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Republicans Need a Red Wave

The predicted Red Wave that Republicans anticipated during the 2022 midterms never materialized. While they gained just enough to wrest control of the House, they failed to upend the Democratic majority in the Senate.

This means the next two years will be filled with inaction, distractions and pointless investigations and hearings aimed at gaining some measure of revenge for the multiple inquiries, dual impeachments and ongoing criminal proceedings being waged against the Trump administration.

The thing is, Republicans would have truly benefited from a Red Wave; just not the one they wished for.

Had Republicans elected more moderate members instead of those who support the lunatic fringe MAGA agenda, they may have stood a better chance of making an actual difference. Instead, they will continue to be mired in controversy as they are forced to acquiesce to the demands of the far right as they attempt to retake the White House in 2024.

The Republican Party has deviated from its original mission so far that it would be unrecognizable to those who founded it. Despite laying claim to The Party of Lincoln, Honest Abe himself, should he return from the grave, wouldn’t know the current incarnation.

History is Written by the Victors

The events of January 6th were viewed on live television for all to see. This hasn’t prevented Republicans from trying to re-write history. Despite the mob bearing banners in support of Donald Trump, despite their chants to “Hang Mike Pence” for refusing to go along with the fraudulent efforts to overturn the election, and despite the numerous convictions and guilty pleas, they are still trying to reframe the insurrection by blaming Antifa, comparing it to a normal tourist visit, accusing the FBI of instigating the riots, claiming it wasn’t an “armed insurrection” since no one had weapons (they did), and rebranding those who took part as "Patriots".

The Select Committee Investigating the January 6th Insurrection came to the conclusion that Donald Trump was solely to blame for the violence inflicted on the Capitol that day. This conclusion was roundly criticized by Republicans, and even some Democrats, who wanted to address the failures of Capitol security in preventing the riots.

With several of its members no longer in office, the committee was forced to rush its results before it was disbanded by the now Republican-controlled House. Rather than re-initiate these proceedings to address these issues, Republicans instead formed a committee of their own to investigate how Conservatives have been targeted by law enforcement.

The New Face of the Republican Party

In a truly inappropriate sight, QAnon kook Marjorie Taylor Greene was allowed to preside over a session of the House. This was made possible by a devil’s bargain that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was forced into to gain the much coveted speakership he desired. Despite spreading conspiracy theories, threatening Democratic members of the House and harassing survivors of mass casualty attacks, she was rewarded because she stood by McCarthy throughout the marathon voting process.

As if these actions weren’t enough, Greene became the de facto leader of the Republican Party when she repeatedly heckled President Biden during his State of the Union speech Feb. 7. Wearing an outfit some compared to Cruella deVille, Greene shouted “Liar!” over and over as Biden pointed out, correctly, that some Republicans have suggested cuts to Social Security.

Ignoring facts, as usual, Greene and several other Republicans booed and heckled as Biden refused to name who (Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL) would make such an outrageous proposal. She later complained that images of her shouting amounted to her being spied on by Democrats who opposed her.

Prior to President Biden’s speech, supposed leader McCarthy admonished those in his party, telling them they needed to be respectful during the address. His complete lack of control over his party members was made all the more obvious as he was seen glaring at hecklers and later shushing them like a substitute teacher with little classroom management skills.

Greene demonstrated her appalling lack of Congressional decorum with a lame excuse. She declared, “People stand up and clap for the president. I think we can stand up and oppose what he’s saying. Just like a sports team, right?”

Obviously, she can’t tell the difference between the halls of government and a high school football game, which begs the question, what is she doing in Congress in the first place?

Republicans were equally tone deaf when they selected former Trump press secretary, and current Arkansas Governor (Is there such a thing as a nepo-politician?), Sarah Huckabee Sanders to give the Republican response to Biden’s address. In her typical monotone, she railed against the newest right-wing boogeymen, Critical Race Theory and the deliberately vague Woke agenda. She also took a swipe at Biden’s age, apparently unaware (or was she?) that she was also denigrating her former boss and current party front runner in the 2024 election. In a shameless case of self-promotion, she stated that it was time for new, younger blood in the Republican Party, clearly suggesting herself as that “new blood”.

Sanders gifted pundits by posing the choice between crazy or normal when choosing a leader. They had no problem placing Sanders in the former category.

A Party on the Brink

The previous two years had Democrats struggling to pass legislation without cow-towing to the whims of two members of their own party who sought to use the slim Senate majority to gain concessions on certain bills. Because they opposed eliminating the filibuster, Republicans were given a certain degree of leverage they otherwise wouldn’t have because they were in the minority.

Now, the tables have turned. Republicans in the House are being forced to submit to the whims of a handful of MAGA representatives. Nowhere was this more obvious than the protracted battle for the speakership, when certain representatives worked out back door deals in order to gain their support. The slim majority held by Republicans necessitated these evil bargains and showcased the weakness of McCarthy’s leadership.

Had the highly anticipated red wave materialized in the midterms, the MAGA faction would have even greater control. They may have even been able to elect one of their own as speaker, further elevating their influence.

Fortunately, the public had grown weary of MAGA politics. Across the board, they refused to support any MAGA candidates not named Trump, giving Republicans a slim majority in the House while Democrats retained control in the Senate, even gaining a seat, which blunted the influence of party pariahs Manchin and Sinema (the latter quickly became an Independent while declaring she would still align herself with the Democrats).

Republicans are at an inflection point. They could continue to go down that long, dark road where conspiracy theories and name-calling become the hallmark of their function in government operations, or they could finally reject MAGA politics and return to being responsible members of a government that works for the people they were elected to represent.

It will take a true red wave to wipe out the scourge that currently threatens to destroy any semblance of what they once. But, perhaps wave is the wrong term; maybe a red enema?

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