November 13, 2022
WHAT’S NEXT REPUBLICANS?
By Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen US Army, retired,
November 13, 2022
For the past six months politicians, pollsters, and prognosticators have been telling us the Republicans would “win” the 2022 mid-term election; it was just a question of by how much. Would it be a defining moment in American politics? Would it effectively wipe out all the misery the Biden administration and Democrat-controlled Congress have imposed on the American public over the past two years?
The consensus seems to be that the results were good for the Republican party but not great. This begs the question, What’s Next Republicans? A good point of departure is the tried-and-true process of an old-fashioned After-Action-Review aka Good-Better-How. Three questions:
WHAT DID WE (THE REPUBLICANS COLLECTIVELY) DO WELL?
We came out ahead. The House majority is supposedly Republican. The Senate majority is (at this writing )still TBD. Governor DeSantis, Florida, exposed himself as a top contender for the 2024 presidential race.
Conclusions: Ho-hum. The 2022 mid-term election was no Red Tsunami by any stretch of one’s imagination. It did not create an insurmountable headwind for the 2024 election. It did not send masses of Democrats to the Republican side despite the misery the Democrats have inflicted on the general public over the past two years.
WHAT COULD WE HAVE DONE BETTER?
Short answer, a lot.
· Did any Republican leaders (for example, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, the Republican National Committee) stand out as articulate leaders and spokespersons for the party? No.
· Was there an organized, concerted effort to get every Republican candidate across the country singing from a proactive sheet of music entitled Here-Is-What-We-Are-Going-To-Do? Nope.
· Were the Republican arguments too much about blinding glimpses of the obvious (inflation, gas prices, lawlessness, and illegal immigration) and not enough about what the Republican party will specifically do going forward? Absolutely.
· For months leading up to the election, poll after poll was telling us that 75-80 percent of Americans believe Biden and the Democrat Congress have us on the wrong track.
· Did the Republicans take advantage of that and campaign on a new, different, identifiable, positive track? No.
· Did this election change the U.S. political landscape, effectively having large numbers of Democrats and Independents move into the Republican camp? That does not appear to be the case.
Conclusions: We did not need to campaign on the facts that were so self-evident to every voter every day; inflation, lawlessness, fuel prices, immigration, higher taxes, etc. We needed to make every voter believe the Republican Party is ready and able to change X, Y, and Z by specifically legislating and executing A, B, and C. The Republican Party needs to build trust and respect for the long haul; the midterm campaign did neither.
HOW DOES THE REPUBLICAN PARTY INSTITUTIONALIZE WHAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED GOING FORWARD TO GAIN THE TRUST AND RESPECT OF THE GENERAL ELECTORATE AND THEREBY RECRUIT LARGE NUMBERS OF NEW MEMBERS?
In a 19 September speech in Pennsylvania, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy presented his (the Republican Party’s) “Commitment to America” speech. It was a knock-off of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America” which was instrumental in gaining Republican control of the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. McCarthy’s “commitment” presented four themes:
One, the first had to do with safety; complete the border wall, make violence against police a federal crime, and withhold funding to woke district attorneys.
Two, take on the tech giants with new rules to protect free speech.
Three, eliminate wasteful government spending that is driving inflation.
Four, hold government officials accountable for corruption and abuse of power.
This was a weak effort, six months too late that captured little or no mainstream media interest. Most Americans didn’t even know it happened. Contrast that with Speaker Gingrich’s Contract with America which was a specific list of ten bills they promised to pass in the first hundred days of a new Republican Congress along with a set of rules as to how the House of Representatives was to operate.
S0, what needs to happen?
Between now and 3 January 2023 when the 118th Congress is convened, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, and/or a Special Action Group, and/or whoever needs to select several critical national issues that impact every citizen, define the problems, prepare solutions, put them on a near-term timeline (first hundred days seems appropriate) and present them in a speech to the nation by one of the Congressional leaders (for this paper, let’s assume the speech will be given by Speaker Kevin McCarthy). This will accomplish the following:
One upstage the president who said, in a post-election press conference, that he plans to change “nothing” in the next two years.
