WARNING: The Republican Party is Failing to Vet Trump Candidates for 2020

True Conservatives Are Wanted

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The Republican Party in 1994, led by Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA), developed a plan to take the House of Representatives from the Democrat Party. They dubbed it “The Contract With America.” After 40 years of Democrat rule over the House of Representatives, Newt and the Republican Party were able to wrestle control and change course. Bill Clinton was president and the Republican party was now able to make significant changes in government with his help. Clinton, the consummate politician, did not want to have a philosophical debate he could not win, so he gave in.

Dump the RINOs

Fast forward 32 years to 2018. Donald Trump is elected president and making significant changes to the country with REAL jobs growth. Does the Republican Party push a winning agenda? NO – they let the Democrats craft a phony narrative – RUSSIA – RUSSIA – RUSSIA. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Republican Speaker of the House, sold the President down the river and ignored Trump’s signature issue, THE WALL. Then Ryan and the House increased spending and wondered why Conservatives were upset.

The President’s own party sabotaged him behind his back with the help of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and others in the House and Senate. During the first two years of Trump’s term, Republican actors, both in the White House and Congress, undermined his every move. The President had few friends among the Deep State. This sent Republicans wondering what happened to their House majority?

In 2018, what did the Republican party do? They chose a mix of ANTI-TRUMPER-RINOS and others for the House races who could not win. The most important presidential victory in this generation for a Conservative President was hamstrung by a newly elected Democrat House of Representatives. Halfway through the first term, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took the gavel as the speaker while The SQUAD took over the Democrat Party. Comprised of Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Talib (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), as a singular brand, they bonded together in one purpose: impeachment! Since taking the reins, they have been hell-bent on destroying the country and the President’s credibility and chances of success.

Trump’s Base is Galvanized

Luckily for the President, the Kavanaugh hearings galvanized his base. The hearing exposed the Democrat Party as a party of hate-filled vindictive children. Republicans posted credible Senate candidates who were supported by grassroots voters energized to elect them. Along with the Presidential coattails, the Senate remained Republican. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to change the House narrative.

Imagine the havoc Democrats could make if they control both houses after the 2020 elections. 2018 Democrats crafted a singular message outright lied to their constituents. The message they presented was impactful and led to their win. They “PROMISED” to work with the President to fix problems – THEY LIED.

Conservative messages were drowned out. While Trump repeatedly offered to fix DACA, the press ignored it and Democrats rephrased the proposed plan. Doing so allowed the Democrats to run on “preserving” DACA and the status quo. The President also wanted to FIX HEALTH CARE. With the help of McCain in the Senate and Ryan in the House, Obamacare was never repealed and replaced in Trump’s first two years. Trump was forced to present an inept message derailing one of his major campaign promises. The ability to replace this disaster policy was out of his hands.

Despite the mantra of “Repeal and Replace,” Republicans never had a viable plan to replace Obamacare. A strategy was never presented to the American people to garner support. This could have helped the Congressional Republicans from displaying a losing policy, and the lie that they supported the repeal of pre-existing conditions.

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The RNC Forgot to Take Notes During the 2018 Elections

Now is the beginning of the 2020 election cycle. This President has the best chance of re-election for three reasons 1. Economy 2. Economy. 3. Economy. Bill Clinton’s strategist, James Carville said it best, “It’s the Economy Stupid.” Following his real estate instincts, Trump knows it’s the same message as location, location, location. Right now neither the US economy nor jobs can be beaten. This, despite a Democrat lie/spin claiming the gains weren’t Trump’s, but former President Barack Obama’s. Yes, and I have a Bridge in Brooklyn for those who believe that!

Running as a Republican against the President was never a smart idea. In 2018, the New Jersey Senate race featured Bob Menendez, an accused child molester, and thief up for re-election. This seat was ripe for victory to turn it Republican.

President Trump and Bob Hugin
Photo credit: Politico/Getty Images

Bob Hugin ran against him donating vast sums of money to earn his nomination. Like Democrat presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg (D-NY), Hugin bought the nomination through a corrupt New Jersey Republican party.  Hugin ran with the platform as being an Anti -Trump, Pro-Choice Abortion on Demand Republican.

