The purpose of this campaign is to spark a needed conversation as Republicans on what it means to be a Republican, and a larger national debate on why spending and debt, our American institutions – and civility and humility should still matter in politics.

We focus on spending, debt and deficits because our present course leads to financial disaster, jobs lost and grave injury to the American dream. Our debt is a clear and present danger to our republic.

Why I'm Running

Two Other Things

What's happened to our country?

We have gone a long way from the words adopted by Congress in 1782 of E Pluribus Unum – “Out of many, one.” The founders saw our differences as a strength and believed we could join together as Americans in appreciating the Founding Fathers’ divine guidance and our birthright of freedom.
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A Long Letter From Mark On Debt and Campaign Themes.

If you have been watching and listening to the candidates and media discussion in this 2020 Presidential election cycle you’ve heard a lot of talk about many important issues but almost none about debt, deficits and spending. Accordingly, our campaign is committed to raising awareness, discussion and debate on this issue. You can never fix a problem you don’t see. Democrats are not talking about it. Concurrently, the President has called himself the “King of Debt” and ruled out action on the very things that drive our debt and spending.

So, we are left in a political no-man’s land wherein most people aren’t aware, or know little of, the perilous implications our growing debt and spending will have in their lives.

The math today suggests that this is raw political negligence that will ultimately hurt every one of us because history has shown that when political forces don’t confront mathematical realities, the financial markets are left to do so. This is where the hurt comes in for each of us. Financial markets don’t care whether you’re a Republican or Democrat. They don’t care about political spin. They care about math, and ours doesn’t add up in Washington.

In fact, we are headed toward a financial trainwreck the likes of which our country has never seen. We have never been as financially vulnerable save for the start of our Republic, the Civil War and World War Two. We are all stakeholders in what comes next and accordingly we should find a way to make our voices heard – it’s the only way we can change things in Washington.

On differing pages on this website, you will find much more in the way of detail on why and how the debt, deficit, and spending issue should matter to you and those you love. I invite you to explore these pages and share your thoughts, ideas and insights to what you read and see.

As to other issues, I agree with the concerns and frustrations raised by many fellow Republicans and Trump voters. Much needs to be changed in Washington, and for more than 25 years I have pushed with all I have to change things in politics. In fact, some say I was country before country was cool on this. I am the former Governor who walked into the South Carolina State House with a pig under each arm to decry pork barrel spending. I was the first Governor in the country to turn back former President Obama’s stimulus package. I could produce a long list of vigorous efforts and vital actions to change the status quo, but in these efforts, I have never tried to cast aside norms, traditions or institutions that have served us well for 200 years. I am a conservative. A part of my political philosophy lies in the belief that reasoned and measured steps need to take into account the wisdom of those who have brought us to where we are today.

What this means is that wanting change in Washington does not make you and me a deplorable. Change is long overdue. But it also means we should not throw out the good with the bad. The President’s fits and tirades are challenging and changing long held political norms. While change can be good, I believe there will be more hurt than help to our job and economic prospects, the American dream, our political system and our place in the world with his approach.

America is exceptional because our Founding Fathers made exceptional choices in the way they designed our political system. It’s not a birthright, but too often the President disregards this, even though honoring their design is key to America sustaining its role as an exceptional place.

Deviation from their design, whether in the size of government or in something like civility, hurts all of us because it weakens the very balance and function of the government they created. The American way was devised to maximize individual liberty, private property, the rule of law, competitive free enterprise, limited and frugal government, strong local communities, fiscal and personal responsibility and civility in public life. The guidebook to sustaining and building the American dream rests in the United States Constitution, and in as much as we adhere to its limitations there will be expanded opportunities for all of us.

I believe in reason and measured debate. I believe in stewardship – with the environment and more – because I feel we should leave the world better than we found it. I believe that while trade practices can certainly be improved upon, they are vital and have leveraged our economy and economic well-being – accordingly I think the President’s approach here is wrong. I believe that institutions, as checks on power, were vital in the Founding Fathers design and remain essential to preserving liberty in America. I believe that a restrained political culture, and the humility that comes with it, is an essential American tradition as well.

In short, as a conservative I believe in honoring traditions that work. And where change is needed, I believe it should fit within the construct of the United States Constitution and limited government. Many things may need changing but the Federal Government should not do it all. Our local voices and communities can be strengthened when change is allowed to originate outside of Washington DC.

I point all this out to make clear that my focus on debt, deficits and spending is not meant to suggest that other issues aren’t important – they are – but where change begins and how we pay for it is real important too. Likewise, not dwelling on grievances with the President doesn’t mean I don’t have differences with him, I do, and my comments are well chronicled. It’s just to say that in a long shot effort its best to focus – and so we will in pointing out how important it is we change our course on debt and spending.

My campaign is based on fairness and common sense. It’s about the building blocks to sustaining the American Dream. It’s about returning to basics. On money matters, it isn’t right to hand to our kids the bill for our government expenses. You can’t spend more than you take in forever and being conservative on money has always served people and civilizations well. The same common sense could be applied to the importance of sustaining institutions that have been part of the formula to keeping Democracy alive.

For these reasons and more, I’ve stepped forward. In doing so, I ask for your prayers, wisdom and help – but most of all I ask for your involvement. It will take all of us pushing independently toward financial sanity and a more reasoned approach to politics for us to get there. I again ask that you join us.

Five takeaways from the letter above

1. It's time for a conservative approach to debt, deficits and spending.

We are getting ready to go over the cliff financially, and the Trump Administration is accelerating our speed to, and over, the cliff. The Administration’s spending, debt, and deficits are well above President Obama’s, and financial restraint needs to be a part of this Presidential debate.

2. It’s time for a conservative approach to the political norms and the institutions the Founding Fathers created.

We should change many things in government, but in the process not tear down people’s trust in the institutions that have sustained freedom for 243 years. The first is needed change. The second breaks down what the Founding Fathers necessarily created to balance and contain power. President Trump is doing the second and needs to be stopped because our political norms sustain the very institutions that balance and divide power in America.

3. It's time we get back to the basics of leadership governance to produce results that better our lives.

The idea of buying Greenland is kind of fun and the President’s Twitter slap downs certainly provide good talking points for the media. But it’s an unnecessary and dangerous distraction. The American way was devised to maximize individual liberty, private property, the rule of law, competitive free enterprise, limited and frugal government, strong local communities, fiscal and personal responsibility and civility in public life. The guidebook to sustaining and building the American Dream is there in the form of the United States Constitution, and once again in as much as we adhere to its limitations there will be expanded opportunities for all of us.

4. It’s time for a conservative approach in re-embracing civility, humility, and respect in the public sphere and the Oval Office.

Tweets are not leadership. Insults don’t produce productive change. And we can't look the other way at behavior that fits that of the school yard bully. Do we want to make normal behavior that would send our fifth grader to the Principal’s office? The President is shattering norms here and recalibrating what we consider acceptable; this will harm us and those we love.

5. We have a chance to be heard, send a message to Washington and make a difference.

With Truman/Kefauver in 1952, Johnson/McCarthy in 1968, Reagan/Ford in 1976, Carter/Kennedy in 1980 and Bush/Buccannan in 1992 presidential outcomes were changed as a result of a primary challenge. In each of these races, not one of the challengers won the nomination, but in each race debate, focus and outcome was changed.