The calendar doesn’t always conform to our inherent sense of urgency.
Imagine you’re a casting director on a big budget movie and the film’s producer -- a.k.a. your boss -- approaches you with the script. From experience, you recognize that the gripping story and the creativity of the screenwriting guarantees multiple awards and enormous box office success, but only if the right actor is hired to articulate the lines and provide the necessary emotional and physical interpretation for the lead part.
Immediately a host of potential performers spring to mind, but once each one is examined individually, you discover they all have sizeable personality or resume flaws that could capsize the project if they’re tapped too prematurely. Further, because most of the prospects are already huge stars, they won’t likely agree to a degrading (to their egos) screen test to determine who may be the right fit. Besides, the process could take years. The decision date is still a ways off but the producer is pushing for an answer… or at least a list of potentials.
Such is the dilemma many conservatives and Republicans face these days in choosing candidates. Over a hundred days into the presidency of enfeebled and mentally challenged placeholder Democrat Joe Biden, it's obvious there will be a terrific chance for the GOP to take back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024.
Just like our fictional casting director’s problem, surveys indicate Donald Trump’s MAGA agenda is popular with the people, but not necessarily a winner if directly associated with the former chief executive’s confrontational style. David M. Drucker wrote at The Washington Examiner:
“The Republican Main Street Partnership last month surveyed 600 registered voters across six battleground House districts in the South, Midwest, and Northeast. The data revealed remarkably strong support for ‘conservative populist policy’ reminiscent of the Trump administration’s legislative agenda. At the same time, these Republicans and independents expressed opposition to congressional candidates who run as ‘uncompromising insurgents’ intent on shaking up Washington rather than ‘uphold the institutions of government.’…
“Messages that registered highest revolved around cracking down on China for ‘unfair trade practices, illegal cyberattacks and lying about COVID-19 and demanding justice for imprisoned religious minorities and pro-democracy activists.’ Seventy-four percent of voters said they were more likely to support a Republican for Congress who ran on that message. Strengthening border security and stopping the surge of unaccompanied minors and opposing Biden’s ‘gun control actions’ both polled between 65% and 70%...”
In other words, the same things Trump pushed so strongly during his years in politics have become the base agenda for most Republicans. This is no surprise, since the GOP is now the undisputed home for conservatives, even if the party itself is not yet a thoroughly ideologically conservative entity.
But it’s also clear that the days of Bush-ian amnesty propounding “compassionate conservatism” are gone. Trump entered the presidential race in 2015 and stepped on the notion of opting for another Bush (“Low energy Jeb”) and blew to smithereens the possibility of electing another establishment candidate with John McCain’s and Mitt Romney’s attitude. Similarly, the eventual primary winner and then president was able to discredit the wishy-washy, “let’s rely on Democrat votes to pass warmed-over Washington big government status quo preserving sludge” modus operandi of John Boehner and Paul Ryan as well.
Hence, the era of conservative “boat rockers” appeared to have begun. Our proverbial casting director found his man in 2016, didn’t he? The RINOs were on the run and Trump’s election ushered in a new wave of conservative rabble rousers like Marsha Blackburn, Josh Hawley and the soon-to-be-emboldened Sen. Lindsey Graham, right?
Or did it? Drucker further reported, “When asked if they preferred ‘someone who would uphold the institutions of government’ or ‘an insurgent who will shake up the status quo,’ 57% picked the former, while 31% went with the latter. Similarly, 56% said they wanted a candidate who ‘works across the aisle to get legislation passed’ versus 35% who want a candidate who ‘holds firm to their belief regardless of circumstances.’”
Ouch. A majority of Republican voters and right-leaning independents want their representatives to “work across the aisle” and “get legislation passed” …? Sounds pretty standard, doesn’t it? But I don’t believe it, for a number of reasons.
First, regarding the still far-off presidential race, Biden himself is visibly flailing, even if his handlers and congressional leaders do a respectable job of disguising his outward degenerate imperfections.
Meanwhile, Joe’s next-in-line, Kamala Harris, barely registers on the radar screen of American consciousness. Rather than assuming a prominent role in promoting the administration’s views and policies, she’s been confined to doing what she did last week during Biden’s address to Congress -- namely sitting in the background and applauding whenever her superior manages to say something coherent… and sufficiently liberal to draw the approval of their party’s rapidly left-moving base.
Speculation abounds on the Republican side. Most of the talk involves whether former President Trump will run again. He clearly appears to want to, recently telling Candace Owens in an interview that he couldn’t reveal anything at present (because of campaign finance repercussions), but supporters would be “very, very happy” when he’s finally able to make an announcement.
There’s no way conservatives will return to a less-than-aggressive mindset.
Second, the new Democrat regime doesn’t “work across the aisle” at all, and nobody in their hemisphere seems to care one bit about it. Rabid #NeverTrumper and Bulwark publisher Sarah Longwell admitted as much in an op-ed this week, basically arguing that in Joe Biden, her type of anti-Trump voter got exactly what they bargained for, namely to get rid of Trump, not to elect a center-right president. You might as well fashion an “establishment crony” stamp and affix it to Longwell’s face.
Third, based on the membership of the “Republican Mainstream Partnership,” they are a collection of “let’s get along” purveyors of Kumbaya and making pals across the aisle rather than acknowledging the dire emergency situation in this country and vowing to fight like Reps. Jim Jordan and Louie Gohmert to save what’s left of it. There has always been and always will be room for opposing factions to meet in the middle on certain issues (“real” infrastructure?), but Democrats have their own aims and there’s no give in their caucus, especially on cultural issues.
How do you move to the center when Democrat leaders swear that America harbors “systemic racism” and favor teaching public school kids about “Critical race theory”? And that our history was guided by slavery (1619 Project)? Do the above cited survey participants want to “get legislation passed” that allows biological males to compete in girls’ sports (which is included in the badly mislabeled “Equality Act”)? And the free speech, constitution smashing, privacy violating H.R. 1/S.R. 1 “For the People Act” monstrosity?
Do they know what’s in these bills? Can we compromise on DC statehood? Packing the Supreme Court? Abolishing the filibuster? Defunding local police departments? Enshrining identity politics into law? A vastly expanded “free stuff” socialistic economy?
Lastly, voters at the primary level, since they approve of Trump’s agenda, will likely select candidates who enthusiastically tout it, not the “I want to go to Congress to make AOC my bestie and hang out with the ‘Squad’ and Anthony Fauci.” A gutless go-along-to-get-along type might sound attractive on paper -- or as a question in a poll -- but when push comes to (literal) shove, conservative Republican voters want their views advanced by someone with a backbone.
The time is long past to preserve the existing state of affairs. Democrats don’t want the status quo either, right?
Choosing the right lead actor is crucial for some movies, just like voting for the right politician makes a huge difference in American politics. By all objective measures, Republicans love the planks of Donald Trump’s MAGA platform; the key is to get the people in place to make it a reality. Here’s thinking Americans will wise up before the 2022 midterms.
2022 midterm elections
2022 GOP primaries
2024 GOP presidential primaries