The GOP establishment's days may be numbered

The GOP establishment's days may be numbered
© Greg Nash

With Roy Moore’s defeat of Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangePandemic proves importance of pharmaceutical innovation The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE (R-Ala.) and decisions from many GOP incumbents to forgo reelection — prompted more out of necessity than choice — the Republican establishment has reason to be on guard. Republicans haven’t even been in control of the White House and Congress for a full year, but voters are already beginning to signal buyer's remorse.

And for good reason. In the first 10 months of a Republican-led Congress and White House, a handful of liberals masquerading as Republicans sabotaged efforts to repeal ObamaCare. In fact, if it weren’t for President Trump’s recent actions with regard to health care, Republicans in Congress might be seeing even greater discontent in the ranks.

For example, just last week, the president issued an executive order that opens the doors to the long-sought policy of allowing individuals the opportunity to purchase health insurance across state lines. As a follow-up to the president’s executive order, President Trump also announced his administration would end the illegal practice of subsidizing insurance companies that were rampant under the lawless Obama years.


These actions, notable as they are, do not lessen the expectations voters have placed on Republicans in Congress and President Trump. For example, one quarter of Republicans already say they will oppose Republicans who refused to support ObamaCare repeal. The good news is that some of the Republicans who lack the backbone to fight for conservative policies are stepping aside opening the field up to true conservatives. 


It’s not just GOP incumbents; other establishment Republicans, like Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, are deciding to save themselves the money— not to mention the embarrassment of a GOP primary loss — and choosing not to enter the Senate race at all. And that’s a good thing, but what’s even better is that while establishment Republicans are opting to retire or not to run for office, strong conservatives are stepping up. For example, come 2019, Tennesseans can look forward to having a true economic conservative representing them in the U.S. Senate, when Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senator introduces constitutional amendment to ban flag burning Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about' Pentagon report clears use of drones made by top Chinese manufacturer MORE is elected. 

But until we get the army we want, we’re left with the army we have. So, for the rest of the establishment that is still in D.C. — you know who you are — you’ve got a choice: either go big or go home. Either do what you promised you would when you were elected or step aside and give someone else a chance to do what you’ve proven incapable of. 

This isn’t an unreasonable demand. It shouldn’t be so difficult for Republicans in Congress to deliver — just a matter of keeping their word and the promises they made to their constituents. It means that Republicans must stand together by standing up for their principles rather than running from them.

Congressional Republicans have plenty to keep them busy even as they continue to regroup on repealing ObamaCare. First on the list this fall: tax reform. And so far, so good. This news is not just good for all the hard-working Americans who deserve to keep more of their money, but if Republicans can deliver on tax reform, it’ll be good for the chances of the GOP staying in power.

On the other hand, if they can’t, Republicans may have a rough 2018. Polling done for Club for Growth reveals that nearly one in five will oppose members if they do not pass tax cuts. Another 25 percent of Republican voters will not support either party — meaning they will sit at home on Election Day instead of going to the polls.

One thing is certain: It’s getting old hearing excuse after excuse of why, despite the fact the GOP is controlling all three branches of government, Republicans are still unable to deliver on nearly a decade long campaign promise to repeal ObamaCare. If the Trump-era of politics has taught Washington anything, it’s that the “business as usual” attitude will no longer cut it. 

The Republican Party, specifically those serving in Congress, is at a pivotal turning point. Either they will deliver on sweeping tax reform for hard-working Americans and unleash economic growth and job creation or they will fail. It won’t matter why they failed or how close they came to getting the job done. If they can’t complete the tasks at hand, if they can’t keep the promises they made to their constituents, then they don’t deserve reelection. 

For all those currently in serving that aren’t able to rise to the challenges before them, do us all a favor, take a cue from your Republican establishment peers, bow out now.

Former Rep. David M. McIntosh (R-Ind.) is president of the nonprofit Club for Growth.