Republican voters have sent the Washington establishment a message in the form of our presidential nominee. It is loud, and it should be clear.
Yet, a small enclave of career politicians within our party is still struggling to understand the mass appeal of Donald Trump. These D.C. insiders are so caught up in the Washington bubble that they failed to realize the world around them has changed.
For too long, career politicians have over promised and under-delivered. The constant gridlock and lack of results in Washington is unacceptable. We have a political system that protects those in power and leaves the American people behind.
Georgians sent a strong message to the establishment in my Senate race by electing an outsider to the political process. We now see that same movement sweeping across the country, and we should welcome it.
Two short years ago, I was an outsider businessman campaigning for the first time and endured some of the same criticisms being leveled against Mr. Trump today. Through my own experience, I probably understand the Trump phenomenon and the new reality of this electorate better than most.
In my race, the establishment types said I wasn’t Republican enough. They warned the party faithful that I hadn’t paid my political dues and that voting for me would be risky. Never mind the fact I had spent my career running major companies and creating jobs, versus running for political office as a full-time job.
People listened when I spoke in business terms out on the campaign trail about the national debt and global security crisis – instead of reciting tired old GOP talking points. Instead of the usual Washington Beltway babble, I spoke plainly to people about their concerns with the economy and jobs, and their frustration with Washington.
The antiquated tactics that were used unsuccessfully against me have been deployed against Mr. Trump, and the voters responded in similar fashion. They ignored the preachy pundits, the ideology police, and the Washington establishment. They chose a different type of candidate because they believe to get different results, you have to send a different type of person to Washington.
Mr. Trump’s nabbing of the presidential nod embodies a dramatic shift in the political paradigm. Many voters are now more motivated by their frustration with Washington than their ideology. As I’ve said all along, this movement is bigger than party or ideology, or even, dare I say, Trump himself. However, I’m not dismissing the incredible skill set our nominee possesses.
Through straightforward, unapologetic criticism of the powers-that-be, Trump has tapped into the anti-Washington sentiment. Anyone who read ‘The Art of the Deal’ shouldn’t be surprised by his technique or his success.
The negotiation strategy outlined by Trump the Dealmaker in his signature book gives key insight into Trump the Campaigner. He is focused on the American people’s shared frustration with politicians, bureaucrats, and the media. He is bold and unpredictable, always keeping the opposition off balance. And he is a master of earned media.
The undeniable talent that Mr. Trump displayed while navigating a massive 17-person primary will become even more evident in a head-to-head matchup this fall. One by one, he picked off the best and brightest the Republican establishment had to offer and motivated more people to go to the polls in the primary.
He is the only true outsider running for president. Now, he can focus on dismantling the Republican Party’s real opponent, Hillary Clinton.
While unpredictability shakes those conditioned to protect their own power, anyone who still has doubts about Mr. Trump should stop agonizing for a minute, take a deep breath, and at least contemplate the value of having such a unique asset at the top of our ticket.
Fortunately for our party, Trump is a nominee unlike anything we have ever seen. Based on everything we’ve witnessed to date, Mr. Trump is not going to walk into the Democrats’ traps or take their bait. He will play his own game, one that he intends to win.
As Republicans, let’s not lose sight of our shared mission to change the direction of our country. That’s why we worked so hard to win the Senate majority in 2014. To affect real change, we must keep the Senate majority and win the White House in November.
Our country simply cannot afford four more years of the liberal, progressive policies that have failed the working middle-class of America. Clinton has committed to doubling down on these failed policies. We certainly cannot withstand losing the Supreme Court for a generation.
We have a unique opportunity to finally change course. It is time for an outsider in the White House. It is time to let Trump be Trump, and to help him win this election.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally appeared in the Washington Post