Two, put the entire Republican Party on notice to get their act together, cooperate, participate and support the programs.
Three, provide the Republican National Committee with a starter-set of a 2024 Republican Platform.
Four, create early momentum for the 2024 presidential campaign.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS A LIST OF CRITICAL NATIONAL ISSUES TO BE ANNOUNCED, 3 JANUARY, 2023 by Speaker McCarthy (beginning with education, race relations, and immigration reform):
EDUCATION AND RACE RELATIONS: Speaker McCarthy will begin a speech as follows:
“Education is the wellspring from which a nation ascends … or the quagmire into which it sinks.” Michael Russell.
Education in America is a sinking ship that has been taking on water for the last forty years. The top-down concept by which our education system operates is fatally flawed and cannot be fixed. Every president since Carter has come into office with a new idea, hundreds of billions of dollars, legions of federal bureaucrats, and hope for improvement. Well, hope is not a process. The only way to fix our education system is to start over with a new concept of operations that we have in hand.
But first, let’s look at how our schools are doing today. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only assessment that measures what U.S. students know and can do in various subjects across the nation, states, and urban districts. Also known as The Nation’s Report Card, NAEP has provided important information about how students are performing academically since 1969. They grade mathematics, reading, science, writing, technology, arts, civics, geography, economics, and U.S. history for grades 4th and 8th every 2 years and 12th grade every 4 years
Here are the pre-covid results for reading and math from 2019: Reading comprehension, grade 4, 59% NOT proficient. Grade 8, 66% NOT proficient. Grade 12, 76% NOT proficient. Yes, 3 out of 4 high school graduates are not proficient in reading comprehension.
How about their ability to apply mathematics knowledge: In grade 4, 65% were not proficient. Grade 8, 66% not proficient. Of high school graduates, 63% were not proficient.
Other subjects were even worse. Of high school seniors 88% were not proficient in history, 77% not proficient in writing ability, and 78% were not proficient in science.
These pathetic results also present a national security issue in that over 70% of high school graduates, ages 18-24 are ineligible for military service because of obesity, criminal record, drug abuse, or inability to pass the entrance examination.
Additionally, we now know that after the Covid shutdown, these numbers are lower. It is time for a complete overhaul of our education system, and that is exactly what we intend to do. As I mentioned earlier, we have in place a complete concept of operations to do so.
The Department of Education is a 40-year failed project. Hundreds of billions of dollars, thousands of bureaucrats, and thousands of regulations are a huge part of the problem and have little to do with the solution. No accountability. No standards-based solutions. A top-down fix for education has not been nor will ever be successful.
Across this nation, about 7000 students drop out of school every day and face an uncertain future. Male dropouts turn to crime; about 80% of criminals did not finish high school. According to the U.S. Census, 37% of non-high school graduates are receiving welfare. A bad education system is expensive.
Before getting into the details of how we are going to fix education, let me make an important point about race relations in America. First of all, we disagree with President Biden, his VP, and his Cabinet members when they tell us “Racism is systemic in America.” That’s ridiculous. Babies are not born bigoted, disrespectful, or hateful. While growing up they learn it at home, in school, on the playground, and in the street. We can systematically defeat racism simply by changing what they learn. When we look at the tools we will use to fix education, we see they are the same tools we would use to eliminate racism. Two for the price of one.
It is also interesting to look at the enormity of the K through 12 education landscape in America. There are about 142,000 schools, 180 million adults with children under age 18, 60 million students K through 12, 4.5 million teachers, and over 200,000 Superintendents, Principals, and Education Board members. That is about 245 million Americans, three of every four, who are in some way part of the education organization.
With all of that preamble, here are the changes that must be made. Bottom-up is the only way to fix education and race relations, and it is not rocket science. We are going to accomplish an education transformation through these eight initiatives:
One: Reduce the Department of Education to a small agency taking care of grants and other issues that do NOT directly impact day-to-day instruction.
