“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.” President Abraham Lincoln, 1858
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” — Jesus Christ, Matthew 11:25.
Republicans find themselves in a precarious situation for the coming election. President Donald Trump trails Biden by 14 points, according to a recent WSJ/NBC poll. Senate Republicans hold a narrow majority, with more Republicans up for re-election than Democrats. To become the majority party in the House, Republicans must flip twenty-one seats. As evidenced from the last decade of partisanship and a majority of the time, split control of the government, it takes one-party rule to accomplish major policy changes.
The obstacle Congressional Republicans face to maintain control and retake the House is not an insurmountable task, as history shows us, but how do they intend on doing it? That is the real question. As the old adage says, those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. However, history in this situation would not be something terrible to repeat.
President Ronald Reagan’s 1985 State of the Union address was the inspiration behind the unprecedented 1994 political strategy which also saw unprecedented success. It had been 40 years since Republicans were the majority party in the United States House of Representatives. The Contract with America, the brainchild of Speaker Gingrich and Rep. Dick Armey, helped Republicans sweep control of both chambers of Congress. Republicans flipped fifty-four House seats and gained nine Senate seats. Thankfully, the Republican Party finds itself in a stronger position than in the 90s.
For most of the year, Americans have been dealing with the turmoil caused by an unprecedented global pandemic—and the various state governments’ responses—domestic civil unrest, and an economic crisis that seems only to be becoming worse as we look over our horizons. Americans are looking for leadership. Americans are looking for the shining beacon on top of a hill to give them hope in these dark times and the, current, uncertain future ahead of our union. Yet our leaders in Washington, except those running for president, have not signaled much light for us to look to.
President Donald Trump already has much on his plate to deal with, on top of running the United States, which is teetering on a glass seesaw. As much it can be assumed he would prefer the same type of government control Republicans saw in 2017-2019, Congressional Republican leaders must step up to the plate and shoulder some of the burden regarding winning the upcoming elections.
Even before the crisis, Americans were exhausted by the partisanship and division caused by those in Washington. It can safely be assumed that the crisis we find ourselves in has driven most Americans not only to their fiscal edges, but also to the brink of exasperation. However, it is always darkest before the dawn.
If Republicans want to retain the Senate majority and also reclaim the House, GOP leaders would be well advised to create and consolidate a unified front and come up with a plan—one they will keep after the election—to present and promise to the American people during these dire times of hardship. The Democrats have presented their Biden-Sanders manifesto, a “unity” plan which envisions expansions of the welfare state and inches us ever so closer to socialism. Moreover, it contains the Green New Deal, except it is missing those three words. Which, according to Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute, would cost American taxpayers a small $97 trillion.
Republican candidates and incumbents may not be able to agree on all topics, but there should be enough common conservative ground to create a platform built for American prosperity. One which enables American ingenuity to create a better future for tomorrow, not one which sanctions the parasitic encroachment of the federal government upon all aspects of our lives.
Not only would such a platform present and bring political benefits, as history shows, it would also be something concrete that voters can use to contrast it with what Democrats have presented. Americans would be able to make a more informed decision on the future of our country, in three weeks, at the polls. This would allow the distraction that is President Trump’s rhetoric and firing back to the media to become a sideshow, not the main event. One can only imagine what it would be like if Democrats swept in and took control of not only Congress, but the White House.
As President Reagan once said, freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction and if we do not protect it, we will spend our elder years telling our children and grandchildren what it was like in the United States when men were free. Moreover, time is of the essence.