Houston, we’ve got a problem. A diplomatic spat with one of our oldest and closest allies. A legislative agenda stalled in a debate over the size of infrastructure packages on Capitol Hill and bumping up against major deadlines. A genuine crisis at the southern border. A confusing federal reaction to a global pandemic. Call it a crisis of credibility or capability, but any way you slice it, it is chaos — and that is precisely what President Joe Biden pledged to be the antidote for in his campaign.
In fact, many of the criticisms lobbed at the administration of former President Donald Trump apply equally to his successor, whose presidency is at a moment of peril.
Political opportunities abound for the out-of-power Republican Party to regain their congressional majorities next year. History tells us next year’s midterm elections will likely punish the party in charge. In 1994, President Bill Clinton’s party lost 54 seats in the first midterm elections. In 2010, President Barack Obama’s Democrats dropped over 60 seats. Then, in 2014, Republicans seized the Senate to gain full control of Congress. And in 2018, Democrats regained control of the House while Republicans clung to a Senate majority.
Thanks to the unfortunate results of January’s runoff US Senate elections in my home state of Georgia, Democrats run all three branches of government. With power comes responsibility, and the party in charge has failed that test.
But my Republican Party is not out of the woods either. This weekend, former President Trump is hosting a rally in my neck of the woods. If the legendary Southern rocker Charlie Daniels were still with us today, his hit song could be re-written as, “A president went down to Georgia, he was looking for a party’s soul to steal.”
Nearly a year after the election, Georgia is still very much on the former President’s mind. He continues to be painfully comfortable peddling his baseless conspiracy theories of widespread election fraud. Last week, he fired off a disjointed and juvenile letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to “decertify” the results of the election.
Never mind that none of the countless recounts and audits, including the one in Arizona’s Maricopa County, which was leaked Thursday night, has uncovered evidence of the purported fraud. Neither did Trump’s legal team. His hand-picked attorney general, William Barr, declared “we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
Conservatives have every right to be upset that Trump blew an easy lay-up in losing a winnable election to President Biden. Unfortunately, our greatest fears have been confirmed about Biden’s policy proposals.
I do not blame conservatives who stand strong with the Trump administration’s agenda. His four years in office were some of the most consequential in American history. Tax cuts, health care regulations rolled back, including the individual mandate, and a US Supreme Court stocked with a trio of conservative legal justices. These types of policies are near and dear to the heart of conservatives across the board, even those wary of Trump’s personality.
But if we are all being honest with one another, Trump did not lose because of voter fraud or his conservative policies. Biden is sitting in the White House today because voters grew tired of Trump’s erratic behavior, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The upcoming elections cannot be a discussion about the past, unless we want to continue losing. Republican candidates cannot win general elections around the country if they exert all of their energy in the primary on a litmus test around unfounded election conspiracy theories.
When Trump comes to Georgia this weekend, expect him to re-package his “greatest hits” and once again hijack our great state for his own selfish agenda. It might make for good theater, but it is setting back the conservative movement. If we keep it up, we are looking at another four years of President Biden calling the shots.
Under Biden and a Democratic controlled Senate and House, the United States is a global laughingstock. We have handed Afghanistan back to the Taliban with an abrupt and messy withdrawal of our troops after a two-decade conflict, and caused our oldest ally to recall their ambassador.
Just as the Republican Party cannot withstand re-litigating the losing battles of the past, America cannot afford another four years of Biden and crew. There is no limit to the damage they can inflict.
The stakes are high for both entities. Let’s hope that common sense and cooler heads prevail for the sake of this generation and the next.
Geoff Duncan, a Republican, is the 12th lieutenant governor of Georgia. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.