By Katie Kieffer
When 125,000 balloons drop on Donald Trump this week as he becomes the Republican presidential nominee at the national convention in Ohio, he better go big—or go home.
How? Not by turning the GOP “big tent” into a bigger circus. By refusing to back down from political incorrectness and bold ideas.
Great hair is the primary “asset” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence brings to the table to complement Trump’s own crazy coiffure as Trump’s Vice President. (Trump himself complimented Pence, saying: “He looks very good.”) Pence may be a fatherly Ken doll. Unfortunately, he’s a flip-flopper on free speech, religious liberty and healthcare.
Trump likes winning, which will be hard with a wingman reminiscent of Mitt Romney. You know, that former governor who flip-flopped on abortion and spearheaded the prototype for Obamacare. Pence likewise waffles on social issues and favors universalized (i.e. with bureaucracy) medicine, backing Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid in Indiana.
In 2015, Pence signed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But then Apple and eBay issued menacing warnings to boycott Indiana and LGBT activists lambasted the owners of a tiny local pizza parlor that wouldn’t cater homosexual ceremonies. So Pence cowered into a corner, bypassed the Indiana legislature and un-signed the bill.
Kind of like how President Obama used executive orders to bypass Congress and welcome 10,000 un-vetted Syrian refugees into America. Spineless with a capital S.
Heading into this week’s GOP National Convention, Trump should take some tips from Ohio’s historic winner, NBA star LeBron James, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to clinch the 2016 NBA title.
LeBron Lesson #1: Winners Chart Their Own Path
“I feel like this is going to give me the best opportunity to win,” LeBron said when he announced his controversial decision to leave Cleveland in 2010 to join the Miami Heat. His fans erupted in anger and sadness. His jersey was burned in the streets. His 10-story billboard that ruled Cleveland’s downtown skyline was removed.
LeBron nevertheless stood strong and followed his heart. His time away in Miami—developing into a better player and more mature leader—turned out to be the best thing for Cleveland when he returned and won the 2016 championship.
Likewise, when tough issues—like race relations, refugees, and global trade—rise to the forefront of the presidential campaign, Trump must address them directly. He can’t let himself adopt Pence’s political correctness. Or he’ll lose to Hillary. By a landslide.
“The people are tired of political correctness, especially when things that are said are totally fine. It’s out of control. It’s gridlock for their mouths,” Trump has said in response to claims that his confident statements on immigration are offensive. Going forward, he can’t start deleting tweets, apologizing or flip-flopping. He must remain steadfast in his own opinions.
LeBron Lesson #2: Winners Create A Dream Team
Americans fell in love with Trump because he was a breath of fresh air. Finally, a man who would “tell it like it is” without a care. But Americans will just as quickly dump Trump if he continues to surround himself with “yes-men” like Gov. Pence. We will feel betrayed, and we will stay home on Election Day.
I advise Trump to show the voting segments he needs in order to win—namely independents, Millennials, women and Bernie Democrats—that he won’t let them down. He can do this by doing what LeBron did in order to win Cleveland its first major-league sports championship since 1964: put together a dream team. And then, announce that dream team to the public.
Pence will not help Trump win votes, except maybe from a few establishment minions like Rep. Paul Ryan. I recommend that Trump make an announcement like: “I’m going to make Sen. Rand Paul Fed Chair; Sen. Ted Cruz Attorney General; and Rep. Justin Amash Secretary of State.” These are the sorts of teammates who Trump could lean on to win swing voters.
LeBron Lesson #3: “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day”
Haste makes waste, which is why LeBron is famous for telling the press: “Rome wasn’t built in one day.” He doesn’t rush himself. He moves at his own pace.
Trump must continue to resist peer pressure from establishment elites, neocons and RINOs. It will be hard—as they’ll be swarming all around him this week. But he can do it. Hillary Clinton has spent $23 million more than Trump on TV ads. She has out-staffed Trump’s team by nine-to-one. And she’s still doing horribly. A late June NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 33 percent of registered American voters trust that Hillary believes what she says compared to 56 percent who trust that Trump believes what he says.
Americans don’t trust politicians. This week is Trump’s chance to prove to the American voter that he is not just another politician—that he won’t use us and lose for us like John McCain and Mitt Romney. Don’t let us down, Donald. Go big in Cleveland. Be a winner like LeBron. Or go home to New York.