Seats True Conservatives Can Win

REALLY? A dead Republican with a sign that read “I am Pro-Life / Support President Trump” would have been elected in a landslide.

New Jersey

Hugin lost by a narrow margin of 354,000 votes. Without a conservative candidate, Republicans stayed home. New Jersey politicians believed RINO politics and money alone could win it. Losing a vulnerable and very important Senate seat.

Did the Republican Party learn and are they changing course to win in New Jersey and elsewhere? NO! In 2019, the New Jersey Republican party had the largest turnout in an off-year and elected more conservative Republicans in decades to statewide races. It is important for the party to listen to their voters and select candidates who match their values.  

Viable conservative candidates are out there unsupported. I fear for New Jersey, as their Republican Party just endorsed the second Democrat turned Republican in the 2020 race. The first was Jeff Van Drew running in the House CD-2 race. The other is Rikin ‘Rik’ Mehta to challenge Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker. Mehta is a political newcomer, but worked in the USDA during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

The concern is with the excitement created by Trump, New Jersey Republican leaders seem content on supporting candidates left of center. With Booker another vulnerable candidate, RINOs aren’t the obvious pick to endorse to excite the base. The question seems whether the New Jersey Republicans really want to win in 2020.

Like New Jersey, Republicans from coast to coast did not learn from the past. Viable candidates are still not supported. State Republican Parties are still supporting RINOs who are running in districts that can be won.

New York

Despite contrary reports, AOC is vulnerable in New York’s District 14. She does not have local support in her district and considers herself a national candidate. Yet for the last six months, the NY Republican Party has pushed for and supported a Black Jamaican diversity candidate, Sherie Murray. Unfortunately, she is not a Republican! A former Anti-Trumper, she supported former NJ Gov. Chris Christie, and twice voted for Obama. In a 2018 tweet, she commended AOC on her win and supported the Democratic Party. Yes, only two years ago she was congratulating them on selecting a more diverse leader! Murray has since deleted those tweets. Most importantly, Murray does not live in the district!

Sherie Murray and President Obama
Photo credit: NY Post/Murray campaign (L)/Getty Images (R)

A remote Jamaican woman running in a highly Latino district is not the recipe to win. Someone should tell the RNC that diversity should not be the sole reason to select a candidate. John Cummings, a school teacher, is an articulate candidate. Yet he is struggling for recognition. Living and working in the district his whole life, a former NY City Police officer injured in the line of duty, John is a man of utmost integrity. After spending the last 19 years behind the badge, instead of retiring, he shifted his career to education and is teaching civics and history to Black/Latino students in a low-income neighborhood. It is not just any school; it the same high school in the Bronx where he graduated! John, however, has been largely ignored by the media. All of his support has come from a grassroots effort.

Being Of the and For the District is Vital

John Cummings can win, but the only support he has so far from the Republican Party are the Bronx and Queens chapters. Let’s all hope New York and the national chapters come to their senses too! For full disclosure, I went to high school with John and he is my friend. Check out his education and transportation plans and remember AOC is against any growth in the community. She prevented Amazon from building a New York hub resulting in the loss of 100,000 – 300,000 high paying tech, construction, neighborhood, and community growth jobs. That doesn’t include the revenue which would have been generated.

John Cummins
Photo credit: NY Post/ Dennis A. Clark

AOC never frequents stores in her district and even gets her hair done for over $125 in DC salons. John intimately knows his district. He teaches their children, visits the same restaurants, pharmacies, and shops in the same stores as his constituents. He is one of them #IAMYOU2020. In fact, a well known secret is AOC has NEVER actually lived in the district. The address she lists there is an old apartment of her late father while she is actually from and lives in Westchester, NY.

Yet the Republican chapter stood back and waited 6 months to endorse him while the Republican Party still has not endorsed him. FOR WHAT REASON? John already received the endorsement of the New York Conservative Party in 2019. The RNC parades Murray on every single Conservative Fox show knowing she is a RINO candidate. While John’s 15 years behind the microphone as an announcer for the Fairfield University Girls Basketball team shows his ability to think on his feet. Murray has had fifteen appearances on Fox shows without any true platform. Comparatively, John was on two shows during the same timeframe. Murray has no chance to win a one on one election if AOC is her opponent. He has the best chance, yet is ignored by Hannity, Dobbs, and others. WHY? Ask the RNC?


