For many years I have been involved in Minnesota Republican politics and have spent time with the state party, the U.S. Senate and the state House of Representatives. During this time, I have seen the good and the bad from both our elected officials and staff. As is usually the case from the GOP, I am not surprised to see a divided party backing every candidate from Jeb Bush to Scott Walker to Carly Fiorina. However, as has recently been the case, Republicans have been too divided to win statewide elections and have similarly failed on the presidential stage. What I can tell you is that from the perspective of a young Republican and the future of our party’s base, Donald Trump is the best candidate for the Republican Party for three reasons:
• Tolerable uncertainty: Trump may not be your candidate if you are lining up his stances against the GOP platform. He likely is a candidate who the GOP will not be able to pin down on every potential issue our country faces. We know he was a Democrat, independent and now Republican. This uncertainty is what intrigues me about Trump and I would hope intrigues other Republicans. What we know are the principles he stands for: creating a strong national business climate, supporting new and existing energy development, bucking political correctness, and having the determination to tackle foreign affairs. What we don’t know about Trump is extensive. He has no political background or track record in office for us to consider. However, this not knowing provides the ability to support a leader who is not rooted to a specific promise or agreement. Like Ronald Reagan, supporting a showman may provide some uncertainty but also provides the creativity and charisma to propel the country to new heights not seen in many years.
• Bravado: If nothing else, the GOP would have to agree that Trump has done what few others could have done for the party. Not only has he ratcheted up debate viewership, he has brought daily attention and excitement to issues that had become frustrating, stale and seemingly futile for Republicans. Immigration, for example, was becoming a no-win and divisive argument for Republicans, and Trump has turned it into an open discussion. His ability to speak to the issues without apologizing or towing a politically correct line has been refreshing, to say the least. Not to mention, it has put Republicans on the offensive; no longer is the party backpedaling. The bravado Trump has displayed is exactly what the party needs to lead a campaign that inspires, not one that is perceived as only reacting or “saying no.”
• Strength: Last, as we all now know, Trump has a bite to back up his bark. This has been something Republicans in Minnesota and nationwide have been waiting for. Although some may argue he takes it too far (see: Rosie O’Donnell), Trump has shown the ability to stand up to just about anyone that gets in his way. Minnesota Republicans saw former Gov. Tim Pawlenty prematurely bow out of the 2012 presidential race and have seen weak candidates endorsed for our statewide offices in recent years. Supporting these candidates with no broad appeal or ability to challenge our Democratic opponents has yielded close to no results. Albeit on a national level, Trump is someone who has the vigor to fight for conservative values and close the deal on this wide-open presidential race. For now, I’m throwing him my support and will sit back and enjoy the ride.
Pete Sparby lives in St. Paul.