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Campaigns and Elections

An Open Letter to Wisconsin’s RNC Convention Delegates

20 Jun , 2016  

Friends,

First, let me congratulate you on becoming delegates to the RNC convention in Cleveland next month. It’s an achievement I never attained. I did attend the 2004 New York convention as a guest so I know how exciting this gathering can be in any year.

However, this is an extraordinary year and as you well know, you have an extraordinary responsibility to do the right thing–not only for our party, but for our nation.

I recognize this advice is not only unsolicited, it may be unwelcome. I’m not figuratively wagging my finger at you or demanding you do anything. Rather, I sincerely ask you to consider the evidence at your disposal and prevent Donald Trump from becoming our party’s nominee.

Having gained the most pledged delegates, Donald Trump wants you to now enter into a political suicide pact with him. Please do not oblige him.

My grievances with this repugnant, vulgar authoritarian, major donor to the Democrats are well known, but let’s take his personal shortcomings off the table.

His general election campaign is a disaster in the making.

  • Trump has the highest unfavorable rating of any candidate for a major party on record — 70% in the latest Washington Post-ABC poll. His unfavorables with Hispanics is 88%, with African Americans 87%.
  • Here in Wisconsin, voter enthusiasm among Republicans is plummeting. It’s down nine points since March according to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll.
  • Whereas the GOP had a 10 point advantage in voter enthusiasm four years ago, we’re presently suffering a six point deficit and trending in the wrong direction.
  • This enthusiasm gap puts the seat of our own Ron Johnson, the Senior US Senator and chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, in jeopardy.
  • Trump continually says he does not need you…does not need us…does not need the Republican Party. Rather than reach out and attempt to unify the party, he continues to push a divisive and dismissive tone, which damages the brand and hurts down-ticket candidates as they seek independent voters.
  • As of last month, Trump had only $2.4 million in the bank, raised a mere $14 million and refused to build a small-dollar or large donor operation. Instead, he floated his primary efforts through $44 million in personal loans.  In comparison, in 2012 Mitt Romney had already raised nearly $100 million by that time.
  • Trump’s cult of personality and earned media advantages got him this far, but have reached their limit. He now refuses to build a data operation that would help him and our fellow Republican candidates in November. In 2016, we Republicans were in a position to bridge the digital divide between the parties, but Trump refuses to invest in the nuts and bolts of data collection and analysis. As you know, data is the key to fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts.
  • Still, it’s not just a data team Trump eschews. His campaign has less than three dozen paid staff working on its behalf across the country. That’s not a typo. He’s ‘estimated’ he has ‘about 30’ employees. Hillary Clinton has more than 730.
  • Trump proclaims he’s growing the party, that his record number of votes this Spring is evidence. Yes, he did bring more voters out this Spring, but have you seen an increase in donors on the county level? Do you see a surge in volunteers showing up for party activities in your area? Where are the Trump voters?
  • Despite the raw numbers, Trump’s 44.7 percent of the GOP Primary vote represents the lowest percentage for a presumptive nominee in more than three decades. Then, to make matters worse, he has done nothing to unify this party. Because it’s not HIS party. He doesn’t care about the GOP, but expects you to do his bidding nonetheless.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.51.20 AMYou’ve spent years, in many of your cases decades, working to advance the principles and electoral goals of the Republican Party. You’ve stuffed the envelopes, licked the stamps, walked the parades, knocked on the doors, made the phone calls, rallied your communities, proselytized on social media. You’ve earned the right to be an RNC delegate and the responsibility that goes with it.

There is a reason our Party empowers delegates like you. The primaries and caucuses are not national semifinals where each division champion automatically advances to the finals. No, here in Wisconsin at County and District caucuses across the state, party activists like you campaign for the right to use their discretion in Cleveland. You cast the votes that determine the nomination process and the nominee.

The choices you have before you are not pro-forma, ceremonial votes. You’ve been empowered by the grassroots Republicans across the state to do what is best for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, the national Republican Party and indeed what is best for the United States of America.

