By Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner, June 19. 

Now that President Trump has officially announced he will be a candidate for reelection, it’s time for a Republican to provide a serious challenge to him.

This president needs a challenger who is a conservative reformer, who is reality-based, who respects facts and truth, who shuns demagoguery, who believes civility and decency are essential for the long-term health of the public square, and who is committed to an unprecedentedly large restructuring and scaling back of the role government plays in our society.

What’s needed is a practical political-philosophy-in-action that draws from James Madison, Alexis de Tocqueville, Ronald Reagan, and Jack Kemp, applied with insights drawn from a creative meld of the reformist suggestions of Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and lawyer/author Philip K. Howard. (To get really in the philosophical weeds, it would help if the candidate is a constitutionalist rooted in the thought of the late academics Walter Berns and George Carey, who emphasized the importance of deliberative  and representative democracy, acting primarily through duly elected legislative bodies.)

The lodestars of the ideal conservative challenge to Trump will be fiscal responsibility to ward off a looming debt crisis, radical reduction of the pervasiveness of government in our lives, liberty as the founders understood it, and reinvigoration of civil society…. [Later in the column:]

A conservative challenger to Trump will draw out these contrasts and trumpet the conservative virtues under attack. Such a person will have to be a real conservative, not just an ideological peripatetic such as former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

Until someone else steps in, though, I’ll play the role. Consider this the announcement of my virtual campaign for the Republican nomination. I’ll raise no money, file no forms, and appear on no ballots. …

[The full column is here.]


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