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Congressman-elect Madison Cawthorn wants to forge a ‘new Republican Party’ that inspires young voters

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At age 25, Congressman-elect Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) will be the youngest person in Congress, making a name for himself before he was even elected back in November, having trounced a candidate backed by President Donald Trump in a conservative North Carolina district. Now, he wants a “new Republican Party,” Fox News reports.

Never having the backing of the establishment, he was able to win nonetheless, thanks in part to his different messaging and his yearning for a change to the status quo.

“My election was really a referendum on the establishment,” Cawthorn told Fox News in a recent interview. “They’re really sending me up here to fight against that.”

This lack of backing from the establishment has given the incoming congressman a sense of freedom, being beholden to only his constituents.

“I don’t owe anybody except the constituents of my district my victory,” Cawthorn said. “And so because of that, I’ll serve them no matter what. And I think that’s how it should be.”

Cawthorn feels that the Republican Party has trouble with young people and that the party needs to change course to change the view many young voters have that the party is “angry and just says ‘no.'”

“There is a generational time bomb going off in the Republican Party and that’s because they have failed to connect with this new generation,” Cawthorn said. “They’ve failed to iterate the fact that we are the party of freedom.”

The nascent politician wants to “brand a new Republican Party” that is bold and inspirational. The GOP can no longer be the party of “no” and skirting around important but controversial issues like health care and the environment, he says. Rather, Republicans should be “thought leaders” on solutions.

Republicans also have been too preoccupied with social issues and should become libertarian on personal affairs, Cawthorn says. The exception, however, should be abortion, which requires “very loud” opposition, he adds.

“I really want the Republican Party to be bolder,” Cawthorn said. “I want us to be a big tent party that says I don’t care if you’re gay. I don’t care what your religion is. As long as you believe in freedom and believe in our founding principles, you’re welcome in our party.”

“I really want our party defined as the Freedom Party,” he added.

Cawthorn will replace the 31-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) as the youngest member of the House of Representatives. Similar to her, he’s challenged the status quo of his own party and wants to see changes made.

Despite saying the two couldn’t be further apart on political issues, Cawthorn respects what Ocasio-Cortez accomplished.

“I have not met her yet,” he told Fox News, “but if I ever do, I’d definitely shake her hand and say, ‘Thank you for setting the example that you can be in your 20s and still make a difference in your country.'”

In particular, Cawthorn has his sights on the political party structure, specifically the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), which assists incumbent Republican representatives in winning reelection. Cawthorn says the existence of the NRCC is one reason why “great patriots” can transform into “establishment pawns.”

“I think a lot of people are lazy, and they’re not good at fundraising, and they have to rely on these big-dollar donors to give to the NRCC and then the NRCC will come in and fund your reelection and win your race for you,” Cawthorn said. “Because of that, they’re at their beck and call.”

Cawthorn is a supporter of congressional term limits and dislikes the House committee assignment process that compensates Republican lawmakers who show loyalty to the party leadership. For this soon-to-be legislator, it’s going to take fresh faces arriving in the nation’s capital to say: “That’s wrong, we need to fix that.”

RELATED: GOP Senator and Dem fmr. Governor: It’s time for term limits in Congress

Want more details about this story? Read the full original Fox News report here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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