World McConnell Plays the Long Game with Trump | Opinion
Tim Kaine Says 'Most Shocking Revelation' of Trial Involves Trump Tweet Attacking Pence
The senator's statement refers to new questions that have emerged surrounding Pence's safety on the day of the violent insurrection, and how much Trump knew about the attack. During a lengthy question-and-answer session on Friday, senators questioned whether or not Trump's actions on January 6 directly put Pence's life in danger.As the violence unfolded, Pence was ushered to safety away from the Senate chamber at 2:14 p.m. Roughly 10 minutes later, Trump tweeted an attack on the former Vice President, pressing him to find the "courage" to reject the election outcome for Joe Biden.
Senatortitled his autobiography The Long Game. It is a tale of his perseverance in overcoming personal, medical and political obstacles to become the leading Republican for an astounding 15 years. As such, he is a major force shaping the modern Republican Party. McConnell speaks and acts deliberately and with purpose—unlike the former Republican president, who speaks impetuously and acts impulsively. McConnell's searing condemnation of Trump's role in the January 6 Capitol insurrection was deliberate, while the ex-president's angry rebuttal was not.
It is noteworthy that such a Republican heavyweight has stepped forward to challenge Trump's hold on the party. Trump and his allies are eyeing 2022 and threatening retribution on anyone who showed any degree of independence. Kevin McCarthy and other GOP leaders remain so consumed with not offending the 45th president that they will do most anything to keep him happy—including normalizing QAnon and tolerating the fantasy that he won the 2020 election in a "landslide." Senatorfears that McConnell's words will only anger Trump and render him unwilling to help with winning 2022 elections.
Impeachment did not prevail, but Trump still lost.In one single day in 2021, that many senators showed courage worth enduring historical honor: Seven were Republicans: Richard Burr, William Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey. The other was Joe Manchin, a Democrat from a state where nearly 69 percent of people voted for President Donald Trump in 2020.
McConnell has it right. He realizes that normalizing crazy theories and excusing Trump's behavior are not in the best interests of the GOP in the long term. His "long game" involves constructing a party broad enough to compete for votes in states where Trump was never popular, and diverse enough to win constituencies Trump never cared about. McConnell's political organization will be a safe haven for, centrists and business organizations who still want to be involved in an outward-looking Republican Party.
McConnell's big tent does not include QAnon or conspiracy theories. That avenue—at best—only reinforces the current Republican coalition, which is not competitive in many large states. McConnell can support movement conservatives as well as moderates like Susan Collins,and Lisa Murkowski. He remembers Republican Senate nominees of yesteryear who lost very winnable seats in Nevada, Delaware, Indiana and Missouri, to name a few, because they were out of the mainstream and therefore not competitive statewide.
Stacey Plaskett Says Impeachment Trial Needed ‘More Senators With Spines’
House impeachment manager Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) defended the Democrats’ decision to cave on calling more witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial, declaring that what they really needed was “more senators with spines.” During a chaotic final day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, Democrats won a vote to call additional witnesses after lead manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) motioned for additional testimony. In the end, both sides agreed to merely enter GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s statement that Trump told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) during the Jan.
The Senate minority leader also knows that the 2022 electoral map will be tough for his party. Republicans will be defending far more seats than, and many of those seats are in states Biden won. The Trump vote, however large, won't be enough to win in many places. If the GOP were to pick right-wing congressional candidates in places like Pennsylvania and Arizona who had voted to overturn their states' 2020 election results, the road to victory would be an uphill one.
The long game also looks to 2024 and beyond. Republicans don't want to notice it, but's brand of center-left pragmatism is popular. Numerous surveys find Biden's approval in the mid-to-high 50s, with disapproval in the mid-to-high 30s. These are numbers that Trump never attained, so a GOP that attracts only Trump voters is bound to fall short. Trump's grievance-based populism is likely to recede as the ex-president becomes less of a factor in America's political life. His policy ideas will be few and far between. Trumpism will fade as new legislation is considered and enacted, and new problems arise to dominate the national agenda.
David Perdue Explores 2022 Run Against Warnock as McConnell Prioritizes Regaining Majority
The Republican lost his Senate seat in January against Georgia's other new Democratic senator, Jon Ossoff.Perdue, a Republican, lost his seat in the Senate to his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff. If Perdue does run in 2022, he would be challenging Raphael Warnock, the other Democrat who unseated one of Georgia's incumbent Republicans during the runoff election on January 5.
For would-be Trump clones, 2024 will be make or break. Someone like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)—who is all in as Trump's successor—had better win now, as he will only become marginalized as the years go on. Unless, of course, the former president decides to try again himself. It's always about him.
McConnell's long game involves constructing a GOP broad enough to respond to America's needs and desires in the coming years. It would encompass cutting-edge ideas and a regionally and ethnically diverse candidate pool capable of speaking to a center-right coalition of Americans. It is difficult to tell what a winning policy portfolio might look like, but McConnell is smart enough to know that it won't be found looking to the past.
Frank Donatelli served as assistant for political affairs to President Ronald Reagan and as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee during the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain.
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.
Senator Rick Scott Insists GOP Civil War 'Absolutely Canceled' Despite Ongoing Tensions .
The Florida Republican doubled down in dismissing the GOP's divisions over former president Donald Trump.Trump spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday, asserting his continued dominance over the GOP—which he said is united even as he attacked Republican leaders who've crossed him—despite the violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol by his supporters on January 6. While a number of leading Republican lawmakers have come out strongly against Trump in the wake of the violent mob attack targeting Congress, most GOP voters and lawmakers continue to align themselves with the former president.