Harold Hutchison / July 20, 2021

Patriots Must Crack the Candidate Conundrum

Sometimes victory requires compromise. The question is always how much.

In 2020, Kim Klacik was seen as a rising star. She was taking on an entrenched Democrat in Baltimore in a very heavily Democrat district. Many grassroots Patriots rightly applauded her for attempting to win her city, which hasn’t seen a Republican mayor in over half a century. While she lost the House race, she proved to be a prodigious fundraiser and there was a chance she could be a potentially game-changing candidate statewide in Maryland.

At least, that was the case until Candace Owens leveled a series of charges, some of which are serious ones involving fraud and the misuse of campaign donations. While Klacik has denied the charges, Owens is not the only person to have raised questions.

Harmeet K. Dhillon, who is one of those sitting on the Republican National Committee, noted that while Klacik raised $8.2 million, she lost by 44 points. Dhillon’s concern appears to be more about the strategic wisdom of backing admittedly long-shot candidates like Klacik, given the finite resources of the Republican Party. When one considers that a swing of less than 50,000 votes (assuming the 2020 presidential election counts were accurate and above-board) would have given Donald Trump Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin, forcing the House of Representatives to decide the presidential election, Dhillon is asking a fair question.

There is, however, a counterpoint to Dhillon’s concern: Not fighting in the long-shot districts frees up the Left’s resources to hit swing districts. In addition, many of the big cities that have serious problems with violent crime and urban blight are Democrat strongholds that should be vulnerable, and someone like Klacik could spotlight those statewide or nationally — and it might convince people to change their votes. Over the long haul, efforts may make those districts more competitive. There are compelling arguments on both sides of this debate.

But Klacik’s 2020 campaign isn’t the only type of situation that presents tough calls for grassroots Patriots to make. In Ohio, J.D. Vance is among those running to succeed retiring Senator Rob Portman. Some past criticism Vance directed at Trump emerged. Vance has since said that in retrospect, he was wrong about Trump. Vance is running in a crowded field, including former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel. But should he be written off based on his past criticism of Trump?

If grassroots Patriots want to do that, then by that same logic, they must also sideline Candace Owens, who once slammed Trump before she changed her mind and became one of his most ardent defenders. Others who would have been dismissed to the sidelines would include Ronald Reagan, Burgess Owens, Susana Martinez, and Trump himself. The self-appointed commissars all too often forget that if grassroots Patriots are to save this country, a lot of it will be the result of successfully convincing those who have opposed Trump — or conservative positions — to change their minds.

Similarly, grassroots Patriots also need to recognize that candidates are human, and they will have flaws. They may have had rougher times in life. Perhaps they once held positions on issues that didn’t line up, but changed those positions based on experience or persuasion.

Picking the right candidate is a big deal, as we have noted elsewhere. Good ones have the potential to be huge game-changers. Bad ones can set the cause of Liberty back. There are no guarantees in life, but grassroots Patriots can ask candidates for office at the federal, state, and local levels questions, do their research, and then make the decision that seems best.

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