Why Republicans should not fear cutting spending

Leaked details of President Donald Trump’s 2018 fiscal year spending plan indicate proposals for the “most extreme domestic spending cuts the country has ever seen,” according to POLITICO including a proposed discretionary spending cap would bring spending back to 2001 levels. 

Generally spending cut advocates, Republicans largely see the spending cut proposals as too extreme. POLITICO reports that “GOP legislators have reacted with fury, speaking directly to Mulvaney in recent days.” 

Perhaps we can concede that the proposed spending cuts are a bit extreme. It seems a tad reckless to jolt largely unchecked government growth back to 2001. However, Republicans should not fear radical spending cut proposals. 

Will the public react poorly to extreme budget cuts that impact most domestic departments and programs? Of course. Taking away money that Americans have grown accustomed too is rarely, if ever, praised. Naturally, GOP officials fear backlash in the voting booth, but that should not impede radical initiative and action to curtail government spending.

Election prospects could shift before 2018, but Trump will likely weigh down the GOP’s election efforts. Because Trump will be a negative force on Republicans, they must curtail government growth while they have the chance. Voters will not be pleased with the GOP regardless in 2018, so Republicans must at minimum offer bold leadership to the electorate.

Unfortunately, as history highlights, GOP officials will likely run and hide from tough decisions and display a passive restraint from enacting broad conservative policy. But cutting spending will allow Republicans to showcase their commitment to governing and enacting long-championed conservative policy. It’s imperative for America’s present and future prospect that Republican officials commit to spending cuts.

America’s future demands bold leadership to attempt to seize control of growing government debt and deficits, and bold leadership requires a certain streak of fearlessness in the face of extreme pressure. What does the GOP have to lose?

Republicans have a choice to make: Bold leadership or passive restraint? Choose wisely.

Your Party Means Nothing, Mr. Rubio

As criticism rolls in over Donald Trump’s attacks on the judge presiding over the Trump U fraud case, Marco Rubio took the time to remind America that he warned us about “con man” Trump. Unfortunately, Rubio will still vote for Trump in November, citing “I gave my word that I would support the nominee.”

Interesting, coming from a man whose gave his word to Never Trump until times got difficult. Party loyalty oath is such a tired excuse.

If Mr. Rubio felt that the prospect of Trump warranted a strong warning to the electorate, shouldn’t country loyalty take over? Is it more important to appease the GOP or take a stand for the country? Who knew Jeb! would end up the principled and most resolute man of the bunch? (Credit to Ted Cruz for also seemingly standing firm against Trump.)

Rubio says we face difficult choices, yet takes the easy way out, surrendering to the myth that there are only two options for presidency and hiding behind an oath. Perhaps he forgot that America offers limitless choices.

More often than not, over 50 percent of GOP primary voters cast a ballot against Trump. Former candidates cannot act like they’re powerless and can’t influence an independent candidacy.

It’s simply lazy and frustrating to see Trump’s endorsers surrender to the idea that party matters before country when their influence could still positively shape the race.

I voted for Mr. Rubio. I probably would again. He may not give me an opportunity to, however. America needs bold leaders, who aren’t afraid to stand on principle against a man they warned us about––not party loyalists.

You gave your word, Senator? The United States appreciates it. Your party means nothing.

When Americans suffer from Trump’s trade wars or Hillary Clinton dangerous foreign policy, at least Rubio and others kept their oath to a party when a 3rd option was available.

Waste of Time: Drafting a Never Trump Option

According to a report in the Washington Post, leaders of the “Never Trump” movement are in overdrive to attempt to draft a third party candidate to derail Donald Trump. The report names the top two recruits: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Gov. John Kasich from Ohio. Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has even reached out to the two men according to the report.

While I am fully on board with a third party alternative to Donald Trump, any recruitment effort to draft a candidate wastes everyone’s time. Hand picking a candidate will only alienate voters, and drafting a run-of-the-mill Republican will not generate enough support from Bernie Sanders voters.

Now I understand the leaders of the Never Trump movement might want one of their guys to run. There’s a certain trust factor and comfort supporting a Republican senator of governor as compared to a Libertarian candidate. But drafting a candidate only appears like more Washington games against the people. Supporting a candidate already in the race–whether it’s the Libertarian candidate or another–shows humility and a turn away from the status quo. It frankly just looks better than drafting a candidate.

Now is not the time to wait out for your guy, but rather throw support and money behind a candidate committed to liberty, the Constitution, and sound economic policy such as Austin Petersen.

