by Kimberly Fletcher
Donald Trump’s decision to skip the first Republican primary debate left a huge vacuum on the stage in Milwaukee. That vacuum was filled by Vivek Ramaswamy, who showed poise, conviction, and grace under fire – in the process making most of his opponents look like the career politicians they are.
Like Trump, Ramaswamy is a businessman who feels called to run for office because he sees that the country is facing dark times and needs to be saved from the political establishment, which prioritizes self-interest and the status quo over patriotism and the sort of decisive action that our country needs.
Moms are on the frontlines of the battle for our country’s future. We know that things are not okay. We know that the old establishment playbook will not get us out of the mess we’re in. We need bold vision and confident leadership, not just recycled Reagan quotes. Ronald Reagan was a great president, but even he would acknowledge that the solutions we needed in the 1980s are not the same as the solutions we need today.
Unfortunately, most of what we heard on the debate stage last night could have been said at a GOP debate in 1988 or 2000 or 2012. We heard candidates talking about the need for America to serve as the arsenal of democracy while paying lip service to defending our own sovereignty by securing our borders. We heard candidates laying out lavish spending plans while barely acknowledging the fact that, as a country, we’re flat broke. We heard candidates breaking out canned speeches that didn’t even answer the questions they were asked.
Worst of all, we saw a disturbing lack of conviction. When the candidates were asked to raise their hands to take definitive stands on pressing issues, Mr. Ramaswamy was the only one who took an immediate stand. Everyone else looked sheepishly around the stage and calculated whether raising their hand would be a politically advantageous move.
That’s not what we need from the person we’re electing to lead our nation. We need a real leader, not another cowardly, finger-in-the-wind politician. Donald Trump offers the sort of leadership we need, and Vivek Ramaswamy showed on the debate stage that he comes closer than anyone else to matching Trump on that important quality.
In large part because of the strength of his conviction, Ramaswamy totally connected with the American people – and with moms, in particular. He painted a vision of the future the American people want, reminding us that “it’s time to run toward something” instead of constantly finding reasons to hide from our problems.
Throughout the debate, Ramaswamy was attacked by everyone. They belittled and insulted him with focus-grouped attack lines that they had clearly been rehearsing all week. Through it all, Ramaswamy held his own with strength, class, and a genuine smile. He didn’t back down from his convictions, and he didn’t let them bait him into getting angry. Instead, he challenged them to match the boldness of his vision and join him in acknowledging that America is facing its greatest threat in generations – and that the threat is coming from within.
Abraham Lincoln predicted over a century and a half ago that “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.” The greatest dangers our country has faced throughout its history have always come from within, and that remains true today. While the other candidates talked about making minor personnel changes at corrupt government institutions like the FBI, Ramaswamy talked about rebuilding them from the ground up.
Just like Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy is most definitely not a career politician. He doesn’t follow their rules, and he doesn’t play their games. And that is why he was the unequivocal winner of the first Republican primary debate.
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Kimberly Fletcher is the founder, president, and CEO of Moms For America, a national, non-profit 501c3 educational corporation rooted in the principles of liberty and virtue our nation was founded on, and focused on promoting these principles, values, and virtues in the home and family, particularly through the women and mothers of America.
Photo “Mother and Son Watch TV” by Helena Lopes.