A loose association of current and former Republicans working to sink President Donald Trump’s re-election now see another political feat that’s necessary for them to have a shot at reclaiming their party: flipping the U.S. Senate to the Democrats.
The emerging belief, based on more than a dozen interviews, is that defeating Trump alone is insufficient to spur the reckoning required to salvage a party that will almost undoubtedly confront a crossroads if the president loses to Joe Biden this fall. Many
argue that GOP senators must pay a steep price for their unabating fealty to Trump, even if it hands Democrats complete control of the federal government.
“The analogy would be in the same way that fire purifies the forest, it needs to be burned to the ground and fundamentally repudiated,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican-turned-independent political strategist who now works for The Lincoln Project, one of the most pugnacious of the anti-Trump GOP groups. “Every one of them should be voted out of office, with the exception of Mitt Romney.”
“They are the only ... human beings who had the authority and the ability to keep this president in check constitutionally and politically, and every one of them made a conscious decision to not do so,” said Jennifer Horn, a former New Hampshire GOP chairwoman who now advises the Lincoln Project. “The only way to make sure that Trumpism doesn’t continue to rule the Republican Party for years to come is to make sure that we defeat not only the president, but those people who have enabled him.”Ms. Horn is 100% correct. I have long said that Donald Trump is not the problem. Certainly he lacks the intelligence, character, integrity and temperament to be President, but so what? There are thousands of Donald Trumps out there. Just go into your local neighborhood tavern and you will find some drunk residing at the end of the bar loudly pontificating on every subject under the sun, while not possessing any actual knowledge or competence. You don't go and make that person President of the United States. But that is what we did in 2016.
But once elected President, there were plenty of people conservatives in the media and in politics, particularly Congress, who could have checked the worst excesses of Trump and held him accountable. But instead they deliberately chose to give the President a pass on EVERYTHING. In doing so, those enablers have allowed the reputation of the Republican Party to be tarnished, perhaps indelibly. Because the damage Trumpism has done to the GOP brand, during the next couple decades socialism and a liberal social agenda will dominate politics. It will take us a generation to rebuild the Republican party and the conservative movement post-Trump.
Now a number of Republican Senators seeking re-election are awakening to the electoral consequences of abdicating their constitutional responsibilities to go all in on Trump. They are demanding anti-Trump Republicans give them a pass because they are wearing GOP jerseys. Hell no. Those Senators need to pay a price for the damage that they allowed Trump to do to my party. The enablers need to be held responsible.
I became politically active during the conservative intellectual movement of the late 1970s, which blossomed into the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the first presidential candidate I voted for. I believe in conservative values and am certainly not leaving the Republican Party because of Trump. After all, I was a Republican long before Trump began pretending to be a Republican.
Even though I have voted Republican in the past and plan to vote Republican in the future, I pledge to never vote for any current Republican member of Congress (save Mitt Romney) for any public office ever again. They must pay a price for what they did to my Republican Party. The Trump enablers must be held accountable.