The former President, Donald Trump’s family pictures — Republican family that is – should now go in a back hallway. Dust off the Lincoln and Eisenhower and Reagan ones and return them to their proper position.
Trump, proving himself never-a-Republican, has now called Senator Lindsey Graham a RINO (Republican in Name Only). Yes you read that right— the obsequious Graham. And he repeats often that his Vice President, Mike Pence, is “a nice guy” but not a real leader because if he was he, Trump, would still be President.
And now I read that fifty members of the House Republican Caucus have petitioned to remove Republican representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from its rolls. Declare them Non-Republicans. Liz Cheney was working Republican precincts while Trump was a registered New York Democrat toasting Hillary and Bill Clinton.
The truth is Donald Trump is the RINO. The Republican Party has a rich and principled history of being the conservative political force in American politics. When its family pictures are hung there are irregulars, even wacky ones, but over the mantle there are pictures of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan.
We look at our own family pictures in recognition. We take pride in some, while others we honor with a place on the wall because they are our ancestors. We don’t kick them out of the family. While we didn’t elect them, they are ours.
I didn’t vote for Lincoln or Eisenhower, but I voted for Reagan and the Bushes and in the 21st Century Romney and McCain (yes, that hero).
So what’s in a name? History! Trump should start a new Party and fill it with those who troop to his mansion in Florida. He could do worse than follow the lead of the Washington football team—it has been renamed the Commanders. The Donald Trump Commanders—not bad. It is clear that the former President will only be comfortable in a Party that he commands. Everybody else is expected to be troops. Politics in a republic is messy; but maybe, just maybe, it is less messy when first principles and legendary leaders are honored in both form and fact.
Before closing here are two suggestions. First, a first principle is in need of oxygen. The United States now has a $30 Trillion dollar debt. This will not end well. There was a time when the Republican Party stood for fiscal discipline; where is that Party?
And what about America’s cities. Too many have suffered from one-Party monopolies. Most recently the Monopoly decided that crime prevention and prosecutorial emphasis and expenditures should be reduced. The national Republican Party should recruit candidates and help build organizations that can be competitive in the nation’s largest cities.
If Republican Party leaders draw strength from its legacy of first principles and farsighted leaders, it will quickly leave behind the politics of grievance which is not a plan for the future. In the most recent election in Virginia, Glen Youngkin was elected the new Republican Governor. The key: he spelled out a plan and is now following through.
In 2016, the Republican Party was wide open. It was searching for new leadership. Seventeen Republicans ran for its Parties nomination. That is the sort of Party its members should want. Wide open—a Party in which precinct workers count. Most unfortunately, the Republican Party of today has way too many waiting for word from Mar De Lago whose occupant believes himself to be the greatest. No, Mr. Trump, Lincoln was the greatest.
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.