The race for Speaker of the House is on once again. This time, the candidates’ pitches mimic Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020 with promises to unite the fractured Republican party, much like Biden promised to do with our country.
Democrats Beat Republicans on Unity
Let’s hope the next speaker does a better job than Biden at upholding promises.
The one thing that has hurt the Republican party more than anything over the past few decades is its lack of unity.
Democrats have always beaten Republicans at that game. While team red has been bickering over sanctions, tax cuts, and limited government, team blue coalesce their factions to put forth a united front with a singular message: conservatives are either backward-looking bumpkins or greedy corporate demons with a dangerous nostalgia for white supremacy, racism, and sexist policies aimed at suppressing women and minorities.
Meanwhile, conservatives rightly aimed for moral virtues and tightly held adherence to principle, sometimes preventing them from joining forces to score victories on the Hill.
“Democrats are much better at sticking together than Republicans who are just better at sticking it to each other,” commented Chris Stirewalt, a contributing editor for the Dispatch, on Megyn Kelly’s podcast this week.
Kelly responded, “The Democrats … are good. They get in line when they have to. They fight but then they bring it home in the end and the Republicans just wind up killing each other in the circular firing squad. Even when they’re winning, they find a way to lose.”
Do Republicans Enjoy Losing?
After this week’s debacle I found myself wondering the same question as Megyn Kelly on her podcast: do Republicans enjoy losing elections?
Stirewalt offered an astute observation.
“People on the right don’t like the government. People on the left, do. So if you’re good at being in the government you’re already viewed with suspicion by people on the right. When you reinforce that with the narrative that says, ‘We always get sold out. We get sold out every time. They tell us they’re going to be conservatives and then they get in there and they sell us out. Then that idea of betrayal, which, by the way, has animated and sustained Donald Trump in every way … this concept of betrayal is deeply rooted in Republicans.”
He continued, “You have a party that has a strong belief that they have been frequently betrayed by people sleeping with the enemy, and then you have this. What is proof positive that you’ve been betrayed? Somebody is succeeding at governing. Somebody is succeeding at winning. They’re getting stuff done.”
That is exactly what McCarthy’s supporters stated as they lobbied for him to remain in the Speaker position. He did get things done.
The Myth of Draining the Swamp
Stirewalt went on: “We don’t have the kinds of majorities for either party in America that would allow party line success. So the only way you can get some of what you want is working with the other side. So Republicans look at their fellow Republicans who work with Democrats or offer things that are appealing to a mainstream audience and they say, ‘this person is a sell out.’
“It comes down to in its own perverse way, losing is evidence of purity.”
In other words, the battle may be lost but at least you’re not a corrupt swamp creature.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no such thing as draining the swamp.
Politics, with its power games and well, politicking, will always inherently be swampy.
Could we stand a little less moisture and slime in the swamp? Sure. But promises to drain it completely were, are, and always will be empty ones.
The cold hard truth is politics is a game. A dirty one. Policy will never encompass total domination by one side or the other. It will be a messy slop of halfhearted victories and compromised principles. Absolutes cannot survive in the government of a democratic republic.
It’s why the United States is, indeed, a republic. Citizens were meant to find smaller groups of people who share similar values and live in closer proximity to and relationship with them. They were to build communities around these shared values via civic organizations, families and friendships, and institutions such as churches and schools.
Leaders in the community were called to lead by example, emphasizing positive and life-affirming decisions and actions, not fear-driven and destructive ones.
Strong, smaller communities – whether that be at the state, county, township, or city level – require less government and are the cornerstones of any well-functioning democracy no matter how global the world becomes.
Conservatives need to remember first and foremost that the most pressing issues facing Americans will not be solved in the hallowed halls of Congress.
Then, they need to go about convincing the American public that is true.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19FortyFive.com as well as opinion writer. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter. She writes opinion columns from a conservative perspective.