“America has been here before.” During the Philadelphia stop on his book tour of towns across Pennsylvania, Dave McCormick offers his message that is really three themes at once: a stern warning, a reality check, and hope.

All Americans know that inflation is eating up our paychecks and our savings. We know that crime is becoming more violent, and more random. Gas is becoming more expensive as America is importing more and more oil, becoming more dependent on Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Millions of people are pouring over our southern border — and we aren’t really sure who many of them are. We see the empty storefronts in every town — memories of businesses lost to lockdowns and mandates.

Some Americans recognize the dangers of the French President meeting with Chinese leaders to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war. Some recognize that the push to “green energy” is making us more dependent on China for batteries and solar panels. The dangers of oil sales among nations happening in rubles not dollars. The harm that could be done if China were to invade Taiwan and take over the production of 60 percent of the world’s microchip manufacturing.  How our children are not being taught that America is great, despite its flaws.

Dave McCormick assures readers and those he meets on his book tour that he sees all of this. He talks with clarity and insight. Rather than stoking fear, rather than railing against the reckless politicians that have put us in danger and are tearing us apart, he reassures his audience that America has been here before. 

His approach resonates as my advice to Republicans has consistently been that the path to success starts with two building blocks. First, we need to make sure that voters know that we understand their real everyday problems — the ones they talk about at the kitchen table. We need to tell them that we feel their anxiety — what parents discuss after the kids go to bed. 

But there is that second, critical building block: we must explain our plans to make things better, and reassure them that we have the courage and character to fight to get them done.

“Every time America has been at the brink of destruction; we’ve changed course, with leaders who showed us the right path.” McCormick walks us through the litany of challenges over 250 years. The early days of nation-building. The Civil War. The Vietnam era. The inflation and gas lines of the 1980’s. September 11th.

We know the problems. And, McCormick offers good news: there are solutions. America has the talent, the resources and the experience to right the ship — before we go over that cliff. But, if we do not set a new course, if we do not make changes, then disaster could follow.

He offers reassurance, but also candor. Neither failure nor success is guaranteed.

McCormick writes and speaks to both reassure us and snap us into reality.

McCormick uses his life’s experiences to draw on his leadership skills and to shape America’s path forward. McCormick spent part of his life working on a farm bailing hay and trimming Christmas trees. Later, he served in the Army during the Persian Gulf War. Back home in Pennsylvania, he got involved in business and eventually served as CEO of different manufacturing and finance companies, doing business across America and the world. He’s seen a lot, done a lot — and, yes, he’s been successful.

Perhaps that’s why he talks about leadership: the importance of having goals, a plan, and the skill and determination to get it done. There’s emotion in his voice when he talks, but it’s the focus of his message that’s most notable. He speaks purposefully and confidently.

Yes, everything is spinning out of control, going in the wrong direction. But McCormick reassures the audience that things can be fixed. We can get our lives and America moving in the right direction. He is offering the audience a plan. A path forward.

Readers and listeners come away with the sense that McCormick is about to offer Pennsylvania voters himself as part of that solution — to put his words into action.

Guy Ciarrocchi writes for Broad+Liberty and RealClearPennsylvania. He advises on public policy, messaging, and coalition-building. Follow him on social media @GuyCiarrochi.

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