Here’s a piece of legislation you may have heard about. HB 2720 was introduced by Arizona State Dist. 20 Rep. Shawnna Bolick, a Republican. Among its provisions would be the legislature would be able to overrule the state’s voters and name the Presidential electors themselves, even after the Secretary of State and the Governor have certified the results.
This bill is not listed among the active bills on the Arizona Legislature’s website, so it looks like it’s going nowhere. That’s just as well.
Think about it: if the legislature could simply overrule the state’s voters, even if the vote is already certified, what would be the point of having a Presidential election in Arizona? It would mean your vote would be completely meaningless.
This is part of a growing trend of Republican legislators lashing out at those they perceive responsible for former President Donald Trump losing his bid for reelection. They’re lashing out at voters, state officials of both parties, and even long-time Republicans who are deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump.
They seem particularly perturbed that Republicans like former Vice President Mike Pence and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey did their Constitutional duties and would not break the law on Trump’s behalf.
When did being a Republican, a patriot or a conservative mean total loyalty to one man over everything else? Some observers have said Trump owns the Republican Party. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green said the party belongs to him.
You know, there’s a word for political parties that place one leader above everything else. It begins with the letter “f,” and Benito Mussolini called himself one.
Seriously, continued, unquestioned loyalty to Trump is the last thing the Republican Party needs to do right now. They need to look forward, and figure out how to expand their base. They need to figure out how to appeal to people who don’t like the Democrats but will vote for them anyway because they like the Republicans even less.
Republicans, you have a problem. Your message is turning more people off than it attracts.
Don’t believe me? Consider this: in the eight Presidential elections since 1992, a Republican has received a majority of the popular vote just once. That’s right. It was in 2004, when President George W. Bush defeated John Kerry. If the Electoral College hadn’t given the victory to Bush in 2000, it’s entirely possible the GOP would be 0-for-8 in the popular vote.
That doesn’t sound like a party that’s growing to me.
The first thing the Republican Party needs to do is actively try to change the appearance that the GOP plays to white fear and is hostile to non-whites. That is their biggest problem right now. It shouldn’t be that difficult to change, though it would mean more than just lip service. There are already many Blacks, Latinos, Asians and others who have shown they are receptive to the ideas of the Republican Party. The GOP is likely to find many more if they reach out to them. Reaching out, in this case, means being willing to listen to minority voices.
Second, they need to stop appearing to be the party of big business. They must become a party that also appeals to working people, and not just through “trickle down” economics. Again, that involves listening and taking action. Working people aren’t going to vote for someone who’s clearly in the back pocket of Wall Street.
(Yes, I know Democrats are as much in the pockets of big business as Republicans. However, they know how to hide it better with their rhetoric.)
The next step is offer solutions to problems that are BETTER than what the Democrats offer. An obvious example is housing for the poor and minorities. The Democrats favored “urban renewal” policies that hurt and displaced minority communities. Public housing projects destroyed neighborhoods and were little more than ways for developers to get tax money and public employee unions to get jobs. They weren’t really meant to serve the poor at all. The system was designed to keep people in the system so the bureaucrats could keep their jobs.
Now, how could Republicans do better? How about working with local communities to meet their needs? Who said community organizers need to be leftist Democrats? By working with the residents rather than telling them what they need, Republicans could get a lot of people to listen to them.
We could try letting the free market work in low-cost housing. Republicans could support policies that promote more Black and minority home ownership. Existing communities could be upgraded. There are many things that could almost certainly work better than what the Democrats have done.
There are a host of other areas where Republicans could create policy in keeping with the principles of the party that would likely work better than what the Democrats have done.
If the Republicans want to grow and remain relevant, they must show Americans that they have better solutions than the Democrats do. The must regain the dynamic qualities that made them a major party in the first place. They must become a party for all Americans again. Only then will they be able to live up to the nickname of the Grand Old Party.