We have all experienced a moment of history at one point or another in our lives. One such moment is approaching this summer with the coming political conventions, especially the GOPs. We are witnessing the transformation of the Republican Party. The die has been cast, whether you recognize it or not. Change has arrived for the Republicans and little can be done to prevent it. This change is generating a great deal of turmoil and tension in the corridors of power, a sign that it has been a long-time coming and is going to be dramatic.
Future historians are going to look back at all of this and come to the realization that the start of this transformation began here, in Culpeper. I know, you’re stunned, but I ask your indulgence. When David Brat beat long-seated Eric Cantor and upset the Republican leadership’s apple cart, it was a warning shot across the bow to Washington D.C.; a warning that the Republicans chose to overlook. Cantor was slated to become House Speaker, one of the most influential positions in our government, and had that wrenched from his political grasp by us – the voters. It is, after all, our party – not just theirs.
That was the start, a clear signal to those in power that, we the people, can and would exert their authority to change the Republican Party leadership. The GOP ignored that. Donald Trump appeared and slammed into the primaries with bluster and bravado. He has brought out record numbers of voters. Why? Because a lot of people feel that the GOP has long ignored the owners of the party – its members. The Republican leadership (?) tried to shove candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio down our throats. The voters, including those in Culpeper, felt differently. Embracing our Minuteman roots, we overwhelmingly said we would prefer to have someone with no experience in politics, someone not owned by lobbyists or special interest groups, over tried and true political beasts.
We spawned the Donald Trump phenomena. Trump has frightened the establishment because they cannot control him. This has led to the strangest electoral cycle we have ever seen. Rather than the Republican establishment rallying around their leading candidate and solidifying his position – they have conspired against their own frontrunner. Powerful PACs have spent millions to squash Trump, who has artfully dodged their assaults. The old guard Republicans plot to try and steal the nomination from him, hedging on a long shot – a brokered convention. In the meantime, Trump goes on winning delegates, beating these stalwarts at their own game with their own rules.
Bernie Sanders and others paid money to have protesters go to Trump rallies and disrupt these private events. Trump has not sent his supporters out to their rallies to be agitators – yet his competitors tried to make him look like the guilty party for “inciting violence.”
The media both built the Trump campaign and hate him at the same time. He is the lead story almost every night on the news. The media have tried to paint him as a sexist, a racist, and worse. The media in our country is so used to using its influence to make people follow its agenda, they are perplexed that Trump is not only still running, but dominating the political landscape. He has successfully manipulated the media to drive his campaign.
The Trump campaign represents the first chance in decades for tangible change in Washington – something that scares the hell out of both political parties. Any vote for someone other than Donald Trump in November is surrendering to continue the status quo, a paralyzed political landscape.
The fact that Trump has chosen the topics to be debated (like immigration) and the fact that he has become the target of the media, the Democrats, and the Republican establishment shows one thing…he is a leader. Is he without fault? Of course not. While you may not like his style, he is demonstrating true leadership. Moreover, no matter what happens, he is changing the face of the Republican Party forever. Personally, I live for his debates with Hillary Clinton. They will rival the Lincoln Douglas debates.
And to think, this upheaval in American politics all started here in our congressional district. It makes me proud.
Blaine Pardoe is a New York Times bestselling author. He lives in Amissville and may be reached at BPardoe870@aol.com.