GOP could dominate for decades if just three people could get along

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, it was widely believed that the Republicans faced a fork in the road, one path to stay the party of former President Donald Trump, another to turn toward a new leader, perhaps governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin, or even Maryland’s Larry Hogan. 

Four years later, with another election looming, the GOP is now asking a different question, “why not both?” 

Hogan, a popular two-term Republican governor in sapphire blue Maryland, and frequent Donald Trump critic, just won his primary and stands a decent chance of flipping the Senate seat, and possibly the upper chamber itself. 

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There is much to ponder in the results of the Old Line State’s GOP primary, which saw Trump tally 80% of Republican votes, as former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley held onto her pesky 20%, despite dropping out, while Hogan netted only 62% of these voters. 

Hogan has done himself no favors by refusing to support Trump, the man chosen by GOP voters to be the presidential nominee. It looks more like a fit of pique than good politics. 

Maryland Democrats and Independents who are winnable for Hogan don’t care if he likes Trump or not, they care about inflation, the border, crime and woke campus chaos. 

Put simply, it’s time for Larry to get on the team, and for Haley to endorse Trump. 

What we see in the miasma of these Maryland numbers, as well as in neighboring West Virginia, where former Democrat and current GOP Governor Jim Justice will try to flip Joe Manchin’s senate seat, is an opportunity not just for victories in 2024, but for much, much longer. 

When I took my first breath in 1974, Democrats had held control of the House of Representatives for 20 years; it would be another two decades before Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America would shake loose that control.  

This kind of majoritarian power for 40 years seems foreign and distant to today’s political observer, but it is exactly what the Republican Party’s goal must be if it is to undo the damage wrought by Democrat dominance in the late 20th Century. 

For the first time in 100 years, Republicans can be the party that sets the long-term agenda and controls the political playing field, instead of merely standing athwart history yelling “stop.” 

Trump, who can attract tens of thousands in blue New Jersey, has brought non-white working-class voters into play, DeSantis and Youngkin appeal to suburban women, and Haley and Hogan represent the old GOP, who still can and should have a seat at the table. 

If Republicans offer a big tent with broad appeal, instead of narrow purity tests, this goal of dominance is well within reach. In fact, a Republican Party that can simultaneously attract Trump voters, Haley Voters and Hogan voters might already be there. 

The person who best seems to understand all of this, appears somewhat surprisingly to be Trump himself. Speaker Mike Johnson might struggle to hold together his fissiparous and raucous caucus, but Trump is managing it quite well. 

After all, it wasn’t just Rep. Matt Gaetz and Sen. J.D. Vance, both Trump stalwarts, who stood behind him for his courthouse photo ops, but also Johnson and moderate New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. The GOP establishment was in the house. 

The other side of this coin of opportunity so close to the grasp of Republicans is the abject and almost hilarious fracturing of a Democrat Party that is falling into its own disunity. 

It is Democrats and liberals, not Republicans and conservatives, heckling and hectoring President Joe Biden at his appearances with chants of “Genocide Joe.” 

It is Democrats who can’t quite decide what a woman is or who should play girls’ sports, even though most Americans understand basic biology. 

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It is Democrats launching dangerous lawfare at Trump all while claiming that he is the true threat to democracy. 

The American people are more frustrated by the state of their union than they have been in decades, and they have a Democrat president and party who mock their worries, telling them everything is fine. 

The big red wave of 2022 did not come to pass, and yes, abortion played a role in that, as did poor candidate selection, but so did disunity. 

In November 2022, Republicans were gearing up for war with each other. For much of 2023, heavy words were lightly thrown in the heat of a primary battle. 

No such conditions will exist in November 2024. Instead of a fork in the road, instead of two paths, the Republican Party can forge a single, wide lane and win major victories to establish an electoral beachhead. 

If, but only if, that happens, real and lasting change will be possible for the first time in a long time, and that is exactly what the American people are asking for. 

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