Costa Mesa political consultant Eric Beach, a 39-year-old “boy wonder” who ran a key super PAC that helped to elect Donald Trump, has a message for Californians despondent or defiant over a Trump presidency: Get over it.
“We have a lot of issues here in California that need to be fixed. I would hope that we borrow Donald Trump's motto and look at these next four years to see how we can make this state better,” Beach said on the “Inside OC with Rick Reiff” public affairs program.
Beach said Trump in many ways is “non-partisan” and critics should look beyond his sometimes inflammatory rhetoric and judge him on the policies he implements:
“I believe those policies are going to make the country great and therefore, let's look at how that shakes out.”
California politicians who have been laying down markers for the incoming Trump administration, such as by reaffirming sanctuary cities, should instead try to avoid a “collision course.”
“If we still want to continue promoting policies that are out of lockstep with the rest of the country, really most Americans, I believe, then we deserve to have a confrontation,” Beach said.
Californians voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, alone providing her roughly three-million popular vote margin. She even carried Orange County, the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. But Beach contended the popular vote did “not really” reflect the will of the American people, but only “the popular will of California, New York and Massachusetts.”
Beach launched Great America PAC (political action committee) in January with $300,000 in seed money from William Doddridge, CEO of Tustin-based the Jewelry Exchange. He recruited veteran political strategist Ed Rollins as his co-chairman and eventually raised and spent $30 million, nearly a fifth of the Trump campaign's total.
Great America's efforts included 1-800 TV ads – “mocked” but “effective,” Beach said -- as well as provocative spots attacking Clinton over the Benghazi tragedy.
Beach said the PAC will continue to work for President Trump, promoting his agenda and, when necessary, taking on his Democratic and Republican critics alike. Already the PAC has filed suit to block the Green Party's bid for a vote recount in Wisconsin.
Beach said his was the first Republican PAC to merge “the grass roots with the donor community,” attracting “low-propensity” voters and raising roughly half of its funds from small donors. The biggest donations came late in the campaign – $5 million from Laurie Perlmutter, wife of Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter, and $2 million each from Houston Texans owner Robert McNair and Dallas banker Andy Beal.
While many decry the growing power of PACs such as his, Beach called them “a form of patriotism” that provide a counter to dues-fueled union support for Democrats. He said attempts to put spending limits on PACs threaten the ability of citizens to participate in the political process.
He called Trump's election victory a repudiation of the Democratic Party, “establishment Republicans” and the mainstream media.
Beach said he thought Hillary Clinton was a “weak candidate” and that Bernie Sanders would have been a more formidable opponent for Trump because “the election was about changing Washington, D.C.”
Beach, whose previous clients included former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, recounted the derision that he and others on the Trump team encountered throughout the year, much of it from fellow Republican operatives.
“I was told early on that I would never work in this business again,” he said. But now it's a different story: “Some people I heard from last week, I haven't heard from in ten, 12 years.”
Part two of the interview begins airing next Tuesday.