his base to counteract Mitch Daniels’ presidential explorations because of the latter’s comments about focusing on economic freedom.  Although it’s been decades since personal moral failings in the past, like multiple marriages and affairs, have been disqualifying for the Republican nomination, in 2012 Newt Gingrich was called on to publicly atone for his nuptial merry-go-round before he was forgiven by voters.

If there is a future for traditional conservatives, it lies in co-opting, not the values of the left as Trump and his surrogates do, but the tactics of the left. While the conservative coalition was busy celebrating Ronald Reagan’s political triumphs in the 1980s, they were turning a blind eye to the complete leftist takeover of key cultural institutions: the education system, media, and entertainment. Any hope of an electoral revival for conservatism depends on our ability to recapture these institutions from the left in the coming years, as 2016 has made the extent of leftist cultural victory, even among Republicans, depressingly clear.

Wall Street Ready to Divest GOP of Social Conservatives

Wall Street is pretty sure it knows a bad partnership when it sees one, and some in the Wall Street-GOP alliance are convinced it is time for the Republican Party to shed its association with social conservatives.

An emerging apostle of this new electoral gospel is Ed Conard, a former business partner of Mitt Romney’s who, according to BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith, is ready to shed the religious right in favor of a worker-banker alliance that focuses on tax cuts for Wall Street and immigration quotas and trade restrictions. As Smith explains it, “[Conard’s] plan requires replacing the religious right in the Republican coalition with the new populists, and mollifying them with new restrictions on trade and immigration — all in exchange for the holy grail of lower marginal tax rates.”

That’s hardly a new idea: tariffs and immigration quotas combined with an alliance with Wall Street were central to the GOP’s pre-Great Depression platform. It was a Republican president’s foolhardy insistence on raising the tariff on 900 separate items that helped spread the effects of the Depression.

Buzzfeed’s Smith got to hear Conard pitch his remarkable plan at a conservative confab in Utah, coincidentally the home state of Sen. Reed Smoot of infamous Smoot-Hawley fame. Unsurprisingly, the business wing of the GOP views social conservatives (which spans the Protestant-Catholic divide) as “provincial crackpots” and many are suspecting it is time for their association with the movement to end. Not that the alliance hasn’t provided some dividends for the business end of things.

“Huge cuts to marginal tax rates in exchange for lip service to a decades-long, failed effort to make abortion illegal,” has benefited business, Smith notes, but with the winds of social change blowing strong, there’s no real desire on the part of an increasingly influential and social-issue apathetic wing of the party to continue the marriage.

Certainly the last couple of years have featured an almost dizzying pace of development in the social arena. The Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage must be accepted in all 50 states, transgender bathroom fights have been bungled by exceedingly poor messaging, and some influential social conservatives themselves have dealt their own credibility a serious blow by backing Donald Trump even before he secured the GOP nomination.

When the same social conservative leaders who were skeptical about Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012, a decent and upstanding family man who happened to have a couple of bad policy marks in his gubernatorial past (positions he abandoned for conservative high ground in his two presidential bids) embraced the extraordinarily flawed Donald Trump, who has never really apologized for his financial support of Planned Parenthood, they proved they are part of a passing era. But a future without “Social Conservative, Inc.” doesn’t mean that social conservatism is no longer an important part of broader conservatism, or that the GOP should wholesale abandon its pro-life platform or the defense of religious liberty and conscience for all (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or any other faith).

Conservatives would be wise to remember that Wall Street isn’t synonymous with capitalism or free markets. That point has become painfully clear under President Barack Obama, who has benefited from Wall Street campaign cash and Wall Street support as big business learned that big government can be a great boon. Why not use the power of government to create barriers for competitors in the marketplace? Why not agree with sweeping healthcare mandates as long as your industry gets a piece of the pie?

Donald Trump is a businessman, but as he made clear in Monday night’s debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, he’s no free market advocate. Clinton and Trump agree on a number of new government mandates on businesses large and small, and when Clinton challenged basic free market principles, Trump made no effort to defend capitalism. What he did defend was his own business practices.

A return to a GOP without social conservatism and with a penchant for tariffs and government mandates (so long as said mandates meet the favor of Big Business) would be a return to the Republican Party pre-William F. Buckley. It would mark a gigantic leap backward to the days before conservatism represented individual liberty, personal responsibility , free markets and a government strong enough for national defense and carefully enumerated Constitutional duties, but no more. In short, it would potentially mark the demise of the Republican Party.

