The dust has yet to settle from the outcome of this presidential election. Some are looking forward, while others are refusing to let go of power. I, for one, am ready to look forward, move on and heal. It is also high time for the GOP to look forward. We have a long road ahead of us, but I’m confident we can get to where we once were and where we need to be again.
First things first, there was no blue wave this election cycle. Republicans beat just about every expectation. For example, many in the media and the left swore Republican Senator Susan Collins to be done for, yet she prevailed. We can say the same for Republican Senators Joni Erst, Thom Tillis and Lindsey Graham, to name a few — and that’s just the Senate. In the House of Representatives, party officials in both parties project the GOP will pick up 12 seats. This projection’s likelihood will lead to a narrow margin that we have not seen in nearly two decades. Simply put, the Republican Party beat the odds. While this calls for celebration, there is still work for conservatives to do.
It is time for the Republican Party to get back to its roots. President Donald Trump’s downfall is a silver lining for our party. No longer will Republicans be pressured to defend a leader who makes unspeakable comments ranging from crass observations toward other countries to vulgar remarks about women.
The main problem with Trump was not his policies. This assertion may shock some of my readers, but I agreed with much of the administration’s work. The demise of Trump was his demeanor. There is no better example of being unpresidential than our president. It is that exact thing that turned off so many people and why he lost this election. Not only did he personally suffer from his actions in office, but the Republican Party did as well. I am confident that if we had had someone in the White House who had taken an opposite approach to the presidency, they would have won re-election.
As I have written before, under this administration, the Republican Party has taken a fall from grace. But it doesn't have to stay that way.
It is time for us to welcome new talent to our party and let them lead the way. I’m looking at you, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Ben Sasse. These are the types of conservatives that will guide our party with dignity, compassion and intelligence. Conservatives must put individuals like these at the party’s forefront so we can show America that we are not Trump’s party. We are not defined by one man, but by a set of principles we believe to be good and know will benefit the country we love so much. If we want to stay competitive and win over everyday Americans who were on the fence this election but ultimately chose the “Ridin’ with Biden” route, we must restrategize. Step number one, as previously mentioned, is moving on. Overall, the party has some severe rebranding to do, and holding onto this administration is not doing us any favors.
The Democrats are not untouchable. Voters proved it in this election, and I believe the Democrats have a tough road ahead of them. The party’s progressive wing is already at war with the party’s moderates (now I’m looking at you, AOC).
This opportunity will be easy for Republicans to take advantage of because, frankly, I don't think the left-leaning side of the aisle will be able to get much done in the 117th Congress. After all, Joe Biden, a moderate Democrat, leads the White House charge while progressive members like AOC and the rest of the “squad” lead the House’s effort. At the same time, Republicans will (more than likely) control the Senate. I wonder, what could go wrong?
Once again, this is a silver lining for Republicans. We must use the likely outcome that is the coming civil war within the Democratic Party as an opportunity to show America that our party can be a united front. Not one that is always at odds with each other as we have seen the past four years. We must prove to many Americans something I already know: we lead our party with compassion, strength and the desire to uplift Americans.
While many Republicans dread the coming years under a Biden presidency, I look forward to it. I am hopeful that the GOP will realize that we have to do better over the next few years and that we will do better.
Maybe I’m just hopelessly optimistic. I guess time will tell.
Sam Somogye is a political science senior and columnist for The Battalion. His column is typically published online every other Monday when not in the Thursday newspaper.