LI Grad Interview: Californian, International Communicator, Presidential Campaign Spokesman

The world is run by those who show up…. America has plenty of critics. What the country needs are conservative men and women in the arena.”

Meet Ron Nehring, Leadership Institute (LI) graduate, faculty, and Director of International Programs. 

I recently interviewed Ron to hear about his experiences running for office and his time as Spokesman for Ted Cruz for President. Last year in the 2020 general elections, Ron won local office in his hometown in California.

Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?

Shortly after I became the President of my College Republican club at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, I learned of the Leadership Institute and Morton Blackwell. 

After attending seven LI trainings, I used those skills to become Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, Chairman of the California Republican Party, Republican nominee for Lt Governor of California, Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign spokesman, and a local office holder. 

You were the national spokesman at Ted Cruz for President. What motivated you to get involved in the campaign?

As 2016 approached, I wanted to be involved in the presidential election.  Senator Cruz was a solid conservative and first-time presidential candidate.  

While more established candidates like Jeb Bush had large organizations already around them, there were greater opportunities with a candidate who was building his national organization, and I was motivated by his clear and unapologetic conservatism.  

Do you have any insightful stories from your time on the campaign or as a candidate? 

In politics, you get to define what victory means.  If victory only meant winning the office, no one would run for any office where the odds are against him.  But, the movement needs candidates who will step up for a battle that’s uphill. 

When I ran for Lt Governor, the odds against me were overwhelming. And yet, the campaign further raised my profile and was helpful in my becoming Senator Cruz’ California chairman, and later his spokesman.  

The benefits of stepping up for a campaign may not be immediately apparent. Yet a solid effort can open important doors in the future. 

How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service? 

I hold a Political Science degree, yet most of what I learned about winning a campaign came from LI — both as a student, and later as a faculty member. If you really want to master a topic, try teaching it. It forces you to delve much deeper into the subject and understand its relationship to other areas.  

When I ran for local office in 2020, the campaign was designed exactly to match what we teach at LI. The strategy was developed from the same methods we teach, and implemented using the same tactics. 

While victory can never be guaranteed, I’m grateful to the voters for the overwhelming support I earned through this effective campaign.  

You are the Director of International Programs at the Leadership Institute. Tell us a bit about your position.

Leadership Institute brings literally world-class quality training in organizing and communicating to conservative leaders, parties, and groups around the world. 

Many of the leaders and potential leaders LI has trained have gone on to successfully win public office, and from there put conservative ideas of free markets and individual liberty into action. 

I work diligently to take proven techniques and adapt them to different countries, cultures, and political systems. Center-right organizations worldwide know when they need high quality training to improve their effectiveness, to call on the Leadership Institute. 

Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?

The world is run by those who show up.  

We are blessed to live in a country which welcomes political involvement.  Americans of any background can be involved in shaping our government, and advancing ideas to improve the human condition.  As Morton Blackwell has observed, being right in the sense of having the best ideas is not enough to win.  

America needs leaders who want to do something, not just be someone, to maximize their effectiveness with the skills necessary to win.  

Teddy Roosevelt put it this way:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. 

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

America has plenty of critics. What the country needs are conservative men and women in the arena. 

This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities. Don’t miss out! Sign up here.