Republicans have wonderful prospects for taking control of our nation’s White House and congressional leadership in 2024 thanks to favorable Senate seat alignments, growing public awareness of Democratic policy disasters, and a deep bench of excellent candidates.
With the House side majority looking quite secure, in the Senate, Democrats and Independents who caucus with them are expected to defend 23 seats, compared with 11 for Republicans . . . quite a reversal of competitive circumstances in 2022.
And unlike in the House, where members are up for re-election every two years, senators are up every six.
The deterioration of economic and social conditions in the country are painfully apparent to most everyone.
Included are general bipartisan dissatisfactions regarding the worst inflation and interest-rate hikes in nearly a half-century, a senseless war against oil and gas that has terminated recent energy independence, a 2022 record of nearly three million illegal southern border crossings accompanied by epidemic fentanyl trafficking deaths, and fear due to escalating out-of-control crime.
Now add soaring national debt, rapidly depleted Social Security and Medicare funding resources and a recent series of ominous major bank failures to this brief list as other compelling arguments for top leadership change.
Besides, polls indicate that with job approval in the tanks and frighteningly and embarrassingly doubtful cognitive capacity, even nearly two-thirds of Democrats don’t want Joe Biden to run for president again in 2024.
Whereas he’s always been a human gaffe machine and prevaricator — including frequent fabrications regarding his own life history — Democrats can’t readily dump him without acknowledging failures in addition to leaving the vacancy open to an at minimum equally unappealing candidate . . . Kamala Harris.
And she won’t relinquish her presumed entitlement gracefully.
The big priority — beginning right now — is for the GOP Party and each of its candidate hopefuls to determine and be clear regarding what they will do to act upon these opportunities for the good of the country, and to get those messages out to a legitimately and responsibly skeptical public.
Here, character which puts country above personal ambitions and political pressures matters far more than media style points awarded for hollow scripted oratory.
Ripping political opponents is a poor strategy for winning that public confidence. Those doing so only chum the water with bait fish that attract other bigger sharks.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what some lesser presidential panderers are pitching against the current committed front-runner, former President Donald Trump.
First out of the gate to announce his candidacy, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, an unrealistic GOP primary dreamer, proclaimed this approach in a December 2022 Wall Street Journal interview with Peggy Noonan tellingly titled "Only the Voters Can Crush Donald Trump."
Ms. Noonan, who urged that "Party professionals and elders" must eliminate Donald Trump as a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, quotes Christie saying, "We can't lead and convince Trump folks if we're unwilling to stick our necks out and say his name. . . There needs to be a fight out loud, in public."
Recently announced candidate former Vice President Mike Pence also did neither himself nor his party any favors in ignoring numerous significant Trump achievements while focusing on Democratic talking point transgressions.
Referring to Jan. 6, 2021, riots, Pence said: "History will hold Donald Trump accountable . . . Make no mistake about it: What happened that day was a disgrace, and it mocks decency to portray it in any other way. President Trump was wrong.
"His reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day."
The same cautious messaging advice applies to Donald Trump who can now run on a successful record and inspiring vision without need to revert to familiar personal attack tactics that alienate both supporters and adversaries alike.
Such restraint will be difficult for Trump, famously cheered and jeered as a street fighter, whose recent jabs at likely lead challenger, Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., suggests otherwise.
Trump described DeSantis on his Truth Social media website as an "average" governor who benefited from "great Public Relations," and has repeatedly referred to him with a derogatory nickname "Ron DeSanctimonious."
So far, and much to his credit, Gov. DeSantis hasn’t taken the bait and responded in kind – or more accurately, in being unkind — instead emphasizing Florida’s impressive record of progress under his leadership.
DeSantis and others will be wise to recognize real dangers in alienating tens of millions of Trump supporters. Even if he were to win the GOP primary, there’s also a risk that Trump might still run as a third-party 2024 candidate and once again cost Republicans keys to the White House.
Might that possibly happen?
Donald Trump has already made it clear that he has no intention to transfer reins of influence over his support base. As he told the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this month, "I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged or betrayed, I am your retribution."
Were that GOP split to occur, all bets on a 2024 return to political sanity and national salvation are off the cliff.
We can only hope that Donald Trump along with all White House and congressional candidates heed this warning, put the nation’s future foremost in their minds and messaging, and focus on solutions to issues we should all truly care about based upon clear vision and evidence of proven leadership that restore waning public confidence.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is "Architectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design" (2022). Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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