What should the Republican Party do now?

Much ink has been spilled over how the Republican Party failed to prevent Donald Trump’s nomination. There is no shortage of commentary. What is clear, though, is that voters, sincere in their distrust of the ruling classes, voted in Trump as a referendum on Washington, D.C. — on Republican Party politics.

But it is time to move past the grinding of teeth. It is time to rebuild, to earn Americans’ trust again by embracing the party’s true ideals — its original principles. It’s not enough to say #NeverTrump — we must also say #AlwaysLincoln. We believe it is time to reconnect with the grassroots and offer substantive solutions. We believe the death of the Grand Old Party has been greatly exaggerated.

“For when any great evil presents itself, the moment is defined not by that great evil, but by regular men who stand up to evil thwart it.”

This is a peculiar election with an even more peculiar parasite — one who has chosen “Republican” as its host. Yet it is in this evil and dysfunction that we find ourselves with an incredible opportunity to determine what exactly a forward-looking, 21st century Republican Party offers our country.

Americans of all political persuasions, especially Republicans, should celebrate and seize this moment. For when any great evil presents itself, the moment is defined not by that great evil, but by regular men who stand up to evil thwart it.

You cannot kill an idea.

Republicans should embrace this chance to become the party of the future. We should be thrilled to show what Republicanism actually means in the face of this Trumpian disruption. You cannot kill an idea. The Republican Party is not over and it is certainly not dead.

Rather than an end, 2016 is a correction, a recalibration, an opportunity to look back and return to the party Abraham Lincoln established. Our party has stagnated and relied on fear-mongering for too long. We must revisit and reconsider Lincoln’s example. We must make government accountable to the people again, and we must offer them real solutions born out of real relationships.

While the public is focused elsewhere, there are plenty of Republican leaders out there doing this work already. Look no further than Governors Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, both of whom champion transparent and accountable government. Martinez cleaned up corruption and waste, passed tax reform with a Democratic legislature, and turned the largest structural deficit in New Mexico’s history into a surplus.

Senators like Nebraska’s Ben Sasse are also leading the way. Sen. Ben Sasse offers a unique voice extolling the virtues of our constitutional form of government and what’s exceptional about our American experiment. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has focused on finding solutions to poverty and ensuring that the American dream is a reality for all. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has devoted her time to protecting Granite Staters from heroin addiction, while Cory Gardner of Colorado has led 21st century energy policy and Mike Lee of Utah has focused on criminal justice reform.

These are just a few of the principled, Republican leaders at the state and national levels who are promoting serious ideas to improve the lives of all Americans.

This kind of leadership and policy innovation is the way forward for our party: a hard-working party that is committed to the exceptional and enduring principles of our great experiment in self-government.

It’s time to Restart America.

Restart GOP is a group of individuals who love our country, and our party, but hate what is happening to both of them. We believe we must repair the mission of the party by returning to the first principles of Republicanism. Then, we must rebuild the party of Lincoln, practically implementing Republican beliefs by promoting diverse, exemplary candidates who embody those first principles.

We will do this by:

  1. Consolidating loyal Republicans who believe it is worth fighting to retain our identity and rebuild the party of Lincoln.
  2. Holding current and future Republican leaders accountable for their acceptance of Trump and other non-Republican con artists who use our party for their own ends.
  3. Reaching out to the younger generation of Republicans who have been slighted by a leadership that puts party and power before principle and country.
  4. Creating an open forum to discuss important issues openly and respectfully without fear of exclusion.

There is room for Republicans of all views to participate in this great civic endeavor, which epitomizes some of what’s best about America and our political system.

The party we want to emerge will only become a reality if we participate in shaping its future. Fortunately, there are public servants we can look to who are already showing us the way.

We need to work together and discuss solutions to the deep problems that 2016 revealed — so we can have a different outcome in 2020. Do we need rules changes? Or policy requirements? What should we ask of the next RNC chair?

This is not the death of the Republican Party, but a rebirth. It is time to pick up the pieces and do our part to prepare the future. Will you join us?