Two: It’s all about standards and accountability. An organization without standards is a failed organization. Standards are the key to success in education and it is an easy process. Here is how it should work: during a summer session the Governor will bring in a couple of top-notch elementary school Principals and, three or four outstanding third-grade teachers. They will agree with what the end-of-year third-grade standards should be. Then they will outline what needs to be accomplished during each, for example, a six-week, period all year long. Sitting in on that session will be three outstanding fourth-grade teachers. Now armed with the standards for third grade, their beginning point, the fourth-grade teachers will go through the same process. Over one summer this process will determine the end-of-year standards for every grade, every subject from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Governors are accountable for making standards a critical element of the education equation.
Three: Fix accountability for the Boards of Education to embrace the concept of standards. If they don’t. vote them out of office. The point is, parents cannot reach out today to some nameless, faceless bureaucrat in Washington but they certainly will know all the accountable players at their level, nearest the point of execution.
Four: Hold County/City superintendents accountable for planning and enforcement of standards; replace them if they fail.
Five: We are getting closer to the point of execution. Hold school Principals will be held accountable for requiring every teacher every day to teach from a lesson plan that systematically leads toward achieving an end-of-year standard. If a principal is not in the back of at least one classroom every day checking on the teachers’ progress, he/she needs to be replaced. A Principal’s job description is simple; create a safe and secure environment for learning and ensure every teacher is teaching to standards.
Six: Hold teachers accountable for achieving every end-of-year standard. They must not pass their failed efforts to the next grade. Students who get behind in fourth grade will get further behind in fifth, then sixth, etc. until in high school they are so hopelessly behind they become a dropout statistic with little hope for the future. While they are teaching, how does a teacher know if the student “got it”? The only way is to execute a consistent rotation of teach, test, teach, test, teach, test all year long. If a student gets behind, have an immediate parent/teacher conversation, get a tutor, and send homework to the parents to administer. (Never let a student get behind ) must become every teacher’s mantra.
Seven: School administrators and teachers meet with parents with the express purpose of explaining standards, the repetitive teach/test concept that leaves no student behind, and establish some sense of accountability by the parents.
Eight, last by certainly not least. Character training works. It is a proven concept. It is the fuel for all the other techniques and procedures to achieve standards and accountability. Just imagine sixty million students K through 12, in 142,000 schools across America, every school day for thirteen years, in a homeroom class with the same schoolmates being led in a discussion of character by, most likely, a senior citizen volunteer.
Let me quickly give you the Character Curriculum: ACCOUNTABILITY, CITIZENSHIP, COMMITMENT, COMPASSION, COURAGE OF CONVICTIONS, COURTESY, CONFIDENCE, HEALTHY HABITS, HONESTY, HONOR, HUMILITY, INTEGRITY, JUDGMENT, LEADERSHIP, MORALITY, PERSEVERANCE, PUNCTUALITY, RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, SELF-RESPECT, SELFLESS SERVICE, SPORTSMANSHIP, AND TRUST. Every student in America will become part of a homeroom “gang” that they can count on, trust, and respect through 13 years of schooling. Life-long highly respected colleagues.
Let me say it again, character education is a proven concept. How many of you know or know of a youngster who spent some number of years in Scouts or The First Tee, both of which are youth organizations centered around character development? Show of hands, please. OK, how many of those youngsters ended up dropping out of school?
Zero is almost always the answer to that question.
One last thought on character development. Why combine improving race relations and education into the same campaign? Good question; it just so happens that if we were to attack those two problems with separate campaigns, they would both work off the same solution, character development.
Let’s talk for a moment about the intent of this national initiative. It is not a political move; I’m hopeful and confident that we can get a significant number of Democrat co-sponsors for this legislation. The intent is to create new generations of Americans who understand, believe in, and live by a culture of ACCOUNTABILITY, TRUST, AND RESPECT. Accountability trust and respect; are a powerful unbeatable combination. Why is that important? Because the existing deep-seated culture of blame and hate is blocking progress and tearing this great nation apart. We are better than that. An insightful observation, often attributed to Alexi de Tocqueville in 1835, “America is great because it is good; when it ceases to be good it will cease to be great.” This character education agenda is all about goodness. To illustrate, let me take just a few seconds to go through the subjects:
ü Accountable students do not resort to blaming.
