May I remind all…

We were pretty much at this point when Ronald Reagan ran and won in1980. 

Many Republicans today don't know that the “PARTY” did not want Reagan back then.  But "We the People" did.  Reagan’s candidacy really was a people's movement.  I know, because I was part of it, right here in Cuyahoga County.  Reagan was the people's choice, and people from all walks of life here in Ohio came together to support him. We made phone calls and carried petitions door to door to get him on the ballot in the primaries (at our own cost).  There were only 2 primary campaign meetings in Columbus, “minus” Republican Party heads.  When Reagan won on the primary ballot, we became his delegates to the convention, and when we went to the convention in Detroit, to our relief, we found Reagan had the same kind of support from other states all over the country (just ordinary people not politicians).  We jokingly said that we were a bunch of farmers, because we knew that's what some people thought of us.

Many of the party heads, from the national chairman in Washington DC, down to local officials in Ohio and Cuyahoga County, were against us in the primaries.  And when it became apparent that Reagan would win the nomination, there was even talk that we should support three candidates instead of one for President. (That’s how hard they fought against Reagan.)  Then at the convention, there was a push to make former President Ford, Reagan's VP running mate.  Party operatives floated the idea of a "co-presidency".  Reagan himself finally squelched that idea when he publicly declared George Bush as his choice.

Even after he was the nominee, there were local Republican leaders who would not help or allow their offices to be used for campaigning.  When Reagan came to Cleveland for a rally on Public Square, some prominent Republicans didn't attend.  We had most of the suburban mayors in the county there - even some Democratic mayors and large groups of Democrats for Reagan, (I don’t think the heads of the Democratic Party liked that very well), but segments of the GOP establishment still kept their distance.  Carter was ahead in the polls, and they didn't think Reagan could win.

But "average" people liked Reagan, and they liked what he stood for.  They really didn’t care much about what the party elites thought. And neither did Reagan.  So his campaign was run largely out of homes.  If I needed bumper stickers, I would drive to a home in Lakewood.  For campaign buttons, I'd drive to a home in Solon.  And so it went.  I didn’t think much about it at the time.  I was too busy campaigning to give it much thought, but later I learned that there were GOP leaders who had decided not do a single thing to help Reagan's campaign.

When Reagan finally won the general election, a lot of the "average people" who worked for him attended the inauguration, but we heard that some of the party elites who didn't support his candidacy couldn't get tickets to inaugural functions in Washington.  Reagan was a nice man, but also a true Republican. Elephants have long memories.

My first knowledge of Ronald Reagan goes back to my high school days.  He wrote an editorial column in a publication that I often read.  I liked what he had to say even then.  And remember, he was a Democrat at that time, but he was also a Conservative.

I write this now because of the frustration that many Republicans have with our party.  We don’t seem to have a leader that seems committed to anything except getting elected.  I think that people are looking for leaders who really stand for something.  Personally, I like Dr. Ben Carson, because when he speaks, he makes sense, and he is a self-made man, not beholden to the Party.  Also, he seems to be able to disagree without being offensive.  I think that matters.  I guess I am writing this to encourage people not to give up. We need to stay informed, and stay involved.  Just when we thought, as they say, it couldn’t get any worse, along came "the people" and Ronald Reagan…..pray

Edna Deffler
CVR Board of Trustees