Does the Republican party turn into a loser’s caucus? Let me begin.
In recent months several Republican politicians that count voter support in the hundreds of thousands (presumably) have contended we should pull back from our nation’s support of Ukraine in the war that Russia started. Most notably Florida Governor Ron DeSantis first noted his objections by calling the war a “territorial dispute”. He later rolled back his characterization. And, of course, Tucker Carlson the defrocked Fox News commentator, was frequently featured by Russian media as its useful idiot.
Of course, Former President, Donald Trump as always gets the loudest word as he contended, in a CNN Town Hall meeting, that if he is elected, he would end the war in 24 hours. I’ll withhold comment to avoid invective.
Let me put that context aside for a moment and comment on the unfolding race to win the Republican nomination for President in 2024. Depending on which pundit has a microphone in one hand and the latest poll in another, you could be led to conclude that Trump has the nomination locked up. Political history suggests that the pundits are not very good poker players. A lot of front runners end up losing. As in poker there are hole cards (hidden cards) before each player.
As noted, polls are the straws would-be prophets grab. The phone polls are a snapshot. They say that if the vote is held tomorrow this is how those several thousand people who were called believe they would vote. Of course, most of the contenders are either barely known or not known at all. Trump, well, he is known well beyond what he would prefer.
The more consequential calculating is being done by political professionals and large check donors. And they are making it possible for up to six candidates and maybe more to run against the presumed nominee. The list of announced or soon to announce or potentially to throw their hat in include: Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Asa Hutchinson, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie, Chris Sununu and Glenn Youngkin. If Trump’s hand was a lay down, this would not be happening. Maybe he will win but the odds are far from settled.
As an aside, it is past time for Democrats to show they have talent from which to choose a plausible leader of the free world. If Kamala Harris is their party’s best choice for succession, it is in trouble. Given President Joe Biden’s age and infirmities, many voters will believe his Vice-Presidential running mate will become President.
Most of the above noted Republican candidates are going through a quite difficult screening process. They must persuade party activists in the early primary states that they can win. And they must persuade people who can write seven-figure checks that their contributions are warranted.
Beyond the early skirmishing the real race for the nomination will be decided by voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. There will be a lane for at least one and maybe two candidates to rival Trump as those primaries end. And the one thing that to me is certain is that Trump’s final numbers in those states will show a quite measurable decline from where he is in today’s polls. Running ahead has its downsides—as polls subtract increments of support, strength ebbs.
The electoral process has the potential of turning the GOP, which has had a poor track record in recent elections, into a successful Party. This is, in part, a gift of expectations. Democratic leaders are assuming Trump will be the Republican nominee and that in a rematch Biden will win again because swing voters do not like Trump. One question Democratic leaders might ponder: Who would they choose to run if they anticipated Senator Tim Scott would get the Republican nomination? This is a substantive not just a tactical question.
Back to context. Today the political digerati are certain that the abortion issue will exert a powerful influence on the voting outcome in 2024 and maybe they are right. But if the Party that lost its momentum in 2018 is to succeed in 2024, its leader will have to understand and voice the immeasurable stake the United States has in the European war. A reversal of the Ukraine policy might not be as chaotic as the Afghanistan withdrawal, but the consequences would be far more damaging.
Will the Party of Ronald Reagan bend to communist aggression? Naked aggression? Will the Republican leader invite China’s Xi to believe America will be ambivalent about Taiwan? Will the Republican party abandon America’s position in world affairs? Because that is exactly what will happen if we replace a resolute stand with irresolution, thus handing to China the opening it wants.
China’s current peace initiative is Putin’s. Putin wants territory; China will insist that ceding territory to Russia is an irreversible condition for peace. And Putin badly wants an end to his misbegotten war which has drained Russia of standing, currency reserves, trust, economic well-being and military strength.
Returning to America, its political underpinnings are fragile. Laws underwrite a left and right monopoly—the two-party structure. It is for this reason and others that America needs a strong Republican party, not a loser’s caucus.
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al writes on themes from his book, Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.
Letters to Editor
Deirdre LaMotte says
As long as the Republican Party remains dead set on controlling
people’s private lives, as they are attempting with women and the LBGQ community, they will lose.
Serves them right. My Republican Party has been destroyed
by misogynist, fascist and bigots.
