by Donald Trump, USA Today
The last time the Republican Party had a crisis of identity was in 1980, when an upstart former actor named Ronald Reagan challenged the establishment with his campaign for the Republican nomination. Many in the news media and the GOP said he couldn’t win it. In fact, some people thought his campaign a joke, not to be taken seriously. When he won the nomination, Democrats and many moderate Republicans gave him no chance against the incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter.
Reagan won the general election with one of the greatest landslides in presidential election history. He won re-election the same way. How in the world did that happen when he struggled to gain acceptance with the mainstream of the party? He did it through getting Democrats and independents to come out to vote for him. At that point in history, many of them felt abandoned by their parties, so they were willing to sit on the sidelines. Reagan gave them a reason to come out to vote. Reagan, through his optimism and force of will, convinced Americans that our best days were ahead of us. Best yet, he made good on his word.
Today, the American people are looking for a leader who will give them a voice in their government and a sense of pride in their country. They are tired of being lied to, and they are tired of seeing their country diminished — not by outsiders and foreigners — but by their very own political leaders. If the leadership of the country cannot take pride in the nation, how is it expected that others will recognize and embrace American exceptionalism? When the American people find someone who speaks their language and who they think can deliver on his word, they are going to flock to him, regardless of their political alignment.
I hate to throw out numbers, but a few seem appropriate right now.In a recentFluentpoll, I garnered more voter participation than any other Republican candidate included. What is most significant is the higher percentages of Republicans (plus 4 points), Democrats (plus 3 points) and Independents (plus 6 points) who said they would vote if I were on the general-election ballot, as opposed to if my next closest competitor were the nominee. The difference in independent turnout is even greater — 10 to 12 points — when I’m compared with the other four candidates in the poll.
My whole campaign has been focused on expanding the number of people who want to, and will, participate in this election cycle. My campaign has been like no other, and as my rallies continue to draw crowds in the thousands and tens of thousands, so will my campaign attract millions more voters. Imagine if we are able to get just 2% more of the electorate to vote. That would mean about 5 million more votes cast. If we had a 4% increase in voter participation, within the realm of possibility, we could see an additional 10 million votes cast across the country. Additionally, the latest national poll results from Fox News show me beating Hillary Clinton by several points in a general election matchup.
Every candidate should be working to expand the electorate rather than limiting those who might come to the polls. My campaign, and my campaign alone, has been bringing as many people into the process as possible. Actual voting begins in just a few weeks, and we will see what it means to grow the electorate in a meaningful way rather than bashing opponents with TV ads to keep the vote down. As special interests continue to fund the super PACs, the special interest I represent is the American people. The establishment is threatened this time around, and they are threatened by a campaign that says what it means and means what it says. The American people are hungry for someone who has, and will deliver. All my life, I have delivered, and I will not let you down. Together, we will make America great again.