Whoever the next President is, he will seek a second term in the year 2020. For the Republicans, they should take advantage of 2020 and tell us with foresight, not with hindsight, what their vision for America is. And I want to extend an invitation to all of them from Jeb Bush, who has announced, to the rest who will announce, to share their vision at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta in August. Several of the candidate I expect to declare have committed. All of them are welcome.
In the seven years of the RedState Gathering, we have never had a theme. But this year is different. I think the candidates need to be able to give us their 2020 vision knowing that is the expectation and knowing we don't need a blame-fest or 50 point policy plan to do it.
Please let me explain what I mean.
In the next year, we could see close to two dozen Republicans go up and down in the polls, rise and fall in media attention, and scramble for dollars. They will each go on news shows and before the public with multi-point plans to fix problems, change things, and make us safer. The Republican Presidents will blame much of what ails us on Barack Obama.
Frankly, the Republican campaign has the potential to turn into an Obama bashing festival of the first order. Any malady can be blamed on him. Any foreign policy disruption will be placed on his shoulders. But what of the GOP?
This is where Mitt Romney failed spectacularly. He decided to approach the job of President not as President, but as CEO of a large corporation. His rhetoric was in terms of multipoint plans and business acumen. He won the war for the hearts and souls of chief executives and lost the exit poll question “who cares for me?”
Republicans running in 2016 need to spend less time blaming Barack Obama and more time telling the public how the country will look in 2020. They should avoid the platitudes and instead paint the picture.
We know right now that the middle class is stagnant. We know that the rich continue to get rich, but the poor are more and more subsidized and left comfortable with no way to break into the middle class. We know healthcare costs are going up. We know black Americans are worse off economically now than before President Obama took office. We know Russia, China, North Korea and other nations are constantly seeking to undermine our national interests. We know Americans distrust government to have all the answers and solutions.
President Obama will, by the time he leaves office, have created a nation where more than ever before the people have turned on each other, the police have turned on the public and the public on the police, the military lacks confidence, the poor have given up, the government has failed at its basic tasks, the bureaucracy has become a politicized weapon deployable against critics, and the elite have turned to managing and profiting from decline.
The first task of any Republican Presidential candidates must be to convince the American people that they, not government, control their destiny. The candidate must, in order to do that, really believe that our best days are ahead of us and not just say it because he is running for President.
The American people are grown ups. The Republican electorate are grown ups. It is time for Republican Presidential candidates to stop trying to do their best imitation of Ronald Reagan and instead actually show us who they authentically are. Who is the optimist? Who is the leader? Who can paint the picture of the better tomorrow? Who can bring back the hope Barack Obama promised and never delivered?
The answers to those questions are not found in policy prescriptions. Nor are the answers found in beating up the President. The answers are found in their vision, in their demeanor, in their quiet confidence, in their eyes, and in their smile. Polling suggests the public believes again there are better days ahead. Now we need someone to convince us they know what those better days look like and have the path to get there. The public needs someone to show them the way to those better days, not just give a fancy speech surrounded by doric columns.
Every year this website holds an annual gathering. This coming August, on the 6th through the 8th, it will be in Atlanta, Georgia. I hope to get as many of the 2016 Republican field as I can to come show us their vision for America with 2020 foresight. They can show up in Atlanta, have time to stretch their legs with a vision instead of a policy plan, then fly straight on to Iowa for its state fair. The multi-point plans will be no good if the Republican nominee cannot convey the public that he cares. We need to find that happy warrior.
You are all invited to Atlanta this August to hear from the next President of the United States. Register here.