I am a Republican, but QAnon and other radical conspiracies that have been mainstreamed by President Donald Trump do not reflect my values. I am a conservative, but those who stormed the Capitol in reaction of the formal process of tallying electoral votes do not represent me. I am disgusted by those who claim to identify as conservative desecrate an institution that they claim they hold dear, and I’m angry that Republicans enabled it through perpetuating false hope.
A tinderbox was stoked in the weeks following the November election by President Trump, the Republican Party, and those who wish to curry favor with the President. Conservatives began to abandon Fox News in favor of outright conservative propaganda “news” channels Newsmax and One America News Network. The tinderbox may not have been directly lit by the President on January 6th, but I believe he, Rudy Giuliani, and Don Jr. helped make that tinderbox more combustible–using a phrase like “trial by combat”, as Giuliani used in his speech, is awfully incendiary.
As the events were unfolding, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy phoned the President asking him to make a statement to stop the violence, but rather than addressing the nation from the Oval Office to condemn the mob overrunning the Capitol, we get a bizarre Twitter response from the President of the United States:
These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!President Donald J. Trump from his now suspended Twitter account @realDonaldTrump (transcribed from a picture from TechCrunch)
President-elect Joe Biden appeared more presidential than President Trump did that day. Vice President Mike Pence helped in facilitating the decision to call in the National Guard to help tamp down the mob and protect DC. The President appeared to be fiddling while Rome burned.
Order was later restored and the formal process of counting and certifying the electoral votes was completed. Whether you like it or not–whether you voted for Biden or Trump–Joe Biden will be sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States at noon on January 20th. The 2020 General Election is over.
The President appears to be coasting with most staffers packing up their offices and leaving the White House, and a second impeachment trial is pending–though, he will likely be out of office before a vote is taken by the Senate on conviction or acquittal. A conviction could potentially bar him from holding office in the future, but that’s for the Senate to decide. Republicans, however, will likely feel the impact of Trump’s cult of personality for years to come, and we have ourselves to blame. Republicans, rather than holding the President accountable for his reckless rhetoric, have been tepid in standing up to him in fear of losing voters.
I get it–he says what’s on his mind and some voters find that refreshing. He gets praise for saying what he thinks…or tweets. However, there’s a persistent fear that we will lose “the Trump base” if we go against the President. We (Republicans) can’t alienate the 74 million people who voted for Trump.
Beg pardon for seeing a long-term benefit in breaking the cult of personality to focus more on conservative ideals and how to expand our base. Not all Trump voters buy into the cult of personality–some are genuinely concerned about our country. Some, for example, have small businesses that have flourished with the rolling back of burdensome regulations. We need to listen and hear those voices who felt like they had no voice. Maybe we lose some of the die-hard Trump supporters, but I wager that we would gain more broadband support from voters.
The Republican Party, both here in Georgia and nationally, has an obligation to protect our brand. We loaned our brand to the President of the United States, and he has done a lot to tarnish that brand within the last week. Inaction based around fear of losing supporters is no excuse. It may not be popular to go against the President (and elected officials who wish to ride his coattails) in Republican circles right now, but we have to if we hope to retain any credibility at the conclusion of the Trump administration. We need to push back on baseless conspiracy and be vocal that it has no home in the Republican Party.
It’s time for us to speak the truth–even if it’s uncomfortable or unpopular.