The Republicans Are a Party in Search of a Future

The Republicans Are a Party in Search of a Future
The Republicans Are a Party in Search of a Future

Summary

Democrats have fresh faces with antiquated ideas. When Trump is gone, what will be the alternative?

It has been more than three decades since Joe Biden passed out in a New York hotel and remained unconscious for several hours. He endured two brain surgeries to repair the silent ravages of twin aneurysms, or ballooning of arteries, one of which had ruptured. After six months of recovery, Mr. Biden returned to the only life he knows.

He won’t let his health remove him from public life again.

Mr. Biden’s personal decline has exploded into an irremediable public embarrassment. Nine months before the election, an ABC News/Ipsos poll reports that 86% of Americans, including 73% of Democrats and 91% of independents, believe Mr. Biden is too old to hold his office.

Time doesn’t improve old age. As the world slips beyond his understanding, we hear of Mr. Biden’s blowups. Anger and aggression characterize his responses, publicly and inside the White House. The rate of Mr. Biden’s decline can only accelerate and so can its cost. Voters can tolerate a president dismissed by a special prosecutor as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," but a commander in chief with his finger on the nuclear trigger who can’t control his belligerence would no doubt terrify them.

Despite Mr. Biden’s shameful retreat from Afghanistan, Vladimir Putin’s brazen invasion of Ukraine, Hamas’s strike on our closest Middle East ally, an invasion of illegal immigrants across the southern border, and the normalization of crime near our homes, America should buckle up: The lowest point of the Biden administration is yet to come. Weakness always invites the wolves. Economic, diplomatic and military competitors will organize to take advantage of this administration’s frailty. The pressure for political change at home will become more intense.

Power doesn’t often age gracefully. It clings and expires in a labored rush, devoured by another generation, hungry for its time in the sun. Washington can’t long remain a country for old men: Democrats will either replace Mr. Biden in a putsch at their convention in August, or voters are likely to do so in November. In either case, the Democratic Party will soon present the country with what it craves: a generational change in leadership.

New faces like Govs. Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsom and Josh Shapiro will give Democrats the facade of generational progress, but their party’s vision of government will remain stuck in the past. The Democrats know only yesterday’s government. They worship the industrial-age management machine. They see government as a factory where they crank out laws, rules and regulations on an assembly line. They have declared themselves to be our betters and can’t imagine a world in which they wouldn’t assert top-down, mechanical control of every breath the little people take.

Today’s old Democrats will soon be replaced by younger leaders who hold the same antiquated ideas. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and other young Democratic aspirants are incapable of understanding, much less managing, today’s intricate social systems and the interwoven, living, breathing emergent economic structures otherwise known as businesses. They don’t believe in an open economy, healthcare system or education system because they would have no power in them. Despite the appearance of generational progress, the Democratic Party will remain the hood ornament for an arrogant, old top-down government that can’t keep up with our instantly adaptive world.

This would be a great moment for the Republican Party to offer its vision of the future—if only we had either a vision or a Republican Party. We have neither.

Can anyone name a GOP leader whose vision appeals beyond the party’s base and inspires Americans to come together for a greater purpose? Can we name a national Republican figure who does more than rage against the dying light Democrats offer today? Can we identify a nationally known conservative leader with sufficient confidence in Republican principles to believe our party’s ideals can appeal to all voters and attract minorities, young people and even college-educated women?

It can be done. Ronald Reagan did it. Where is our Reagan today?

In 2016 Donald Trump stuck a wrench in the machinery of the tired old self-serving political establishment. For the good of the country, every Republican should help him do so once more. But Messrs. Biden and Trump are political holding actions. Mr. Biden’s beliefs are old. Mr. Trump can’t be imitated. Neither is capable of building what comes next.

The next generation of Democrats is coming, hiding their antiquated socialism behind fresh faces. Only the next generation of Republicans can beat them. What Reagan did in his time for his Republican Party, a fearless, new generation of Republicans must do for ours—renew the old GOP.

Mr. Castellanos is a Republican consultant and founder of Purple Strategies.

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