Republican Rapture

art_religion-trump_bagleyMichael Steele, former RNC chair and now an MSNBC political commentator and staunch anti-Trumper, in a recent interview observed that Virginia was a bellwether model of the wave of political changes occurring in southern states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Steele specifically noted that the demographic transformation of exurban and suburban areas in those states, as well as the growing organized voter turnout campaigns by Democrats, was forging fundamental inflection points underwriting political change.

It is true that the Blue Wave in the Old Dominion in the past several years has transformed a long-standing Republican dominance of its political order sustained by a generally conservative cohort of elected leadership. The Commonwealth has not converted to the brand of “radical liberalism” trashed by Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the debate with Rev. Raphael Warnock, but the state’s blueness is bleeding into more and more of the politisphere of the state that calls itself the Mother of Presidents.

Limbo is a losing political state and Republicans, following the 81 million votes collected by Biden, are in need of a fervent revival…. The cultism that fueled the conservative base that provided the electoral energy to the GOP to garner a record 74 million popular votes may not, on its own, provide a secure basis for forthcoming campaigns.

P45 may never concede his loss of the White House, instead simply not attending the swearing in of the nation’s 46th POTUS. Rumors are floating that, to emphasize his claim, 45 is planning to conduct a rally on January 20 in Florida at the exact time that Biden is sworn in, one that will be larger and flashier than Biden’s or, better, generating a crowd size greater than his “Spicered” record event of 2017. Until then, national and local GOP candidates, as well as elected officials, are in a limbo of ambiguity about their prospects in light of the incumbent’s grip on the national party apparatus and threatened candidacy in 2024. Limbo is a losing political state and Republicans, following the 81 million votes collected by Biden, are in need of a fervent revival.

Although they are heartened by the size of their popular vote and gain of a number of House seats, the GOP’s national leadership, as it exists, is populated with a number of personalities who fell to the bitter invective of the incumbent in the 2016 campaign and, often, during his tenure. Even when Biden is sworn in, the fear of Trump’s grasp of the base may continue their ambiguous ambitions.

The cultism that fueled the conservative base that provided the electoral energy to the GOP to garner a record 74 million popular votes may not, on its own, provide a secure basis for forthcoming campaigns. It may not diminish a picture of extreme caution in deciding whether to run for office the 2022 midterms and the 2024 cycle. An ambivalence is emerging in Virginia, which already has two Republican gubernatorial candidates professing starkly differing approaches. The two natal candidacies reflect the dichotomy that some observers have noted across GOP decision making: One, State Sen. Amanda Chase, has made no bones about her emulation of P45 and her allegiance to hard-right policies. The other, State Delegate Kirk Cox, represents a version of a softer and kinder Republican, a scion of the Virginia Way.

Recently, the state GOP decided to again nominate its gubernatorial slate by means of a convention, rather than a primary, which suggests control of the nomination process by the old guard. Chase declared that, if necessary, she will campaign as an independent. This duality reflects, in microcosm, the potential divisiveness relating to the 2020 presidential campaign. It is not insignificant that the Republican national campaign was conducted without a stated political platform; instead, the 2016 document was announced as the 2020 representation. Curiously, one plank in that platform supported statehood for Puerto Rico, an event most likely to benefit Democrats, especially in the Senate. What may be the content of state GOP platforms remains a guess.

The Republican dilemma looming for 2022 and 2024 appears that the party is in need of a revival, one similar to a “rapture” to reinvigorate the Republican party’s raison d’etre after Trump. Rapture requires a preceding cataclysmic event that destroys the world as known. The loss of the White House may not be sufficient nor, even, the two Senate runoff seats in Georgia.

The Republican dilemma looming for 2022 and 2024 appears that the party is in need of a revival, one similar to a “rapture” to reinvigorate the Republican party’s raison d’etre after Trump…. A reformulated political theology for the GOP is necessary to promote and cultivate an electorate unfettered by cultism, born again, and offered a different path to salvation.

A reformulated political theology for the GOP is necessary to promote and cultivate an electorate unfettered by cultism, born again, and offering a different path to salvation. Its eschatology (a theology concerned with the final events of history) would demand an orthodoxy that recognizes the violent nature of the political storms that virtually destroyed a grand old party and substitutes a reformed vision of success, a revised catechism of beliefs.

Those who accept the rapture are assured that nonbelievers will be left behind to suffer in the pain of lost political power, contrasted with acceptance of a replacement credo. The restoration of power to select federal judges, enact tax cuts, eliminate pre-existing insurance mandates, and other blessings from older times remain tenets.

As a bellwether, Virginia may be witness to the resurrection of a Republican party prepared to take control of its own destiny distinct from its most recent past. The question is, who shall lead? Chase or Cox? Which of these can engender the fervor to energize a rapturous renaissance in the Commonwealth? Election Day on November 8, 2022 (or soon thereafter) may be a harbinger for 2024.

The ambivalence facing the GOP was further described by a New York Times columnist (12/09/2020), noting a different cause:

Republicans … have developed a habit – an active disposition ready for overt manifestation – toward restricting the vote when met with electoral setbacks. And this reflex is so powerful that it overwhelms the evidence that Republicans might actually be better off with more low-propensity voters in the electorate.

Georgia Republicans have already begun to voice proposals to limit mail balloting. Whichever disorder dominates, the GOP faces lean times.



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