Political commentator S.E Cupp told CNN that Sen. Lindsey Graham said “the most honestly naked thing I’ve heard about the state of the GOP.” I don’t ever want to think about Sen. Graham being naked, and I am reluctant to associate honesty with a man who flips and flops with every sultry political breeze.
What Cupp was referring to, though, was Sen. Graham’s assertion that half the GOP would leave the party if Republicans abandoned former President Donald Trump. I just don’t believe that. The GOP of smaller government, strong defense, lower taxes and libertarian social values still resonates with the GOP majority.
The GOP seems to align with Graham’s views as it purged Liz Cheney from her leadership post, fulminates at social media for pulling the plug on the Donald’s tweets, buries news of the January 6th insurrection, amplifies the big lie about election fraud, and passes state laws to suppress voter turnout.
Seventy-two million Americans voted for Trump, the most for any GOP Presidential nominee ever. Graham frets that the GOP will lose those voters if it turns its back on the Proud Boys, Boogaloos, and KKK, but that is exactly what the GOP must do for the sake of our democracy and its own political future.
The GOP cannot stand by while Trumpists try to overthrow Congress, call for the hanging of the former Vice President, plot to kidnap a Governor, threaten local and national health care experts, defy Congressional and judicial oversight, and try to force a political candidate’s bus off the highway.
The GOP must return to the middle. It must compete on ideas, policies and solutions. It must do what Sen. Mitch McConnell refused to do under Obama and is doing again today — negotiate, compromise, find middle ground.
President Biden is correct to elevate the bipartisan sentiment in America that supports common sense reforms to address jobs, income inequality, infrastructure, immigration, gun violence, climate pollution, gerrymandering, pandemic response, corruption and police brutality.
Where Democrats and Republicans should meet is acknowledging what government programs the people support and raising the revenue necessary to carry them out. What the GOP must drop is the nonsense about cancel culture. Focusing on Dr. Seuss is not healing the nation.
If the GOP would return to the middle, the party would follow. Sen. Graham said in 2016 that voting for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is like asking whether you would prefer to die by gun or poison. Murder is not good policy.
Fellow Republicans have been raising the alarm since before the 2016 election. The Lincoln Project tried in 2020 to persuade its party to return to the center. Our nation is better off having a meaningful debate from different points of view about the issues and the solutions that address them.
One way to get back to the middle of the road is election reform. End gerrymandering. Make voting easy. Consider rank choiced voting. The extremes must be kept on the sidelines.
Another way is to change the rules governing Congress. Members should work five days a week. Listen to the debates. Sit with each other. Modify the filibuster.
The nation also needs to come together. Establish national service. Invest in civics education. Elevate the golden rule.
Rational debate is being drowned out by those who pump fists with insurrectionists and the networks that embrace them. Let’s turn the tide against the vitriol infecting the body politic.
If the GOP will not turn away from autocracy, fascism, and white supremacy, then conservatives who eschew those values must break away. Some may find the Democrat’s tent large and welcoming, or declare themselves as Independent. Others may choose to start a new party. But they must break away en masse and rebuild. They must shine the light of truth on those whose mendacity that threatens us all.