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McCormick Touts Leadership, Offers Policy Views on DelVal Campaign Swing

Talking with Dave McCormick, you’d never know he’s a wealthy former CEO. McCormick is down-to-earth but also smart. He marries his background in the financial industry–he led Bridgewater, one of the largest hedge funds—with a commonsense approach to government.

On a campaign swing in the Delaware Valley, he held two very different events Wednesday, listening to the concerns of a small group of community leaders at a Black church in Philadelphia and then holding a rally for supporters in suburban Bridgeport.

Now in his second campaign for the U.S. Senate, McCormick fielded questions from a mostly African American group at First Immanuel Baptist Church in northwest Philadelphia. People wanted to know his positions on foreign affairs, the economy, energy, and education.

Calvin Tucker, deputy chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, introduced McCormick as “a thinker and a doer.”

Dave McCormick flanked by Calvin Tucker (left) and the Rev. Todd Johnson, pastor, First Immanuel Baptist Church.

“McCormick wrote a very instructional book, ‘Superpower in Peril.’ We can relate to that because last night was evidence of peril in this city,” said Tucker, referring to looters that recently hit the city. “We need leadership on those levels. And yes, I believe he will deal with the international crisis we’re facing. We need someone who can thoughtfully put together strategies.”

“I’m a guy who believes in America,” said McCormick. “It’s the greatest country in history.” While conceding there are “a lot of problems,” McCormick said things can be turned around with the right leadership. It has happened in the past.

“We see inflation is a 40-year high. The talking point coming out of the Biden administration is inflation has slowed down; it’s only growing at 3 percent. But prices are up 25 percent since President Biden took office…It really hurts working families, and it hurts elders.”

“We see it in the fentanyl crisis,” he said. “Which is a direct consequence of the bad border policy.” He visited the border during his last campaign and saw cartel members across the border and people streaming across.

“It’s a direct consequence of a lack of law and order, which is a huge problem; what we saw last night in Philadelphia is not an outlier. That is a consequence of philosophy. It’s not just DA Krasner, although he’s a manifestation of it. It’s a philosophy that we don’t ensure law and order. And that’s the death of communities. That’s the death of entrepreneurship. When you work all day to create a small business, and somebody throws a brick through the window, and you have a $5,000 bill that you can’t afford.”

“You can’t afford to have a business in a place where crime runs rampant,” said McCormick.

“We see it in our energy sector,” he said. “We went from being energy dominant, energy independent, and in three short years, we’re an energy importer. So, we’ve lost security in the world because we’re no longer dominant. We’ve lost economic opportunity because those great jobs (are in) Pennsylvania.”

McCormick visited areas where Pennsylvania natural gas is being extracted through fracking.

Dave McCormick speaks to supporters at a rally in Bridgeport

“In the southeast here, if we had a facility at the Philadelphia port, those great jobs and opportunities to export natural gas are restricted by the regulation and the blanket that’s come on top of it by the Biden administration,” he said.

“And when you think about what’s happening in our schools, essentially a war on culture, a war on the principles that made America great,” he said. “A meritocracy. The belief that America is a great country, with dark chapters, but a great country.”

“The progressive ideology that’s highjacked our schools is making it harder for our kids to get the education they need. And it’s showing up in statistics. We’re 27 in our high schools in the industrial world.”

Leadership was McCormick’s theme at the upbeat rally at Taproom 23 in Bridgeport, where about 200 enthusiastic supporters and party leaders cheered his remarks.

State GOP Chair Lawrence Tabas called on the party to unite.

“We’re united because we now see what happens when our party doesn’t work together,” said Tabas. “We’re lucky we have somebody like Dave McCormick…losing by a whisker in the (2022) primary. It would have been easy for him to say… ‘Goodbye, good luck’ to politics. But he didn’t.”

The crowd chanted, “Dave! Dave! Dave!” and cheered as McCormack came onstage. McCormick slammed  President Joe Biden and called his opponent, incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D), a “rubber stamp” for inflation-causing policies.

