The biggest problem we face going into the general election is not Democrats. It is party unity, something we do not have right now.
Donald Trump was right he did not need a unified GOP to win the primary, but he cannot win the general without it. If just one base faction stays home Hillary Clinton will win and the Democrats and the media are counting on that. We cannot with a good conscience allow that to happen.
The 2016 Presidential Election will go down in the books as one of the most tumultuous in U.S. history. More than a dozen of the most qualified and talented candidates assembled in one primary, hundreds of millions of dollars dispersed in advertising to convince the public why candidate A was better than candidate B, and a media ready to cash-in on ratings increases that always come with a Presidential election… and that was just the Republican primary.
This was only the surface, however. Something much deeper was happening – something even those of us deeply entrenched in the conservative movement greatly underestimated.
We all know the past 8 years have been extremely difficult for America and every candidate said we couldn’t take another 4-8 of the same. That was a general talking point of every campaign. We also knew that we were at an international low point when it comes to respect. World leaders feel they can no longer depend on us. Case in point when France suffered a terrorist attack we sent James Taylor to sing “You’ve Got A Friend.”
When a terrorist attack rocked Belgium, President Obama was with Raul Castro, doing the wave, dancing the tango, and posing in front of a mural of one of the western hemisphere’s most notorious mass murderers, Che Guevara.
We knew that there had never been another election when national security was at the forefront of everyone’s minds as it is in 2016. We knew our own Republican candidates had campaigned on repealing Obamacare and didn’t deliver…and other promises not kept.
We knew that people were tired of the over application of political correctness and sick of being held captive in a speech prison. We knew all of this occurred under President Obama, but was allowed to flourish under our watch. We knew all of these things, but we underestimated the impact of the perfect storm they created.
People rejected the more traditional politician types in favor of political outsiders like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And from March, 2015 when the first candidate announced until May, 2016 when it came down to the last man standing those inside the beltway just didn’t get it. We have called it voter anger, yet despite the facts in front of us never could seem to understand why it was justified.
Now we have a presumptive nominee and it is not the one the pundits and powers told us it would be (myself included). Trump was written off dozens of times, yet this perfect storm of realities created an environment his candidacy thrived in. So now the voters have spoken, and it is time to respect that.
People value brutal honesty, so I’ll be honest. I have not agreed with Trump on some issues. But, that’s a primary and it’s not my first. The person sitting next to me may have been on a different team for many months, but it is imperative that we all be on the same team now. The future of this nation is more important than any single one of us.
When Party leaders or former leaders dig their heels-in and say “Never Trump” and when those longing for a crumb from the DC power table blame what is justifiable anger on citizens they insult the voters. If we have learned anything from the 2016 election we should have learned that insulting and underestimating the voters doesn’t work. They will rebel and that will do far more to hurt Congressional and state Republicans down ticket than Donald Trump ever would.
Now to the point of unity: Many in the conservative base of the Republican Party are concerned Trump is not committed to their issues. For them to get onboard they need assurance he is committed to our platform, committed to conservative appointments, and committed to our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel. The meeting with Paul Ryan was a great step forward.
Trump needs to reach out to key grassroots leaders and build a coalition to get them onboard. He needs to announce a conservative, pro-family Vice Presidential pick well in advance of the convention. This would go a long way in easing tensions and apprehensions.
I myself have shared these concerns, so this has not been an easy process for me. I began this campaign season in full support of Governor Scott Walker. I served as his State Co-Chair. When he left the race I committed to Ted Cruz, and served as a National Co-Chair of Women for Cruz. I have spent my adult life involved in Republican politics. I am a tried and tested conservative activist and I have the battle scars to show for it.
As a woman I have been asked if I can support Donald Trump. The answer is unequivocally yes. As a mother of two amazing children, I worry there will be nothing for my children that even resembles the freedom and prosperity that once was America if the left is allowed to prevail.
The next President of the United States will appoint from 1-3 Supreme Court Justices. If Hillary Clinton is elected, we know she will appoint far left-leaning Justices. If we let it all burn down and lose in November, it will not matter if we win future Presidential elections or even hold majorities in Congress. The left will be able to effectively govern from the Supreme Court for decades to come – for an entire generation. That is enough time to completely and irreparably destroy the United States.
Right now this party is fractured and it needs to heal. Campaign vitriol has trickled down to the grassroots level and has one faction still at war with another.
Trump gained most of his campaign notoriety by with his stance on illegal immigration and building a wall. But, at this point in the election a bridge to a unified Republican Party is far more important that a wall. Trump is a master builder, so I am confident if he commits to this it will happen. I have never met Trump. His campaign has never reached out to me. I write this of my own accord, because I believe there is too much at stake to not do everything within my humble power to help this party heal.
Julianne Thompson served as National Co-Chair of Women for Cruz. She is the former Communications Director of the Georgia Republican Party and served as Co-Chair of the Atlanta Tea Party from 2009-2014.