Joe Gilbertson | May 23, 2022 | 8
Will Republicans Return to Power?
For the past four years, I have written in defense of President Trump’s appointments and policies. That is because he has stayed on a mostly conservative course. His appointments to the federal courts – including those three Supreme Court justices – have been among the best in decades from a conservative perspective.
I defend Trump’s policies, but not his personality. Never liked it – and still do not. In fact, I believe his personality has tamped down the Republican tsunami that was heading into the 2016 election. At the time, Republicans held two-thirds of the governorships and state legislatures. The Party was in control of both the House and the Senate. A presidential win was virtual a certainty in 2016.
The trend in political pundit reporting was questioning whether the Democratic Party could even exist as a national political force after 2016 – but rather be relegated to a bi-coastal regional party.
Instead, Republicans won the presidency with just enough votes to win the all-important Electoral College. Since then, the GOP lost the House and then the senate and the White House. That is the reality no matter one’s opinion of the legitimacy of the 2020 vote.
The Republican Party is weakened by division at a time that the Democratic Party is united by only one objection – acquisition of more power.
There are three major LEADERSHIP factions composing the traditional Republican base. None of which appear to have a lock on the conservative Republican voter.
There are the establishmentarian types, whose visceral hatred for Trump, the person, brought them into alignment with the radical Democratic Party left. They have abandoned the GOP because they have abandoned their once held conservative beliefs. Their main interest is being part of the corrupt D.C. crowd
No matter what one thinks of Trump’s personality – and I am a constant critic – issues are the most important consideration. Those who directly or indirectly opposed Trump have no right to call themselves conservatives – or even Republicans. They are the apostates who have brought about the most radical left-wing administration in American history. They even surpass the authoritarian policies of President Franklin Roosevelt.
The second faction in the Republican base are folks like me. We will stay true to conservative values wherever we find them. Voting for Trump – despite my dislike of his pugnacious personality – was not a difficult choice considering the alternative. Once he was the GOP candidate – and then President – the only choice for a principled conservative was to vote for Trump and then support his conservative policies best represented by him, his administration and the Republican Party.
In fact, Trump turned out to be quite consistent in his promulgation of conservative proposals, legislation and appointments. Better than I had anticipated even when I voted for him in 2016. I was much more comfortable with my Trump vote in 2020. Both because of his record and in view of the ever more radical leadership in the Democratic Party.
The third faction in the Republican base are those with an unbridled admiration of Trump – both in policy and personality. They tolerate no criticism of the man … period. I learned that in a recent commentary when a number of readers reacted very angrily to my suggestion that Trump should stop harping on the past election and build a forward vision. Despite a loooong history as an issue-oriented conservative – and four years of defending Trump’s policies and appointments — these, the most rabid Trump acolytes, viewed me as negatively as they might view the most radical Democrat. Their ad hominem attacks on me were the result of passion unrestrained by reason or intellectual clarity.
In the extreme, they seem to believe that their viewpoint is reflective of most Americans . And that they are on the cusp of a sweeping victory through idolatrous devotion to Trump, the man. I suspect they will be disappointed in both cases.
In an earlier paragraph, I limited these factions to a variety of leaders and activists who dominate the news coverage and the social media platforms. I do not think any of the three factions dominate the typical Republican voter. The Republican base is not nearly as hopelessly divided as are those trying to claim hegemony over the GOP. That is why – despite these angry and irrational differences – the Republican Party is favored to re-take control of the House and potentially the Senate as well.
Of course, the goal is easier to realize if the three GOP factions can find some common ground under a banner of conservative values. Can some of the apostates return to the fold – and would they be welcome? Can the rule-or-ruin faction be persuaded to embrace fellow conservative Republicans based on a common belief in core conservative principles while perhaps differing on various personalities?
All three factions have a common enemy. But that enemy will win if they keep tossing political hand grenades into each other’s foxholes. Republicans of all ilk need to build on what binds us in order to return to power rather than the largely irrelevant issues that divide us.
For me, the thought of Trump returning to the White House does not terrify me. On the other hand, I will not make that a singular option for voting for whoever the Republican candidate may be in 2024. Its all about the issues as the unifying common ground.
So, there ‘tis.