Republicans are running out of time to be reasonable and to secure the center of the political spectrum, something our eighth-grader is learning is necessary to win elections in her middle school civics class.
President Trump is destroying the heartland and the rust belt with his trade wars and those white, male, blue-collar voters he secured in 2016 will not be there in 2020. The Trump coalition is faltering. While President Trump unleashed the American economy by lowering taxes and reducing regulations with the help of Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell, Wall Street has seen net loses in 2018. Why? No other reason than his tariffs.
While the media tries to take down the President with legal technicalities, the rest of us need to focus on political realities. President Trump’s trade wars and tariffs are leading to crops rotting at rail stations and manufacturing plants closing their doors from Pennsylvania to Michigan. These are realities voters simply will not forgive.
Even Trump’s most ardent supporters have noticed that the trade deficit is growing. Trump’s evangelical base is watching pregnant women falling over border walls and children dying of dehydration at our borders.
If this is winning, who wants to win?
We must rethink the Republican agenda in Virginia and across the Country. We must consider the possibility that those looking to turn us into a populist-nativist party lack a broad, moral, and intelligent national public policy agenda. Fear of losing our country is no proper reason to destroy it from within.
I cannot demand our Republican Party make sense all the time, nor can I require Republican voters to think beyond the issues staring them in the face, but we need real healthcare reform, which leadership has not given us. We need criminal justice reform and an end to prohibition. We needed aspects of the farm bill. We need to stop picking sides between Sunni and Shi’ite. We need to regain global leadership. We need responsible government. We need good government. We need to regain the reigns of the free world.
We’ll argue over the issues for generations, but in the meantime, and until we build some meaningful consensus, we need to govern and govern well. Republicans have exploded the debt and deficit. Under President Trump, in 2018 we’ve seen the much-maligned trade deficit balloon because we’ve done absolutely nothing to ensure broader access to foreign markets for American goods. In fact, Trump has been an opponent of deals to place more American goods overseas.
In the end, Republicans will be tarred and feathered with the labels of debt and deficits, anti-free trade, and serial failures at foreign diplomacy – and that simply cannot continue. Republicans are supposed to be the party of free trade, of statesmanship, and of moving the needle forward on peaceful foreign relations through strength and virtuous resolve. What happened?
We need to get our mojo back, and fast. We cannot win national or statewide elections by being better twitter-trolls than our political adversaries. We must be the adults in the room and promote an organized and thoughtful political platform aimed at strengthening this country and our economy for the decades to come.
We need leaders that can offer the American people the comfort of reason and offer our economy the comfort of stability. We need a platform that rings the bells of liberty and conserves the traditions upon which this nation was built. We can do this and we can do this with many of the ideals our President has advocated for — but we cannot do it in the manner which we’ve seen unfolding on social media and television day in and day out. The Limbaugh theory of destroying the Democrats as our enemies must be replaced with a theory of embracing our political adversaries as our fellow citizens — if for no better reason than that they are.
There is no triumph in disunity and hatred is a poor card to play at the negotiation table. We can do better. We must do better. I believe we can.
Steven Brodie Tucker graduated with a degree in the art of Philosophy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, later studying economics and political science at George Mason. In 2017, he earned his M.A. in Public Policy Administration. He is a member of the Caroline County Republican Party.