Why is Donald Trump resonating? It’s being written about a lot lately — though we all know what’s happening. Would-be Republican voters, and especially conservatives, are hearing someone talk in a way they haven’t heard in decades. Trump isn’t using politically calculated sentences so as to avoid the wrath of the wacko left or liberal media. He is addressing head-on the problems that are growing worse. Damn the whiny lefty press. Damn also the GOP establishment which lacks not only the will, but the competence to fix even the easy things.
Much of what follows below in this post was written in June, 2008. I’ve adjusted sentences here and there and deleted others — but the basics are the same. The basics are the same in politics, too. Real leadership attracts a following. What will happen to Trump’s candidacy is hard to predict, but there is no question that what he’s provided so far is a lesson that can be learned by all the weak-kneed and timid Republicans and conservatives who are pretend leaders.
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Since the work of reform will require bold leadership from elected Republicans, we need fighters, not socialites. If politics is seen as one big social event, then being liked is what’s most important. The desire to be liked gets in the way of strong actions that are guaranteed to offend those who profit from the problems.
By its very nature, endeavoring to bring serious change in public policy often requires stepping on toes and losing friends. If those who hold office or occupy powerful posts as Republicans don’t want to do this work then they are utterly useless. Their real legacy will be one of abject failure, even as they retire from office to become lobbyists or TV commentators and collect their nice pensions.
A leader who is a fighter will, through credible and correct action, attract a lot of support. This is exactly what has to happen since the enormous communications task ahead can’t be accomplished without the help of a lot of additional voices. Rational people will only be motivated to join in when there is the promise of success.
Let’s repeat that for emphasis: Rational people will only be motivated to join in when there is the promise of success.
Why don’t more conservatives do their civic duty and engage actively in the public square? Listless “leaders” fail to inspire. Who wants to follow a commander into battle when defeat is pretty much guaranteed?
Anyone paying attention knows that during the past several decades, millions more Americans have become dependent upon government largess. Today there are a record number of government employees, companies dependent upon government contracts, and individuals who receive some form of aid via tax dollars.
These people are going to fight not just to hold onto what they’ve got, they will be working hard to get even more. Can they increase their take from the public till? “Yes we can!” is their motto.
Our political and party leaders have to understand not just the philosophical difference between the political parties but also the practical difference. It’s the Democrat Party that can fill their ranks with public employees, union members, and others who live on tax dollars.
Republicans are going to have to muster a mostly volunteer force committed to good government. That’s impossible, though, without a commitment by its leadership to advance GOP principles.
The political left offers nothing new. The only reason Democrats still fare well on election day is because Republican leaders aren’t doing the work of reaching more voters with the good news that right principles applied can solve even big policy problems. Until we elevate leaders who will, we shouldn’t expect to see any real progress.
Image credit: illinoisfamily.org.