Lewis: Trump went wrong
The Republicans have commissioned a committee to determine what went wrong in the mid-terms. Many of those who lost their elections, like Blake Masters, were invited to join. What went wrong for the Republicans seems pretty obvious, but a surefire way to reach the wrong conclusion is to put those responsible for the losses in charge of determining what went wrong. That’s like putting Russell Wilson in charge of defining the Bronco’s problems.
The problem is as simple as this — Donald Trump is what went wrong. And if Republicans want to win elections, they need to return to true political conservatism.
Political conservatism has just a few core values: limited government, free markets, the rule of law, and individual rights. Unfortunately, the GOP, driven by Trump, is currently focused on cultural conservatism, nationalism, and revenge against the Democrats. Republican leaders have lost sight of American priorities and instead prioritized their own agenda.
When Republicans took the House they had the opportunity to propose plans to tackle what Americans identified as their most pressing issues: the economy, inflation, and crime. Instead, their first order of business is looking into Hunter Biden’s laptop. Hunter Biden was not on my, or American’s, list of priorities. He is not in political office and has no clout or influence, but bizarrely, revenge has become the most pressing item on the GOP agenda.
Meanwhile, the de-facto GOP leader, Trump, continues to embrace white nationalists, anti-Semites, and QAnon quacks. Fearing reprisals (from Trump), most in the GOP still refuse to take a stand on his abhorrent actions. Consequently, the GOP continues to lose ground with moderate Americans that refuse to look the other way.
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The GOP’s Trump problem went from bad to worse when he recently stated, “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!” Yes, you read it right, the leader of the party that is supposed to be all about the rule of law and strict adherence to the Constitution wants to “terminate” it.
The GOP faces a conundrum. While Trump and his disciples have a devoted following within the Republican base, they are too radical to garner the support needed from moderates and independents to win most general elections. Future success will require that the GOP return to core conservative political views and unequivocally condemn the likes of the Proud Boys, Ye, and Nick Fuentes.
The question is — will they do it?
Cultural conservatism, like the “don’t say gay” law in Florida, has become more integral to the GOP platform in recent years but overreach here could also represent a third rail for the party. With polls showing overwhelming support for gay marriage (71%) and reasonable abortion rights (61%), any candidate campaigning on a platform against these rights faces a tough road. While it might have worked just 15 years ago, Americans’ views on these issues have evolved and are now much more progressive.
Given some of the qualifications (or lack of) of the Trump-anointed candidates, I am surprised that the losses, like Herschel Walker’s in Georgia, haven’t been even more one-sided. The problem with having close races is that Republicans may falsely assume that minor changes, like embracing early voting, will fix the problem. These losses, however, are happening at a time when Democrats also have very low approval ratings. Both parties need to make changes and it remains to be seen which one will have the foresight to act.
For the Republicans, it is pretty simple. Election deniers, racists, anti-Semites, and those who directly or tacitly support these groups will not win elections. Hopefully, the GOP now understands that Trump is its biggest loser and now is the time to cut the cord.
Mark Lewis, a Colorado native, had a long career in technology, including serving as the CEO of several tech companies. He retired from technology last year and is now writing thriller novels. Mark and his wife, Lisa, and their two Australian Shepherds — Kismet and Cowboy, reside in Edwards.