Forget “Plan B”— Now the GOP Needs an Exorcism
In my Whiskey & Gunpowder article last Tuesday, as the Georgia run-off elections were being decided at the ballot box, I opined that the Republican Party would very likely need a “Plan B” after those contests were settled.
I said that because I thought the odds were good that the Democrats would win those two seats — handing control of the Senate and its legislative agenda to the party of woke-ness, censorship, globalism, greeligion (“green religion”), and neo-socialism. As I’m sure you realize, those two races were America’s last hope for balanced, divided government for at least the next two years.
Among the “Plan B” contingency ideas I had for the GOP were enticing the already conservative West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin to switch parties, maintaining Republican control of the chamber. Although I don’t know all the ins and outs involved in such a flip, it’s certainly not unheard of in American political history (see Jeffords, Jim)…
And with West By God being the fourth reddest state in the U.S., it didn’t seem outside the realm of possibility. But now that option’s pretty much a dead horse, according to Manchin himself in an interview a few days ago. And who could blame him for shooting that horse in the head?
Up until the evening of Jan. 5 — even as those two Georgia Senate seats were slipping away from them — the GOP was clearly still holding its own among American voters. In the November election, they had radically over-performed expectations in the House races. And before Trump embarked on a two-month campaign (perhaps intentionally) to suppress his own party’s turnout in the runoffs, they’d succeeded in defending far more Senate contests than the Democrats.
But by the evening of Jan. 6, just 24 hours later, the GOP was in a tailspin.
The Senate majority was lost. The president had openly and repeatedly pressured his own VP to effectively overturn the national election, without Constitutional basis. Grandstanding Republicans, obviously angling for future support from Trump voters, had argued for a Congressional audit of the 2020 election in defiance of federal courts — mainly on public opinion grounds, rather than legitimate precedent…
And for the first time since the British burned in it 1814, the Capitol building had been forcibly breached, by a mob of angry Trump supporters.
Now, just nine days later, the Republican Party is in a total shambles. Voters are defecting. Big corporations are turning off the funding spigots for GOP candidates. Fox News is all of a sudden tanking in the ratings compared to CNN and CNBC. Big Tech is using the crisis to shut off conservative free speech left and right…
And the capper, obviously, is that Trump has been impeached again in the House, by the biggest bipartisan margin in history. He’s the first American president to be impeached twice. That’s a grand look for the Party of Lincoln, huh?
The Democratech Party Takes Control
Some of you may be wondering why I’ve been talking a lot lately about what the GOP should and shouldn’t do — and about all the tactical errors they’re making, especially at the top…
That’s because I truly believe that the Republican Party is America’s only hope against the seemingly inexorable leftward drift all wealthy, developed nations historically seem to exhibit over time. With the exception of the Reagan era, I’ve seen that happening here in the U.S. for most of my 52 years, and I can’t stand it.
The twist is that it’s not the GOP of current or recent history that I believe is America’s political knight-in-shining-armor.
Rather, I believe our nation’s hope lies in a “Grand New Party” that’s strategically savvy (unlike Trump) in today’s hostile media and messaging landscape — and that gives a new home to independents, libertarians, and moderate or conservative Democrats who don’t recognize their own party anymore.
Because let’s face facts: The Republican candidate has lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight U.S. presidential elections. The last time the GOP decisively won the popular vote was in 1988 — 32 years ago. When Republicans have won the White House in the years since then, it’s mainly been through Electoral College ju-jitsu, not by winning over the hearts and minds of a solid majority of Americans.
Now, to give credit where due, it must be said that Donald Trump’s presidency has shown everyone that Republicans can expand their tent beyond the stereotypical boundaries. Trump proved that the party can make inroads with minorities, blue collar workers, and other constituencies — even as it maintains and strengthens its ligature with the military, law enforcement, and other traditional partisan strongholds.
That sort of expansion will be a pillar of the “GNP” I envision leading our nation in the future. So will Trump’s “America first” philosophy, his dedication to U.S. energy independence and domestic manufacturing, his commitment to citizenship, his willingness to take on overreaching government agencies and major industries (like Big Pharma) on behalf of this nation’s people, and other things, too.
On the flipside, Trump proved that even the leader of a democratic system can become dangerously kinglike and dictatorial. He also proved that a president can successfully alienate millions of women, moderates, independents, free thinkers, and young people away from a political platform to which they’d otherwise be receptive simply by saying the wrong things.
But perhaps more than anything else, the Trump presidency proved beyond any possible doubt that Big Media — and now Big Tech — are nothing more than shadow factions of the Democratic Party.
And more than any other reason, that’s why…
The Republican Party must exorcise Trump for good
I don’t think anyone can dispute that on paper, Donald J. Trump did a lot of good things for this country as its president. But I think it’s equally arguable that the political liabilities he brought into the equation (especially dividing his own party) have more than outweighed the benefits.
I’ve written about this numerous times before, and I’ll say it again here: This all comes down to messaging and appearances. If Trump had done all the same things at the same times — but talked about them differently, showed some restraint and acted with some humility and Reagan-esque class — he very likely would’ve won reelection in a landslide.
And with reelection, Trump would not have had occasion to showcase the true depths of his narcissism and delusion. More importantly, he wouldn’t have felt like he needed to foment the discontent, distrust, and outrage that’s now destroying his party and destabilizing his country.
All Trump needed to do as president was listen twice as much, talk half as much, and maintain some semblance of tact, empathy and message consistency, and none of this horrible stuff we’re contending with now would’ve happened…
That’s why I’ll never forgive him. And neither should you.
