Back on August 31st, someone that looks and sounds just like me said that Republicans are heading for “electoral slaughter” because they have no agenda – in fact, they are letting the other side set the agenda.
Back in early May, I cautioned that conservatives may want to be careful about celebrating the Dobbs decision.
In my August article I pointed out that re-litigating the 2020 election was not going to sway voters – not the voters we needed. I said:
“Stop talking about Trump and the 2020 election. Trump is not on any ballot and this is not a presidential election cycle. Unless someone invents a time machine, the 2020 election is what it is – and will not change. This is not a topic that will gain any votes from independents or the center. The people that agree with you on this already agree with you, the people that don’t won’t be swayed.”
There is a good deal of finger pointing now with regard to where Mitch McConnell did or did not spend money, and where Trump did or did not spend money. My response to all of this can be summed up succinctly with this – HORSESHIT!
Republicans went into the field with no message and no agenda. They screamed “Biden! Biden! Biden!” and offered no plan to address fuel costs or inflation. They ignored abortion. They thought a Trump endorsement and not being Biden was enough. Well it may have been enough for those that were already going to vote Republican in the first place, but it plainly was not enough to sway anyone in the center.
Many on the right are shocked at the outcome of the mid-term election – they shouldn’t be. This was predictable. What went wrong? Simple – its easy and lazy to offer up something to vote against, it’s more difficult to offer something to vote for. The Republicans offered nothing to vote for.
This isn’t about stolen elections, and it isn’t about ballot harvesting and it certainly isn’t about Trump. It’s about offering a workable alternative to Democrat policies that are obviously disastrous. The Democrats handed this one to us on a silver platter, and we decided that what was important was to talk about the “stolen” 2020 election – oh – and to gain the endorsement of Trump. Say what you will about all the nonsense that has transpired over the last 5 or 6 years, but the mid-terms confirm without a doubt that this path was wrong, this path will not win elections, and this path will not save our republic.
Trump’s post mid-term attacks on Republican governors in Florida and Georgia are yet another example of the wrong tac. Those governors are very popular and those states are very well governed – they should be, if anything, held up as an example of what GOP governance can and should be, not attacked by someone that would be the leader of the GOP. This is beyond a “mistake” – it’s purposeful sabotage of the conservative cause. Neither of these governors have attacked Trump.
So what went wrong in the 2022 mid-terms? Not too hard to figure out, and really shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. First and foremost – at the risk of sounding self-serving – those pulling the levers at the upper levels of the GOP ignore people like Ryan and I. They also ignore the sound advice from sources such as National Review – and many other solid, thoughtful, and honest conservative sources. You can’t win an election with no agenda, and the endorsement of one man is not enough (the term “voters” is plural – BTW).
For me, the biggest take-away from the mid-terms by far is this: The Republican party needs to decide whether they want to be a majority party or a minority party. Right now, they are a minority party and right now they have rather dim prospects for becoming anything else. It is a minority that really thinks relitigating 2020 is a winning agenda, and it is a minority that thinks Trump is the only solution to the conservative cause. It is a minority that thinks all abortion should be banned.
As Ryan noted in his show (linked above), conservatives need to appeal to independents and center left Democrats if they want to win elections. The notion that some candidate is not sufficiently “pure” – a RINO if you will – or otherwise not perfectly aligned with what some believe is the “true” conservative is a losing proposition. We conservatives are far better off with someone that votes with us 75% of the time than we are with someone that votes with us 0% of the time. We need a coalition if we want to win elections – and if we don’t win elections none of this matters one wit.
Ryan said it in his latest show and I said something similar in my last blog post: Yes – if there is clear evidence of election fraud then by all means bring it up – bring it to the attention of the authorities. But time and again, when presented with the opportunity do expose this, those making the claims of fraud decline to present their evidence. Trump, Powell, Rudy and company said after 2020 that they had “mountains” of evidence – but strangely none of those mountains have been made public. Even if the courts ruled they had no standing, they could have made it all public – they didn’t. Why? If I were wronged by the government, the first thing I would do would be go the legal route – try to get my case heard in court. If the court threw it out, my next step would be to take it to the media. If the media refused to pick it up, my next step would be to self-publish. None of this happened with these allegations – none of it other than the initial attempt to get it into the court. Why? I’ve already spent entirely too much time on this – there is no “there” there – and in any event, it doesn’t win elections – we already know that.
I think Dobbs hurt Republicans more than most are willing to admit. I’ll disagree with Ryan a bit on this one. As Ryan notes in his show, there are probably some local areas or elections where Dobbs was a big factor. I agree with that, but I also think it is wider and bigger than we give credit. I don’t know a single woman that wasn’t flaming pissed off by Dobbs – friends, family, acquaintances, left, right, Republican or Democrat. This was a big deal – for women – and I don’t think the pollsters properly accounted for it.
I’ll close with this: What do you want to do GOP? Do you want to listen to the radical “base” and remain a minority party or do you want listen to voices like Ryan and I? Do you want to win elections or do you want to lose and pat yourself on the back for your ideological purity? Is your ideological purity more important than the republic? Is Trump? You decide – I’m getting old and tired – tell me how it all turns out will you?
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