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Juan Williams: The GOP is a party without ideas

Juan Williams: The GOP is a party without ideas
© Getty Images - Greg Nash

I am a bad man.

How do I know that?

“Sixty-one percent of Trump supporters…[and] 38 percent of Republicans, believe that Democrats are mostly bad people whose ideas would destroy the country,” William A. Galston, citing polling by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote last week in the Wall Street Journal.

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If Democrats have such bad ideas, what are the good ideas held by former President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE and his supporters?

Do they have a great idea for getting the economy out of the slowdown caused by the pandemic?

Most Americans, 68 percent according to Quinnipiac University polling, think President BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE’s economic stimulus plan is the right way to go. Where is the GOP plan?

Do Republicans have a great idea for improving healthcare?

Trump never came up with a better plan than ObamaCare. He had no idea for dealing with COVID other than to say a year ago that it would be over before Easter 2020. That was more than 400,000 deaths ago.

Did Trump have a better plan for helping hungry children get a meal? President Biden and congressional Democrats have plans to put money into feeding children and raising the minimum wage to bring more families out of poverty.

We can debate Biden’s ideas. But where are the GOP ideas and legislative plans?

Trump did deliver on more conservative judges. That was a successful political power play.

He did cut taxes in favor of the wealthy and corporations, driving the deficit to a new high. At best that is a highly debatable, divisive policy in a nation of widening income inequality.

The bottom line is that anyone looking for good ideas from Trump and his supporters in Congress is met with a void and loud silence.

Instead of offering better ideas to solve the nation’s problems, Trump created a model for Republicans in Congress by rallying his supporters with promises to obstruct “socialist” Democrats.

And even now that Trump is gone, that approach retains its power.

“I don’t think many Republicans are going to be for very many of the things that are coming out of this administration,” Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Manchin opens door to supporting scaled-down election reform bill Pelosi, Schumer must appoint new commissioners to the CARES Act oversight panel MORE (R-Ky.), the GOP leader in the Senate, said last week.

And even now, as Trump and McConnell openly battle over control of the party’s future, both sides agree the best strategy leading up to the 2022 elections is to unify Republican voters by attacking all ideas coming from Democrats or Biden.

“I think the dominant reality of the next 21 months…is going to be Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyPelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality Pelosi, Schumer must appoint new commissioners to the CARES Act oversight panel Cheney: 'It is disgusting and despicable' to see Gosar 'lie' about Jan. 6 MORE [the GOP leader in the House] opposing the agenda of the Biden administration and the [Democratic] Congress,” Steven Law, the leader of a GOP political action group with ties to McConnell, told The Washington Post last week.

That commitment to standing in the way of ideas was seconded by Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielRNC's McDaniel launches podcast highlighting Republicans outside of Washington The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Citizens' Climate Lobby - Deal or no deal? Biden, Capito continue infrastructure talks RNC warns it will advise presidential candidates against future debates if panel doesn't make changes MORE, the Republican National Committee chairwoman. She told the paper that “Republicans need to remember we have far more in common with each other than we do with the Democrats.”

What about a common commitment to good ideas? What about a patriotic, bipartisan commitment to helping Americans enduring high unemployment, hard times for small business and the loss of a year of school for the young?

The absence of ideas from Republicans is evidence of a major American party caught in the grip of extremists.

To this day, nearly a month into the Biden presidency, 65 percent of Republicans say Biden is not the legitimate president, buying Trump’s insistence that the presidential election was stolen, according to an Associated Press-NORC poll.

This baseless idea leads to continued support of Trump and demonization of Democrats. An overwhelming 68 percent of Republicans tell Gallup they want Trump to lead the party.

They remain loyal to a man who lost Republican control of the House, the Senate and the White House in four years as president.

He never reached a 50 percent approval rating in any Fox News poll.

And the conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal declared last week that the “country is moving past the Trump Presidency, and the GOP will remain in the wilderness until it does too.”

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The problem is that Trump addled much of the GOP base with conspiracy theories and bullying rhetoric to the point where the party can’t move past him and join the debate over ideas necessary to contribute to a productive national dialogue.

This is a concern for all Americans. Our country needs two healthy political parties providing competition and balance to one another so the voters can make an informed choice.

Potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates are taking note and picking sides.

“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” Trump’s former U.N. Ambassador Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyNikki Haley warns Republicans on China: 'If they take Taiwan, it's all over' Pence slams Biden agenda in New Hampshire speech Vandalism at Rep. Mace's home sparks bipartisan outcry MORE recently told Politico. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

McConnell, Haley and the leaders of today’s Republican Party now have every reason to stop the obstruction and name-calling.

They can begin by joining the real debate over the best ideas to help America.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.