The Problem for Republicans Isn’t Unity, It’s Reality

What does the recent vote keeping Liz Cheney in her leadership role among House Republicans mean? It means that the Republican Party may try to claim unity around establishment ideas, but it also means they are not serious about representing the interests of Republican voters.

Despite reports of a possible loss, Cheney retained her leadership role among Republicans in the House of Representatives. But what does Cheney “represent”? What issues have she and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who backed her in the vote, led on? What issues are they passionate about? Every establishment Republican has this same problem. What do they stand for? What are they fighting for in Congress? Unlike President Trump, who ran on a number of important issues in 2016 and then delivered on them for four years, like middle class tax cuts, reducing illegal immigration, confronting China on trade issues, and challenging China’s rising military power, establishment Republicans offer mostly lip service.

Supporting job-creating entrepreneurs and the middle class should be the primary goal of the Republican Party. Not through government-run programs that support them, but by getting out of the way, which is exactly what President Trump did. He fought for the American people by lowering their taxes, cutting regulations to make it easier for small businesses to make a profit, and working to return good-paying jobs in manufacturing to the U.S., which had been lost through misbegotten trade deals like NAFTA.

Republicans like Cheney and McCarthy want to turn the clock back to 2016, proposing more of the usual Republican platitudes that offer nothing to actual Republican voters. Republican voters are not the bankers and Fortune 500 executives of a generation ago. Those corporate interests have long been absorbed into the permanent governing establishment, benefitting from relationships with government entities and often protected by favorable legislation and regulations. These corporate interests have realized that the government establishment is essentially the Democrat establishment, and they have slowly been absorbed into the Democrat party. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports many Democrats now, something unheard of only a few years ago.

But Republican voters supported President Trump because of his policy goals and successes. They will no longer be taken in by vague promises of “increasing economic opportunity.” Having seen that policy victories and real change are possible, accompanied by unprecedented growth and prosperity, they will no longer settle for anything else. The veil has been pulled back on the Republican establishment. Collecting scraps from the Democrat establishment’s table is no longer enough. Reality has entered the room, and there is no going back to the way it used to be. Thank you for that, President Trump.

Cheney and McCarthy need to understand that American citizens -- almost entirely unarmed --  didn’t enter the Capitol on January 6 because they were incited by what President Trump said. They entered because they had finally had enough of the actions -- and inaction in the face of plausible voter fraud allegations -- of the governing class. They no longer respect the politicians working there, who pursue their own interests rather than the people’s interests. They no longer trust that the inhabitants of the Capitol -- Republicans included -- are working to improve their lives and preserve our republic. That explains the Animal House-like shenanigans engaged in by the protesters. And a large number of Republicans who watched those events share those feelings.

After surviving the caucus vote, Cheney stated in her remarks that the Republican Party would not be the party of QAnon and white supremacy -- as if that were a real possibility. That’s insulting to every Trump voter and every Republican. It’s also straight out of the Democrat narrative. Couple Cheney’s remarks with George W. Bush’s acclamation of Dem. Rep. James Clyburn as the “savior” for pushing Biden ahead of Bernie Sanders in South Carolina, setting the table for Biden’s win, and you have the perfect snapshot of establishment Republican thinking. It has little to do with policy successes and everything to do with appearances.

The events of January 6 should have been a reality check for the Republican establishment. But judging by their actions on Cheney, it wasn’t. If only Cheney, Bush, McCarthy and the rest of the Republican establishment could get as outraged over President Biden’s destructive executive orders as they do about President Trump and his millions of supporters, they might actually fight for some real policy wins for Republican voters.

Image: Bernard DuPont

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