ü Students who are steeped in commitment, confidence, perseverance, punctuality, and responsibility do not skip school, fall behind or drop out.
ü Students who are deeply rooted in trust and respect will strike down bullying and are unlikely to become racially bigoted adults.
ü Students who are compassionate, courteous, honorable, good citizens, and demonstrate the courage of their convictions do not join street gangs.
ü Students who have accepted honesty, morality, and integrity as their guiding light will likely be lifelong upstanding citizens.
ü Students who understand, live, and accept a life of selfless service are unlikely to become self-serving adults.
ü Students who have an understanding that there is a lot they don’t yet know and even part of what they believe they know might be incorrect, have the quality of humility.
ü Students who understand self-respect recognize that they are now better than they used to be and can be counted on in times of temptation because they are morally dependable and their homeroom gang has their back.
With this value base, students across the nation are more likely to exercise good judgment and become great leaders.
How much new spending will it take for this education and race relations transformation? None. How much will be saved? The Department of Education FY 22 budget was $102.8 billion.
I rest my case for the need to transform education and race relations in America.
Does anyone have any questions about this initiative?
Author’s note: The entire, detailed concept or operations to fix education and race relations is contained in a new book, FIX THE SYSTEMS, TRANSFORM AMERICA, published May 2022; Chapter one. The purpose of this article is not to sell books but to try to get across to folks in Washington D.C. that this nation has some enormous problems and the powers that be treat them as if they can be solved by throwing a few more billions of dollars at it. There are workable solutions that are within the art of the possible. We need to find a way to make our Republican Congressmen and women understand and believe this.
Speaker McCarthy continues speaking:
Moving on, the next Republican Party initiative has to do with illegal immigration. This will be a shorter discussion because there is a simple solution to the national crises on our southern border.
Facts bearing on the problem:
ü During FY 22 the Border Patrol averaged about 6,300 illegal immigrant encounters every day.
ü Additionally, there were an estimated average of 1,600 so-called “runners” every day.
ü This is a national crisis and a serious everyday national security risk.
ü The Border Patrol is overwhelmed by processing, feeding, housing, providing medical care, and transporting 6,300 persons every single day.
ü Integrating illegal immigrant children into the nation’s school system is a serious problem.
ü These numbers are a daily strain on our welfare systems.
ü The annual bill for illegal immigrants is difficult to determine but it is way north of $100 billion per year and continuously increasing.
Notwithstanding the taxpayer burden, most importantly, those who purposely evade the Border Patrol represent a serious and continuing threat to our country. They purposely evade detection because this group, estimated to be 1,600 per day, consists, at least in part, of gang members, criminals, drug traffickers, human traffickers, and terrorists from 160 different countries. This has to stop.
During FY 22 agents seized over six tons of fentanyl at the border, that’s 192,000 ounces (Over 2,7 Billion doses). Two milligrams, a very small fraction of an ounce, can be lethal. The question is, how many tons successfully passed across the border? Last year, on average, fentanyl killed over 190 Americans every day. This is a self-imposed crisis that must be stopped.
If we were to brainstorm what an immigration system should do for us, the result would probably include the following wish list:
One, institute a policy that will shut down the masses of illegals crossing our borders, forever.
Two, free up the Border Patrol agents to fulfill their intended mission; catch illegals and stop the flow of drugs, terrorists, gang members, and human trafficking.
Three, create a path to citizenship for the hard-working, law-abiding illegals already in the U.S.
Four, provide a clear distinction for illegals that ICE should locate, arrest and deport.
Five, walls work. Walls are a deterrent. Walls tend to force intruders into restricted areas where Border Patrol can effectively seal the border.
