Joe Biden is the projected president-elect.
The news that the White House will likely once again be occupied by Democrats comes unwelcome to conservatives, but conservatives should not let a defeat at the top of the ballot distract from the unexpected GOP success down ballot.
Republicans gained seats in the House. They will likely keep the Senate. They gained a governorship. Plus, Republicans made significant inroads with Black and Hispanic voters that bode well for the future of the party.
The cherry on top of this success is the Democrats’ accompanying meltdown.
Biden was supposed to bring with him a Senate majority and expanded House majority, which would end the filibuster, add states, pack the Court, and much more. Now, Republicans get to watch gleefully as Democratic caucus meetings turn into shouting matches.
GOP success and Democratic conflict has made it easy for avid watchers of The Ben Shapiro Show to teem with optimism as we listen to projections of a seemingly inevitable future where we take back the House in 2022, expand our Senate majority and win “back” (if we even lost it to begin with) the presidency in 2024, becoming a diverse majority party that never loses again.
To be sure, Republicans should be happy about our down-ballot success and be optimistic for the future. But four years as the party of Donald Trump has left the GOP with a civil war of its own to deal with, and the direction the party chooses to take over the next four years will determine just how well-deserving current Republican optimism is.
The GOP’s civil war began to rear its ugly head before the dust settled from the election. The issue is clear: will the party embrace the man or the principles?
When QAnon supporter, Marjorie Taylor Greene, won her race, the first thing she did was enter a Twitter dispute with Rep. Dan Crenshaw. She accused him of having a “loser mindset” that lets Democrats win, and Crenshaw retorted, “You’re a member of Congress now, Marjorie. Start acting like one.” Rep. Greene alleged at the dispute’s conclusion that she is fighting harder than the literal Navy SEAL.
Nikki Haley and Rep. Matt Gaetz also got into a Twitter spat. When Haley thanked Trump for many conservative victories as his defeat became apparent, Gaetz tweeted back, “While some of us are fighting for President Trump… Nikki Haley is eulogizing him. Sad!”
This is a battle between worshipping the man or upholding principles. I have often heard Trump described as an imperfect tool for conservatism. Yet for those like Gaetz and Greene, conservatism is an imperfect tool for Trumpism. It is as if the GOP’s platform was nothing more than a shadow of the good things to come, a way to point Republicans to their need of a savior, and, now that he is here, the platform has been fulfilled.
The GOP can choose to stick to principles: side with President Trump when he is aligned with their principles, or disagree with him when he deviates from their principles. Or, the GOP can side with Trump to the detriment of principles, demanding fellow Republicans resign on the basis of the man’s angry tweets.
The party is both popular and worthy of support because of its conservative principles.
President Trump is the man who just lost a presidential election despite 56% of Americans saying they are better off now than they were four years ago. That is a referendum on Trump as a person (not conservative policies) and the GOP would be wise to understand that. There is a reason down ballot Republicans outperformed Trump regularly in both 2016 and 2020.
If the GOP leaves Trump for principles, we will swim. If the GOP leaves principles for Trump, we will sink.
Four years of President Trump has left America at a tipping point. The Blue Wall is forever cracked with the Rust Belt in play for Republicans. Black and Hispanic voters are showing a willingness to vote Republican and conservatives are primed to build on that success, but states like Texas, Arizona, and Georgia are now in play for Democrats.
There exists the very real possibility of building a diverse majority party, and a wave election that fundamentally shifts the nation. The course the GOP chooses to take now will determine if that wave will be Red or Blue.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.