Because Trump clearly realizes that messaging and image are crucial. And we know he understands this because on the campaign stump, and in his day-to-day rhetoric as president, he talked incessantly about the bulls-eye Big Media and Big Tech had painted on his back, and the backs of pretty much all Republicans.
In other words: He knew these powerful forces of optics and communication were allied against him, and willing to do just about anything to undermine and defeat him and his party. Yet he was reckless, careless, undisciplined, unrestrained and inconsistent with his messaging anyway.
That’s what a selfish, narcissistic person does, not one whose chief concern is the welfare, stability and betterment of his nation. And in this case, it’s what enabled the Democrats and their media and tech minions to portray Trump as a lying, unstable, capricious, self-absorbed attention whore. Yes, you could argue that lots of politicians are exactly the same way — and you’d be right…
But most of them seem to have the self-awareness, strategic thinking ability, and impulse discipline to conceal these traits to one degree or another, so they can’t be used to great effect against them in the real battle: The battle of perception.
To loosely echo Nixon, Trump’s big, fat mouth and big, fat head gave his enemies the sword they used to cut him down and kill everything that was good about his presidency. Now the aftermath of that is killing the Republican Party, and the American ethos, too, in my opinion.
Because of this, the Republicans only really have one course of action now — and it’s long overdue: They need to reinvent. Trump-related issues aside, it’s no longer enough to simply be distinct from the Democrats on the issues. That only works when you’ve got more active voters in your camp than your opposition.
But with America’s rapidly changing sentiments and demographics, the GOP needs to keep itself ideologically distinct AND steal voters, issues and platform territory away from the Democrats whenever possible.
This is no small feat — and they are not going to accomplish it as long as Donald J. Trump holds the reigns of the Republican party. He’s too reckless, polarizing, tone-deaf and now disgraced to lead it. Trump may prove to be the bridge to a Grand New Party, but he can no longer be its future.
So where do elephants go from here? They go for all the marbles, that’s where…
If the last four years have proven anything, it’s that Donald Trump absolutely must be in the spotlight. So if you think he’s just going to disappear after Jan. 20, you’re sadly mistaken. If he can find a way to mass-communicate, he’s going to lob rhetorical grenades at both parties for years to come, I’m betting.
And unless he’s expressly prohibited from doing so, I think there’s a good chance Trump will run for President again in 2024. But at this point, with all that has transpired, he could never win. He’s lost too much support in the middle and on the margins because of this stolen election fallacy and its aftermath.
The problem is that if Trump did run again, he would almost certainly split the Republican vote by a big enough margin — like H. Ross Perot did in 1992 — to easily throw the election to the Democrats.
That’s why, quite frankly, Pelosi and the other jackasses on The Hill are stupid to push this second impeachment. They should WANT Trump to stay in the mix, throwing his weight around, for as long as possible. Because he could be a guaranteed spoiler for the Republicans’ chances of winning future elections.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I truly believe that Trump is now a kiss of death for the Republican Party. If they’re going to regain power and stem the tide of American socialism anytime soon, they’ve got to contain or neutralize him…
Now of course, I’m not suggesting that the man shouldn’t get due process of law, or that such proceedings should be a mere formality. I’m suggesting the exact opposite, in fact — because the House’s rushed impeachment of Donald Trump has given Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP leadership a gift.
If it’s indeed possible to conduct an impeachment trial for a president who’s no longer in office, I hope McConnell does everything he can with the time he has left as majority leader to ensure that the Senate is consumed with Trump’s trial to the greatest possible degree, and for as long as possible into the future.
He should make a big show of joining with Chuck Schumer to “find the truth.” He should bring every possible witness to the stand, summon an army of experts to testify about Trump’s state of mind — and another army of legal scholars to discuss culpability and intent.
The Senate should give the man his day in court, to the fullest extent, arguing all the Constitutional angles and merits. And Senate Republicans should give Big Media and Big Tech a show like they’ve never seen before…
Because in so doing, they’ll accomplish two important things: One, they’ll draw as much focus away from Biden’s first 100 days as they possibly can (not to mention slowing down his agenda and appointments). And two, they’ll make it unmistakably clear that the Republican Party can and will police itself for the good of America.
At the end of it all, whether Trump’s legitimately found guilty or not, the GOP should support or move for a vote banning him from holding public office in the United States again. This would relegate him to the role of kingmaker, at best.
Meanwhile, the Grand Old Party should do its level best to map out a plan to become a Grand New Party, one that a true majority of Americans can get behind.
They should take all the best parts of the Trump presidency — the “American first” philosophy, the pro-business stance, the pro-security and self-sufficiency agenda, the rejection of unfair deals and agreements, the lower-tax, lower-regulation environment, and more — and incorporate them into a bigger, more inclusive tent…
One that fundamentally understands that Big Media and Big Tech will be working against them around the clock until such time as the majority of Americans are under that tent.
That’s when the media and tech companies will be forced, for market reasons, to do their damn jobs — and to fairly and freely represent the diversity of viewpoints that forged this country into the world’s greatest bastion of expression, ideas, liberty, and success.
Bottom line: This is an all-the-marbles moment, right here, right now.
The GOP needs to become a GNP, and truly win bigly, as Trump might put it.
And to do that, the first thing they need to do is wise up and stop giving the hostile, left-wing media-technology complex the weapons to defeat them…
But maybe the second thing would be to recognize that, “the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”
Reagan said that. And he was right.
Freedoms Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder