This past weekend at the Springmaid Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach, the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention officially launched the 2016 presidential race with several potential candidates, including: famous neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Conservative darling Senator Ted Cruz, former senator Rick Santorum, and famous business mogul Donald Trump.
The event sold out in the main ballroom (which seats more than 700 people) so the organizers had to create an extra, overflow room on the first floor to broadcast the major speeches from the main ballroom. The speakers also visited the overflow room for Q&A’s and to mingle with fellow attendees.
South Carolina Tea Party Convention Executive Producer, Joe Dugan, told PolitiChicks,
“I think what is going to win the South Carolina primary for these candidates, is the ground game. The people that attend this convention are the people with the passion and the zeal to see future generations have the same opportunities and benefits that we’ve had throughout our lives. So, for a lot of these people here, it’s all above the children.”
This conference included some of South Carolina’s most Conservative grassroots leaders whose support could be critical in the 2016 Republican primary. In fact, the winner of the South Carolina primary has gone on to secure the Republican nomination every year except in 2012.
Nevertheless, the South Carolina primary is known to be an important early momentum-builder for presidential candidates.
During his speech, Dr. Ben Carson energized the crowd when he said, “We have got to get the message across that we are not victims. No matter who comes along, even if Al Sharpton comes along and tells you are, you are not a victim.”
Carson also sparked a loud applause when he discussed the vast capabilities of the U.S. military. “I’m willing to say that if you allow our military to do what they are capable of doing, without tying their hands behind their back, it will not be long before ISIS is IS-WAS,” he said.
He also criticized the president’s healthcare plan:
“One of the first things you do to fundamentally change a society like ours is you take control of people’s healthcare because that’s the most important thing that they have, and if you can get control that, you can get control of everything else. That’s why I have been vehemently against the healthcare program that the president has put forth.”
Senator Ted Cruz, also a Conservative favorite, told the crowd that he wanted to talk about bold colors. He reminded them of the “mushy middle” candidates that the Washington consultants “champion,” and how they keep losing in presidential elections. He told the crowd that he very much agrees with Ronald Reagan’s observation that Republicans win when they paint not in pastels, but in bold colors.
Sen. Cruz also challenged other Republican candidates who describe themselves as Conservatives:
“If you are a Conservative, you shouldn’t have to tell anybody. If you really are a Conservative, you will have been walking the walk, you will bear the stripes, and your actions will speak louder than words.”
Rick Santorum criticized the president’s education program, touching on the ‘hot button’ issue of Common Core. He explained: how well a child does in school has to do with the parents’ involvement in the child’s life and in the school. He explained how the Common Core curriculum actually pushes parents out of a child’s education.
Santorum electrified the crowd when he declared, “We need a parents’ revolution in education and Common Core is NOT a part of that revolution.”
Donald Trump expressed his confidence that the likely Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton could absolutely be beaten in the 2016 presidential race. And, when it comes to balancing the budget, he said,
“There are so many things you can do to create wealth in the country. It’s easier than doing a business. One of the things I’d do is take the jobs away from China. China has made a fortune on us, and so have other countries…We would be making great deals with other countries, they wouldn’t be sucking our blood, and we could have so much wealth in this country again. We used to have that, we don’t have that anymore. Right now, we are a ‘debtor’ nation.”
Other exceptional speakers at the convention included: Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-TX; Congressman Jim Bridenstine, R-OK; Congressman Mick Mulvaney, R-SC; Congressman Tom Rice, R-SC; Congressman Jeff Duncan, R-SC; Bill Cowan, Lt. Col. (Ret.), USMC; Ambassador Henry Cooper, President, High Frontier
Kevin Jackson, The Black Sphere; Deneen Borelli, Director of Outreach, Freedomworks; Wild Bill For America”, Bill Finley, Tea Teams USA; Lester Eisner, Maj. Gen. USA National Guard (Ret.); Bill Norton, Constitutional Coordinator, Tea Party Patriots; Dr. Jeff Anderson, Executive Director, 2017 Project; Robert Moffit, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; John R. Graham, Senior Fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis; Bill Pascoe, Legislative update, Tea Party Patriots;David Bores-Adj.Instructor, Georgia Police Academy; filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch.
Speakers covered an array of issues, including: Islamic terrorism, national security, healthcare, immigration, Common Core, religious liberty, the Second amendment, and the current tax code.
Joe Dugan told PolitiChicks, “This is the first year we have had training classes. One of the things I want everybody from this convention to walk away with is the phone numbers of their representatives, on speed dial, on their cell phones. So, if their representatives start to go astray, they can hear from us.” Dugan explained, “Just voting isn’t enough anymore. We must all take a more active role in our government and when the will of the people is not being served, those making wrong decisions must be held accountable.”