by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
Last week, guest commentator and professor at NC State University, Andy Taylor, wrote an opinion column in Carolina Journal. His piece focused on the lack of long-term vision in the Republican party despite its current political comfort. According to Taylor:
Republicans are in a strong position. The party has the White House and Senate, and a majority on the Supreme Court. No sitting president has been denied a second term for more than 30 years.
…It’s at times like these political parties should be planning for the future and using the luxury of governing to sharpen the expression of core values, hone ideas on important policies, cultivate bright minds, invest in a deep bench of talented candidates, and strengthen their institutions.
However, Taylor asserts that the GOP is not properly taking this opportunity to sustainably advance conservative reform in America. Taylor comments:
[Previously, t]he spoils of electoral victory were the chance to make policy, a purposive effort to mold the country’s future in the shape of their experiences and aspirations. They cared for their political progeny, tending to candidates and ideas knowing the party’s — and indeed country’s — success depended upon their guardianship.
Now, these spoils are distinctly personal. They are the office itself or, for the party’s middle tier, personal financial security for a few years — an appointment or secure flow of clients for a consulting or lobbying business.
In addition, Taylor notes that political races have become increasingly combative:
The goal has always been to defeat the other side. But, in the past, this followed electoral combat fought over ideas, not an obsession to see your opponent vanquished. And victory was marked by modesty; it was not an occasion for obnoxious celebration and juvenile name-calling.
Taylor points to Trump as an example of this behavior:
Trump takes it to another level, however. He’s disinterested in anything but personal success in 2020. His re–election campaign has subsumed the Republican National Committee in an unprecedented attempt to focus the party on returning him to office — at the expense of a broader strategy to win back the House and protect the Senate majority.
Taylor calls for a return to the days of the civility and the discussion of ideas. However, Taylor writes:
It doesn’t seem to have much of a Republican audience in the era of Trump and ‘politainment;’ a time when its partisans mimic the words of a Sean Hannity rather than digest the thoughts of a Bill Buckley.