In The Republican Party, It’s Every Man For Themselves

By Claire Hardwick

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a step against President Donald Trump yesterday when he formally congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory. Immediately, President Trump tweeted his response, stating that “people are angry.”

But with this back and forth, there is a larger picture to understand in what is going on here. Mitch McConnell, who is focused on maintaining his Republican majority in the Senate, has a longer end game. But for the Trump Republicans who have emerged these past four years, they are scared to lose his support, and the support of his followers. 

In 2016, Hillary Clinton could not believe she lost the election to Donald Trump. She had done everything that needed to be done to win an election. Her resume, her experience, and her connections automatically propelled her to the White House, in the political elites’ minds. But she did not have the likability in the crucial independent voters’ minds, and as a result, she lost key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Trump had somehow penetrated the blue wall that allowed Obama to soar to victory, and there had to be some reason for this voter turnout. 

But without understanding the 2016 election lessons, Trump looked at his victory as a signal of the “silent majority” that existed because his base was afraid to proclaim their love of Donald Trump, all due to their fear of the mainstream media backlash. His campaign failed to remember the qualities Trump presented his supporters in 2016, with a strong focus on the economy and immigration, that resonated with these crucial voters. Instead, in the last few weeks of Trump’s campaign, they did the same thing as Hillary Clinton. They focused on Biden’s families’ corruption, and in particular, his son Hunter Biden. He failed to talk about economic recovery and what he would do to get America back on their feet after the coronavirus epidemic. What he had done, and what he was going to do, was drowned out with ad hominem attacks. This tactic is almost a direct mirror to what Clinton did against Trump in the final weeks of her election. The results, however, are a clear effect. 

Even with what we do know, and what we can see as a parallel, is drowned out with Trump’s refusal to concede. As he attacked and criticized Clinton and the Democrats for the past four years, for their refusal to accept election results, he is ironically using their same response to an election that he lost. By making up these conspiracies, and blaming abstract reasons with no proof for his loss, he is doing exactly what Clinton did in 2016. Her response led to the destructive Russia hoax investigation, and an overall feeling that our electoral process is not safe and secure. 

As Republicans, our goal and ideology is to conserve the system of government the Founding Father’s established. It’s what guides our policies and our legislation.  We cannot continue to let failed candidates make up a scapegoat for the failure of a candidate. It erodes the power of the people. and our government foundation. Republicans who are too afraid to stand up to Trump’s rhetoric, and their fear of losing his support, need to reconnect with the foundation of America. It’s what we pledge to protect, and what we need to reconnect with if we want our party to move forward. 

As Republicans, it’s every man for themselves at this point. The part is in disarray, and there is no clear path forward. If you disagree with Trump, you are atomically a “Republican in Name Only.” If you go out on your own, defending what you believe in, you are a man without a party. But we are the party, and we have our core beliefs to lean on. It’s up to you to decide what part of the spectrum you want to lean towards. It’s every man for themselves, but with that man, is what you stand for. That’s all you need to move this country forward, and make your voice heard.