Todd McKinley was a 2018 Republican Candidate for Congress in TN-01, he's a retired Army Paratrooper, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, and Presidential Service Badge recipient. He’s served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as well 6 ½ years at the White House Communications Agency & White House Military Office. He’s served as an Advance Representative for the Trump Administration, and as an Advance Representative for the 2020 Trump Campaign. Follow Todd: ; ; ; ;

Observing Congress closely for decades now, it’s clear that collectively they wouldn’t get a clean bill of health, not from a real Doctor mind you. After all, living in a swamp for decades isn’t good for the health of Congress or our nation. That’s not to say that we haven’t had or don’t have many great Members of both Houses of Congress who’ve stuck around for decades. However, by and large, having a career ruling class has done our nation more harm than good as they’ve bankrupted our country, and yes, $23+ Trillion in debt and rising is bankrupt. These career politicians have driven a wedge between everyday Americans, sewn violent rhetoric into our political and social discourse and used our collective anger to blind us, all in order to win elections. Don’t get me wrong, those who vote for things over ideas are also to blame, but that’s a topic for another time.

Coming up with a topic and title for this article, several ideas came to mind, but with the Coronavirus pandemic, I decided to use a medical-related title. Now, before I blast many of the folks in Congress, I must say that we’re seeing some bipartisan work being done, but it shouldn’t require a global pandemic for this to happen. I’m not saying that every piece of legislation should be bi-partisan or middle of the road or anything, but I am saying we need less fighting and more work getting done on a normal basis.

Togetherness in a Time of Social Distancing

Now in a time of a global pandemic where people are dying, where we must socially distance ourselves from one another, we see pettiness from many in Congress and the media of course. We see shenanigans (yes I called shenanigans) in response to what the President called the virus, we see Congress and the media playing the identity politics card in response to the Administration’s actions regarding the temporary travel bans, which pandemic experts have said is the right move as well as numerous Democrats. We see all of these things and more, all in a time when the American people need relevant and timely information and a calming voice telling them that everything is going to be ok, that we’ll get through this and be stronger on the other side.

Wait, we’re seeing this type of leadership from the Trump Administration, in fact, President Trump and Vice President Pence have been positive from the beginning as well as acting constructively on behalf of all Americans. In a time of global crisis, even if the outcome is uncertain, taking real decisive action is exactly what’s needed. What’s not needed is the pettiness, divisiveness, and business as usual attitude by many on Capitol Hill. In other words, we need people to be part of the solutions, not exacerbate the problems. Now’s the time that all Americans come together, to set the example and finally show the career politicians what right looks like.

The President’s Coattails

We’re reminded daily, and in case you weren’t aware, 2020 is an election year. Ok, I get it, you don’t need me reminding you of the obvious, simmer down, it’s my lead sentence. The question so much isn’t who’s running and for which office, but what can you and the everyday American do to have your voice heard in Washington or your State’s Capitol moving forward?

It’s certain that President Trump still has a lot of support for re-election as evidenced by the number of people who attend his rallies, his poll numbers, his push to deliver on his campaign promises despite what he’s been up against from Democrats and the “Fake News Media,” the economy pre-Coronavirus and of course the many old-hand politicians and newcomers who are jumping on his coattails while they campaign. Just look at their ads on social media or any other location, this is being done by a lot of these candidates (not all mind you) to mislead you the voter and to cover for the fact they don’t have anything of their own to offer. With all of this, many (again, not all) Republicans running for office are trying to out-Trump one another. Before you say, you want the person you elect to support the President, so what’s the problem!? My response is, there’s no problem with supporting the President, but when the majority of a candidate’s ads or speeches leans heavily on the President and the rest of their ads and speeches focus on low hanging fruit, then it’s certain these individual candidates have no real ideas of their own.

2020 and Beyond

Now, what do the President’s Coattails have to do with the 2020 and all subsequent elections? The answer is…EVERYTHING…, in other words, we can’t allow for people to slip into office on the coattails of a President who ran on “Drain the Swamp” or on the coattails of anyone else. In other words, we can’t allow ourselves to be fooled by those seeking office or a higher office to run primarily on someone else’s merit. The keyword is primarily, it’s ok to say in an ad that you support the President, but what else do you have to offer. Also, and likely more important, we must get away from electing and re-electing the same old people and the same types of people every election cycle.

Additionally, we must get away from sending the incumbents back to the office they hold just because it’s easy to vote for the name you know or the insiders threaten anyone who dares to support another candidate, especially an outsider candidate. Trust me, I speak from experience on this topic, and no I have no problem dropping names and instances at some point. We mustn’t be fearful of supporting a person running against an incumbent or establishment darling; when we don’t look to support other candidates, it does our entire country a major disservice as evidenced by the “swamp” that is Washington.

The bottom line, we must look to ourselves to research every candidate, incumbent and non-incumbent alike. We must work to recruit candidates to run for office and not just allow the same groups or party insiders to decide who may run or only support those who show up with money in hand. This reduces the number of good candidates greatly, leaving many Americans to complain about the process and the usual suspect candidates and incumbents. Conversely, when we allow ourselves to entertain the idea of supporting newcomers or outsiders, it increases exponentially the number of candidates who would be willing to run. This brings in new ideas as well as people from backgrounds that don’t usually run for public office, but really should.

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