The New York Times and The Washington Post would have us believe that the Republican Party is either hopelessly divided or in the thrall of Donald Trump. These are the same publications that wrote off former President Trump’s election bid in 2016 and predicted a Democratic landslide in 2020.
Both newspapers also accuse Republican lawmakers of moral cowardice. While it is true that the party has been distracted by Mr. Trump’s continuing claims of election fraud, the basic Republican themes that won the election in 2016 are essentially core conservative beliefs that transcend Mr. Trump.
The reality is that it is the Democratic Party which has deep ideological crevices. These have been largely papered over in the attempt to push President Biden’s initial legislative agenda, but the recent Gaza crisis and Republican ballot initiatives have begun to exacerbate the divide among moderate and extreme-left Democrats while differences among Republicans are personality-based between those who like Mr. Trump and those who despise him.
The challenge for the Republicans in 2022 is to come up with a coherent set of issues that both Trump loyalists and “never Trumpers” can support. That election will determine control of both houses of the Congress and three key issues should be stressed.
First — and perhaps most important — is regaining control of our borders. Mr. Biden’s initial missteps on immigration and border security are not necessarily fatal, but they uncovered Democratic vulnerabilities in that area that can be exploited.
The 2020 election in Florida showed that the assumption that most Latinos are Democrats is both invalid and politically opportune. Latin Americans whose ancestors or themselves entered the country legally and have bought into the American dream tend to vote Republican as often as not; this is particularly true if they are devout Catholics. They also tend to resent illegals who snuck to the head of the immigration line.
If the Republicans are smart, they will stress layered security at the border that is built around technology and a beefed-up Border Patrol as well as smart immigration reform. It is obvious that we simply cannot deport all illegal immigrants, or their children born here in the United States. However, we can craft an amnesty period where they can leave the country temporarily with a guarantee of return if they can prove they have a job, are not criminals and have paid U.S. taxes.
After paying a fine for the original illegal entry, they would reenter legally. This reform would make it easier to identify and deal with the real criminal element among illegal immigrants. That is a solution to the problem far more realistic than Mr. Trump’s wall.
A second 2020 Republican initiative should be a drive to eliminate critical race theory training in government and in schools. This disgraceful piece of neo-communist indoctrination is now being unmasked for what it really is, and smart Republican strategists need only fill the airwaves and social media with real-life examples to educate voters on what Democrats are foisting off on the American public.
Finally, many Americans are beginning to recognize the full extent of the damage that Democrats can do to the economy with their efforts in the area combatting climate change. This summer’s gas shortages and high fuel prices are just the leading edge of the discomfort consumers will face if the Biden environmental agenda hits its stride in dismantling the American energy sector.
Fortunately, dimwits on the left such as Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer don’t help the Democratic agenda. During the misery caused by the Colonial Pipeline crisis, the notoriously tone-deaf Ms. Whitmer began the shutown of the Great Lakes oil pipeline as Mr. Biden disrupts energy exploitation elsewhere.
Instead of ignoring the climate change issue, Republicans should own it. Most Americans agree that there is probably too much CO2 in the air; but the Democratic solution of destroying the oil gas and coal industries when our Russian and Chinese opponents have no intention of dismantling theirs, is sheer folly.
The alternative of using scrubbing technologies that eliminate excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rather than just limiting emissions is currently very expensive, but Republicans should make the research that would make scrubbing affordable a Manhattan Project-like political priority. If a sudden global cooling event such as a super volcano occurs, we would not be able to quickly restore oil and gas after a shutdown. We can always turn the scrubbers off.
The Democrats are currently lobbing softballs. It is time for Republicans to start hitting them out of the park.
• Gary Anderson lectures on Alternative Analysis at the graduate level.
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