Right now, the Trump Train has merely happened to you. But if your votes elevate him to become our party’s nominee, you’ve not only bought your ticket, you’ve become one of the engineers.

Do the right thing. Promote and advance rules that free the delegates in every state, and then vote your conscience on the first, and all subsequent ballots in Cleveland.

The Party of Lincoln was founded here in Wisconsin. Now, it’s Wisconsin’s turn to save it as well.

Thank you for your time and consideration and your continued volunteer service to the party we all hold dear as the nation’s best champion for personal liberty, economic opportunity and national security.

-Brian Fraley

Fraley is the President of Edge Messaging, a strategic communications firm in Waukesha County. He’s been a GOP activist for nearly 30 years and was Political Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin in 1996.

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28 Responses

  1. David Blaska says:

    Free the GOP! We cannot nominate the only candidate who cannot beat Hillary Clinton!

  2. Chris Slinker says:

    I respect and have known my friend Brian for many many years ! For the most part we are on the same political spectrum.

    I would like to respond to this outrageous letter: If the GOP delegates decline the TRUE will of the voters …….we will be a minority party for 50 years. I loved the GOP when we respected the will of the voters and would abide by it. Now ….. All of a sudden we have become like the democrats……we just ‘know better’. Let’s leave that to the libs….. I’m very concerned that the hardcore insiders like Sykes and his troupe have lost such deep respect for the voter …… That we don’t win the votes or even respect it after it’s been cast.

    I worry for a party I love and have worked very hard for many years. Either way we stand to be torn apart. Those who ‘know better’ will walk away with thier little red wagons and pout that the voters have rejected the standard insider. Those like me who support Trump stand to walk from a party that has in many instances walked away from its voters. So much so, they refuse to respect and would prefer to maneuver or manipulate outcomes!!!!!!

    I choose to stand with the will of the voter and sure hope our delegates do the same. This position is much stronger than …… “I’m just smarter than you and we ‘know better'”.

  3. Max says:

    In the time preceding the American Revolution the majority of the populace did not want a revolution. While unhappy with the state of affairs, they were too afraid of their powerful rulers in England to do anything about it. A minority of people, led by brilliant men that — yes — knew better — changed that.

    We don’t have those brilliant men. Perhaps the world will never see a group of people that brilliant in one place and at one time ever again. What we do have is a view of history. And that view must say to us that our Republic is in jeopardy. The soul of our country is in jeopardy and some are asking us to sit down and take it. “It’s the will of the people” they say.

    I disagree. The “will” of the people created some of the worst governments and dictators in history. The “will” gave us Nazi’s, Stalin, Mao, Chavez and Castro. Mob rule isn’t an American value — it’s a threat to us and we must stand against it.

    And now, because some bloviating clown gets a minority of a minority of votes in a primary, we are supposed to lay down and let him destroy our country — or at the very least — our hopes for the country? It’s the duty of all citizens that believe in the Constitution to defend it. Since when do those that call themselves Patriots lay down when freedom is threatened? Since when do delegates — who have an obligation to vote their conscious — roll over because they are “told” to do so?

    Yes, the leadership of the GOP is to blame for Trump. They ignored and belittled actual Constitutional Conservatives. They are the epitome of cronyism, corruption, deceit and compliance with the left. Except for a handful, they should all be run our of office and likely put in prison. Voter anger caused Trump, but voter stupidity and ignorance and a media that played the like a violin got him the primary victories. This same media will gleefully destroy him and install Clinton.

    No, I won’t stand down. I won’t back down. And I will fight Trump and his foolish followers every step of the way.

    • Bill Elmhorst says:

      Brian is a typical establishment Republican. He frets about Trumps poll numbers and at the same time campaigns against him. If Fraley would work to unify the Party rather cause division he would better serve the GOP. To dump Trump and offer a sanitized candidate would sink the GOP for decades to come. I didn’t vote for Trump but he is our candidate, and I will now stand with him as the voters choice.

