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One of the questions I am often asked is how we can “win” on controversial issues. We being Republicans. But the honest answer is we as Republicans will not win on these issues — because Republicans have not proven to have the stomach necessary to engage in the culture wars.

Conservatives can, but it is going to take a lot more of them than we currently have — both in Congress and in the Iowa House and Senate.

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When pondering how we can win these battles, we should first start by examining how we don’t win them.

We don’t win these battles over controversial issues by being apologetic for our positions. The typical Republican lines like “this is a tough issue,” or “there’s a lot of good people on both sides.”

We don’t win these battles by ignoring them either. By kicking the can down the road and expecting someone else to wage the war. That doesn’t work either.

We don’t win them by catering to high-dollar donors because, let’s be honest, the GOP’s donor class and the GOP’s voter class have two very different sets of values.

We don’t win them by electing Republicans. We have to elect conservative champions. We have to elect conservatives who are more committed to the cause than they are to the caucus.

We have to elect conservatives willing to lose their seat for doing the right thing. We have to elect conservatives who are driven by principle and not ambition.

We have to elect conservatives that are unapologetic in their conservatism. Conservatives who don’t run away from controversy, but tackle it head on. Conservatives who don’t care if they’re labeled a bigot or accused of suffering from some made-up phobia.

And we have to stop electing Republicans who cave on the things that matter most.

If we continue voting for squishy, weak Republicans, guess what our options will continue to be.

Not every Republican is worth voting for. That is a reality conservatives have to accept. The reason we’re given these people as our “choice” is because we keep choosing them in November. In the game of chicken between GOP party loyalists and conservative grassroots voters, the conservatives almost always blink first.

By no means am I advocating voting for Democrats — I just want to see fewer conservatives vote for Republicans who stab them in the back on party platform principles multiple times.

And no, the Republican choice may never be as bad as the Democrat, but I’m also not sure our standard should be “are they better than the Democrat.”

If that’s our standard, we shouldn’t be surprised when we end up with such putrid options.

Find conservatives who actually stand up and fight against controversial issues. Find the ones willing to go against the grain. Ones who are willing to take the arrows in the media. Ones who are willing to buck Republican Party leadership.

Those are the people worth supporting.

Simply voting Republican will not preserve our republic. Republicans simply delay our journey to socialism. Rarely do they actually apply the brakes and turn things the other direction. Instead, they just take the foot off the accelerator.

We need conservatives who are willing to undo the damage Democrats have done — not just provide us with a temporary reprieve.

We need to vote for conservatives who want to win these battles more than the Left does. We will not win these battles with Republicans who refuse to even engage them.

We don’t need a surrender caucus, we need a courageous one.

How you decide which candidates belong in which camp is totally up to you. But I can tell you basing that decision on election year marketing and messaging isn’t going to cut it either.

Quit rewarding mediocrity.

We’re at a point in history where little girls have to use a bathroom stall next to grown men who think they’re women. This should be one of the biggest issues of our time — but I don’t see Republicans making their Democrat opponents own this position.

How do we win these battles? It starts by only voting for conservatives willing to engage in the battles.

Voting for Republicans who refuse to fight guarantees a loss.

Our country needs courageous conservatives, not weak Republicans driven by polling. Let’s raise the bar a bit when it comes to which candidates deserve our vote.

Make them earn it, don’t just give it.

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