Republicans: Win Independents, Win the White House, But This Will Require Disavowing Trumpism

It’s becoming clearer that the current crop of Republican candidates for presidency are not attacking frontrunner Donald Trump because they’re hoping that Trump falls further into legal trouble, and maybe it pulls him off the campaign trail, then they would be able to swoop in, pick up Trump supporters and come out on top.

This is simply a losing political strategy that might work in the primary, but the reality is Americans do not respect nor would vote for a weak, timid candidate, and more so not for the presidency.

Republican candidates not attacking Trump, especially after this second indictment by the Department of Justice, is flat out being dishonest by ignoring truths that must be articulated – that Trump is unfit to be president.

How can independents – the group that Republicans must win over and basically do not want Trump back in office – have faith in a Republican candidate who hasn’t laid it clear that he or she isn’t another Trump, if such candidate hasn’t separated himself or herself from Trumpism?

What’s political anathema in Trumpism according to independents?
There are aspects of Trumpism that independents are absolutely against. And the current crop of declared Republican candidates – arguably with the sole exception is Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey – are failing to break the mold of Trumpism. What do independents hate about Trumpism?

Independents do not embrace political cultism – which is at the heart of why they’re independents in the first place. Any signs that a Republican standard bearer is kowtowing to the Trump cult or Trump himself to get votes are major turnoffs and will not win over independents’ confidence or support in the general election.

Built into independents’ political DNA is a maverick. But not to the extent of what we’re seeing wherein Republican candidates are detached from reality and the facts. In the case of Trump’s second indictment, there is absolutely no sign of partisan hackery. The investigation is headed by a special career federal counsel in DOJ, not a political appointment. The evidence couldn’t be more damaging when you examine all the charges.

The comparisons between Trump files and the Biden files obtained by the DOJ being made by Trump and other Republican candidates for presidency are grossly deceptive and not anchored in facts.

First, the Biden files were not classified documents.

Second, Biden’s files were not those collected while he was president or vice president, but during his tenure as a U.S. senator. Unlike the presidency, there is no law stating that the files of a U.S. senator belong to the government. Therefore, no law has been broken there. The Biden files were stored temporarily to be handed over to the University of Delaware for public consumption (it’s typical for senators to hand over their files to universities).

Third, Trump claims that Biden fought against the DOJ and FBI looking over and taking those files. That’s not true. Biden offered no resistance.

All the brouhaha over the Biden files is completely unwarranted and like comparing apples to oranges when looking at Trump’s handling of classifieds documents, and Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice (which was clear from the public statements Trump made).

The second indictment and Trump’s response to it is yet another feature that independents scoff at – the undermining of the rule of law and casting aspersions and conspiracy theories on institutional bodies like the DOJ and FBI.

Independents certainly can appreciate a candidate coming from outside the institutional power structure (as they did when Trump first ran for office), but they’re not anarchists and respect the institutions we have and founding principles of our country such as democracy and the rule of law. Each call to defund the FBI, each wild conspiracy theory of election fraud, each false claim of a witch hunt by prosecutors – all of these only push further away independents from the Republican party. Such actions are destabilizing government by nature and over time seriously rot our foundations’ core.

Even more serious, the threats to democracy by enacting state laws making it more difficult to vote with unreasonable restrictions or laws that undermine voters by overly empowering a State Secretary (who is appointed by the state legislature) to overturn an election (just passed in Texas) – such tactics supported and employed by Republicans make independents cringe.

Another principle important to independents is pluralism, which is again at the heart of their very existence. The current Republican core is anti-pluralism as most evident by their anti-woke campaign. The “woke” movement is about pluralism, diversity, shared power. These are tenants that Republicans are not open to but rather seek to promote exclusivity and power centered on traditional groups – white and Christian nationalists.

Political independents are political minorities. They relish this status because it’s fundamentally who they are – not fitting in completely with neither Democrats nor Republicans. Independents understand wholly what it feels like to be a minority, which is why pluralism is important to them.

So, each time Ron DeSantis goes off on his anti-woke rhetoric – he’s really turning off independents who see those attacks as assaults on pluralism in society.

If Republican candidates really want to attract independents which is the only hope they have in winning in the general, they need to disavow Trumpism. To go hard pro-Trumpism in the primary to win the primary and later pivot to more mainstream after the primary – that strategy is too transparent and fake. Voters know better. There’s still time to do things right if Republicans really want to recapture the White House.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.