I am a registered Republican. I consider myself a moderate Republican, though I guess many would rather use the pejorative “RINO” acronym. My political views can best be described as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.” I disagree with many Republicans that the government is inherently bad; to be frank, I believe that the government is actually a great tool for good.
Naturally, I was less than optimistic when Donald Trump won the Republican nomination and the general election in 2016. Like many though, I had hoped that maybe the Presidency would change Trump, or “mature” him in some way.
It’s safe to say that isn’t what happened - not even close. The President managed to get himself impeached not only for abuse of power after trying to solicit dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for military aid, but also for obstructing the investigations into his abuse of power.
After all that it becomes simple arithmetic. Abuse of power + the ballooning of our deficit + the destruction of free trade agreements + the antagonization of our allies = a Republican member of the Biden War Room.
This isn’t to say that the Trump administration was an absolute failure by every possible measure. I believe that the government needs to do everything in its power to help businesses and the middle class. In many cases this translates to being in favor of tax cuts. While I didn’t agree with everything in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, I did agree with lowering the corporate tax rate and the (albeit small) tax cut for the middle class. But that isn’t really the point, it fails to even partially make up for all of the bad.
Being a leader is about much more than steering economic policy for moderates like me or appointing judges for conservatives. America is more divided now than at any point since the Civil War. A complete lack of integrity and empathy has left our country weak. Rather than be a graceful loser, President Trump has (rather predictably) decided he would rather try and crush faith in the institutions he has sworn an oath to protect. This involves promoting insane conspiracy theories about election fraud that have been disproved by his own Department of Homeland Security and Attorney General, as well as election officials around the country.
Most recently, he was caught on tape asking the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to let him win the state of Georgia. Much like the Ukraine call that got him impeached, Donald Trump was once again trying to intimidate an elected official into helping him cheat.
We have to remember two things though, one good and one bad. The good thing is Donald Trump did lose. He lost the popular vote by over 7 million votes and the electoral college 306-232. There are multiple reasons to be happy about this. Joe Biden will be a competent administrator who will help lead this country not only out of the COVID-19 pandemic but also help us “build back better.” The bad thing is that a lot of his enablers will remain in office.
That brings us to Georgia. After rejecting Donald Trump and bringing the two Senate races to a runoff, Georgia has a chance to help put a nail in the coffin of Trumpism. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, despite their ads, are not some sort of moderate, compromise candidates. Before the general election, they themselves worshiped President Trump. Kelly Loeffler went as far as bragging that she backed everything Trump wanted, saying she was with him “100% of the time.” And David Perdue, who sends non-stop ads about his fears of a Congress with “no compromise” did the same.
That’s not even mentioning the corruption.
It takes little more than a Google search to find dozens of stories that show how corrupt Perdue and Loeffler really are. For a good summary I recommend this article from The Week, which I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with.
It should come at no surprise then that I hope Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win on January 5th. I have two (admittedly very selfish) reasons for hoping they succeed.
The 1st reason is out of concern for the future of the Republican Party. As I’ve already mentioned, Loeffler and Perdue are not moderates. For the Republican Party to move forward, or to cleanse itself of Donald Trump, we need to move past him and his enablers. More extreme politicians like Loeffler and Perdue keep moderate, sensible choices from taking the stage. To me it is quite obvious that the Republican Party needs a shakeup. According to a poll published the other day just 1 in 10 African American voters and 3 in 10 Hispanic voters will be voting for Loeffler and Perdue. These numbers aren’t unique to them though, these numbers are right around where the Republican Party performs nationally. That’s just plain embarrassing, and as Republicans we ought to be ashamed that minority voters can’t find a home in our party. It’s hard to see how that is going to change though when we have candidates like Loeffler and Perdue. A rejection of them will be a good step in the right direction towards creating an inclusive, truly diverse moderate Republican Party.
The 2nd reason is, oddly enough, out of concern for the future of the Democratic Party. I, like many others, am concerned about the rise of more extreme candidates on the Democratic Party’s left. This fear is something that is being used heavily against Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The channeling of this fear results in things like Kelly Loeffler repeating the phrase “My opponent Radical Liberal Raphael Warnock,” and Perdue’s shallow accusations that Jon Ossoff is somehow a Chinese Communist or a socialist or whatever other buzzword manages to grab headlines at Fox News. Debunking these myths isn’t hard, but the easiest way to do so is to actually read their websites. The site for Jon Ossoff and the site for Reverend Warnock both have big, easy to understand rundowns of basically any political issue you could think of. They aren’t radicals, and I encourage you to see that for yourself. They are, in my view, actually incredibly moderate centrists, the perfect type of candidates needed to act as a check on the Democratic parties left wing.
The Georgia Senate runoffs present an amazing opportunity for moderate Republicans. It gives us a chance to reject the fringes on both the left and the right, and in doing so gives us a path towards less extreme politics and a more inclusive Republican Party. But the reality is that it won’t happen without the election of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The reelection of Perdue and Loeffler would be a rubber stamp on the worst aspects of American politics. It would be signaling support for the divisiveness, the gridlock, the hatred.
I support Ossoff and Warnock. I may be a Republican, but I’m not a fool.