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Glen Youngkin is a good man...who won't win.

But could certainly get my vote in the primary!


15 Ways to Win a Presidential Primary

A candidate who can be Mr. Fix It for obvious problems would get my vote.


By Andy Kessler, WSJ

Aug. 20, 2023 2:47 pm ET


The first Republican presidential debate is Wednesday, and voters are asking: What will it take to win in 2024? Donald Trump is ahead in the polls running a Festivus campaign, airing his grievances. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy poke at woke. Here’s a thought: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin thinks voters are “more focused on who is going to deliver results, who’s looking forward with a plan.” He’s right. Mr. DeSantis should take his own Iowa campaign event advice: “Leadership is not about entertainment. It’s not about building a brand. It’s not about virtue-signaling. It is about results.”


Candidates need to tell us what they can do and get done, especially when it comes to getting government off our backs. Mr. Youngkin asked the WSJ CEO Council in December: “What are the key issues that families are sitting around in the evenings concerned about and do you have a very clear agenda to address them?” K-12 curriculum was a winning issue for him. And this: “We really did fix our DMV. Virginians . . . can get things done faster today than you can check your rate at Geico.” Great line.


Americans aren’t stupid. We live in quiet desperation as government interferes with our lives—until we vote. Mr. DeSantis showed his get-government-out-of-our-lives philosophy in Florida by ending lockdowns, mask mandates, school closings and DEI requirements. He should get back to it—Halloween costumes show why bashing Disney probably isn’t a winning strategy.


We need a new phrase for kitchen-table issues. DoorDash-dining-while-streaming problems? Twitter jitters? Pain points? How about WTF—what to fix? Voters know what needs fixing, yet for mysterious reasons, no candidate seems to. Do it. Be Mr. Fix It. I have a list.


Start with the Transportation Security Administration: Everyone is sick of seeing dirty, holey socks at airports. Let us keep our shoes on and laptops in our bags and randomly screen 1 in 20 fliers.


Prescription-drug pricing is baffling. I paid $300 for a brand-name drug at Walgreens that dropped to $15 when I switched to Amazon Pharmacy. Why? Who knows? GoodRx codes often create price drops. Mark Cuban funded Cost Plus Drugs with a 15% markup over costs plus handling fees and sells 1,000 generics. Why not all prescription drugs? But please don’t have government set prices, which would create shortages and angry voters.


Next get rid of hidden fees. Banks are notorious, as are airlines. Buying $100 baseball tickets on StubHub costs almost $150 after various fees. I almost booked a $200-a-night Airbnb, but it cost more than $350 after cleaning fees and such.


Don’t stop there. End the post-office monopoly on first- and third-class mail. A letter for 66 cents? Ouch. FedEx, UPS and hordes of entrepreneurs would step into the breach and improve service.


In March my colleague Holman Jenkins explained how to bring aviation and air-traffic control into the 21st century. Safer, faster and fewer delays. Time is votes.


End the public-school monopoly. Let competition flourish. Kill K-12 teacher tenure and encourage artificial intelligence in education. Announce a 20-year plan for modernization. Parents will cheer. And end social promotions in K-12 that push students along and let illiterate citizens graduate.


Get rid of housing price controls, which exist in only seven blue states. Some 40% of San Francisco housing units are rent-stabilized, lowering supply and raising the rents of others. Unfair.


End price fixing like manufacturer’s suggested retail prices. You know, when you shop online and keep seeing the same $249.99 price. I would also end the geographic monopolies enjoyed by auto dealers and sports teams, which kill competition and make prices sticky.


After a 90-minute delay for a New York to Washington Amtrak, I complained, “I was told if Biden was elected, the trains would run on time.” Stop subsidizing his beloved trains. Planes and automobiles work. Voters hate pork. And lose Iowa but win the rest of the country over by outlawing ethanol use in gasoline.


This might sound Trumpian, but voters will agree: Tighten the border. You don’t even have to build a wall. Technology from such companies as Anduril Industries could create a virtual border wall.


Put expiration dates on legislation. Make lawmakers vote to renew and justify bills and regulations. Threaten to close bloated departments and commissions, though that has been promised before and never delivered. End runaway government-worker pay and $250,000-a-year firefighter compensation by nixing public-sector collective bargaining. Voters will notice.


Transparency helps. Interactions with government should be faster than checking rates at Geico. Get government out of the way and you would have my vote. Freeing us from its shackles resonates with voters. Results matter.


Write to kessler@wsj.com.

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