      • dailytakes says:

        I am not here to serve the GOP. I will bust my tail to save the GOP from this charlatan and if he is the nominee, I will not vote for him. I will vote GOP down ticket, though.

      • David Blaska says:

        Brian is supposed to work to unify the party but the putative nominee (no one has been nominated yet) doesn’t? Trump has said over and over that he can win without us. He can’t and he won’t. Now he’s losing Florida by 8 points. Utah and Kansas, underwater; Arizona on the bubble.

    • Cory says:

      good luck Max. You will get more of the same ol POLs like Ryan who vote for special interests of a few rather than the interests of the USA. He let Wisconsin and USA down last December with that vote. I like Trump cause he isnt doing this for party……… he is doing this for USA. #ImWithYou – Trump16

  4. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Brian your re right, please do not expend so many words, all the time, when you can get more readers by cutting it in half. Remember “The River Runs Through It”?
    Often it is better to take your losses and run the first losses are the smallest. Losses right now, big hassle is better than disaster in Nov.

  5. Aaron Byrne says:

    Just because you do not like the candidate with the most votes doesn’t mean you should undermine the beliefs and opinions of those who have voted for him. If the GOP goes down this road it only fuels the argument that a citizens vote doesn’t count. This is the kind of B.S. that I’d expect from the democratic party. If the GOP starts to pull this then why bother voting at all. Hell throw all democracy out the window and let’s just give in to socialism.

    • Ed says:

      We are not a democracy. We are not a socialist state either. No matter how hard you may wish we were.

  6. Joe Bartz says:

    What a sad day when insiders work to undermine the will of the voter. Too many voters already doubt that their vote counts, now they want to prove it!
    These “homies” better get on the train,. If Hillary Clinton wins, Lord
    only knows….. what will become of the USA but it won’t be good.
    What we don’t need. ..
    More establishment.

  7. JT says:

    Bravo Aaron and Chris, Thank you for bringing some sanity into this conversation. I do not feel a need to add anything else to your comments. You are both spot-on.

    Brian, You leave me speechless. Your letter is shameful and insults all American voters on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in-between. Let’s take a moment and picture our Founding Fathers rotating in their graves. Your most offensive statement is one that prematurely blames Trump for Ron Johnson’s demise. RJ can only blame himself for his less-than-stellar Conservative performance in his first term in the Senate. Heritage Scorecard has tallied up his votes and Rpm not only falls less-than-average amongst Republican Senators but he can’t even hit the 50% mark. Do you also attribute Paul Ryan’s fall from grace to Trump? Now I could understand how Donald Trump brought it to our attention but I definitely wouldn’t blame him for causing it.

    Max, tell me which member of the GOP who is not the epitome of cronyism, corruption, deceit and compliance with the left get’s your nod?

    And last but not least, Bob D: What the hell are you talking about?

    • dailytakes says:

      Paul Ryan’s fall from grace? He’s the Speaker of the House. His favorable ratings in his district are through the roof. He’s going to crush his carpet-bagging opponent. You need to broaden your horizon beyond Breitbart and the cult of Trump.

  8. The Bystander says:

    So Brian……you love democracy except when it yields a result you don’t like?

    • dailytakes says:

      The parties are private organizations that are not governed by direct democracy. Never have been. The GOP has had several ‘contested’ or ‘open’ conventions in its history. Sometimes the person with the most popular votes in the primaries does not emerge as the nominee.

  9. […] On Tuesday, Milwaukee talk radio host Charlie Sykes interviewed me regarding my open letter to RNC delegates. […]

  10. suckitup says:

    Trump is the ONLY one that can beat Hillary. You should be ashamed of yourself. Just listen to yourselves: you are saying that the will of the American people is illegitimate. Shame on you. If the GOP steals this from Trumo it will be the end of the GOP.

    Grow up and stop acting like children. The rest of us had to suck it up and support Romney. Now it is your turn.

