I admit that last week’s column was a little more cynical than what I usually write, since the midterm election results were more of a sad referendum on voters, rather than the people in power.
Previously, I wrote a piece that placed the blame squarely on the state of the American electorate, which among other things, was foolish enough to elevate the mentally disabled into the halls of power.
Indeed, last week’s column was cynical because we live in the most cynical and chaotically insane time that anyone could’ve ever imagined.
Which is largely why, if Republicans are ever going to have a hope of making any electoral breakthroughs, they must present a strong contrast of stability, compared to the maelstrom of chaos being offered by the Democrats.
In practice, this means that the Republican Party is going to have to make some tough decisions in the days to come about the direction it wants to proceed.
Specifically, Republicans have to come to terms with what the American people actually are, what Republicans ought to publicly stand for and what to do about former President Donald Trump.
At the risk of repeating myself, the “American people” are not nearly as responsible with their voting privileges as the right likes to believe they are. The fact is, when it comes to politics, the left has the easiest time convincing people to join and support their side.
One of the great things about being a socially progressive leftist is that you don’t actually have to know anything to become one. You simply have to listen to your heart — your emotions — and little else.
In general, people love a great story that they can get emotionally invested in and politics are really no different. The leftist pitch to people is simple, “life is tragically unfair and someone should do something about that cosmic unfairness.”
Since just about everyone has a personal grievance that they wrestle, it’s the easiest thing in the world to point out an unfairness in the world, such as homelessness, wealth inequality and the innate bigotry of human beings, and validate the angst that people feel towards it in order to exploit it for political gain.
In contrast, the Republican pitch to people is that ‘life sucks, so get over it and do the best you can with what you have.’ That mantra is obviously true, but no one wants to hear that.
Republicans have to remember that the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” argument is never going to defeat the emotional arguments and Utopian promises that the left makes to voters. So give that up.
The second thing is that Republicans have to become the oppositional party that has something to say about the state of the world and be willing to take action in fighting back against the left’s cultural stranglehold.
For all the talk about a “red wave,” it actually came to pass in Florida, which, before the governance of Ron DeSantis, was considered a swing state.
In the years that followed, DeSantis has managed to turn Florida into a deeply red state, thanks largely to his willingness to lean into cultural issues and use his authority to push against them. The one I remember most is his standing up to Disney after the corporation decided to fully embrace the leftist view of his so-called “don’t say gay” bill.
At the time, there were large swaths of conservatives that criticized DeSantis’s stand against Disney and argued that it wasn’t right to use the powers of the state to take away the corporation’s self-governing status.
To his credit, DeSantis understood what few conservatives often do, and that’s that politics is downstream culture. This means that while you may never be able to argue the merits of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” you can fight back against the worst excesses of the left and use the power you have to beat them at their own game.
As far was the federal government is concerned, Republicans ought not be joining with Democrats in furthering bad legislation. Last week, 12 Republican senators joined with Democrats in codifying same sex marriage, which included our senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, among others.
If Republicans are simply going to aide Democrats in their agenda, then what reason do right wing voters have to support them and their party?
And finally, the other tough decision is what to do about President Trump, who just recently announced his 2024 presidential run.
Specifically, Republicans are going to have to decide whether or not its membership and potential candidates ought to embrace Trump or move beyond him.
From a purely practical standpoint, I believe it’s time for the right to move beyond President Trump and embrace someone new to take charge as the thought leader of the GOP.
I realize that there are many of you that read this column that are fans of Trump. Whether it be for his policy achievements overseas and abroad or the fun we all had watching him battle the media, Trump has secured an eternal place in the hearts of many on the political right and for good reason.
Speaking as someone who voted for Trump twice, no one had as much fun as I did during the four years of his presidency.
Sadly, half the country wasn’t nearly as amused by him as I was. In fact, broad swaths of Americans found the constant war between him and the media tiresome and draining.
In the last days of his presidency, too many began suffering from Trump Exhaustion Syndrome as opposed to Trump Derangement Syndrome.
When you consider that most voters are emotionally driven, a Republican Party that offers another round of Trump and candidates like him is undesirable.
It’s one of the primary reasons that independents and even some disgruntled Republicans voters decided to throw their lot in with Joe Biden during the last election cycle, doing so in the misplaced hope that American politics would return to the peace and quiet of yesteryear.
It’s also worth mentioning the obvious, which is Trump’s public image and perception. At this point, there are very few that have not made up their minds about Trump and his governance. His personal shortcomings aside, the Democrat aligned media has successfully managed to turn Trump into a monster in the eyes of most people.
With a voter base that cannot get past the media ‘s cartoonish betrayal of Trump’s evil, it seems to me that he has too steep of an uphill battle to claim the White House again.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that Trump himself remains far too focused on his 2020 loss and seeking vengeance against those that wronged him. While his anger is certainly justified, a president so focused on re-litigating the past is one that is not focused enough on healing the nation and guiding his party to electoral victory.
At a time where the US is sprinting towards economic ruin and the left has succeeded in driving too many people insane, we need a commander-in-chief that can be counted on for his self discipline and forward-thinking political vision.
In short, Republicans have a lot to consider moving into the next two years and they must be willing to make difficult choices if this story is going to have a palatable conclusion.
Washington County native Arthur Howell is a staff writer at The Beacon. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.