Mark Shepard
Republican Voters: Please look under the hood
By Mark Shepard
February 19, 2016

The importance of the Republican primary cannot be overstated. I say this as someone who came very close to running against Bernie Sanders when he first ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006. I have personally seen and battled against his ideas and influence in four elections, winning an underdog primary, followed by two terms in the Vermont Senate, and then running against a national-GOP-backed candidate in a congressional primary. It would be folly to underestimate Sanders or his message. Hillary is merely a power-hungry crook. Bernie Sanders is on a mission, which now has a sizable following, many with deep pockets. If there is anything we should take away from the past decade, it is that these folks are a force to be taken seriously. We either turn their ideas back this election, or truly risk undoing everything that made America the envy of the world.

Neither a businessman with unlimited money nor a politician with eloquent speeches will defeat Sanders. He took out the wealthy, real-job-creating, charitable businessman 65% to 32% to win his Senate seat. Childish name-calling – liar, liar, liar – to avoid addressing history or a record will only make the spread larger.

Sanders' socialist movement will only be defeated by a candidate who has the ability and the will to piece-by-piece unpeel every half-truth that socialism is built upon. This task is a must even if Hillary wins the Democrat primary.

While chaos reigned through much of the Greenville, SC, debate, the candidates' uninterrupted closing statements presented a noteworthy contrast between Trump, Rubio, and Cruz:

Marco Rubio: "If you elect me president...we are going to be a country that says that life begins at conception and life is worthy of the protection of our laws. We're going to be a country that says that marriage is between one man and one woman...."

Donald Trump: "We are going to make our country great, and we're going to do the right thing...."

Ted Cruz: "Do you want a conservative, a proven conservative that will stand and fight with you each and every day?... Listen, repealing Obamacare is not going to be easy. Passing a simple flat tax that abolishes the IRS is not going to be easy, but if we stand with the American people we can do it. And today, we saw just how great the stakes are: two branches of government hang in the balance – not just the presidency, but the Supreme Court. If we get this wrong, if we nominate the wrong candidates, the Second Amendment, life, marriage, religious liberty – every one of those hangs in the balance...."

Marco Rubio's and Donald Trump's closing statements called on voters to simply elect them and things we've battled for decades will be accomplished. In stark contrast, Ted Cruz's closing statement shows an understanding of the incredibly tough battle we are in.

Yes, Cruz has said he would overturn all of Obama's illegal executive orders on day one, which is something he can do as president, yet neither Rubio nor Trump will take such a stand. But Cruz also has a firm grasp of the battle we are in. Things will not simply go our way just by electing our candidate. The fight will be huge and relentless, and that is why it is so important to elect a relentless fighter who does not live in a fantasy world, but rather understands and honestly expresses reality.

For the sake of winning the SC primary, Rubio and Trump are quick to promise things they cannot control, while staying far away from things they actually could do as president. Just read their closing statements again and imagine their responses when either is challenged in a debate in the general election. It will undo both of them because they will not be able to defend their own words as has been the pattern so far in this primary once the facts are sorted out: See here, here and here for video footage.

I am supporting Ted Cruz because I believe he is the only candidate running who has demonstrated he has the ability and determination to do the hard work required to unpeel the half-truths of socialism and thereby shift the thinking of millions of millennials who simply have not thought socialism through. We must have a candidate who thinks things through before he speaks. This is a battle of worldviews, not a speech contest, nor an insult match.

Socialism is a caste system. The rich stay rich and then there are the rest. The millennials need every aspect unpeeled if we are to leave a strong, free, and prosperous America to our children and grandchildren. Please look under the hood of every candidate. The engine matters.

© Mark Shepard


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Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard served two terms in the Vermont Senate (2003-2006) and ran for Congress in the 2006 Republican Primary. (Click here for more.)

For a number of reasons, not the least of which is its small size, Vermont was targeted as a key beachhead by those desiring to move America away from its liberty-based birth, where the laws of nature and nature's God were supreme, and toward socialism, where the state (man's wisdom) is supreme. It was in that environment that Mark ran and served in elected politics... (more)


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