OPINION: Election 2018’s Lesson Learned — Stand With President Trump
On Election Day, Republicans lost control of the House but learned a valuable lesson: Stand with President Trump, and you will be rewarded.
From Indiana to Tennessee and beyond, the Republican candidates who vowed to advance President Trump’s “America First” agenda in the Senate came out on top. Despite the left-leaning mainstream media’s opposition, Republicans who praised the Trump economy and preached border security were rewarded by the American people.
In the Hoosier State, Mike Braun campaigned with President Trump in the final stretch, and unseated incumbent Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly to all but guarantee Republican gains in the Senate.
What was initially pegged a “toss-up” by the political punditry became a resounding victory for — in President Trump’s words — a “successful businessman” who will “always stand with the heroes of ICE, border control, and law enforcement.”
He’s right about that: Throughout the campaign, Braun focused on “creating jobs for all Hoosiers” and “protect[ing] our borders” from “criminal illegal immigrants.” And Indianans sided with him.
In the Volunteer State, meanwhile, Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn spoke to the millions of “Tennesseans from all walks of life [who] support President Trump’s agenda.”
Long considered one of the Republican Party’s most conservative House members, Blackburn proceeded to rout former Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen by double digits. This, after being outspent by Bredesen and Democrats depending on his deep pockets to flip the Senate and becoming the target of political outreach by Taylor Swift, who was born in Tennessee and expressed her favor for Bredesen on social media.
Leading up to Election Day, Blackburn turned to border security as a rallying cry to drive Republican turnout. Describing the migrant caravan that approaches the U.S.-Mexico border as an “invading force” and “illegal alien mob,” Blackburn directly courted the 78 percent of Tennessee Republicans who supported her immigration policies. And it worked.
I witnessed President Trump’s sky-high popularity firsthand, knocking on doors across Tennessee. In the campaign’s final stretch, the Committee to Defend the President — America’s leading pro-Trump super PAC — knocked on more than 61,000 doors in support of Blackburn.
As part of a $5.5 million investment to defend President Trump and support his endorsed candidates, we spent over $1.2 million to boost Blackburn’s candidacy (and Mike Braun’s in Indiana), promoting economic growth and preaching border security on the ground and on the airwaves.
Speaking to everyday voters, their message was clear: Even as anti-Trump Democrats peddle #Resistance and the liberal media bombards us with never-ending outrage, we believe President Trump is doing the right thing. By growing our economy and securing our borders, he’s focusing on issues that actually matter to the American people.
Across Tennessee, the voters we encountered disregarded Democrats and their media allies, who have a clear vendetta against the man they elected to represent them in the White House. The more radical the Left becomes, the more determined they are to support President Trump.
This presents a blueprint for Republicans in 2020 — in beyond. Don’t stop being Republican. Don’t make concessions to the Left—the same Left that marches and protests for a living. When Republicans stick to conservative principles from pro-growth economics to a crackdown on illegal immigration, they can win and win huge.
Most importantly, they can drain the swamp that is Washington, D.C. When candidates like Marsha Blackburn and Mike Braun earn the opportunity to represent their constituents, the American people can sleep easier, knowing their representatives are actually putting America first.
Let’s learn the lesson of Election 2018. Run with President Trump, and Republicans can make America great again.
Ted Harvey is chairman of the Committee to Defend the President.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.