Six, accomplish all this with a program that pays for itself.
We have a concept of operation in hand that will do all of this and we intend to pass the legislation immediately and set this in motion. Here are some of the details. For purposes of discussion and understanding of a doable timeline, let us assume at this point that this legislation can be researched, debated, passed, and signed into law by 30 June 2023. The timeline and actions required should be treated as time-constrained crisis planning and execution.
Phase One, 1 July through 30 September 2023:
The Immigration Reform Act (IRA) will require every state to set up Illegal-Immigrant-Identification-Card (IIICard) processing sites. The logical solution is to add positions to each existing DMV office.
Every law enforcement agency in the United States will forward information to the FBI on every felony committed by an undocumented inhabitant (who, what, when, and where). The FBI will establish and maintain a continuously updated national database of these cases which allows for an immediate check against an application for an IIICard.
The IRS will set up a special division to handle income taxes for illegal immigrants who have an IIICard.
Every undocumented inhabitant in the U.S. will be invited to report to an IIICard registration site in the state where they reside by a published alphabetical schedule (last name beginning in A, B, C, or D report starting on 1 October 2023.
At this point, some of you are thinking something like inviting the illegals to report to the DMV, are you out of your mind? Please stay with me. They will be required to report to the DMV.
Phase two, 1 October 2023 through 31 March 2024:
Before appearing at the IIICard registration site, each applicant must download a Federal Form, Employer’s Statement of Employment, fill it out and have it signed by their employer. No employer signature, no IIICard. The form must contain a statement of strong penalties for any employer signing a false statement. There will be special rules for those who are self-employed. The registration fee for the IIICard is $50 per year which is the first step in fulfilling the objective of immigration reform without taxpayer dollars.
The DMV will check into the FBI felony database and if the applicant has a felony conviction, that person will be taken into custody, deported, and will NEVER be eligible for an IIICard. This is an example of the specificity of the language that must be in the Immigration Reform Act, IRA; one strike and out.
The IIICard will have a number for each individual; for example, if issued in North Carolina the identification number will be NC123-45-678. The card will include a photo, height, weight, hair color, issue date, termination date (one year), and the number of dependents (spouse and children).
Data from every card issued by a state DMV will be forwarded to the IRS registry.
When Phase Two ends it will never have to be repeated. Let me say that again, it will never have to be repeated because every illegal immigrant in the U.S. as of 31 March 2024 will be categorized as either a legal holder of an IIICard or they are deportable. On 31 March 2024 we will know how many employed illegal aliens there are, where they live, where they work, what they do, and how many direct family (spouse and children) members they have.
Phase Three, 1 April 2024 through 30 September 2024.
This is the phase that begins to change behavior and thereby solve the dual problems of tens of millions of undocumented inhabitants and continued unsecured borders.
On 1 April 2024 the day following the initial six-month registration period, any employer who employs an undocumented worker (no IIICard) will be subject to a first-offense fine of $25,000 for each worker and $50,000 for each worker, second offense. No exceptions, and no excuses. No employer is going to risk their livelihood over the employment of an illegal immigrant. Laws change behavior and, for the first time, immediately add accountability of all employers into the immigration solution.
This simple act of requiring illegal aliens to carry an IIICard will have four positive and immediate results:
First, employers will protect themselves from potentially heavy fines by only hiring inhabitants who have a valid IIICard.
Second, undocumented inhabitants who choose not to apply for an IIICard or were denied an IIICard will be unable to find an employer who will take them on. They will be unemployable, will be constantly liable for deportation if detained for any reason, and will likely return to their country of citizenship.
Third, and this gets us to the wish list to shut down the masses of illegals crossing our borders, forever. Foreigners contemplating illegal entry into the United States to work will soon learn that no employer is going to hire them and illegal entry will be a futile effort. This inevitable behavior change will, by default, reduce illegal immigration to a manageable trickle. Stated another way, as we get into Phase one, July 2023, foreigners contemplating illegal entry will realize that under this new concept of operations they do not have enough time to make the trip to and through Mexico, cross the border, process, find a home base in the U.S., get a job and secure a signed job certification from an employer by 1 October 2023 when the IIICard application process begins. This open border nightmare could be within a few months of being shut down.