In Virginia’s District 7, Jason Roberge is a great candidate. A 100% conservative, Pro-Life, Pro 2nd Amendment Republican.  Jason has struggled to get the acknowledgment from local elites. 2 Republican Rinos have joined the race in the last 2 months.  The conventional wisdom would be to support Jason, but they look elsewhere despite his qualifications.

Jason Roberge
Photo credit: ballotpedia.org/

The convention is at the end of April. Does the Republican Party stand up beside him to endorse him? NO! It is as if they are waiting for someone to come in like New Jersey and buy this election. Maybe Bloomberg will spend money to fill the seat. That is why Virginia turned Democrat in the first place.


Greg Musselwhite
Photo credit: ballotpedia.org/

In Florida, Gregg Musslewhite is a long-standing Resident of District 20. He is up against perennial Democrat Alcee Hastings, who has a history of corruption.  Not a single Republican official has contacted Gregg; Palm Beach County does not care – They gave up a long time ago. Floundering for support and money, he could easily win with the right strategy and money behind him.

Will 2020 Be a Repeat of the 2018 RNC Loses?

These candidates are only the tip of the iceberg of viable candidates who can defeat the incumbent Democrats. The RNC received over $450 Million in donations during the Impeachment hearings alone. Did the funds go to these candidates? Is the Republican party adequately vetting, working with, and getting behind the best candidates? Not really. 

The RNC prefers to wait it out until the Primary. WHY? So that someone could buy their way in? Candidates for the people’s House of Representatives should be from among the people. They should live in and be accountable to their districts. AOC, for example, is not accountable to her district. She loves being a national candidate. Her funds come 90% from outside her district.  

What Can the RNC Learn

Democrats do not work like this! They start a procedure to recruit and interview candidates. DNC money helps them fundraise. Credible candidates are recruited that can win, they spend money intelligently to help them start. The RNC should endorse conservative candidates that can win, not diversity or if that fails, who has the most money.

I have worked with some Republican candidates on the 2020 campaigns. I was aghast at required start up fees. Candidates starved for money will pay consultants just to get the initial use of a mailing list from a Republican source. Of that money, 65%-75% of first time income from Emails/Letters, goes to these consulting companies and NOT to the Candidate. That is absurd!

For example, the first donation candidates pay the firms. We will look at a $25 or $100 candidates receive from an email blast. For the first donation, candidates get $10-$9 for a $25 donation; they get $35-25 for a $100 donation. The company that writes the email gets a piece and after everyone else is paid, there is not much left to do the real work needed. The candidate then does get 100% of subsequent donations. The problem is very few donate more than once. Donors who contribute the maximum of $2500 on the first pass are the greatest fear for these candidates as they will only get $1k-$900. It is good work for the consultants, but strangling to candidates.

Make Better Use of Resources

I understand the reason, but the method prevents good candidates from running that cannot be self-funded. I laughed when a consultant said to a candidate, “Give me your list of friends so we can contact them.” Not knowing the system, the candidate did. That consultant then had access to their names who found their way onto that consultant’s list. Thinking as a sales manager, my question for the candidate to have asked the consultants would have been, “If you are so well connected, shouldn’t you be introducing me to YOUR friends?”

Where is the local Republican Party with mailing lists of potential donors because the Democrats have them. Do they consult and provide them platform advice? How about website and social media assistance? Where are the donor groups to support them?

Listen to the Electorate

The RNC should be working to make sure candidates selected match their electorate. Why not parade them in front of their voters before a primary giving each equal access to donors who can help them win and voters who can help decide on which candidates they favor. This could help turn the tide of getting so many RINO candidates and those who can buy their way in like Bob Hugin or Mitt Romney. When these candidates then lose and a Democrat owns the seat, we wonder why so many voters do not support the Republican Party and political leadership.

The bottom line is without a message to rally the electorate, few will win. Trump’s plan will be hamstrung again by a lack of a message and a mandate to execute it. Having candidates figure it out is counterproductive. Newt’s plan worked and the RNC and district level Republican groups need to stop ignoring it.

Frank D'Onofrio
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