Can Republican Party Continue To Be A Governing Party?

Because it is true that our nation requires two highly functioning and rational political parties, it is, therefore, incumbent capable and adroit people gather with other like-minded people and consider how to salvage the Republican Party.

There are times to wrestle with policy differences and while there are significant numbers of them between the two major players in American politics, they are not the reason for this post. Rather it is necessary to grasp the fact there is a crisis eating at the very foundation of our democracy and the political institutions that have guided this nation from the start.

Charlie Sykes, who is known in Wisconsin as a true conservative–one of those reliable ones without an ever-changing lodestar–wrote a pithy snapshot article of where the modern-day GOP now finds itself. With Donald Trump holding a rally this past weekend Sykes had plenty of material to use for his message.

You could see the GOP future in the whole show: a rally that featured all the misfit toys embraced by the Once and Future God King. The My Pillow Guy, Mike Lindell, was there, and treated like a rock star rather than a mental patient off his meds. Indeed, Trump’s rally featured the whole pantheon of deplorability; Rep. Andy Biggs and Rep. Paul Gosar were there, along with the state’s batty party chair, Kelli Ward.”

“Even as he lashed out at Arizona Governor Doug Ducey — a ‘terrible representative of your state’ — Trump embraced State Senator Wendy Rogers, one of the wooliest conspiracy theorists extant in American politics. And that’s really saying something.”

“And, of course there was the Trump-backed candidate for governor, Kari Lake, who seems to have a fetish for jailing people she doesn’t like.”

We have seen over and over a trend line that can not be escaped. Almost every Republican in Congress has remained tightly loyal to Trump, despite ongoing controversies that have produced, and correctly so, significant criticism. But turn into the Op-Ed pages and you will find many former Republican lawmakers along with high-profile conservatives (like Sykes and Joe Scarborough) making strident cases why Trump is unfit to lead the party, and the future of sound governing requires a national party course correction.

The base of the Republican Party has been so indoctrinated with falsehoods and conspiracy theories that current elected members seem unable to take a different path, in fear of alienating that base and losing their seat. But unless the echo chamber is muted, and a dialogue of facts and reason can be again planted in the party the dangers to the nation continues.

Over the decades of my life, the Republican Party knew the value of international alliances, free trade, and a foreign policy that was shaped by our interests and not personalities. Today one has to ask, in light of Trump and his supplanting personal needs over the whole of the party exactly what now defines the GOP? What precisely are their beliefs in 2022 and going forward to another presidential season?

I recall when the GOP was about ideas. Today the anger and resentments of many in the base present more of the reason to be a member of the party rather than the work required of actually governing. Such as when former Congressman Jack Kemp wanted to empower inner-city neighborhoods with jobs. Or Senator Dick Lugar who worked on foreign policy with long-term considerations at where our nation needed to be a quarter of a century away.

Governing is tough work in the best of times, but what is always best for the nation as a whole, is to have two political parties pulling legislation up the hill together. There will be changes in the load being carried and differences in the pace taken, but citizens respond to such combined efforts at doing the nation’s work. The absolute dysfunction of one major party, however, with conspiracy theories being sold, is not something a governing democracy can endure.

And so it goes.

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