Jay Corvan says
While the republicans pander to class, race , abortion, and gay rights as wedge issues to keep stoking fear in the electorate , they deserve to loose. And loose they shall. There is nothing they have done in fifty years to raise the human condition or help mankind achieve its higher objectives other than wanting unlimited power to control others lives and profit over all else. What exactly does this endless greed have to do with promoting democracy.
The gop continues to use budget slashing as a sword to stab democracy and de-power real governance. The gop does not deserve the benefits if democracy if they don’t embrace it. It’s not hard to see why democracy cant survive in such a kleptocratic party. The gop has reached a logical end point to its treachery. It’s now officially a zombie party. Anyone embracing it is either incurably corrupt or completely insane.
Republicans have yet to come up with anything looking like a sane policy for governance since Reagan, and their greed for power and control is staggering. . Regan put a happy face on greed and corruption, but behind that face was existential cynicism and diabolical trickery. . While the gop would need a good actor to accomplish that dreadful act of duplicity, a smile a twinkle and a good haircut won that contest. The gop voter , as it turns out , was nothing more than a fool.
Milton Friedman who is credited for coming up with “trickle down economics “ was “ coined” its was clear that iit might have actuslly worked had conservatives been fair and acknowledged how much good faith the government given the corporate sector to advance the nation and allow all classes to prosper. .
But squander the opportunity they did. The ruling class grabbed the intended benefits for themselves never allowing the benefits to trickle down to the lower classes. This is a classic plunder scheme for any form of government. Grab the riches as the tbyildumg burns.
And The postmortem question is was it voodo economics from the start? Was it all a big deception ? You just have to question a country of corporate leaders who care nothing about anything but the almighty profit and kick the underclass under the bus.
The gop continues to use budget slashing as a sword to stab democracy, and de-power real governance. They do not deserve the benefits of democracy if they don’t embrace the responsibility to running it. They don’t deserve to live in a free country period.
It’s not hard to see why democracy cant survive in such a kleptocratic party. The gop has reached a logical end point to its treachery. It’s now officially a zombie party. We will be lucky if the Democrats can keep democracy alive. The gop has no one to blame but it’s own galactic greed.
Barbara Denton says
I do not know which is worse. The letter to the editor or the two responses. I am so sorry I wasted my time reading any of this. Those who have no valid points to make resort to name calling. The people will speak on who gets the Republican nomination. We are already heading towards moral, cultural, ethical and fiscal bankruptcy. If the Republican nominee is cheated out of the win in 2024 this Country which I love will be over with. I look forward to whomever is nominated by the Republicans. I do not give one moments credence to someone who is a died in the wool RINO who served in a RINO administration 32 years ago.
Deirdre LaMotte says
Ask yourself after doing nonpartisan investigation: you speak of “fiscal bankruptcy” . Which Party raised the debt ceiling every time in office? Republicans. Which Party lowered spreading? All Democrats. This fight over the debt ceiling HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GOP WANTING TO LOWER SPENDING. At all.
It is about keeping Joe Biden from a second term. They want him wounded. So your corrosive Party is willing
to destroy this nation for a political ploy, cutting Veteran benefits, Social Security, food for our poorest….
in order to play politics. Sorry, this speaks volumes about that Party. I certainly would keep quite about your affiliation with anarchy.
“RINO” is such a silly performative term you have fun using but one that now is used for those with a love of democracy,
honor,honesty, lack of immoral judgements about people, and integrity. Thank you!!
Oh, and good luck with your Party that has such a seething hatred of women. You know, Dante probably would have had another circle of Hell for Republicans, but even he would be appalled.
Jay Corvan says
A brief excerpt from an Atlantic article about ehybwe believe whatvwe believe , abdbif has much to do with feeling helpless and persecuted . Trump followers are the embodiment of people who refuse to believe they’ve been fooled.
.. We all live in ways that are at odds with our deepest beliefs. We all rationalize our shortcomings; we all engage in forms of denial. Each of us has blind spots, seeing confirmation bias in others but not in ourselves. But there are varying degrees of self-deception, different lengths to which we go to justify our decisions.
What is so striking is just how much Trump demanded of his supporters. He has gone to the darkest places, and they have followed him every step of the way.
William Dalton says
All comments are interesting and worthy except the one that suggests the GOP was denied a fair election in 2020. I am amazed there are still folks who are intelligent enough to read and write the English language out there claiming the GOP was cheated from winning in the 2020 election. My sincere wish is that they would get over it and quit being stupid. We have big issues facing us and we need to concentrate on solving them.