There’s nothing like a great presidential campaign. Placards and pompoms, rallies and roasts. Polls and predictions. Debates and diner food. Inspiring speeches and infamous flubs.
The presidential campaign has a natural energy that every four years reinvigorates Americans and reintroduces them to the long process that, more than any other, writes the next page in our history as a nation.
From the wind-swept plains of Iowa to the snows of New Hampshire. From the fried Oreos of the state fairs to the suburban coffee klatches, the local TV interviews and social media screeds, there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Biased media, baseless claims, dirty tricks and, unfortunately, the deep state are part of it too.
Embrace it all. Though some might disagree — for political reasons, naturally — in America, there is no such thing as people waiting their turn. The more candidates on the stage, the better.
This process is a symbol not just of vibrant political parties but an energetic democratic process. That is something we need right now.
The players are now largely on the stage. No Hollywood screenwriter or Oscar-winning actor can fathom the size, complexity, risk and reward of the trail that is before these candidates.
A vanquished former president attempting to do what has been done only once before in American political history — stage a comeback that even Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t manage.
A popular Florida governor seen as a rising star, but untested on the national stage.
The first Black U.S. senator elected from the South since Reconstruction leveraging a powerful personal story of beating the odds.
A former vice president who was discarded by his former running mate but stood his legal and ethical ground in the face of a mob, now trying to claw his way back to relevance.
A first-generation Indian American woman, former governor and U.N. ambassador touting her broad leadership experience.
Another former governor, once the nation’s top border official, looking to stem the tide of illegal immigration and drugs.
A young, articulate entrepreneur who made his name fighting “woke” corporate interests and what he calls the left’s social justice scam.
Perhaps even a former New Jersey governor who, with no natural constituency and nothing to lose, may run just to have the chance to go toe to toe with former President Donald Trump.
A presidential campaign is not an argument. It is a great national conversation about the future of our republic. For most Americans at this point, that conversation is barely above a whisper. It is in the periphery of their hearing as they deal with work and school, paying their bills and taxes, planning their vacations and living life.
In the months to come, the campaign will crescendo like an odd symphony to a climax that is inescapable as each side chooses its standard-bearers.
There will be key changes and tempo shifts. There will be twists and surprises. One thing is certain: No one in American politics is ever owed anything from the electorate.
That’s why front-runners often don’t stay at the head of the pack, and candidates that polls and pundits may like can suddenly find themselves in heated competition. It’s why our system is still full of often-wonderful surprises.
When George Gershwin premiered “Rhapsody in Blue,” many people in the audience, underwhelmed by the opening numbers, irritable and impatient, walked out. Those who left missed out on the amazing quintessentially American music that would become iconic the world over.
Don’t walk out on this campaign. It can be dissonant. It can be soaring. It can make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It can make you cheer. It can make you cry.
Watch the candidates that don’t just put America first but make Americans excited about selecting the leader of the free world.
The campaign is about getting people to believe that when we look in the mirror, we aren’t the image the left wants us to see, but rather the proud Americans ready to tackle that which is yet to come.
It’s about choosing the one person who will be our voice in that process.
After the speeches and swipes, the challenge for every campaign will be coming together to face united the threats to freedom from the left’s radical social engineering, government overreach, grievance culture and racial division.
Welcome to the great American adventure, everyone. Honor the process by being excited about your role in it.
• Tom Basile is the host of “America Right Now” on Newsmax and the author of “Tough Sell: Fighting the Media War in Iraq.” He served as an adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.
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