In Georgia, where Democrats not only defeated Trump in November, but toppled the US Senate in the run-off election, the Republican-controlled state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill requiring ID during of the request for a postal vote. The next day it was a godsend across the country. The Iowa House passed a bill to limit early voting. In Missouri, the Republican-controlled House passed a law that would require photo ID at the polls, while a Wyoming legislative committee has moved forward with a similar bill.
The Brennan Center for Justice tracks more than 250 bills aimed at restricting the vote of lawmakers in 43 states.
Benjamin Ginsberg, an electoral lawyer who represented former Republican presidential candidates, lamented the death of the “Factory of ideas” in the GOP.
“Tell me what have been the innovative Republican policies lately?” he said. The emphasis on questioning the last election is “probably a sign that the Republican Party is stuck in a bit of a political wasteland and doesn’t know where to turn to get out.”
Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general of the George W. Bush administration, said that “all Americans should be concerned about electoral integrity.” But without evidence of widespread fraud beyond normal irregularities, he said, the emphasis by some GOP members on the latest elections is a “big distraction” from issues that are more pressing to the electorate.
“I think it’s a big distraction,” Gonzales said. “And I’m afraid that continues to be a big distraction as long as a certain person claims it was stolen.”
There is no evidence that Trump, who will speak at the convention on Sunday, is letting go – or that the party base is willing to shy away from his claims that the election was stolen from him, despite more than 60 casualties in electoral proceedings challenging the presidential election.
It has not always been so in the Republican Party. Last year, CPAC’s theme was “America Against Socialism”. The year before, no less than three panels focused on the challenges posed by China’s rise to power. This year, CPAC did not go without the broadcast of the party’s biggest hits: trade, China, immigration and abortion. And there were cries for Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand. But the fallout in November was the main element – in Republicans’ frustration with the dismantling and the seven-part exploration of “election protection.”
In part, the party’s lack of a more forward-looking posture is due to its sudden lack of power in Washington. The GOP settles down as an opposition party – the Conservatives constituting what Senator Ted Cruz of Texas described to CPAC as “the Rebel Alliance.” But there is little room for innovative, politically-oriented Conservative thinking in a party so enslaved to a leader – a leader obsessed with the idea that he lost in a rigged election.
Ken Khachigian, former aide to Richard Nixon and editor-in-chief of Reagan, said the Republican Party today does not have “a singular voice as it did with Reagan, for example, or Bill Buckley, the movement. curator who could stage and move everyone like Jack Kemp once did.
“There is always hope,” Khachigian said, suggesting that “when you have assholes like AOC [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] on the other hand, it’s not difficult to find someone.
But the focus in retrospect on November and its fallout, he said, is to “shoot blank.”
It can come at a cost. As the Republican Party prepares for the midterm elections and the next presidential primary, it is doing so like a shell of itself, having lost the White House and both houses of Congress in the span of four years. The last time he won the popular vote in a presidential election was in 2004, and America’s changing demographics make it increasingly unlikely that he will do so in 2024 – whatever. attempts to remove barriers to voting.
“It’s a party that’s been molded in the mold of Trump – Trump’s message, Trump’s tactics – and he’s perfectly comfortable being a party that’s defined by what it’s against.” said Kevin Madden, a former adviser to Mitt Romney.
The difficulty for the party, Madden said, is that “you are becoming almost toxic as a brand of the party to larger and growing sections of the electorate. … The limitation of a message and a platform that is simply to disagree with the opposition is that it does not address the broader concerns or anxieties of a large part of the electorate.
It is possible that the party’s fixation on electoral fraud and the perceived silence of those who tried to overturn the result is fading. Trump’s effort to contest the election postponed the traditional post-election period of mourning for the losing party. And with a majority of Republicans still endorsing Trump and believing the election was neither free nor fair, there is a political imperative for the party to appease them.
Sal Russo, former Reagan aide and co-founder of Tea Party Express, said, “Sometimes you have to give some deference to where your base wants to go. … Do I think Republicans have to overcome the problems of the electoral process? Yes, because you are not winning on “we are going to tighten the eligibility for postal voting”. It’s not about voting. “
“I think there is a catharsis that needs to happen,” he said, adding that “it’s probably a good thing that CPAC is spending a lot of time” on the subject.