Many Republicans have had a difficult time this election year. Some, like me, have been behind Donald Trump all the way. Many have been won over by his success in the primaries, and a few are still waiting to be convinced.
For all the above I thought it might be enlightening to review how a reality TV star and real estate mogul went through “the deepest and most experienced Republican field in history” like a hot knife through butter.
First, no one thought he was serious. Yet just days after Mitt Romney lost in 2012, Trump trademarked his signature slogan “Make America Great Again.” As a person whose real estate empire rests on assets that span years and sometimes decades to build, no one should doubt The Donald’s ability to plan.
Second, he did not raise millions of dollars in the primary for advertising and staff, instead announcing he would fund his own campaign and would not take contributions from special interests. This was a HUGE success. Trump spent substantially less than his competitors. By using his personal plane and his hotels, resorts and even Trump Tower for his headquarters, he was able to leverage what he did spend.
He spent and continues to spend much less for paid TV advertising than any candidate in modern history. But using his celebrity and social media following and skills honed during the past 12 years on “The Apprentice,” he earned an enormous amount of live TV coverage of his appearances and rallies across the country. During these, he was able to present his message directly to voters without the filter of an antagonistic press corps.
Make no mistake. The national press was and is “all in” trying to take him out, but by controlling the events where he spoke, he kept tight control of his message. He avoided the mind-numbing questions about the minutia of policy and kept stressing what he proposed to do: Build the wall, make fair trade deals, bring back jobs, make America safe again, and make America great again.
So why has he continued to succeed despite near-hysterical attempts to end his candidacy? He has built a public persona (or brand) over the years that a majority of Americans are aware of and view either favorably or neutrally. For the past 12 years he has come into the homes of many Americans as the star of “The Apprentice” and has thereby built good will, making him more difficult to demonize. But most importantly, he is not one of the august group of politicians we have sent to Washington over the last decade or so who have proved so utterly incapable of fixing the problems we all know exist.
I am a conservative, and I am a proudly partisan Republican, for which I make no apology. I want my daughter and two sons and my grandchildren to grow up in the greatest, most free country the world has ever known. I have no expectation that the federal government will assure them anything other than to live in peace and freedom and to be able to rise to whatever station in life their God-given gifts and skills may provide for them.
We are facing a choice in this election of whether to join together to renew the vision of America that Ronald Reagan had of “that shinning city on a hill” or descend further into the left’s Alinskyite vision of identity politics and class warfare.
For me that choice is clear. Donald Trump isn’t the perfect candidate, but today he is the Republican candidate and our only hope for change.
John Patton is a member of the Greenfield City Council. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org