By most polling and pundits’ projections, the Republican Party is set to sweep out of office the Democrats who defend runaway inflation, economic malaise, pre-teen transition, abortion till the baby enters the birth canal, and racist “anti-racist” doctrine.
After all, when a Democratic activist testifies before Congress that men can get pregnant and have abortions, it seems an easy agenda to defeat because it is so radical – nearly unprecedented as an entire political package and an affront to the common sense of everyday Americans, especially those outside the Northeast and West Coast.
Yet while former President Donald Trump did more than most leading Republicans in recent years to galvanize the party with a clear, unmistakable vision – America, and by extension, Americans first – Trump’s success has actually produced, beneath the surface, an internal problem that casts a pall over its November prospects.
The party seems to struggle to define itself in a post-Trump era, as shown by some of the candidates it has generated. And the GOP should not simply rely on the incompetence of President Joe Biden, along with the weirdness promoted by the Democrats generally, to lead them to victory.
For instance, in the Tampa Bay area, Republican Kevin Hayslett has recently been endorsed by Sheriffs Grady Judd and Bob Gualtieri to be the GOP nominee in the race for Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s seat in District 13.
But Hayslett’s primary opponent, Anna Paulina Luna, seems to have an advantage over Hayslett after being endorsed by Trump.
Despite a possibly long and sketchy history of falsehoods, as a recent column in Townhall.com noted, Luna is positioned at the forefront of the district race.
Yet she could prevail largely because of the Trump brand.
As Townhall.com columnist Steve Sherman noted, that could hurt the GOP.
If the allegations about Luna’s dishonesty are true, Sherman wrote, “they show that the Republican Party could put up a flawed candidate that may cost them a majority in the House.”
“The big picture problem is that well-funded candidates like Luna might crash and burn when they go head-to-head with a Democrat in a general election. Even with unproven allegations, it is likely that Democrats will seize on a potential flaw to take down the Republican,” he added.
Republicans know well – as seen by the ongoing trial of Hillary Clinton’s former lawyer – that Democrats won’t hesitate to manufacture lies about the GOP for political advantage. But some GOP candidates seem ready to hand them ammo.
This problem for Republicans is also true in Pennsylvania. Dr. Mehmet Oz could emerge as the GOP nominee for an open U.S. Senate seat. He, too, has been endorsed by Trump.
But as conservative commentator Matt Walsh has pointed out, until very, very recently, Oz supported allowing kids to transition, abortion, and gun control – hardly the foundation of a solid Republican campaign.
On the other hand, the push by Trump allies against other Republicans is justified.
Rep. Liz Cheney in Wyoming, for example, faces a primary challenge from a Trump-backed candidate because the Wyoming Republican Party has censured and criticized her for voting with Democrats on Trump’s impeachment and his policies.
Meanwhile, in Idaho, whose two-party system was described by one in-state political analyst as “Republican and more Republican,” is seeing a shift as 19 incumbents faced defeat in last week’s primaries because they were considered RINOs.
Three months ago, Politico picked up on the intraparty squabble within the GOP.
Many of the then-upcoming “fractious primaries,” Politico said, would be about “cementing a more populist orientation for the GOP … or setting a more traditionally conservative course.”
John Thomas, a Republican strategist, told Politico at the time, “There’s more self-hate than there was before. Ten years ago, we’d argue about who was more pro-gun, who was more pro-life. Now, my clients are going RINO hunting, which is a level of disdain that was not there before in our party.”
The Republicans need to think about their future and ask a question:
As non-Republicans are increasingly fed up with the party of Biden, is it worth the risk to the GOP and the country to focus on each other as the enemy instead of Democrats, and picking candidates who might not persuade those who are not the party faithful?