The Republicans Lack Aggression and the Issue Begins at the Top

The dust from the midterm elections has largely settled and the Republicans, so confident in their supremacy, are currently flabbergasted over a pyrrhic victory. Each is struggling to find the answer as to why, but enlightenment is only a Florida Governor away.

As I wrote on Friday, Ron DeSantis highlighted Republican’s problem in 2022 with this:

“So, I don’t think it’s a question of necessarily being divided as a party, I think it’s like, okay, how do you run and win majorities, and I think what we’ve done in Florida is we’ve shown that we’ve exercised leadership, we’ve not kowtowed, we’ve been willing to take on big interests … producing results, and that ends up attracting more people to want to be on your team — and so that was not something that was happening throughout the rest of the country. But I think that we really showed, I think, how it’s done in the state of Florida, and if you look about how we performed, no governor, Republican, has ever gotten a higher percentage of the vote in Florida history than we got in 2022.”

(READ: The GOP Should Hear DeSantis’s Insight On Why the Red Wave Was a Sad Trickle)

In other words, DeSantis and Florida Republicans took on really tough, high-profile fights whether it was the Democrat Party’s attempts at protecting people from COVID with destructive lockdowns and useless masks to stripping Disney of its special tax protections in the state because it decided it wanted to get into a political fight with DeSantis.

The Governor’s analysis seems to be spot on, and it’s backed up by what we saw in the state of Iowa. Like Florida, Iowa was once a purple state but thanks to aggressive Republicans, the red wave that missed in too many other states hit Iowa hard.

As Axios covered, Iowa leaned into Republicans so hard that the GOP obtained the first supermajority in the Senate for the first time in 50 years. Republicans leaned right into their attacks in the state, and as Democrats attempted to focus on things like abortion, the GOP connected Iowa’s Democrats to the Biden administration and didn’t let up. Their aggression paid off and now Iowa, famously purple, is now blood red.

The lesson is clear. If leadership is willing to fight and fight hard, then so are voters. When GOP leadership shrugs and shows a lack of enthusiasm, the voters follow suit. This happened far too often across the nation, and especially in the top tiers of GOP leadership.

Mitch McConnell acted more as a foil to Republicans than a general leading the charge. His unwillingness to show enthusiasm for candidates created a tepid GOP voting base that wound up losing the Republican Party’s potential seat gains in the House and the Senate.

Note the difference in leadership. Where it was strong and willing to fight, Republicans won. Where it was meandering and ambivalent, it lost.

Imagine you’re a soldier in a war, and your General is about to lead you into battle against a fierce enemy. He stands before you, but instead of drawing his sword and giving you a rousing speech to boost morale and remind you of why you fight without mercy, his sword stays in its scabbard. He looks bored and he views his troops with borderline disappointment. In some instances, you feel like you can sense disdain. You overhear him saying something to a nearby assistant that you’ll probably not win this battle and that he had hoped for a better class of soldiers. With an “I’m sure you’ll do fine,” he walks off the stage and sends you into the fray.

Now imagine a different scenario. The General takes the stage in front of you and passionately describes the enemy to you. He tells you what’s at stake. He tells you that you were chosen by something greater for this moment and that you have what it takes to win. He tells you to fight without mercy because what you fight for deserves that kind of aggression. He also tells you that you’re not going in alone. He’s going with you. He draws his sword and you draw your sword with him. You see soldiers beside you do it too, and you all feel like an army of one mind and one purpose. You’re going to win. You can feel it in your bones.

Which army do you want to be in? Which leader do you want to follow?

While politics doesn’t involve as much bloodshed as war, a lot of the principles are the same, and if we have weak leaders incapable of rallying fighters and showing absolute aggression, then it’s time we get new leaders.


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