Immediately following the Jan 6 insurrection, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, and other Republican elite strongly denounced Donald Trump for his central role in inciting and facilitating the Capitol Hill attack. Banishment from the Party was deemed the appropriate repercussion. In the weeks that followed their criticisms became muted, then ultimately withdrawn despite audio and text recordings evidencing that these were in fact their initial reactions.
Team McCarthy/McConnell realized that the far right “guns and ammo, MAGA capped, proud dudes voting bloc” birthed by Trump should not be interfered with despite its toxic nature. Their calculus told them to ride out the wave, let Trump perform his circus act for another nine months, and the likely outcome would be Republican control of the House and possibly Senate in the midterm elections.
Despite having taken a backseat position to Trump for nine months, they both knew and know, as every thinking person in this country knows, and as the majority of Republicans know, Trumpism plain and simple is a cancer that has nothing to do with facts, honesty, decency, transparency, or protecting the pillar of our “of the people, by the people, for the people” democracy which has been a shining beacon of inspiration and hope to ourselves and other aspiring peoples and nations for over 200 years.
Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell now have at hand an opportunity, or more aptly an obligation, to sever the head of a seditious, toxic virus known as Trumpism before it spreads further, and get back to the business of politics, politics that differ and dispute, but are founded in facts and the rule of law, not fiction, and the rule of one man’s lies.
In the coming days, as the midterms are winding down, the calculus dramatically changes. Republicans will no longer benefit from drafting on Trump’s toxic tailwinds. They played their cards, the votes are cast and regardless of where they land, when the midterms are over there is nothing further to be gained in sustaining a feigned posture of alignment with Trump,
Their next move on the chess board will be judged by history for centuries to come.
Their best next move is one that aligns with honesty, integrity, and their sworn allegiance to uphold the Constitution. It would likely garner them more honor, fame, support and votes than ever previously showered on a political party in the history of this country.
Given what’s at stake, their only sensible next course of action is to advise Trump that they may or may not be shutting down the Jan 6th Committee investigations, that their decision depends in large part on his response to their very strong recommendation that he pack up his circus tent and withdraw from politics.
Regardless of Trump’s response, by committing to a “path of integrity,” the Republican Party would be in a long term win/win position and politics in general would benefit from an “against all odds” reformation, a historic turnaround from abysmally low credit ratings to one of honor, esteem and renewed hope. By lifting themselves out of the fray and setting aside the petty, incessant finger pointing that accomplishes nothing, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy have a once in a lifetime golden opportunity to jettison noxious baggage and get back to business.
The solution to the challenge of unifying Republican delegates around the soundness of the plan is found in “The truth will set you free.” Say it like it is, acknowledge mistakes made and move on. The bulk of Republicans fell under the spell of Trump and his seeming control over a large slice of their electorate, and that has proven to be an egregious, costly error. The fact is Trump instigated the Jan 6th capitol riots, concocted and planned the conspiratorial charades of ‘stolen, corrupt elections’, and attempted to intervene in the 2020 voting process with fake electors and phone calls to State officials attempting to strong arm them into changing and falsifying voting results. What benefit could possibly be derived in aligning with him for even one more day? Time is of the essence and hope is not a strategy: step up to the plate, take the bull by the horns and once and for all escort him out of the ring.
Mitch and Kevin would be perceived across the aisles as something akin to righteous knights dethroning a counterfeit general who had the audacity to attempt a coup on one of the greatest and most honorable forms of government to ever exist.
In the unlikely event of Trump agreeing to their ultimatum, so be it, let him off the hook, but not without ironclad agreements enforceable by foreclosure on all things Trump.
If he declines, he would be committing political suicide. When Republicans align with the spirit of the existing Jan 6 Committee and Merrick Garland’s investigations gain steam, his best hoped for outcome would be shame and disgrace not to mention preclusion from holding office at any level of the United States government, in perpetuity.
Trump would finally discover that his absurd pronouncement at a 2016 campaign stop in Iowa — “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” — is no match for the Constitution of the United States.
As the dust settles around the midterm elections, regardless of the outcome, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and the Republican elite, with the clearest of minds, absent any attachment to short term personal or political gain, need to think long and hard about who they are, why they are, and the next best course of action for this country. All eyes, seen and unseen, near and far, are on Washington in the coming weeks. Their next move will be judged by history for centuries to come.