Welp, here we go again.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) told “Fox News Sunday” this week that “many Republicans” want to move beyond the control of Donald Trump in 2024 and focus on the future vs. dwelling on the past — most notably, the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building by Trump loyalists.
I hope that the future of the Republican Party is different than former President Trump’s leadership. I hope we move in a different direction. I believe that what happened on January 6 is a lot at his feet. It was wrong for our country, and for him to continue to push that [“rigged,” “stolen” election] theory, I agree, is the wrong direction for the Republican Party.
Rather than get into various poll results on “who believes what” regarding the 2020 election results, I’ll say this, in the words of the late economist Stuart Chase:
For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.
The central point of the above quote is this: It applies to both sides of the never-ending story of the 2020 election results, January 6, and the continuing aftermath.
In Hutchinson’s view, he told Fox News, while Trump as president did “a lot of good things,” 2024 presents the Republicans with an opportunity to define leadership in the future.
I think there are many Republicans that are looking for an off-ramp, new opportunities to define leadership in the future. And obviously, what President Trump did, there’s a lot of things that he did that were very good that the base and I agree with, but he got off track on Jan. 6, and that was a costly error for our democracy.
I agree with a lot of the comments that he has responsibility there, and we need to make sure that’s clear. I think Republicans need to do a lot of soul-searching as to what is the right thing here. What is the right thing to say for our party and our democracy and our future and not simply appeal to the instincts of some of our base.
Again, the question of Trump’s culpability — or lack thereof — for the events of January 6 will be debated ad nauseam, no doubt until the end of time. More reality: Zero will come of the never-ending battle; zero minds will be changed. Democrats will continue to call the breach of the Capitol an “attempted coup” or “insurrection,” while Trump has called it “not simply a protest … it represented the greatest movement in the history of our country to Make America Great Again.”
On paper, Joe Biden should be the easiest sitting president to defeat in the history of the presidency — if the Democrat Party is foolish enough to allow him to run, that is. (Operative words: “on paper,” “should be.”) The likely fly in the 2024 election ointment for the Republicans is the potential baggage attached to Donald Trump. Loyalists, of course, claim otherwise but facts are facts. The question is, how much of that “baggage” is viewed as such by potential Republican voters?
There is at least an undertow within the Republican Party that flows with the thoughts of Asa Hutchinson. How strong is that undertow? Is it growing? I can’t answer either question, primarily because I suspect — as is the case in most of these situations — there are those who agree with the Arkansas governor but are scared to death to voice their feelings.
As one who has called out Donald Trump — and all politicians — when warranted, I’m well familiar with the predictable onslaught from those so predisposed — except I’ve not given a damn one way or the other and I don’t plan on starting to give a damn; truth and objectivity are far more important; far too much is at stake.
If the latter were only true on both sides of the political aisle.
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