What Does Unity Look Like?
Now that Trump is the nominee, charting a course is critical.
As the Grand Old Party strives for unity, the Leftmedia gleefully parades one GOP party leader after another — both currently elected and old-guard retreads — as they reject Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee. The end result is a picture of a party that is tearing itself apart at the seams.
The countless ways in which this Republican primary has made history will be the topic of books, lectures and opinions for years to come. But while Trump seems to shrug off this lack of party support — “I don’t think it actually has to be unified,” he said again Sunday — the stiff-arm from House Speaker Paul Ryan and the voice of the Republican majority in the lower chamber has some staying power. Why? Because every member of the House (and a third of the Senate) will share the November ballot with Trump.
But while there is a great deal of clamor around this notion of unity, Republicans must first agree upon a definition of “unity” that will most effectively mobilize and encourage voters — this definition being rooted in those beliefs and principles the party ultimately accepts as its core causes.
Right now, Trump claims to hold the advantage in defining the party’s unity and influencing the GOP’s core concerns. Here are just a few issues Trump has sought to rally GOP voters around in recent months: “Who’s gonna build the wall? MEXICO!!!” “We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.” “ObamaCare’s going to be repealed and replaced. … Obamacare is a disaster.”
While these issues have been sensationalized as only The Donald could do, they are issues that have taken center stage in nearly every Republican election since 2008. Let’s take a closer look at Trump’s agenda: Enforce immigration law. Cut federal government spending and reduce our nation’s debt. Repeal and replace ObamaCare. While these promises hardly deviate from the GOP norm, they are in fact promises that have been made and gone unfulfilled by the very same Republican officials currently slinging mud Trump’s way. A phenomenon that has not gone unnoticed by American voters.
According to a recent analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, the reason for Trump’s record-breaking voter turnout is the very same reason those in Congress should worry: betrayal. When the National Election Pool — a consortium of five networks and the Associated Press — inquired of voters’ sense of betrayal by their own party, the results were conclusive: “In 15 of 16 states where exit pollsters asked the question, half or more of voters in GOP contests said they felt betrayed by GOP politicians, and many were angry.”
Not disappointed. Not frustrated. Betrayed.
So, let’s see. Who’s associated with having perpetrated that betrayal — Trump or members of Congress? Now, who gets to define the terms of the actionable platform for 2016? Who is believable as one who will enforce legal immigration by first securing the border? Who will be more trusted to “create better trade deals” that benefit American workers first? Who will have more credibility to stop federal waste and spending — Trump, who’s viewed as a successful businessman who has created thousands of jobs, or the Congress that now holds the claim for the largest budget in American history? Who is more reliable in dealing with the dangers of our foreign and domestic enemies — the guy who says he would temporarily halt immigration from nations that harbor terrorists and support terrorism or a Congress with plenty of oversight but an impotence that should have its own namesake medical dysfunctional disease?
Now, back to a unified GOP. What are those core issues and beliefs that could potentially unify the Grand Old Party?
Simple: the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare; the priority of securing the southern border; a commitment to cut federal spending and stop the generational theft of deficit spending; constructing trade deals that honor free trade while defining a level playing field. And the list goes on.
In some ways, unity in the Republican Party very much looks like the call to “Make America Great Again.” The trick is going to be doing it through constitutionally conservative governance that prioritizes America instead of a one-man-fixes-all messiah.
From the vantage point of what Trump has created as his brand — a tough negotiator who wins at deals — the U.S. Congress needs to work to craft a “Contract with America to Return to Greatness” and develop a message that resonates but doesn’t have to conflate with the top of the ticket.
What if Trump, the Republicans in Congress, along with the RNC, applied Trump’s eleven “winning negotiating tactics” to create a winning message by:
- Thinking big.
- Protecting the downside, and the upside will take care of itself.
- Maximizing our options.
- Knowing our market.
- Using our leverage.
- Enhancing our location.
- Getting the word out.
- Fighting back.
- Delivering the goods.
- Containing the costs.
- Having fun.
The bottom line is, if those who fear sharing the ballot with Donald Trump refuse to both examine and admit the failures of the past while presenting a convincing plan to restore the trust of the voters, the GOP deserves its dysfunction and ultimate demise.
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