You’re already well aware that the Republican Party is in a position of existential crisis, which is remarkable for one to say given that the GOP did manage to win a majority of seats in the House of Representatives in the November elections.
But if that was a victory, it was an awfully paltry one. With only 222 GOP members, the new majority is too weak to produce a House Speaker on the first three votes, something that hasn’t happened in a century. And the Republican failure to recapture the Senate from a Democrat Party that’s running America aground at rates not seen since 1929 can only be seen as a public repudiation of its leadership.
Can you blame this on Donald Trump? Perhaps, though Trump is part — a large part, to be certain — of the Republican Party. And the three-headed leadership triad of Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and Ronna Romney McDaniel, which has engendered smart-alecks in the party to dub them McFailure, has to bear a colossal load of responsibility for the underperformance not just in 2022 but in previous cycles as well.
So a course correction is crucial. Here’s a nonexclusive seven-part program by which the GOP can be set right in preparation for the revival it must lead in 2024 if our national ship is to avoid foundering on the rocks.
Tuesday, McCarthy failed in three votes on the House floor to earn the Speakership. This is being presented as a disaster; it isn’t. It’s a growing pain. Kevin McCarthy is not crucial to the Republican Party’s success. If he were, he would have gotten to 218 votes. By the end of the week it’s very likely the House GOP caucus will have moved on to somebody with more credibility and gusto, and this is a good thing. Later this month, it would be a good outcome if something similar happened to McDaniel, who has been a failure as the RNC chair. And while the Senate caucus simply isn’t good enough to change McConnell out as its leader, an ousting of the first two members of the McFailure triad would at least put Republican senators on notice that the party’s activists and voters are done with the losing status quo.
Here’s a theory which isn’t very novel — the Red Wave became a Red Ripple because at the end of the day, Republican voters just don’t feel the love from the party’s politicians. That fact explains Trump’s rise in 2016 and the 2022 fizzle alike. At no point in American history, arguably, has a political party been so alienated from its own voters — and last year did more to widen that rift, from the betrayals of the summer to the passage of the awful omnibus bill in December, than ever. This can’t happen again, and it’s time for the GOP’s political class to take seriously the need to prioritize its own voters over the preferences of the New York Times and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Having the House in GOP hands should mean something, and it will. The question is how much. Whoever the new Speaker is must be willing to catch arrows from the D.C. and New York press corps and be called by every modern slur in their vocabularies — and nevertheless stick to his guns in resisting every single demand and overture Team Biden and the Democrat Party throws his way. The GOP was not given a House majority to make deals with Democrats; it was sent there to grind everything to a halt. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Let it burn.
Those two Southern states are currently governed by Democrats, at least as to their executive branches, and that can’t continue. In Louisiana, John Bel Edwards is termed out after this year and it’s highly unlikely a Democrat can win, so the most conservative Republican must succeed him and then spend the next four to eight years rolling back everything he’s done. Kentucky’s Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear is similar to Edwards, but Beshear will have to be beaten. The Republican candidates must have equal or greater financial resources than the Democrats in those states, period.
One of the unheralded things about the legislative offensives DeSantis and the Florida legislature have been rolling out over the last year or two has been that the nation’s most successful Republican governing apparatus is directly breaking down the Left’s institutions and power centers. Coming next this spring: a paycheck protection bill that ends the practice of the state withholding teachers union dues from paychecks. Where this has been done it’s catastrophic for union membership, and that’s exactly why it, and other game-changing items like it, ought to be passed into law everywhere. From money-follows-the-child education funding to anti–sanctuary city legislation to fiscal auditing of woke public universities to urban grant reform and squeezes on Medicaid fraud, it needs to mean something to have Republicans governing. That’s what they’re doing in Florida, and it’s no surprise the voters have responded.
This isn’t political, obviously, but it also can’t be said enough: conservatives and traditional Americans, folks the GOP is the representative party of for better or worse, can’t keep getting blown away in the culture. Conservatives have to be the storytellers in America; they haven’t been in a long time. This is the year that has to change, and it can — the Hollywood Left has lost its mojo, while right-leaning and Christian properties like The Chosen are ascending. The GOP needs to start helping to promote positive culture where it can. Make this the year when content creators on the Right start getting rich at the bookstore, box office, and Spotify.
From ESG fascists on Wall Street to woke corporate goons to race grifters to corrupt pols, there’s an awful lot of evil out there on the left. For too long these aggressions — cultural, political, and economic — have gone unchallenged. Last year that started to change; several states divested their pension funds and other investment accounts from the woke behemoth BlackRock, and the shock to the system that engendered had investors demanding its CEO Larry Fink resign. More of this is needed; the Left will slow its aggressions when there are identifiable and negative consequences to them. So impose those consequences. Besides, offense is fun — why do you think the Left never quits?
Many more of these could be added, and one of the columns in this space next week will offer some (and yes, among those will be a focus on election integrity). The point is that the GOP cannot spend 2023 as a low-energy, standing-athwart-history-yelling-stop party if it expects to survive. It’s time to get aggressive and show America that going red is better.
Do that, and maybe 2024 won’t be the lousy cycle that 2018, 2020, and 2022 were.