American Experiment Is Ending As It Began

Absent from the faux-news, feigned outrage and brain-eating filth of Election 2016, lurks the only certain and unavoidable tragedy for mankind. It’s not Donald Trump with the nuclear football. That’s shocking, I know. And ironically enough, it also isn’t the most-corrupt candidate to ever become the nominee of a major American political party. It’s not the greedy banks or those cold-hearted millionaires and billionaires. Can’t blame climate change, or the looming threat of a major foreign war. It isn’t even the absurdity of pretending we are all an androgynous clump of cells until we (fully!) exit the birth canal, and thus deemed worthy of a soul with the ability to choose our ‘true’ gender.

No, perhaps the most tragic, shameful part of it all is that you won’t even hear the real cause for concern on any cable news channel, or discussed on any mainstream website. That’s because the real tragedy of 2016 is much too sophisticated for the mollified, self-obsessed masses to comprehend. And so, while America tears herself apart over the unsavory reflection of our decrepit civilization, our fundamental liberties are silently embezzled by far lesser beings than the force which endows such powers.

“Virtually every aspect of our lives is to some extent or entirely controlled or regulated by the state. At birth our children are forced into the Social Security system and subjugated to a variety of mandatory tests and vaccines. They start out life owing about $55,000, representing their per capita share of the federal debt imposed on them to pay for the campaign promises of dead politicians. Our children are kidnapped from their homes and placed into daytime juvenile detention and propaganda centers (government schools) at age 6.”– James Ostrowski, November 11, 2014 in article titled ‘State of the Progressive America’

And, like all profound tragedies found in libraries of past empires, there is no way we can politically address the problem. Neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump can recognize the encroaching threat of tyranny from the balcony of their heavily fortified castle. Therefore, they will only contribute to the vast suffering it will cause. So yes, please, whine about Trump’s insensitive rhetoric. Go ahead and decry the delusional media crusade to assure Hillary is elected, and their complacency in the Soros-funded leftist effort to manipulate U.S. Elections. None of that, or nearly anything else we choose to debate in this country, will rescue even a single child from starvation or spare one moment of pain for those forced into hard labor. That’s what it’s like to live in a country where you do not have the right to liberty– and the world that emerges after the inward collapse of the freest, most powerful and prosperous nation mankind has ever known.pew-poll-candidates

While society caters to the fat, spoiled brats it has created, the dark army of serfdom draws evermore near. There is no escaping the battlefield, we will be made to fight the enemy. With the reemergence of such harsh realities, the divisions once misguidedly obsessed over like party, race, creed or social status will seem petty and infantile. The only ‘privileges’ which exist where America is going will be a roof over your head and food in your belly. We will pay the full price for our reckless stewardship over that which was fair and just in this world. Now the only decision is how great of a price that will be.

So once again, please ask yourself, ‘What kind of a people would choose Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as their president?’ People like us. All of us. We are all in some way to blame for the state of our lives, our communities, our cities, our states, our country, and this miracle of a planet. The last hope for America can only be seized if individually and collectively, we admit we caused this mess, then accept responsibility for ourselves and our actions going forward. We must return to embracing the very truth on which this nation was conceived: If you do not take ownership over yourself, somebody else will.


Forget 2016… America is in Danger NOW.

As Americans anxiously watch the 2016 election unfold, it is easy to see how perhaps the greatest long-term threat to our Republic is being upstaged by the outlandish allegations and hateful propaganda spewed by both sides. Yet, if you look back over the 200 years of American politics, back to the inception of this great nation, you’ll find our founders quite brilliantly recognized that, in order to have Liberty, certain rights must be irrevocable by Government. Therefore, it was essential for America’s founding doctrine to arise from the premise that all rights are endowed upon us by a power much greater than any man-made ruling, or government— a right bestowed up on all by the Creator.

Among those rights, it is notable the first was the amendment ensuring freedom of speech; freedom of the press; the right to peaceable assembly; the right to petition government for redress of grievances; and freedom of religion. Then, most-ingeniously, the second amendment was written to guarantee each one of us the God-given right to bear arms as means of protecting the first (and later) amendments.

Yet maybe now more than ever before, our rights to free speech and free press are under siege. If lost, so too is our Liberty. It may not happen overnight, and it may seem benign now to those who politically support those currently possessing the bulk of power. But please understand, sooner or later, there will come a time when that is no longer the case.

