Here are the current rules of the political game in America.
When Democrats are in office, they move the country to the Left as quickly as possible. When Republicans are in office, the country still moves to the Left, albeit more slowly; so the GOP can claim it’s "gotten something done."
Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been caught in enough scandals, committed enough gaffes and made enough mistakes to destroy any Republican ten times over; yet they've gotten a pass. Meanwhile, Republicans live in holy terror of having their political careers destroyed by having a quote in a speech taken out of context.
The Republican Party has become entirely ineffective at communicating conservative principles to the American people and for the most part, has given up on even trying. The only thing that grassroots conservatives have to show for two landslide victories in 2010 and 2014 that have put the GOP in control of the House and Senate are meaningless show votes designed to distract us from how badly the GOP is getting its clocks cleaned on almost everything that matters.
Barack Obama has broken the law at will and the GOP has done little to try to stop him. Sure, we’ve had endless investigations, but no matter what sort of lawbreaking is revealed, Republicans in Congress treat Democrats as if they’re above the law and can never be called to account for what they’ve done wrong.
Meanwhile, the country is going down the tubes. Our debt is on track to break us, our borders are wide open, a record number of Americans are out of the workforce, Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts while it gets government funding, we've lost in Iraq, ISIS is on the rise, Iran is going to get a nuclear bomb -- and the GOP Leadership doesn't seem to care about anything except saving the export-import bank, pushing the TPA and figuring out how to bring more illegal aliens into America because that's what its rich donors want.
Worse yet, the people who demand that Republicans live up to their campaign promises and fight for the voters who put them in office are mocked as unrealistic even though the GOP controls the House, Senate and has public opinion on its side on many of the most controversial issues. If the Republican Party can’t win a fight with an unpopular President under those circumstances, what good is it?
In other words, America is shaking itself to pieces and the system is so stacked against conservatives that there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it.
Against this backdrop, Donald Trump has risen to the top of the field because there are a lot of things you can say about him, but one of them isn’t that the Democrats will slap him around and take his lunch money every day like they do with Boehner and McConnell.
Trump’s not timid, he's not politically correct and he has proven that he can take shots that would destroy the average Republican politician without even breaking stride. He's also bold enough to address problems that Republicans in Congress have been too cowardly to deal with.
Let me put it this way: all the Republicans in the race say they'll repeal Obamacare, but how many of them mean it? How many of them are willing to kill the program when Democrats are screaming at the top of their lungs, the mainstream media is calling for their heads and the GOP's "leaders" in Congress are encouraging them not to be so hasty?
Trump would. For that matter, so would Ted Cruz. Would Scott Walker? Maybe. He hasn’t covered himself in glory during this campaign (see his “me, too” position changes and his Super PAC’s hiring of Brad Dayspring), but Walker did show a lot of backbone when he took on the unions in Wisconsin.
Would Rubio, Bush, Kasich, Paul, Christie, Huckabee, Fiorina, etc., kill Obamacare? Could we count on them to stand in there and fight for conservative positions the same way Democrats fight for liberal ideas? I’m not trying to insult anybody’s candidate and I’m open to changing my mind, but honestly, I don’t think so. At best, you have to admit it’s an open question.
I say that because every year we have candidates who talk the talk about how conservative they are, but when it really matters, they refuse to walk the walk.
Most conservatives are fully aware that even if the dream scenario for Republicans comes to pass in 2016 and we retain a huge majority in the House, maintain a 51-49 edge in the Senate and we have a Republican President, it's entirely possible that the country will still move to the Left because the Republican Party is so weak, timid, out-of-touch and conflict-averse that it will refuse to fight. That’s just not good enough anymore because a slow motion suicide for America is still suicide.
At this point, the single most important quality for GOP candidates isn’t how many conservative boxes they can check (although that’s always a big plus); it’s how certain we can be that a candidate will shake things up if he’s elected. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz pass that test with flying colors, but as of today, the jury is still out on all the other candidates.
That brings me to my one piece of advice for everybody in the GOP field.
The most important thing you can do is prove to conservatives that it won't be business as usual if you're elected. Unless you can convince us that you’re offering something other than the status quo we’ve been getting not just from Obama, but from the Republican leadership in Congress, then you don’t deserve to be our nominee.