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So over the weekend, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump put out this post on his Truth Social account, and he’s calling for the suspension of the U.S. Constitution. When I first saw those headlines from mainstream outlets, I had a double-take moment.
When you see the headlines say something like that, you almost have to assume at first that is the media being the media and being anti-Trump, putting it in the worst possible light. That’s what they have done and that’s what they continue to do. But no, it’s actually that bad.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 5, 2022
To be clear, this is not new for Trump. He has made comments similar to this. What he wants is for the process that was set up to be suspended and for there to be a do-over, but never has he been so outright in saying we need to suspend the Constitution. This is a very very dangerous precedent because now you have a candidate for a major party – a party that claims to stand for the Constitution more faithfully than the other party – saying that the Constitution is not enough, that it needs to be suspended.
And I could focus on Trump. I could focus on his candidacy. I can focus on the past and focus on all of the statements that I’ve made previously about Trump (that most of you’re probably tired of hearing about at this point). But instead, I want to focus on the Republican Party.
The GOP has one declared candidate for 2024, and that is Donald Trump. The leadership of the party has been silent on Trump’s comments. Most Republicans have been silent on his comments, too. But they cannot afford to be anymore. It’s no longer about ignoring Donald Trump in the hopes that he will just go away. When it comes to statements like this, the Republican Party has to stand up and say this is completely anathema to what they believe.
They have to stand up and say “We, as a party, believe that the Constitution is above all.” It cannot be suspended on the whim of one person, because when you do that – when you say that the Constitution can be suspended and call for a do-over – because you don’t like the outcome of an election, you are no different than the very people, in several other dictatorships, who routinely assume power without any authority to do so.
The GOP cannot stand for this and they cannot allow it to continue. They need to come out and forcefully say this is not the way to do it.
As of right now, Republicans are looking for new leadership. There are conservatives standing up to try to oppose Kevin McCarthy. There are conservatives, standing up trying to oppose Ronna McDaniel. The GOP has grown stagnant. It is not able to move forward. The midterms in 2022 were a clear sign that the voters want to move forward, not backward.
Every candidate in a tight race who was focused on the past lost. Every candidate in a tight race, who had ties to the guy who is more worried about the 2020 election than the 2022 election, lost. Even the ones that somehow made it through did so with far less Republican voter support than other Republican candidates did.
The 2020 election is over. It’s been over for two years, and the more Republicans have focused on these questions about election fraud, the more they have refused to move forward, the more they have given up opportunities to win.
The 2022 election made it very clear that the voters are worried about the present, not the past. They are worried about the present and the future, and the Republicans focusing on the past, those focusing on the last guy and focusing on the last election, didn’t do well because they are not worried about the things the current voters are worried about.
The economy is still atrocious. The job market is hot but so is inflation. Interest rates are going to continue to go up. Crime is still a problem that now the media is willing to report on. There’s still a crisis at the border. There’s still a fundamental lack of leadership in the world. And the voters are concerned about all these things.
Do you know what they’re not concerned about? They’re not concerned about whether or not Donald Trump was legally, lawfully beaten in 2020.
My colleague Streiff made a brilliant observation in his column over the weekend.
The Founders would not have wanted false or fraudulent elections, but they were also realists who knew that in late 18th century America, election fraud was a way of life. If you haven’t read a lot about the Early Republic and roving bands of voters (why do you think a specific election day made its way into the Constitution?), give this article a try. The very fact that the Founders did not make provisions for re-doing elections tainted by fraud is a strong indicator that they valued the finality of the process over lengthy wrangling over results.
The Founders were more worried about the finality of elections because yes, there is election fraud – there’s always election fraud, and there will always be election fraud – but the system cannot work if it is not allowed to move forward. If you were stuck fighting over the same election for years and years, the country cannot move forward.
Trump does not want to move forward. He wants to continue to harp on the same problems that he has harped on for the last two years. Every other American has moved on, and it is time for the Republican Party to stand up and say enough is enough.
We have to move forward because if the Republican Party can’t do that, what is the point of the Republican Party? What is the point of a party that cannot move forward and cannot tackle the issues that are caused by their political opponents? The level of silence the GOP has had over these comments opens the door for the Biden White House to take the moral high ground on the Constitution – as Streiff pointed out in the column referenced earlier – and it opens the door for the Democrats to claim the moral high ground. It opens the door for the Democrats to be able to move forward and to win back independent voters who wavered on them in 2022.
This is without a doubt a major strategic blunder, and more importantly, a major moral blunder by the GOP if they cannot move on. If they cannot move forward, if they cannot bring their candidates to move forward, and run good candidates and run people who are focused on the issues are important voters, what is the point of having a Republican Party?