    • David Blaska says:

      Being a Trumpbot means never having to prove your assertions. Make the claim, wipe your hands, and walk away. Where is Trump the only one who can beat Hillary? What poll? Kasich was the only one who consistently beat Hillary; Rubio most of the time, Cruz some of the time, Trump never. He’s behind 8 points to Hillary in Florida. Utah and Kansas may be lost. States we should win in our sleep. He’s down an average of 6.5 in the polls — 12 pts accd to Bloomberg.

  11. suckitup says:

    Ryan will NEVER get elected. It does not matter what is is backing in his district, and that is a truly stupid thing to rebut with. That is an upper income district. They profit from globalism Ryan is detested in this country. He really is just a democrat in disguise.

    Again: grow up. stop you childish tantrum. you are assuring a Hillary win.

    I have been voting GOP for over 40 years and i will tell you: If they screw with trump on this I will vote a straight Democrat ticket the rest of my life just to spite clowns like you. Man up. Grow up.

    • David Blaska says:

      “Grow up,” commands the guy who can write: “If they screw with trump on this I will vote a straight Democrat ticket the rest of my life just to spite clowns like you.”

      Aren’t you supposed to hold your breath until you turn blue? Been awhile since my kids were in kindergarten.

  12. Scott says:

    Should the GOP “establishment” not respect the will of the voters who gave Trump the nomination, then why should the voters “respect” the party for nominating someone else? By the way, citing Trump’s “low percentage” of GOP primary votes as the reason to not nominate him is asinine. The fact is that Trump garnered more primary votes than any other GOP primary candidate in history. Lose the “Trump voters” and the party can kiss the Senate good-bye ; possibly lose the House; and definitely lose the White House.

  13. […] Brian Fraley's open letter to the delegates makes persuasive points: […]

  14. […] Brian Fraley‘s open letter to the delegates makes persuasive points: […]

  15. […] Brian Fraley's open letter to the delegates makes persuasive points: […]

  16. ByeWisconsin says:

    Oh boy, look at all the little children having a temper tantrum because, while they FULLY supported Willard Romney, despite his being a democrat and being pro-abortion, higher taxes AND those HUNDREDS of businesses that he bankrupted and put TENS of thousands of people out of work – is somehow morally superior just like you holier than thou types. It is NO WONDER trump has risen. i am hoping and PRAYING to God that the GOP does something spectacularly stupid so they will finally implode and be gone. anyone who thinks romney, ryan, duffy, petri, johnson, et al are conservatives will naturally have an issue with trump.

  17. Don Zimmer says:

    Don Zimmer

    You claim that support for Trump is “a suicide pact”. I disagree. In fact, your suggestion to stage what amounts to an insurrection at the national convention, in order to dump Trump, will surely kill the Republican Party. As a duly elected Wisconsin delegate to the Republican National Convention, I will have no part in such a misguided, treacherous, and ultimately futile effort. You are correct in that your advice is unsolicited. It is also unwelcome. I will respond to each of your bullet points below:

    Bullet 1. Trump’s unfavorable rating: That will change dramatically as time passes. In fact, Trump is extremely popular among blue-collar workers, many of whom are black and/or Hispanic. I predict Trump’s support among minorities will be the surprise of this election year. He certainly won’t write-off 47% of the voting public as did Mitt Romney.

    Bullet 2. Voter enthusiasm among Republicans is plummeting: And with your “help” enthusiasm will keep plummeting. That should please you and the rest of the “Wisconsin Republicans for Hillary”.

    Bullet 3. 10 point advantage in enthusiasm four years ago: If we had such an advantage in enthusiasm four years ago, why did Mitt Romney get drubbed by Obama here in Wisconsin?

    Bullet 4. Ron Johnson in jeopardy: Ron Johnson’s chances in November are seriously diminished when people like you and your friend Charlie Sykes work to assure a Hillary Clinton victory. I am sure that Ron will appreciate all of your hard work on behalf of Hillary. By the way, are you and Mr. Sykes going to seek donations for Hillary on the ‘Right Wisconsin’ web site?

