There are good things that have come from Donald Trump’s influence over the Republican Party. Republicans have been more willing to fight for conservative policy, and Trump himself implemented conservative policy as President. Trumpism is more of an attitude than a philosophy: A determination to be more combative, more confrontational and less willing to back down. But that has also brought with it bad things: Primarily, the tendency of Trumpism to place confrontation over principle.
For one example, see Donald Trump’s absurd claim that Stacey Abrams would be a better choice as governor of Georgia than the incumbent Republican. What in the world is Trump thinking?
I do not believe that the 2020 election was “stolen” through voter fraud. However, for the sake of argument, let’s accept Trump’s premise that the Democrats won the election in Georgia by cheating and Governor Brian Kemp did nothing to stop them. Does Trump not realize that by his own logic Abrams would actively cheat on the Democratic nominee’s behalf in 2024, and actually did help Biden cheat last year? Does Trump not realize Abrams’ direct action against him would have been far worse than Kemp’s alleged lack of action defending him? Why would Trump elevate someone who helped “steal” the election?
No, the reality is this: Trump is so thin-skinned and childish that he is openly sabotaging himself and praising a sworn enemy because someone on his own side hurt his feelings and would not bow to his demands. This is absolutely not how we should want a President to operate, and given that Trump is almost certain to run again in 2024 this is a major strike against him. If Trump costs the Republican Party the 2022 election in Georgia, why should Republicans support his effort to be the Republican nominee again?
But it is not just Trump’s childishness. His instinct to put personal loyalty over principle has infected and corrupted large swaths of the Republican Party. Harriet Hageman is a perfect example of the poisonous pressure for total loyalty to Trump. Trump cannot be a flawed man who gave us good policy. He has to be the “greatest President” of the last 50 years. It is bonkers.
Trump’s influence has also led many “conservatives” to embrace being nasty for its own sake. Even many “christians” have endorsed this behavior, claiming that the refusal to sink to the lowest common denominator is “why we lose.” But Liberty Hangout is correct: We do not need to be trashy to oppose President Biden and his policy agenda. Chanting the F word may earn praise from the most aggressive trolls on your side, but it does not convince anyone that your own policy agenda and philosophy of government is correct. Worse yet, this childish behavior alienates people who are actually persuadable.
For the sake of the party and a conservative policy agenda, Republicans need to move on from both Trump and Trumpism, and the way to do that is to pick someone else (preferably someone much younger) to be the Republican nominee in 2024. The GOP can still be aggressive and uncompromising without being nasty, childish and more committed to personal loyalty than actual conservative principles.