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Republicans can win back control in 2022 — if they don't 'cancel' themselves first

Republicans can win back control in 2022 — if they don't 'cancel' themselves first
© Greg Nash

All current political indicators point toward Republicans taking back the House of Representatives in the 2022 congressional elections. That outcome depends, however, on the GOP pursuing intelligent policies and not committing fratricide. 

Policy-wise, Republicans must break loose from any dependence on corporate America and focus on hard-working, middle-income families. These are the people who are the backbone of our communities. They are patriotic, they believe in traditional values, they support the police and the military, and they want safe streets, good schools and enough financial security to enjoy their retirement years. 

Unlike corporate America, they don’t — and won’t — surrender to “cancel culture.” They are not “woke.” Many are blue-collar, building-trades union members. Others are cops and firefighters; they are first-generation college graduates, and hard-working immigrants. Most are not members of some country-club elite — and never will be, by their own choice as much as by the circumstances of their lives.

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Like Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain Black Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Scott: 'Lot of work left' in police reform talks MORE (R-S.C.), these Americans do not believe America is a racist country. They are very concerned about the dramatic increase in violent crime and in the seeming unwillingness of the Biden administration to confront the immigration crisis at our border, or to even acknowledge that there is a crisis. They see the Democrats proposing to spend trillions of dollars in an infrastructure bill with only a small percentage going to bricks-and-mortar projects and much more being allocated to social programs and experiments that have been politically redefined as “infrastructure.” They see federal funds being proposed to encourage teaching “critical race theory” programs in our schools.

What Republicans must do is relatively simple and sensible: Base our opposition to this progressive, woke agenda, not in terms of acting like green-eyeshade accountants worried about the cost, but in terms of the progressive agenda’s threat to middle-class values, jobs and security. We must demonstrate to our country’s African American, Hispanic and Asian communities that their values of hard work, safe neighborhoods and good schools are Republican values, too. In doing that, we must treat these fellow Americans as equal partners at the table, not just as opportunities for an exotic photo-op. There can be no race or class distinctions in Republican policies. And Republicans must be intellectually honest, and not pander to or say different things in different communities.

Republicans must stand united behind values and principles, not behind a cult of personality. We cannot be purging good Republicans who support upwards of 80 percent to 90 percent of the Republican agenda just because they did not vote against President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE’s impeachment. Republicans cannot invoke our own version of cancel culture.

History demonstrates that the opposition party gains seats in the midterm elections of a president’s first term. By going so far to the left to appease the Democrats’ progressive wing, President BidenJoe BidenEx-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' News leaders deal with the post-Trump era MORE has given congressional Republicans a golden opportunity to win big in 2022 — not just for our party but, much more importantly, for America. 

To do that, we must effectively demonstrate that we are a party of Americans with real values that apply to, reflect and support real Americans’ lives — not corporate elites whose “values’’ are transactional.

Peter King retired in January as the U.S. representative of New York’s 2nd Congressional District. He served 28 years in Congress, including as chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Follow him on Twitter: @RepPeteKing