Today, with the U.S. facing its greatest threat — that of irreversible decline — a new kind of presidential leadership is desperately needed. For the Republicans, it is not only vital to elevate and deliver a candidate with the character, courage and capability to lead in this time of crisis. It is also essential that the candidate has the ability to get in the ring and decisively defeat the Democrat Party nominee.


In sports, winning teams painstakingly study the plays of their opponents so that they may defeat them.


If the last two elections taught Republicans anything, it was that they need to formulate and implement a winning playbook. Barack Obama, the minimally qualified, upstart candidate not only won by alluring charisma and a superior ground game utilizing social media — he also won by applying the “Rules for Radicals” from Saul Alinsky, a Marxist fellow traveler whose teachings have propelled the Left’s ascendancy since the 1960s.


The crowning achievement of Alinsky was recruiting both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — who are now at the pinnacle of power in the Democrat Party. Obama was trained in political and community organizing at the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago. Hillary developed a personal relationship with Alinsky after expounding on Alinsky methods in her senior thesis at Wellesley College in 1969.


Ready To Attack


A “Rules for Republican” playbook is needed not only to expose Alinsky tactics and strategy used by Democrats, but also to formulate a successful counter-strategy and clarify the key issues facing the nation.


Alinsky has taught the Democrats to pursue a no-holds-barred campaigning style. What characterized Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns was savvy-but-ruthless “politics of personal destruction,” which kept the opponent continuously off balance and on the defensive.


So the First Rule for Republicans is “go on and stay on the offensive.” Anticipate every possible issue and move of your opponent, and get out in front of all of them so as to diffuse and defeat whatever is thrown at you.


Democrats have operated on the premise that entitlements buy votes and that people can be fooled into embracing socialist big government by holding out that “they are the ones who can make government work.”


The Second Rule for Republicans is to revitalize Reagan’s observation that “government is not the solution to our problem, it is the problem.” The majority grasps this simple adage even better today, with multiple polls showing 76% of the American people distrustful of Washington — an all-time low.


Voters connect the dots that big government brings more cronyism, corruption and dependence, and less freedom and opportunity for the people.


The GOP may be more trusted in foreign policy, but to win decisively the Republican candidate needs to be well versed in solutions to liberalism’s failing domestic policies — particularly in health care, public education, family breakdown and crime, and high unemployment.


With all these on display in cities under Democratic rule for decades, such as Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., the GOP should be confident that now is their time.


Alinsky viewed deception and camouflage as being an effective and essential weapon. He believed that radical ends should be clothed in moral terms, such as equality, social justice, common welfare and comprehensive reform.


Unmask Media Bias


The Third Rule for Republicans is to call out and name whatever particular deceits are going down, like Black Lives Matter, and maintain the moral high ground by providing clear and succinct analyses and solutions.


Alinsky’s tactics for harnessing mass media revolved around picking the target and “freezing, polarizing and personalizing it.”


Whether through stump speeches, campaign ads or media coverage, Democrats typically pursue a scorched-earth approach — ridiculing and smearing the opponent — rather than taking on policy specifics.


The Fourth Rule for Republicans is to aggressively expose media bias and neutralize personal attacks by recounting the judgment and character flaws of the opponent, while simultaneously punching out succinct policy solutions that lay bare the deficiencies and lack of substance in the opponents’ position.


Alinsky believed that in political war, “the end justifies almost any means,” including overwhelming the system with debt obligations it cannot meet.


The Fifth Rule for Republicans is to champion fiscal health as the essential foundation for the future. The unsustainability of the present course is highlighted by the $8 trillion in national debt that has been added in nearly seven years of Obama rule, an amount equaling the debt accumulated in the prior 230 years.


GOP policies to restore fiscal health by reengineering a high-growth economy combined with aggressive steps to balance the budget are what is needed to prevent national insolvency and save the very entitlement programs popular with Democrats.


In summary, the Rules for Republicans to assure decisive victory are the same as they are in sports: Understand your opponent’s tactics and strategy and outsmart him or her with a superior playbook — one enabling you to take control of the ball, stay on the offensive, maintain momentum and put winning numbers up on the scoreboard.


• Powell is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle and a managing partner at RemingtonRand LLC.