RALEIGH, NC – (AP) – Republicans battle for control of Congress. Just don’t ask what they would do if they win.
Look no further for evidence of the GOP’s tangled government agenda than the North Carolina battlefield, where party leaders huddled into a convention hall on Saturday night to cheer for former President Donald Trump. Even in the face of the upcoming US Senate election with high stakes, the Republicans there were not united by consistent conservative policies or principles, but by Trump’s baseless complaints about the 2020 elections and his attacks on critics in both parties.
The lack of a forward-looking agenda is in stark contrast to the successful mid-term elections of recent years, particularly in 1994 and 2010, when Republicans came to power after taking clear positions on health care, government spending and crime, among other things. Without such a strategy moving into 2022, Republicans run the risk of being completely defined in the vote by Trump, who lost his last election nationwide by 7 million votes and even gained popularity with some Republicans since leaving office in January has continued to decline.
“I am not aware of any GOP agenda. I’d love to see one, ”said Texas-based conservative activist and former tea party boss Mark Meckler.
“Nobody knows what this is about,” he said of today’s Republicans. “You do this at your own risk.”
The GOP’s approval of Trump’s selfish priorities has almost completely eroded the party’s longstanding commitment to budget discipline, free markets, and even the rule of law. That doesn’t leave Republican candidates from North Carolina to North Dakota telling voters how they would approach the country’s greatest challenges if given the chance.
Party leaders admit it could be a year or more before Republicans develop a clear government agenda. Meanwhile, Trump, who is far more focused on the past than the future, wants to become an integral part of the election campaign again. Building on Saturday’s North Carolina gig, his advisors have their eye on potential rallies in 2020 states with top Senate races, including Ohio, Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
In an interview, Florida Senator Rick Scott, who heads the Senate’s Republican political arm, gave a lukewarm response when asked about Trump’s role in the upcoming election campaign.
“We both want to regain the majority in 2022. I tell him what I’m doing and I would like to have his support, ”Scott said of Trump.
He hesitated when asked if Trump should serve as the face of the Republican Party in the midterm elections when control of the House, Senate and dozen of governorships is at stake.
“The face of the party is every single race,” said Scott, noting that hundreds of Republican candidates will stand in the mid-term elections. “The party is these people, it is not a person, it is not a person’s agenda.”
Right now, when Republicans don’t ally with Trump, they focus much of their energy on cultural wars and rail against President Joe Biden’s agenda. Biden, backed by narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, has already passed a $ 1.9 trillion pandemic relief package that was widespread among voters. Now he’s driving a massive infrastructure package that surveys suggest could be just as popular.
Governor Larry Hogan, R-Md., Fears that Republicans may be wasting built-in perks in order to regain control of Congress and build on their advantage with governorate positions. In recent history, the White House party has almost always gained significantly in the first mid-term elections for a new presidency.
The Democrats will lose control of Congress if the Republicans swap only five seats in the House of Representatives and only one in the Senate.
“The only way we can screw it up is with Donald Trump,” Hogan told The Associated Press, lamenting that Washington Republicans are being consumed by internal struggles and “a single oath of allegiance.”
The two-time governor and frequent Trump critic continued, “I’m really frustrated that the Republican Party doesn’t seem to be focused on an agenda. It doesn’t seem to focus on making coherent arguments for what interests people. “
Some Republican leaders close to Trump encourage him to look to the future.
The former president will meet with Republican Studies Committee chairman Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana this week to discuss the party’s policies should the GOP regain a majority in the House of Representatives next year.
Trump has privately over the past few weeks with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., And Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C a clear and concise Republican agenda ahead of the GOP’s 1994 medium-term success.
Trump adviser Jason Miller said it was “a bit of an exaggeration” to point out that Trump is actively working with Gingrich to create the document.
Meanwhile, Republican candidates in major Senate elections, including North Carolina, are struggling to give voters a clear idea of what they would do if they were elected if they were fighting for Trump’s support.
At least three Republicans are vying for the success of the resignation of North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, who was condemned by heads of state for supporting Trump’s impeachment in February. The Republican nomination campaign consists of former Governor Pat McCrory, current MP Ted Budd and former MP Mark Walker.
After Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump retired from the race over the weekend, Trump officially endorsed Budd, the only candidate in the Republican primary who voted against confirming Trump’s 2020 election defeat.
Walker had described himself as the “pro-Trump North Carolina congressman”, but that was apparently not enough to win Trump’s backing.
Budd not only courted Trump, but also hyped the GOP’s culture wars. In his opening video, the gun shop owner spoke of growing immigration on the border with Mexico and the publisher’s decision by Dr. Seuss to stop printing some of the popular children’s book authors due to racist images. Budd said he read the books to his children, “and they did well”.
Trump beat McCrory in Saturday’s address by reminding voters, without his name, that the former Republican governor had previously lost two elections.
McCrory, a member of the GOP business wing, has adopted elements of Trump’s agenda but criticizes Trump’s false claims about electoral fraud.
“I don’t get distracted when I talk about the past because the future is important to me,” he told AP in April.
17 months before the 2022 general election and few voters paying much attention to the midterm scramble, Republicans have time to craft an agenda that goes beyond Trump’s grievances and conservative culture wars.
However, it is unclear whether the political will is sufficient.
Scott, the Florida Senator, said his party ultimately needs to communicate what it is there for – rather than just what it is against. He noted, however, that the “Treaty with America” was published just two months before the 1994 elections.
“I don’t know if there will be a real treaty for America or everyone will just be more consistent with what they talk about,” Scott said of the Republican agenda over the coming months.
On Trump, Scott added, “I think he will be helpful.”
Peoples reported from New York.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in any way without permission.