    Bullet 5. Trump hurts “down-ticket candidates”: The only thing that will hurt down-ticket candidates as you call them, are people like you (Wisconsin Republicans for Hillary) who seek to upend the democratic process and undermine the free choice of millions of Republican voters who supported and cast their votes for Trump. In fact, your attitude is analogous to the Democrat representatives who recently staged a sit-in on the House floor in D.C. because various gun-control proposals they supported were not approved. In other words, those pathetic Democrats like you, favor mob rule over free and fair political, electoral, and legislative processes.

    Bullet 6. Trump has only $2.4 million in the bank as of last month. Romney already had $100 million by that time four years ago: Yeah, a lot of good Mitt’s $100 million did. He still got wiped out by the worst president in our history.

    Bullet 7. “Trump’s cult of personality”: What, exactly does that phrase mean? . Are you referring to Trump’s popularity? You ought to be ashamed of yourself for engaging in what I perceive as Orwellian double-talk. But then, I suppose ‘Newspeak’ is permissible among the Wisconsin Republicans for Hillary.

    Bullet 8. Less than three dozen paid staff working on behalf of the Trump campaign: All of you “Never Trumpers” have been critical of Trump in ever shriller tones since he announced his presidential intentions. Gosh, if he’d only employ people like you and your organization to run the show! He can’t possibly do without self-proclaimed experts like you. In fact, Trump’s greatest assets are his children who are worth far more as spokespersons for his campaign than any paid flacks.

    Bullet 9. Where are the Trump voters? Well, many of them, like me, are certainly not talking to Charlie Sykes or listening to his show anymore. Nor, I imagine, do they talk to you or follow your advice. But I can assure you, they exist. They are not particularly demonstrative or vociferous because they want to avoid the wrath of the Never Trumpers who have branded them racists, bigots, homophobes, misogynists, and illiterates.

    Bullet 10. He has done nothing to unify this party: And wasn’t it great that in 2012 we had a party united behind Romney? And in 2008 we had a party united behind McCain. We really showed those Democrats then, didn’t we?

    Your advice is to stage what amounts to a coup at the national convention. What an absurd idea. I will, under no circumstances, follow your recommendation. I refuse to contribute to an effort which will make the Republican Party a national laughing-stock. And, if such an effort were undertaken, who would you recommend to replace Trump as our standard-bearer?

    I remember the 2008 campaign when J.T. Harris, the former Milwaukee talk radio host, confronted McCain (undoubtedly, McCain had your support). I believe it was at a rally in Waukesha. J.T. begged McCain to take off the gloves and start to confront Obama aggressively. J.T. was almost in tears as he pleaded with McCain to take the fight to the most unqualified, anti-American presidential candidate in our history. McCain, true to form, hemmed and hawed and finally assured J.T. that his advice was exactly what he, McCain, intended to follow. What he actually did was nothing. He was fearful of a hard-hitting campaign against Obama, perhaps because Obama is black, even though Obama deserved to be exposed as the leftist, America-hating racial provocateur that he actually was and is.

    In 2012 Romney wasn’t much of an improvement. Here was another candidate to whom you undoubtedly gave your full support. God, he hardly registered a complaint when, during one debate with Obama, so-called moderator Candy Crowley shamelessly shilled for Obama, coming to his defense during an exchange about Benghazi. What was Romney’s reaction? He barely uttered a peep of protest.

    Are these the kind of candidates you’d like to see replace Trump? Perhaps John Huntsman can be persuaded to return to politics. Now there is a guy who would no doubt meet with your approval.

    How about Jeb Bush? He’ll surely be able to handle those Muslim terrorists! Like his brother, he’d probably invite some America-hating imam to the White House and then declare Islam to be a religion of peace.

    I’ll take Donald Trump, warts and all, before I’ll risk putting the country in the hands of another spineless wimp afraid to confront the Democrats and their flawed candidates, not to mention our mortal enemies here and abroad. I want Trump to take the fight to Hillary and he has already vigorously begun and I have no doubt he will continue to do so. I want her exposed as the criminal opportunist she is. Trump will do exactly that. He has my support. You have my disdain.

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