Odds are the leaders of Never Trump do not agree with Petersen on foreign policy, parts of immigration, and some social issues. The time for purity tests from them is over. Petersen represents the only candidate committed to liberty, and he is clearly the only candidate remaining with an economic policy that won’t cripple America but instead grow her economy. Petersen may not be Never Trump’s first choice, but he’s their best choice.

Imagine if the leaders of Never Trump threw their support behind Petersen ten days ago and put as much energy into introducing him to the American electorate as they did attempting a futile recruiting effort for Sasse or Kasich. Petersen’s outreach could have expanded exponentially and increased in viability. Instead, he remains unknown to large parts of the electorate while the Never Trump leaders look silly and desperate.

Don’t waste your time, Never Trump. Don’t play games. Petersen may not be your guy, but he offers our best shot. He won’t alienate voters who distrust Washington. He represents our best bet to potentially swing some support from Bernie voters. You can work with Petersen and trust him, differences aside.

Never Trump recruitment is destined to fail, whether a candidate is drafted or not. Stand for liberty, for the Constitution, and for sound economics with Austin Petersen, and drop the games. Choose wisely.

Plenty of Options, Yet No Path

Now that Donald Trump all but the official Republican nominee for president, it’s interesting to look back on the race that wasn’t. While there were 17 candidates at some point vying for the nomination, no one really had a shot besides Trump.

Back when this whole rodeo began, Jeb Bush was perceived the favorite due to his name value, his record as governor of Florida, and his deep money backing. But Jeb! had no chance simply because his last name was Bush. After Bush 41 and Bush 43, the family used all of its capital and opportunity to be commander-in-chief for the short term. Jeb’s lack of charisma and entertainment combined with his political rust left him in an immediate hole near impossible to dig out of. His message also wasn’t tailored to the electorate after Trump’s emergence. Money can only take a candidate so far even today. Our society and democracy does not reward familial dynasties. Jeb’s presidential hopes went out the door when his brother was elected. If Jeb had come anywhere close to the nomination, it would have been a miracle and an underdog story for the ages.

Marco Rubio should not have entered the race. For him to become president, he essentially had to run against Jeb then run against any other perceived establishment alternative. After that, he’d be forced to run against Ted Cruz before finally being able to run against Donald Trump. The influx of money spent against Rubio combined with youthful miscalculations such as his comedy tour against Trump doomed him as well. I firmly believe Rubio had the message and vision to win this election cycle, but there were too many obstacles in his path to trip him up. 

Ted Cruz believed the key to victory was uniting the evangelical vote. However, the evangelical vote is too wide ranging to truly unite. All evangelicals are not the same and Cruz’s bristling outsider message turned off too many others when social conservatives did not ultimatum unite behind him. Again Cruz had multiple races to run: against social conservatives, against Rubio, unfortunately against John Kasich, and then ultimately against Trump. Cruz’s message simply had too many limits for the challenges in his path, and that ultimately really eliminated him before he started.

Rand Paul’s chances ended with the rise of ISIS and expansion of radical Islamic terror. Paul’s message for Liberty, limited government, and anti-interventionist foreign policy can be a winning message, but the continued rise of radical Islamic terrorism turned people away from Paul’s sometimes misconceived isolationism. Citizens want to feel powerful and safe and they gravitated towards big, tough foreign policy talk over the last couple years. Paul may have a future opportunity to capture the presidency, but forces out of his control derailed him before the race began this cycle.

Scott Walker may have had a message this cycle, but he didn’t have the personality to break through. Governing records could not alone carry a candidate this election. He just didn’t take advantage of his moment, especially when Trump entered and took out all the air.

Speaking of governing records and moving on, John Kasich was never a fit for this cycle. Ben Carson was never going to be more than a prayer breakfast darling. Carly Fiorina was too unknown to many and too disliked to few. Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, and Chris Christie missed their moments years ago. George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, and Jim Gilmore were always wasting their time. 

We all expected a hard fight, a decent fight for the Republican nomination. Perhaps we would’ve gotten one had Trump punted on the opportunity, but no one ultimately had a clear path to the top if they even had a path at all. No candidate was positioned to secure the moment and opportunity in front of them. I do not support Trump, but I think we can all acknowledge that he took advantage of the media and followed, maybe even paved, arguably the easiest path despite fending off a “Never Trump” movement. The fact that the race was slow to dwindle and never came down to one-on-one also eased his path. His brand helped build the myth.

In 2016, the Republicans had options in front of them. But the options largely were closed from a path. Maybe they learned a lesson.