Fourth, this will provide Border Patrol agents the opportunity to concentrate their efforts on the illegal entry of drugs, terrorists, gang members, criminals, and those just looking for a life of government handouts.
Phase Four, 1 October 2024:
This phase begins the twelve-month reissue of IIICards; $50 fee. The IIICard color will change each year. ONLY those inhabitants holding an IIICard can receive a new card. Additionally, they will be denied renewal if they have been unemployed and made less than $5000 or if they have been convicted of a felony, or if they failed to pay their 10% federal tax. Once denied, they will be detained, deported, and never receive another card. Any IIICard that is not renewed by the annual renewal date will automatically be moved to the government’s deportation list.
To fund the Immigration Reform Act, a provision in the law will require IIICard holders to pay 10% Federal income taxes on gross income. Employers must issue a 1099 using the individual’s IIICard number to identify them to the IRS. The IRS will establish a National Registry of Card numbers and the database will list earned income and taxes paid for the previous year.
During the IIICard renewal process, the DMV registration center will access the IRS database to determine if the applicant has been employed, made at least $5000, and paid taxes. No tax records, no renewal, and the applicant will be detained and deported. The Federal Government will retain 2% of the tax revenue to fund four national databases for The Immigration Reform Act. The remaining 8% will be returned to the States in proportion to the number of IIICard holders.
Any IIICard holder convicted of a felony will have his card pulled, be detained, and deported. That person’s file and IIICard number will be annotated at the national registry to ensure that any future attempts to reapply will be denied.
To assist law-abiding, hard-working illegals towards citizenship, the Department of Labor will establish a website that can assist an individual who has lost their job. Any cardholder can get on the Labor Department website and provide their name, location, and skills. Employers will be encouraged to check this website when they have job openings
An IIICard holder will have the following four privileges:
One, they may apply for a state vehicle operator’s license and will be tested in English. A provision of the law will be that every state must also prominently display the individual’s IIICard number on the State Driver’s License. Additionally, every applicant must show proof of auto insurance.
Two, a current IIICard will authorize the holder to legally cross U.S. borders.
Three, legal holders may apply for an IIICard for their immediate family members using the sponsor’s IIICard number with a suffix, for their spouse and children (no extended family members). If granted, the sponsor will be authorized to escort the dependents across the U.S. border.
Four, after legally holding an IIICard for five consecutive years, that person is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship for themselves and their immediate family (spouse and children).
Any questions on the Immigration Reform Act proposal?
Thank you for your attention, I will be here tomorrow, same time, to present additional legislative initiatives for the 118th Congress to consider as soon as possible.
That closing statement by Speaker McCarthy should grab the attention of mainstream media and the general public. Game on.
NOTE: The entire, detailed concept or operations for immigration reform is contained in, FIX THE SYSTEMS, TRANSFORM AMERICA, Chapter two.
Author’s note. I have in mind several critical national issues that somehow must get fixed if we are to move forward (voter fraud, size and scope of the Executive Branch, federal deficit spending, dysfunctional Congress, term limits, universal service, and world aggression). For each, I will present a concept of operations and a solution. The timing is such that I also believe it could be advantageous for the Republican leadership to present them as a new version of a Contract with America, that will successfully carry us into the 2024 presidential campaign. To that end, Rip has graciously agreed to publish these articles as PART 1 (above) followed by PART 2, etc. as I get them put together. One final note, if any of you agree with what I have proposed in PART 1, and if you have contact with any movers and shakers in Washington, please provide them a copy. Thank you. Marv
Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen US Army, retired, is the author of VISION TO EXECUTION, a book for leaders, and a new book May 2022, FIX THE SYSTEMS, TRANSFORM AMERICA as well as the author of a blog WeThePeopleSpeaking.com.