The Republican Party faces an existential crisis. Last week's annual CPAC convention in Orlando, FL, highlighted the critical need to resolve the internal discords which have been rekindled hotter than at any point in its 167-year history. The dubious election results of 6 swing states produced a fracture that will not mend.
While the GOP's gain of 15 House seats left Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the lowest margin of majority in 80 years, former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell willfully sacrificed both GOP seats in the Georgia U.S. Senate election runoff. In waging a political tug-of-war with President Donald Trump by emphatically rejecting the latter's demand for $2,000 checks as "socialism for the rich," McConnell sealed the fate of the party losing the senate. Not surprisingly, what were once growing leads for incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue rapidly evaporated. Consequently, the victorious Democrats―Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock―benefitted from anemic statewide Republican turnout compared to the general election two months before. As a result, the socialist Democrats control Congress in both houses, with the 50-50 Senate partisan split only requiring that Vice President Kamala Harris cast decisive tie-breaking votes. McConnell blames Trump for losing the Senate majority and for the riots of January 6th. But many forget that Georgia Republican voters took up the unhinged Atlanta attorney Lin Wood's advice and, in consulting with QAnon, boycotted in protest over the apparent fraud in November. Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (both Republicans) did nothing substantive to address it.
Trump, who aggressively campaigned with Loeffler and Perdue in Georgia in the days leading to the runoffs, isn't directly to blame for their defeats. Like the turtle that McConnell is depicted in many political cartoons, he never emerged from his shell inside the Beltway to observe ordinary people's struggles. While they celebrated putting Americans on a diet with $600 stimulus checks and aid for Pakistan's gender research program, McConnell, Loeffler, and Perdue were destroyed in Democrat attack ads throughout the state.
Collage of Former President Donald Trump, with Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
As the imperious neocons join the hard-left Democrats and multinational corporations to slander and "cancel" Trump and his supporters, they validate Yoram Hazony's observation of an "unbridgeable ideological chasm… opening between two camps that were once closely allied". "A series of events: the failed attempt to bring democracy to Iraq, and the implosion of Wall Street, have made the prevailing conservative ideology seem naive and reckless." Before the Bush-McCain-Romney, Republicans failed to attract the white working class in the Rust Belt after the Reagan years, or black men or the near-parity the Trump GOP inevitably enjoyed with the Hispanic electorate. The old neocon apparatchiks resent Trump for "hijacking" and successfully redefining Republican orthodoxy to embrace a new form of right-wing populism by embedding it with a variation of the old left-wing conflict theory that's corporate-skeptic and "pro worker." "'Trumpism" is 70 percent Reaganism with "the unorthodox 30 percent," which, according to Victor Davis Hanson, redefined "illegal immigration, in the manner of 1960s and 1970s lunch-bucket Democrats and Cesar Chavez as a threat to the wages and viability of U.S. workers." This strategy energized between 4 million and 6 million voters in swing states. It appealed to a middle class long smeared as spent, addicted, eroding, doomed, deplorable, clingers, irredeemable, dregs, and chumps by the legacy media and popular culture.
The truth is Never Trump Republicans can't save face by acknowledging that the pugilist political novice from Queens shattered the echo chamber they've shared with the Democrats for 30 years. He exposed how the two parties came to share a shared vision for a managed decline, justified writing off the nation's vast industrial interior while destroying its borders instead of seeking national renewal as somehow moral "acts of love." Since the Cold War ended, the snooty Republicans have catered to Wall Street tycoons while they amalgamated with the Democrats. The Democrats, in turn, abandoned factory workers by pivoting towards globalization, ignoring the system's unfairness and steadily increasing poverty resulting in rampant homelessness on major city streets, shuttered factories, and ghost towns throughout the Rust Belt. Both parties wish to impose a "world super-state" which libertarian Austrian scholar Ludwig von Mises believed must reflect "nothing less than the unqualified, unconditional acceptance of liberalism," in which "liberal thinking must permeate all nations" and "all political institutions." Twelve years later, Friedrich Hayek endorsed "The abrogation of national sovereignties and the creation of an effective international order of law [as] a necessary complement and the logical consummation of the liberal program." Seeing how the age of globalization influenced this human tragedy, Trump rejected Ivy League economists like President Obama's adviser Lawrence Summers, who once said that "one of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society (insert the white working-class throughout Middle America) is that people are being treated closer to the way that they're supposed to be treated." Summers and similar acolytes in conservative and libertarian circles witnessed the political consensus evolve to mock their ideas and hypocrisy after the world banking crisis beheld the rapid disintegration of the American family on the one hand. Simultaneously, these same institutions that had rejected Keynesian economics received government bailouts with the other.
The populist backlash highlighted by Trump and Bernie Sanders in 2016―the culmination of eight years of anger and frustration by the Tea Party and Occupy movement―resulted in the Republican establishment's collaboration with the Democrats to end Trump's political career in 2020 through a second impeachment. Though Trump 'lost' in November under dubious circumstances, McConnell quickly congratulated Biden on winning the presidency. He congratulated Biden under a system he says "works" before later echoing his Democrat colleagues' screams of execration in reaction to the January 6th incident. He and others denounced Trump on the Senate floor for deliberately inciting the crowd. This schism may seem advantageous to the Democrats because the waning Bush/McCain/Romney wing is attempting to reinstall the ancien regime that had operated inside D.C.' swamp' for decades. Today, that coalition increasingly sees the Democratic Party as their ticket back to power because the new Trump-dominated GOP rejects Globalism and heavy military interventions. The Democrats' alliance with the beleaguered Lincoln Project―currently mired in scandal upon the revelation that its pederast co-founder, John Weaver, used the organization to 'groom' young boys―played a critical role in stealing the election for Joe Biden and so happens to be operated by Never Trump Republicans.
Haley, former Governor of South Carolina and
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Over the 30 years since the fall of communism, the new political conflict is a less ideologically-moored and more identitarian "left-wing/right-wing" paradigm. The Left seeks to divide the country according to racial category, gender, and sexual orientation while promoting multiculturalism. This comes in response to decolonization and bipartisan foreign interventions in Third World countries.
Therefore, Donald Trump's Republican Party must provide a national front against the D.C. globalists. Even if the Republican ancien regime succeeds in purging the MAGA movement, this wouldn't necessarily drawback the Never Trumpers and not the Lincoln Project. The disaffected ex-Nikki
Republican neocon Jennifer Rubin echoes Mr. Biden's subordinates' pledge to confront dissenters by calling for companies to 'black list' (aka. 'cancel') Trump supporters from "polite society." Suppose the GOP fails to unite as one party under Trump. In that case, the MAGA movement could retaliate by drawing nearly 72% of Trump voters away from his 2020 election total to form a new party—effectively destroying the nation's second-largest party. This is why after the latest failed impeachment, the former president declined Nikki Haley's request to speak with him at Mar-a-Lago after calling on Republicans to reject him moving forward. In contrast, others like Lindsey Graham and Kevin McCarthy have publicly embraced his new role as the party's kingmaker.
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About the Author:
Jonathan P. Henderson (B.A. in History, Minor in Pol. Sci.; Univ. of Tennessee, 2012) is a resident of Knoxville, TN. He is Owner/Administrator/Editor-in-Chief of The Conservative Historical Review and a blogger/columnist for PolitiChicks and Intellectual Conservative.