The party spent the first months of the Biden administration rewriting election laws to suppress minority votes, denying the truth about Trump’s insurgency on Capitol Hill, raging vaccine passports and destroying science with openings states that threaten to cause unnecessary pandemic deaths.
McConnell’s threat of big business consequences has also resounded with Trumpian bluster as no one thinks the GOP – or the Kentuckian, who has built a career defending corporate money in politics – suddenly turns into an activist. of Occupy Wall Street. Still, it was a free kick for a minority leader best known for playing the long game, with the veteran senator well aware it will make conservative headlines and could help ease his estrangement from Trump’s core voters. .
The party’s strategy reflects the view of much of its militant grassroots voters – among whom Trump remains deeply popular in an audience that is fully convinced of the former president’s lies about stealing the last election. But it’s far from clear that the Trump-style outcry is proving to be an effective countercurrent to Biden, as he rushes to give a lasting liberal imprint to social policy that echoes Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. .
Trump still leads the GOP
While making a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago shortly after Trump left the White House, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a signal that he believed to keep fans of Make America Great Again on its side was a passport to power in the legislative elections of 2022.
But it remains an open question whether this is a winning message among suburban voters who have deserted the GOP amid disgust at Trump’s antics. Populism brought Trump to power. But now that he’s not in the White House, ad hoc appeals to his base do little to build a cohesive rhetorical and philosophical alternative to Biden’s great governing power. The party lacks the kind of conservative doctrine and clear platform that drove Newt Gingrich to the president’s hammer in the 1994 midterm elections, nor even the clear message that helped George W. Bush win the House. Blanche in 2000.
It’s not like there aren’t good targets for Republicans. Biden was first caught off guard amid a wave of child migrants at the border when he changed the former president’s tough immigration policies. The problem is where the president has significant vulnerabilities, according to polls. But Gaetz’s firestorm, coverage of the GOP voter suppression, and heart-wrenching testimony in the George Floyd death trial have thwarted Republican efforts to keep Biden in place on immigration matters.
Just as the GOP has left Biden a clear field to claim credit for any economic recovery by opposing the Covid relief bill, there is a chance that his obstruction to infrastructure could turn out to be a liability. . There is no sign, for example, that Republicans have an alternative plan to help the many elderly and disabled Americans who need home health care – which the President is targeting under his broad definition of “infrastructure.” It can also be risky to oppose a corporate tax rate hike from 21% to 28% after large corporations had a windfall during the Trump years.
Trump’s influence is national
The warriors of Republican culture do not operate only in Washington. Governors across the country – including several who might hope to woo Trump’s flock in possible White House races in 2024 – are also making headlines, attempting to use the frenzied battle for voter suppression to their advantage.
Dismissing criticism of Georgia’s restrictive voting rights law, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp essentially tore a page from Trump’s playbook when he dealt with the fallout of Major League Baseball pulling the All-Star Game from this Atlanta summer. In a formatting exercise, he blamed Democrats for backlash over law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, accusing their “lies” about the legislation cost “hard-working Georgians” a paycheck. pushing baseball to move the game to Denver.
Hitting a buzzword sure to resonate with the GOP nationally, Kemp argued that the movement was the product of “cancel culture,” a favorite slogan of the former president, who used as a defense whenever its attempts to stoke the culture wars came. under fire.
Trying to deflect critics for their role in legislation that will disproportionately make the vote for black Americans, Kemp and other Republicans have suggested that the community is now paying an economic price because of corporate activism on the right to vote. vote. The governor of Georgia said the nation should interpret the MLB ruling to mean that “the culture of cancellation and the partisan activists are coming for your business. They are coming for your game or event in your hometown, and they are coming all the way. cancel, sports the way you make a living, and they will stop at nothing to silence us all. “
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, another Trump sidekick, linked MLB action to what she saw as a submission to political correctness when football and basketball stars stepped forward last year to support the Black Lives Matter protests that followed George Floyd’s death while under arrest. by a Minneapolis police officer.
“Like the @nfl & @nba before it, @mlb is the latest professional sports league used and intimidated by the most radical liberal groups in this country,” Noem said in a recent tweet, adding the hashtag #GetWokeGoBroke.
After calling on Republicans last weekend to boycott businesses that vote on the franchise, Trump weighed in with similar mockery of “awake” businesses in an interview with Newsmax on Tuesday: “They’re awake and awake is not good for our woke is not good, “Trump said when asked for his opinion on the MLB decision.
“Let them try to boycott Texas. Texas will teach them a lesson, which I can tell you. Let them try,” Trump told Newsmax. “Look, this is crazy what’s going on, it shouldn’t happen, frankly these companies should stay out of this, because they just make people worse and people are not satisfied.”
“If Republican conservatives ever got together,” the former president added, they would boycott companies critical of the legislation and “those companies that are so above it all, you would find they would come back in the fold very quickly. But right now the liberals, the radical left, the Democrats, they’re playing a much harder game. “
His comments were a reminder that the former president wasn’t just hanging over the Republican Party – he changed the way he conducts politics, a lasting legacy and a set of tactics the GOP doesn’t seem willing to give up anytime soon.