When Donald John Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election at the Trump Tower to an audience of about a thousand supporters on a blustery New York morning on June 16, 2015, no one could’ve anticipated the impact that he would have on this election cycle. No one (aside from Ann Coulter) could’ve even envisioned Mr. Trump winning the GOP presidential nomination. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time – even Mr. Trump himself -, there was a leadership void within the Republican Party that was crying out to be filled.
The billionaire’s no-nonsense style, outsider status, business savvy and keen political instincts drew in the support of blocks of politically frustrated middle class conservatives, tea partiers and Ron Paul’s orphaned paleolibertarians, who were all looking for a champion to lead them and give their struggle a voice. In the following months, these disparate groups of voters organically coalesced into a powerful coalition which has propelled Mr. Trump’s candidacy from the fringes of the race to the summit of the Republican nomination leaderboard with surprising, albeit controversial, ease.
And to think, the teetotaler wasn’t even certain about running as late early 2015. There were real fears that similar to the general elections of 1988, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, Mr. Trump would not make a bid for the nomination despite giving indications that he might.
His giddying ascension in the polls has been met with incredulous wonder by the media and more established candidates who have long fallen to the wayside. His combative performances in the debates left his opponents tongue-tied, much to the delight of his supporters. His controversial off-the-cuff deliveries and political incorrectness are viewed proudly by his legion of followers. His war cry, Make America Great Again, has galvanized even the elderly to attend his lively rallies.
Mr. Trump’s in-your-face style has drawn a lot of flak from all corners, but only a fool would doubt that there is a method behind his apparent madness. As the former reality TV star has demonstrated repeatedly throughout his career, his audacity is always accompanied by a ferocious intelligence.
There is simply no denying that Mr. Trump has changed the face of American politics forever. And the prospect of a businessman being elected to the White House has rekindled century-old memories of the Roaring Twenties when entrepreneurs such as Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover occupied the Oval Office.
Mr. Trump’s nationalist populist brand of politics captured the imagination of the nation, and powered his victory in the Republican primaries. However, will the charismatic real estate tycoon be able to use an identical approach in his White House run, or will he pivot to the center and reign in his explosive personality? Will he be able to unite the party’s fractured base and win over the agitated social conservatives? Will Miley Cyrus move out of the country if Mr. Trump is elected?
Born in Grapeland, Texas, Julian Lewis, Jr was raised to be a man of deep and unshakeable faith, and he has carried this lesson with him moving forward. Upon graduating from Lincoln High School, he went on to serve in the armed forces from 1972 to 1975 before being honorably discharged, making him a veteran of the Vietnam War era (though he did not see actual combat). After his service, he attended All State Business College and Dallas Bible College, where he eventually graduated with a degree in Pastoral Ministry. He officially joined the ministry in 1976, becoming a pastor in 1984 and being ordained into the Office of the Bishop in 1997.
While he was raised to vote Democratic, Lewis has developed his own political leanings and opinions that are decidedly conservative in nature. He accuses social welfare programs of handicapping people and calls for better management of resources. He is tough on illegal immigration, declaring that current laws must be upheld and those entering the country unlawfully be stopped. Ever the religious man, he even blames the removal of prayer from schools for many of the problems currently facing the educational system. He favors the implementation of corporal punishment in school, saying children have become unruly in modern days and are prone to engaging in behaviors they would once have regarded as unthinkable.
A central tenet of Lewis' candidacy is the call to go “back to basics”, or to return to the traditional American values of yesteryear. He champions the inclusion of God both at the community level and in the highest branches of government, blaming a departure from Christian values for many of the nation's ills. His bid is made less likely by the fact that, despite his strongly conservative views which would appeal to a large fraction of the Republican heartland, he has chosen to run as an Independent, being disgusted with party politics and wishing not to involve himself in them.
It is mainly for this reason that Julian Lewis, Jr will have a difficult time finding his audience. With even disenfranchised Republicans – of which there are many – turning to the Tea Party to cast their “message” votes, a place in American politics may prove difficult for an Independent, pious Bishop.