“We’ve got a southern border that’s open and too many factories that are closed,” said McCormick. “Crime is up. Does anyone have a doubt when they saw what happened in Center City Philadelphia, last night? And incomes are down. The price of food, rent, and gas is high, and confidence in our leaders is low.”

“We cannot accept the status quo,” he said. “We cannot lose our country. We cannot lose our culture. We have to have change,” said McCormick.

“I am Pennsylvania first. This is where I was born and raised… I’m a combat veteran. I’m a businessman. I’m a seventh-generation Pennsylvanian.”

Casey, who is running for his fourth term, “was born to run for political office. And I was born to shake things up.”

A West Point graduate, McCormick served in the Army in the 82nd Airborne Division during the Persian Gulf War, receiving the bronze star.

His parents were educators, and he grew up in the Pittsburgh area and then moved with his family to Bloomsburg, where his father was president of Bloomsburg University and became chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The family grew Christmas trees on a farm that McCormick still owns.

McCormick, who holds a doctorate from Princeton, also worked as undersecretary of the treasury under President George W. Bush.

Montgomery County GOP Chairman Christian Nascimento called McCormick, “Just the person we need. He’s got the political ability to beat Casey, and he is the senator we need for Pennsylvania.”

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Counterpoint: Not a 2016 Rerun — Trump Is a One-Trick Pony

For an alternative viewpoint see, “Point: Republicans Falling into the Same 2016 Trump Trap.”

Those afraid that the 2024 GOP presidential contest will become a repeat of 2016 need not worry. The race is radically different this year; it will not play out the same.

First, former president Donald Trump is greatly diminished compared to 2015, when he first glided down his escalator in front of all those paid “volunteers.”

Second, the rest of next year’s budding GOP candidates are well-acquainted with the former president’s playbook and will know how to fight him.

Third, the “unstoppable” sheen that Trump once had has vanished after losses in every major election from 2018 onward. He must now labor under the worst label any politician can have: Loser.

Instead of a repeat of 2016, 2024 looks more like a continuation of what we saw in 2020: Trump cannot compete anywhere new,  and he cannot put any new voters or states in play. In short, he’s playing a losing game of being able to attract only voters who had previously supported him.

While he can still persuade many GOP donors to send their hard-earned dollars to his campaign, his political message now falters more than it inspires. Plus, the party has produced a few non-Trump grievance candidates, so voters still attracted to that style of messaging now have options they didn’t have in 2016.

More GOP primary voters will cast strategic votes in the 2024 primary because they know we need a stronger general election candidate than Trump. And now the balance of the Republican field can’t be snuck up on, as so many of them were back in 2016.

Trump is a one-trick pony. His trick is a good one, but, simply put, his opponents know what’s coming.

(A word of advice to them: Don’t go easy on Trump out of fear that his voters won’t return to you in the fall. None of them will ultimately vote for Biden.)

Finally, Trump’s opponents know the American people have rejected him, not once but three times: In 2018, when the GOP lost the House; in 2020, when it lost the presidency and the Senate twice (on election night and again on runoff day in Georgia); and once again last year. Trump’s invincibility cloak is tattered, torn and useless.

This is driving the entry of so many new candidates and so much new funding.

And don’t forget the myriad legal issues Trump faces in multiple jurisdictions from local, state and federal prosecutors. Unlike the civil trial he legally skipped recently in New York, he would need to actually attend any criminal trial, say in Fulton County, Georgia, or in federal court. Besides sapping his time, this would forcefully reiterate to the country in general, and to Republican primary voters in particular, that Trump is damaged goods, on the decline and — most important — the only GOP nominee who could lose to President Biden.

In 2016, Trump barely beat Hillary Clinton, the most compromised Democratic nominee in modern history. In 2020 he lost decisively to the second most compromised Democrat nominee. Let’s hope the other candidates in the Republican field act accordingly and that GOP voters realize our 2024 nomination needs to be stronger and more decisive.