Since our nation observes one of the most sacred and solemn traditions in our republic, the peaceful transfer of power, so many people have the question, What awaits the Republican Party?
I, like millions of Americans of all political classes, was shocked by what happened at the Capitol on January 6. I was equally shocked by the misinformation and false rhetoric that allowed it to happen at all. Make no mistake, the president's rhetoric has directly contributed to the violence against the greatest symbol of democracy in our country. It must be constantly denounced by Republicans and Democrats.
But what about the past four years? What about the America First agenda that has led to not only the most vibrant but also the most inclusive economy in modern history? Under the Trump administration, we saw record low unemployment rates for virtually every group, including black Americans, Hispanic Americans, women, and individuals with and without college degrees.
These achievements were a direct result of the pro-growth America First agenda championed by the government along with Republicans in Congress. Prior to the pandemic, these policies created about 7 million new jobs, the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, 3% GDP growth and record gains in the stock market. These historic achievements were a direct result of a deregulatory agenda, fiscal policies that promote growth and prioritize US investment. It was a conservative economic vision, and it was no fluke.
What about the results of the Trump administration's foreign policy? These include rebuilding an exhausted army, wiping out the ISIS caliphate, brokering historic Middle East peace deals, restoring deterrence with Iran, holding China accountable and ultimately persuading NATO allies to contribute more to our collective defense.
This was all a direct result of a foreign policy approach to dealing with the world as it really is, not as we hope it would be. The government's foreign policy unabashedly put America first, putting our allies in the best position to succeed and informing our opponents that we meant business.
The America First agenda sparked long-awaited coalitions of Republican voters, including a record turnout among Hispanics and blacks. The Republican Party cannot afford to lose these gains. But imagine what we could do if we continue to pursue smart economic opportunity policies and emphasize inclusive, inspiring leadership?
Republicans lost support among suburban women and more educated white men and seniors. But on a policy basis, those constituencies shouldn't be difficult for Republicans to win back. We are the party of safe communities, of choice of health care for families, of choice of school, of paid family leave – an effort advocated by Ivanka Trump – and of economic mobility for all people. Imagine Lincoln's party going back to the party that stands for minorities – that fights for them and denounces bigotry in all its forms.
After the siege of the Capitol, there is an attempt under the influential wings of the GOP to obliterate all that is Trump. That would be a terrible mistake. I would beg those who want to rebuild the party not to throw out the good policies with the bad rhetoric and bad leadership.
At the same time, the Republicans must realize that as a party we have lost the moral heights. We have had our better angels replaced with easy demons for election victories. We have allowed destructive moral ambiguity on issues that should be easily unambiguous. We fooled the public into believing that the democratic elections had been stolen. Some even gave a subtle wink and a nod to dangerous conspiracy theories such as those propagated by QAnon. We regain the moral high ground by first and foremost embracing the truth.
Any prospective Republican presidential candidate must be vetted as thoroughly for character and integrity as they are for their policy views. The Lincoln and Reagan party must remember: the president must be the moral conscience of the country and embody the high character of our nation. We need to learn lessons from Trump, but restore the days of Reagan, when character was still king.
. (tagsToTranslate) economics (t) Ronald Reagan (t) Abraham Lincoln (t) Donald Trump (t) Republican Party