by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[W]hile Trump is unlikely to initiate more than pinpoint strikes against critics in his party, Republicans in Congress still have reason to worry. Sanford said on Meet the Press that the Republican party and the conservative movement in general have become less about principles and more about loyalty to Trump. “I think we’ve got to do a whole lot of soul-searching in this party,” he said.
President Trump has changed some of the rules of politics, but that doesn’t mean we should throw fundamental tenets of conservatism out the window. Yes, the Republican party needs to become more sensitive to how skewed, multilateral trade treaties have bruised American workers. But Kevin McCarthy, the GOP House majority leader, is turning the world upside down when he effectively calls Trump a genius for using national-security concerns to impose steel tariffs on Canada.
Republican leaders are certainly acting as if they are now part of the party of Trump. And in the tribal, #Resistance-soaked environment that the Left has created, a “your team or my team” mentality is understandable. But if they can summon some courage, Republicans in Congress still have a higher responsibility than demonstrating loyalty to Trump: It’s to their constitutional oath, it’s to reality-based argument, and it’s to conservative principles.