If We Don’t Learn From Trump’s Virtues And Vices, We Risk Losing Forever


As I write this article, I don’t yet know who won the presidential election. While DecisionDeskHQ has called the race for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, other media outlets have not followed suit.

Additionally, court challenges, and threats of lawsuits and recounts in states like Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania from the Trump campaign will likely delay any truly final result for some time.

The Trump campaign claims to have evidence of fraud; others have also made such claims, citing a whistleblower, software glitches, and outright malfeasance on the part of numerous entities. While I do believe it likely that some fraud took place, the issue of proving fraud such that a judge and/or the American people are convinced beyond doubt is incredibly challenging. Moreover, proof of any fraud will have no impact if the alleged fraud didn’t move the needle to the extent that the outcome of the election changes.

The president, his team, and anyone else who might have evidence of election fraud or mistakes need to produce such evidence yesterday. This isn’t the time to make broad accusations while failing to back them up; doing so not only strains the already tense American electorate, but could prove damaging to the Republican Party in the long-run.

While I’m still open to a potential turnaround, I’d like to set aside the questions surrounding potential fraudulent activity, and take a look at what was accomplished with this election, and where we go from here—because it’s not only incredibly important, but rather positive.

Members of the mainstream media wanted this to be a blowout. They wanted Joe Biden to trounce President Trump, and Democrats to take the Senate while gaining seats in the House. None of that happened.

After four years of crushingly negative and conspiratorial commentary on the president and the Republican Party, nearly 70 million Americans voted for Trump as of publication. President Trump had higher minority turnout than any Republican candidate since 1960, according to exit polls.

Voters in Maine, Montana, South Carolina, Iowa, Alabama, and Kentucky chose Republican senators—often by wide margins despite poll predictions to the contrary and hundreds of millions spent to oust them. As of writing, there are several outstanding Senate seats left to fill (one in North Carolina, and two in Georgia, at least one of which will go into a runoff in January).

Republicans have not only retained seats in the House, but gained at least six as of publication, with more possibly on the way as approximately 32 races have yet to be called, per CNBC.

If they hold, Joe Biden’s victories in key swing states are disastrously slim for the Democratic Party, especially in an election that was supposed to be a stinging rebuke of President Trump and Republican policies across the board.

So, what’s next? Again, let’s set aside litigation pertaining to potential election fraud, and assume Joe Biden wins the presidency.

Republicans must first focus all energy and resources on retaining control of the Senate, which means a full-court press in Georgia to re-elect Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in January.

After that, the Republican Party must attempt to gain back the House in 2022, and strengthen their position in the Senate by advancing the best possible candidates.

Then comes 2024. The next presidential election will serve as a test. Trump’s win in 2016, as well as the bruises that we, as a movement, have suffered over the last four years—up to and including this potential loss in 2020—have given us a rough model of the kinds of candidates we should nominate to face Joe Biden, or more likely Kamala Harris, in 2024.

For all his shortcomings, President Trump had key virtues that the Republican Party and the conservative movement must recognize.

Trump fought the deeply corrupt legacy media—as well as the censorious Big Tech cabal—and it was effective. Trump’s message and outreach resonated with minority communities in ways Republicans haven’t been able to do in decades. The president shook up conventional wisdom in the Middle East, which led to historic peace deals; he shunned standard Republican practice by actually slashing regulation and lowering taxes instead of just promising to do so. He took action on pro-life issues where other politicians have simply paid lip-service. Exiting the Iran deal, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement—I could go on and on.

It’s imperative that any future Republican candidate for president have the characteristics that allowed Trump these successes.

On the other hand, President Trump’s vices have shown us quite clearly where not to go. Above all other traits, the president’s ego, paper-thin skin, and seeming inability to admit when he was incorrect, as well as his word-salad manner of speaking and tendency to hyperbolize to the point of flagrant falsehood, made defending his policy achievements rather laborious.

We need a candidate who is emotionally stable and disciplined, and who can intelligently and precisely articulate to an ideologically diverse audience why conservative policy is favorable and why progressive policy is not simply unfavorable, but exceedingly dangerous. Also necessary is a candidate who is social media savvy, but is wise and deliberate in their use of those mediums. Lastly, we need a candidate who can drain the swamp while not further muddying the water themselves.

In short, we desperately need a fighter like Trump … without the unpleasant aftertaste.

The Republican Party—and conservatives across the country—need to begin the process of raising the public profiles of elected officials who, at least in part, appear to fit these criteria, like Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Nikki Haley, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and others.

We need to bolster the best possible candidates now in order to help them become prize fighters by 2024. The distinction must also be made crystal clear in the coming months and years as to what we are fighting for and what we are fighting against.

This election (though not yet over) and these last four years have given us an abundance of useful information that we cannot afford to ignore in the years to come if we are to rebuild the Republican Party and the conservative movement. President Trump was a gift, and if we waste what he gave us, we will never win again.

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