The Republican Party killed itself. The particular poison it swallowed is the hatred it harbors for its own voters. Sooner or later, all that hatred was going to burn it up. When Republican lawmakers turned their backs on Republican voters protesting for free and fair elections and endorsed election fraud by ignoring it, they blew up any remaining illusion that the Red-Blue divide in D.C. is real.
Republican voters struggled for over a decade to give the Republican Party all the power it needed to fight for the Constitution and American liberty and against the quickening assault of totalitarian state control. Republican voters repeatedly urged Republican lawmakers to stomp out Big Tech’s censorship and strangling of free speech before it was too late. Republicans in office have done nothing.
When voters turn a blind eye to their suspicions that only a UniParty exists in D.C., actively support Republican lawmakers, and find themselves inevitably betrayed by those same lawmakers nonetheless, the sting is particularly fierce. From the point of view of a Trump-supporter, the Republican Party has wasted a tremendous opportunity. The “stupid party” looks as if it’s achieved peak stupidity. But from the point of view of D.C. Republicans who have worked to thwart President Trump’s agenda for four years, it is a certainty that the only stupid Republicans they see are their own voters.
It didn’t have to be this way. Republicans in Washington could right now be in the majority with a strong president in the White House. Instead, they spent years using Trump-supporters when their votes were needed and giving little in return. It was a betrayal that leaves deep scars.
Did Republicans finally pay the price with their voters in Georgia? With turnout in pro-Trump areas diminished, that seems the case, and after most Senate Republicans spent the last two months surrendering the presidency, rather than fighting for it, who could blame Georgia voters for choosing not to care? On the one hand, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock seem like shoe-ins to supercharge Obama’s socialist legacy. On the other hand, in a Republican Party that overwhelmingly prefers Donald Trump’s handling of domestic and foreign policy issues to the ways in which establishment Republicans have handled those spheres in the past, neither David Perdue nor Kelly Loeffler looked very “Trumpy.”
Neither Georgia senator jumped up in fury after an avalanche of suspicious voting irregularities led the national press corps to anoint Joe Biden as “president-elect” a full four days after the election had ended, and when Senators Perdue and Loeffler finally pledged to challenge the results of the presidential election a day or two before their January 5 runoff, their commitments reeked of desperation, not righteousness. After their losses and subsequent refusals to see their promises through the next day in D.C., it seemed Trump voters had pegged them correctly.
President Trump won more votes in November than any other sitting president, crushing his own 2016 victory by adding over ten million new voters to his coalition. He expanded his support from minority voters, sustained his gains with blue collar laborers, and attracted former Democrats disgruntled with the socialist direction of their former party. For the first time since President Reagan, a Republican leader came along who strengthened the GOP. And how have establishment Republicans in D.C. mostly treated this unexpected gift horse? They’ve stymied President Trump and his agenda for four straight years. When they weren’t denying him funds for an effective border wall or undermining his promises to end Obamacare permanently, too many Senate Republicans spent their time before television cameras publicly bemoaning the president’s efforts to fight communist China’s growing economic power, his insistence on reinvigorating American manufacturing, and his refusal to allow the Democrats to win every battle of the Culture War.
Instead of seizing the opportunity President Trump handed them in 2016 to prove to Americans that they were capable of tackling the immigration, trade, and health care issues Republican voters prioritized, Republican leaders decided to waste most of the president’s first two years in office by giving Obama and Clinton cover for a Russia hoax that was designed and utilized by Democrats both to spy on Donald Trump’s campaign and hamstring his presidency. More effort was given by Republican congressional leadership to obfuscate potential crimes committed by Obama’s administration and Clinton’s campaign than to tackle any of the “America First” policy proposals that had delivered President Trump victory. If there were a prize for lost opportunities, stalwart NeverTrump Republicans in Washington have no competition.
Somehow the only Republicans who don’t understand that voters have repeatedly rejected their preferred policies are the same D.C. lawmakers who have spent four years battling the president. It is hard to believe now, but prominent Republican leaders in Washington repeatedly warned before and after his election that Donald Trump would (1) ruin Republican outreach to black and Hispanic voters, (2) lead America into violent conflicts abroad, and (3) undermine conservative policy through his nominations and executive orders. Instead, President Trump won over more minority voters than any Republican presidential candidate since 1960; judiciously avoided wars with North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela (while utilizing a mixture of unexpected outreach and diplomacy, economic warfare, and firm deterrence); and presided over arguably the most staunchly conservative administration in a century (strongly supporting religious leaders, protecting the lives of unborn babies, and appointing constitutionalists to the federal courts).
If the Mitt Romneys, Paul Ryans, Ben Sasses, or any of the other consistent NeverTrump naysayers who all predicted the worst from Trump’s presidency had any professional credibility, they would recognize how repeatedly wrong they have been about their doom-and-gloom predictions for five years. That they have only doubled and tripled down on their hatred for President Trump while, in Senator Romney’s case, astonishingly turning potential Biden family financial crimes into a Trump impeachment has only made them (and, by extension, their Republican colleagues) increasingly repugnant to ordinary Republican voters.
It is difficult to pull the lever for the Republican members of a legislative body that stubbornly refuses to understand why voters elected President Trump and how the president has succeeded for those voters despite the intractable efforts at sabotage by NeverTrump Republicans in Congress. It is hard to imagine ever supporting members of a political party who see ordinary Americans protesting for free and fair elections as a greater threat to the Union than their own totalitarian colleagues pushing censorship and socialism in the halls of Congress.
For some Trump-supporters, the choice between authoritarian Democrats and turncoat Republicans is a coin toss. They may abhor the way Democrats are destroying America’s constitutional foundations and freedoms, but they also detest the weak-willed Republicans in office who are complicit in the Democrats’ efforts to fundamentally transform the country by failing to actively fight back tooth and nail. Was that not why Donald Trump rose to power in the first place? Because Republican voters had become so fed up with thirty years of slow but consistent betrayals by their own party that they finally decided to bring in someone new willing and able to fight?
For anyone not residing in D.C., that was the obvious lesson of 2016. Over four years later, too many elected representatives still haven’t figured that out. Washington Republicans have worked tirelessly to make President Trump go away, and they have done so at great cost to the future of the Republican Party. When Republican leaders constantly countermand the voters of their own party, many voters would rather destroy the party and start from scratch than reward the very people who seem to hate them most.
Image via Max Pixel.