Here are just a few of the most recent examples:

  • CNN erroneously edited a Donald Trump tweet presented to audience as graphic to then be discussed by panel of guests. In this case, the word “crooked” was removed before Hillary Clinton’s name.
  • CNN deceptively edited video showing the sister of an armed black man shot and killed by a black police officers to make it appear that she was calling for peace and reporting it as such. However, the young lady was merely asking the rioters to burn the suburbs, where largely non-minorities reside.
  • For the bulk of media outlets, questioning the health/vitality of Hillary Clinton is offensive and strictly off-limits; despite it being pushed by same sources against McCain in 2008,
  • A long-time contributor for the Huffington Post claims he was fired after one of his articles was removed from site and wiped clean from the internet for mentioning worries over Hillary Clinton’s health.
  • Media outlets across the country have removed all footage of Colin Kaepernick’s scathing indictment of Hillary Clinton, suggesting any other American would be in prison, during his now infamous locker-room interview taken after his refusal to stand for the national anthem. Many continue to omit Hillary all-together, while including Kaepernick calling Trump a bigot.
  • ABC, CBS Blackout FBI Warning of Election System Hacks.
  • Networks around the country censor U.S. Navy ship forced to fire warning shots.
  • News outlets around the country fully omit Clinton’s 2008 campaign as original source of Obama “Birtherism” claim while attacking Donald Trump for repeating it.

There are many, many more examples like those listed above. Please note these are not examples of media ‘appearing’ to favor one party over another, commonly called “Media Bias” by many—but instead the outright censorship, omission and/or literally altering facts to help or harm one party over the other.

For anyone being intellectually honest, it is easy to understand how this trend could easily progress into de-facto state-run, or government-controlled media seen in countries like Russia, China and now Turkey. As such, Americans across the political spectrum should be unabashedly outraged and, God-willing, motivated to demand change.

But, in the event you find yourself justifying or downplaying the effects this will have on our nation’s future, I IMPLORE YOU to watch this video of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff speaking at an event organized by American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles, regarding the deteriorating state of speech laws for citizens of European Union:

Thank you, Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff, for your courageous commitment to restoring free speech rights in Europe as well as this insightful warning to America!

Will the Real Donald Trump Please Stand Up?

After weeks of deteriorating polls, it seems Donald Trump finally surrendered to the whimpers of defeat emanating from Republican party elites. Seemingly out of the blue, the campaign welcomed a seasoned and well-respected political operative, Kellyanne Conway—and in true “Trumpian” style, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, a man detested by many as an alt-right street-fighter. Then several days later, the scandal-mired former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, quietly resigned.

Perhaps more shocking than a campaign shake-up in mid-August, is that for an entire week, Trump was largely able to stay on-message. After months of promising to act more presidential, and failing, the long-awaited ‘pivot’ finally came to fruition. While still unapologetically controversial at times, Trump managed to make a surprisingly effective case against Hillary Clinton and long-failed Democratic Party policies both foreign and domestic.

The republican nominee and his running mate were the first to visit the flood victims of Louisiana, where they handed-out toys for children who had lost everything, and much needed supplies for those staying in shelters. He then flew to Milwaukee amid the violence following the police shooting of an armed man, to meet with police and veterans in the area. There, Trump made his first appeal to black voters, becoming the first national republican candidate in recent memory to boldly come out and ask for their vote in November.

This sort of outreach is great… but what about all the voters Trump has already alienated?

For example, Shawn Branch, 38, of Mesquite Texas, has voted republican his whole life. Initially, Branch was open to supporting Donald Trump in the General.

“I went into the primary open-minded. I wasn’t going to quickly lock-in on just one candidate,” Branch explained. “I was pretty much wanting Cruz, but then I saw Trump pulling ahead. Just something made me cautious about him. I was trying to make the best of things however, so I wanted to try to convince myself to support him.”

He remained undecided until the weeks surrounding the Iowa Caucus, when Trump started doubling-down on inflammatory tactics. When it came to supporting him in the primary, or even keeping an open-mind for the general, “Trump talked me out of doing both himself,” exclaimed Branch.

Branch withdrew all support of Trump once he realized he was working with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Pointing to their history, Branch concluded, “He proved he was all smoke and mirrors,” adding, “both are evil guys.”

“Stone is a career character assassin and trickster.” After some in-depth research, Branch believes that all “Trump’s grotesque lying and false attacks, all of that was fed to him by Roger J. Stone, Jr.”

Trump’s behavior was not the only issue for Mr. Branch this election. “I voted for Cruz in the primary and not one second did I believe the lies being peddled by Trump. And I knew I didn’t want to vote for Trump before the convention.” He said, adding “(but) I don’t know about the RNC and GOP now. I feel they broke the RNC rules at the convention right before our eyes. They were too easily taken over by a closet liberal.”

The same sentiments offered by Mr. Branch are repeated over and over when talking to other republican voters disaffected with Trump. Going forward, it seems the campaign had better tread-lightly if they hope to pick-up voters dissatisfied with the last 8 years and looking for an outsider. Perhaps enough Americans will be willing to put the past aside in hopes of a better future. But if recent trends repeat, even the best operatives cannot save a campaign when the candidate is the problem.