Donald Trump cannot win unless and until he unites the new conservative-populist Republican Party.
Most importantly, choosing a moderate or establishment Republican vice-presidential candidate would be a deal breaker for conservatives. The best way for Donald Trump to seal the deal with conservatives would be to nominate a conservative-populist outsider as his Vice President; someone with a proven record of standing for limited-government, constitutional, conservative principles, like Ted Cruz, Senator Jeff Sessions or Senator Mike Lee—all of whom would be on my short list.
The Republican Party has not been united since 1988. And neither Donald Trump nor any other Republican can win without a fully engaged conservative movement.
To achieve that unity, Trump must reach out to conservatives to rebuild the populist-conservative coalition that represents America's country class citizens and the majority vote in a country weary of Barack Obama and a feckless Republican leadership.
If Mitt Romney, Bush 41 and 43, and Paul Ryan choose not to come on board, they are part of the problem.
Personnel is policy. To achieve that populist-conservative unity Mr. Trump needs to win, he must do more than talk a good game; he must demonstrate a real commitment to breaking the Washington cartel, and the only way to do that is to join with conservatives to change the people making the policies in government and at the Republican National Committee.
Reappointing retreads from the two Bush administrations and keeping in place the people who have turned the Republican National Committee over to a cabal of K Street lobbyists and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who have made it into a corrupt crony government favor machine instead of the political home of limited-government constitutional conservatives, will send a message to conservatives that, far from ushering in change, a Trump administration will be business as usual.
Right now conservatives are mostly on the sidelines waiting to see if Trump will govern as a conservative. And conservatives will remain Doubting Thomas until they see the hard evidence of Trump's personnel choices—his VP candidate, Supreme Court nominee, White House team and whether or not he remakes the RNC with conservatives.
Only a conservative-populist coalition that unites all three legs of the old Reagan coalition—national security conservatives, economic conservatives and cultural conservatives—with the 21st century political movements of the Tea Party and limited government constitutional conservatives can generate enough votes to defeat Hillary Clinton and a Democratic Party now completely taken over by the far-left.
Richard Viguerie is the "Funding Father of the Conservative Movement," who transformed American politics in the 1960s and '70s by pioneering the use of direct mail fundraising in the political and ideological spheres. As a result, he motivated millions of Americans to participate in politics for the first time, greatly expanding the base of active citizenship.
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