LOS ANGELES, May 6, 2016 — Despite winning the Republican nomination, Donald Trump has a long and difficult road ahead. Many conservatives are seething and vowing to stop him at any price.
On social media pages, far too many lifelong Republicans are actually considering #NeverTrump over #NeverHillary.
Trump’s biggest problem is that his conservative credentials are unsatisfactory for those seeking the next Ronald Reagan. Trump is a pragmatic conservative, not an ideological one.
To be able to spend the general election totally focused on Hillary Clinton, Trump has to have the Republican base sewn up. The best way for him to do this is to bring some staunch conservatives onto his team. He should start with picking a very conservative Vice President.
Trump’s choice should be an ideological conservative who will allay the very concerns with the top of the ticket. Trump is a moderate, and moderates traditionally pick ideological conservatives to balance the ticket. Trump needs someone who is unapologetically pro-gun, anti-tax, pro-Israel and anti-leftist.
He cannot pick a Northeastern liberal Republican or any moderate Republican. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ohio Governor John Kasich could drive conservatives away permanently.
Gender or race should not be an issue. Trump is under no pressure to purposely put a woman on the ticket. Any choice will automatically be despised by the New York Times and MSNBC. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is receiving plenty of buzz, but Trump needs a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners conservative.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson has been tapped to lead the search, but he should not end up being the guy like Dick Cheney was for George W. Bush. Carson is a truly remarkable human being, but he is not a natural politician. Trump needs a political animal on his ticket.
Trump should simply pick among the very best people. There are five conservatives who would be a significant asset to the ticket.
1.) Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker — He broke the unions. He is a hero in his home state among Republicans. He is a solid conservative and a tough campaigner. He will have zero problem going after Hillary Clinton. Wisconsin is a purple state. Walker makes sense on every level.
2.) Texas Senator Ted Cruz — This is not as crazy as it sounds. Ronald Reagan fought a bitter primary with George Herbert Walker Bush before forming a unity ticket. Cruz is tenacious and smart. He would eagerly tear Clinton apart. He can out-argue anybody and his supporters would be reenergized.
3.) Florida Senator Marco Rubio — He and Trump traded cheap shots during the primaries, but Rubio articulates the optimistic Reagan vision better than anyone. Rubio speaks perfect Spanish and can effectively communicate why border security is not bigotry. Contrast his view of the future with Clinton being a relic from yesterday. He has many hardcore loyalists and executive experience from his time as Speaker of the Florida House.
4.) Lieutenant Colonel Allen West — The former Florida Congressman is beloved by conservatives everywhere. His military heroism is well known. National security conservatives concerned about Trump would go through a brick wall for Colonel West. He will lace into the failed Obama administration and wrap the failure around Clinton’s neck. Even a slight shift in the black vote kills Democrats.
5.) South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy — He is a prosecutor by trade. While he ran out of time on Benghazi, congressional hearings do not have the same rules as courtrooms. Gowdy can prosecute Clinton daily in the court of public opinion. He brings brains and discipline.
These five individuals are all staunch conservatives with unassailable conservative credentials and a national following. In different ways, they are all great leaders. They would all make an outstanding Vice President.