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Republican establishment to conservative and faith-based voters: ‘Drop dead’

On Oct. 30, 1975, after then-President Gerald Ford declared that he would veto any bill calling for “a federal bailout of New York City,” the New York Daily News ran a story with the now-famous headline: “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”

For years now, many conservatives and people of faith have felt that the entrenched Republican establishment and GOP “leadership” continually conveys the same message when it comes to the party following up on campaign promises made to those voting blocs. 

Once reelected, and often because of conservative and faith-based voters, those establishment Republicans and their leadership would stab those constituencies in the back as they cozied up to corporate America, lobbying firms, Big Tech, the mainstream media, and any special interests who might fund their campaigns or hire them once they left Congress.

As the movie tagline tells us, “It’s a tale as old as time.” At least, political time.

After the predicted “red wave” failed to materialize on Nov. 8, it’s safe to believe that not only are a large number of these conservative and faith-based voters depressed, they’re also shocked that the Republican leadership — which failed so miserably — will remain in power once again.

There is no doubt that many of these voters hold Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel largely responsible for an inexplicable and humiliating loss.

With literally hundreds of millions of dollars spent, much of it donations from these constituencies, combined with an election perfectly teed up for the Republican establishment and leadership to win after two years of one White House/Democratic failure after the other, the GOP still managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

Given every advantage because of rising violent crime, supply chain shortages, escalating gasoline and food prices, record inflation, a looming recession, an open border allowing millions of illegal migrants to cross into the United States, a faltering and sometimes confused president, and the potential for a nuclear weapons exchange with Russia, the Republicans still blew the Senate — and barely won the House.

As the post-mortem goes on, or pretends to go on, many conservative and faith-based voters can easily shout out the main reason for the GOP’s shameful loss: “You actually have to believe in something. You have to walk the walk, on the rule of law, sovereign and protected borders, smaller government, lower taxes, the need for fossil fuels and lower energy prices, anti-woke education, a strong and non-woke military, accountability, and faith.”

The wish list for conservative and faith-based voters has never been long, nor complicated; for decades, it has been consistently the same. And for decades, the Republican establishment and leadership has let these voters down. Worse than that, they have purposely gaslighted them and then cast them aside once they attained victory.

For years, these voters have believed it essential for the welfare of the nation that their core values be passed along to up-and-coming generations — in this case, Gen Z.

And yet, even in that relatively simple assignment, the Republican establishment and leadership has failed them. As the Democrats blanketed American college campuses, knocked on dormitory doors, sent Democratic candidates and organizations to meet with students, saturated TikTok and other social media platforms with their campaign mantras, taught “Mail-in Voting for Dummies” classes, and actually gave these college-age voters the respect they deserve, where were those leading the GOP? McConnell, McCarthy, McDaniel and others seemed to be missing in action.

As the Republican establishment and leadership tries to get to the bottom of their abysmal failure, they should take notice of the bright red warning light that’s blinking on the dashboard of their damaged “Victory Express.” The light signifies the percentage of conservative and faith-based voters who are sick and tired of being told to “Drop Dead” and simply sat out these midterm elections.

So, here’s a question for the Republican establishment and leadership to ponder: Because of your incompetent, duplicitous actions, how many conservatives and faith-based voters do you think will sit out the 2024 election?  

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.

Tags 2022 midterms 2024 presidential election establishment Republicans Gerald Ford Kevin McCarthy Republican Party Ronna McDaniel

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