Vol. 50, No. 3

In this edition

“Why Trump Resonates.” When people see this headline on the cover, they may think it is an endorsement of Donald Trump. It’s not an endorsement. It’s an explanation. An explanation of how someone who displays so few of the personal qualities we look for in our leaders now finds himself the presumptive Republican nominee.

Why Trade Keeps America Strong and our Workers Employed

The benefits of free trade to our economy are proven and easily seen: small business expansion, job growth, wage increases, lower consumer prices, and an overall strengthening of the economy. But the overwhelming benefits of trade can also be tracked through the journey of tiny hay seeds planted in the fertile soil of Ellensburg, Washington.

Bad Trade Deals are Keeping Our Economy in Neutral

As President Obama prepares to leave office, his final legacy item — and quite possibly the final nail in the coffin of our free market — is the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, another bad trade deal that has left America’s economy stuck in neutral.

The Future of NATO

NATO is at a crossroads of identity and purpose. It can either rest on 19th century alliance rules, based on reaction and diminutive diplomacy, or it can create the destiny of the 21st.

The Scalia Election

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February led to deadlocks and compromises in some of the biggest cases of the term, highlighting the importance of his replacement on the Court.


Americans are ashamed of their government and ready to turn the tables on the governing class. Who better to shame Washington than someone who has no shame?

Tradition and Novelty in Mr. Trump’s Running Mate Selection

The 2016 GOP vice presidential candidate is uncertain, but the selection process will likely be unique even as it honors certain patterns.

Picking a VP: Why Rules Matter

The rules governing conventions have been used for political ends in the past. That is likely to continue in Cleveland, where the selection of the running mate will be critical this year.

Time for a New Start

As another Republican nomination process comes to an end, this constitutional attorney and GOP activist argues that it’s time to revisit the 40-year old tradition that dictates where the process begins.

Storm Clouds over Philadelphia

With some Republicans wringing their hands about the candidate they nominated, it’s worth noting that many Democrats are doing the same thing as the party gathers for their quadrennial convention.

From Reagan & Ford to Trump & the Reality Show: 40 Years of Republican Conventions

A brief summary of GOP Conventions over the past 40 years – the highs and lows and good and bad of each, and how they may compare to this year’s proceedings.

Ripon Profile of Susan Brooks

The Representative of the Fifth District of Indiana discusses her proudest achievement since coming to Congress and the advice she would give the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.

Storm Clouds over Philadelphia

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With many Republicans wringing their hands when they think about the candidate they are about to nominate in Cleveland, it is worth noting that many Democrats are doing the same thing when they think about the candidate they are about to nominate in Philadelphia.

This year’s Democratic National Convention was supposed to be a coronation of sorts for Hillary Clinton.  She was the heir apparent — running as a Vice President normally would with the full support of the White House behind her.  But the challenge by Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders exposed her for who she really is – a deeply flawed candidate.

She does not have an inspiring message like former President Bill Clinton’s “Putting People First” or President Obama’s “Change We Can Believe In.”  In fact, as we enter the general election campaign, her strategy appears to be geared around a simple premise — “I’m not Donald Trump.”  This is an undeniable premise, but is hardly an inspirational message for winning votes.

As Secretary Clinton seeks a connection with Senator Sanders’ supporters, she faces three challenges. First, she is viewed as part of a broken system.  As Jeff Greenfield wrote in Politico, “Her public life — the posts she has held, the positions she has adopted (and jettisoned) — define her as a creature of the ‘establishment’ at a time when voters regard the very idea with deep antipathy.”

The challenge by Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders exposed Hillary Clinton for who she really is – a deeply flawed candidate.

Second, she has fundamental policy differences with Sanders.  Brian Hanley outlined 15 of them for the Huffington Post earlier this year.  The differences range from her opposition to a single payer health plan (something Sanders supports) to his belief that the nation’s biggest banks should be broken up, something Secretary Clinton (who made millions giving speeches to Wall Street) opposes.

The third and perhaps the most daunting challenge she faces revolves around the issue of trust – or lack thereof.  Jonathan Chait summed up this challenge in an article for New York magazine last month.  “His supporters trust Clinton far less than hers trust Sanders,” Chait wrote.  “A significant chunk of his base tells pollsters it won’t vote for Clinton over Trump, leaving the polls precariously close.”

Even if Secretary Clinton makes some policy shifts to placate Senator Sanders’ followers, will they actually believe her?  In all likelihood, many will not.  Furthermore, it is also likely that Senator Sanders will continue to advocate for those issues that he campaigned on and has long believed, leaving Team Clinton with the distinct possibility that Sanders’ supporters will decide to stay home with their “Bernie or Bust” signs.

If her support among Sanders voters is not concerning enough, Secretary Clinton also faces a challenge among women voters.  As Courtney Weaver wrote in the Financial Times last month: “On paper Clinton should have the support of most liberal or moderate female voters in America. In reality, she is struggling. Early polls suggest that the gender gap actually works in Trump’s favor, with Trump’s support from men outmatching Clinton’s support from women. And Clinton currently has worse numbers among women than Bill Clinton did in his 1992 presidential race against George H.W. Bush. Bill won the female vote by 17 points; Clinton has just a 13-point lead among women in a matchup against Donald Trump, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.”

For millennials, many of whom are not familiar with her past, Mr. Trump’s attacks labeling her an enabler during her husband’s time in the White House have been effective.  Similarly, the controversy surrounding her private email servers while she was Secretary of State has taken a toll across women of all ages.  As we now know, she lied to the American public about sending and receiving classified emails, a practice which FBI Director James Comey scathingly characterized as, “extremely careless.”  As a result, a majority of the American people do not trust her.  A May survey conducted by the New York Times and CBS News bears this out, finding that 64% of registered voters do not find either Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump to be “honest or trustworthy.  Writing about the survey, NYT reporter Amy Chlozick concluded, “Ask voters why they don’t trust Mrs. Clinton, and again and again they will answer with a single word: Emails.”

The playbook for the Democrats is to define the Republican Party as the party of Trump.  Now is the time for Republicans to fight back and define Hillary Clinton.

The only reason Hillary Clinton will likely not lose the female vote is because Donald Trump’s negatives among women are even higher.  This is very concerning for Republicans in down ballot races.  There are many issues on which Mr. Trump could make inroads, but he has squandered away opportunity after opportunity.

For this reason, Republicans must stop defending and explaining Mr. Trump’s proposals and start going after Mrs. Clinton’s positions.  The playbook for the Democrats is to define the Republican Party as the party of Trump.  Now is the time for Republicans to fight back and define Hillary Clinton.  With the balance of the Senate at risk and concerns of a smaller majority in the House of Representatives, let’s use our best weapon of attack — Secretary Clinton’s record and her desire to continue President Obama’s failed policies.

Under President Obama’s tenure, the economy is faltering with little growth and labor force participation rate is at a 40-year low.  And let’s not forget Obamacare.  It will be nearly impossible for Hillary Clinton to defend health insurance rates going up an average of 10%.   Then, there is the disastrous foreign policy of the last seven and a half years.  The Iran deal.  Benghazi.  Syria.  And, of course the infamous reset button that Secretary Clinton presented to Russia.

It is critical for Republicans not to lose sight of the massively flawed candidacy of Hillary Clinton.  There are serious issues to jump on, and now is the time to pounce.

Susan Del Percio is a New York-based Republican strategist and founder of Susan Del Percio Strategies.  She previously served in the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.