Our nation was founded by risk takers and advanced at every stage by Americans who were willing to risk it all – their very lives if needed – to ensure their children would grow up in an even better place than the one they inherited.  

That spirit has all but faded from American politics today, and from the U.S. Senate in particular. Today, the Senate is filled with too many politicians who want to be Senators more than they want to solve problems. 

This collapse of real leaders and risk takers in the Senate couldn’t come at a worse time.  Our nation faces a series of enormous challenges: a failing healthcare system, $20 trillion in debt compounding daily; a decade of little economic growth; growing security threats; and the attempts of Leftist leaders and cultural elitists to rip our nation apart, undermine its founding principles, and pit Americans against each other on the basis of our skin color, ethnicity, religion, and gender.

While health insurance premiums continue to skyrocket and insurers drop out of Obamacare’s failing artificial markets, Washington’s career politicians failed to act.  

But conservatives can’t give up. Real people are hurting as the result of the mess that is Obamacare, and with career politicians unable to get the job done, we must offer a conservative solution.

There are several key changes that must be included in any effective long-term fix to American health care: 1.) We must dramatically improve transparency in pricing; 2.) We must increase the portability of health care dollars through Healthcare Saving Accounts; and 3.) We must allow greater consumer choice in health care by allowing greater competition (to include competition across state lines).

There are other changes that must be made as well, but these are the most critical ones that will actually suppress the costs of health care over the long-term, while protecting the quality of care for all Americans. 

Any health care reform that does not include these principles will not fix the problems created and exacerbated by Obamacare. 

And the more that our political establishment fails to address real problems faced by the American people, whether in the case of health care, our debt, defense, tax policy, or our culture, the more the American people lose faith in the institutions that exist to represent their interests.  

The truth is both parties right now are failing the American people.

I was once a Democrat and am now a Republican – but I’m an American, a Marine, a husband, a father, a businessman, and a conservative before I’m a member of any political party.  

I grew up a Democrat and was elected president of the College Democrats nearly 20 years ago, in 1999.  I may not have known much at that point in my life, but I was disgusted by the identity politics of the Democrats that I saw in Washington.

My patience with the Democrat Party died in the deserts of Iraq, where I was part of the troop surge in Al Anbar Province in 2007. During that deployment, I heard Democrat presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton lying about the progress we had made in that war, undermining our efforts.

President Obama later proved me right when he sold out our gains in Iraq, allowed ISIS to rise, and publicly laid out an absurd timeline for troop withdrawals in Afghanistan that encouraged our enemies there to keep killing Americans.

What did I learn from my experience? That George Washington was right to be suspicious of political parties.  That you have to put your principles first in life, and must be willing to go against the grain when it’s the right thing to do.

For more than a decade, I’ve spent my life immersed in war, business, and fatherhood. These experiences are what make me a conservative.  To me, conservatism equates to common sense: ensure equal opportunity for all; don’t spend more money than you have; protect the sanctity of individual life and liberty; and – although men are not angels – they are better off free than they are under the yoke of others’ bad decisions.

The Republican Party is the most conservative of our two major political parties, and I’m a Republican, but that doesn’t mean that I excuse Republican failures.  The Republican Party must provide solutions to our problems in order to remain relevant.  Republicans cannot quit on health care until they repeal Obamacare and provide an improved alternative, and they must now deliver tax and regulatory reform that spurs real economic growth.

In the meantime, Leftists will continue to scream “racist,” “sexist,” and “bigot” at their perceived political “enemies” (all while encouraging people to kneel during the national anthem) because that’s the only thing they have left in their arsenal of absurdity.  Their preferred policies – which always tilt towards making others dependent on government – have wreaked havoc and destruction upon this nation, and its most vulnerable populations in particular.  

But that gig is up, Americans of all backgrounds are tired of being patronized by politicians who fail to solve problems while preparing for their next election.  I’ve pledged to serve only two terms in the U.S. Senate because I don’t think anyone can solve our nation’s problems while trying to make a career of the Senate.

Those who solve the problems of today will win the future for those who come after us; and problem-solving, not political posturing, must be the mission of anyone running for office at this point in our nation’s history.

Semper Fi.

Kevin Nicholson is a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin in 2018. He is a business consultant living in Delafield with his wife and 3 children, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan. After leaving the Marine Corps, he completed a joint graduate program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. 
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