The leftward shift of the Democratic Party has provided a huge opportunity for Republicans. People are completely put off by many of the radical policies Democrats are pushing. What a gift this should be for Republicans. So why have they been so thoroughly unable to capitalize?
A huge chunk of the Republican Party's Washington establishment is still living in 1995. They are thoroughly unable to get their heads around the profound changes in America. As with so many Americans these days, they are defined by their own bubble. The people they know best -- corporate America and those in leadership positions -- are generally thriving. They haven't stopped to consider whether the trade, immigration, spending, defense and other policies that define them need an update in light of the country's current circumstances. The giant wave of political unease in America -- even after a reality TV host kicked their door open and took over the living room! -- has caused almost zero self-reflection among Republicans.
The more reformist side of the Republican Party understands the problems facing the country. They understand that Republican trade and China policies have contributed to America's decline. They understand that real border security is a prerequisite for most Americans before any broader discussion on immigration. They know that the bloat, waste, inefficiency, lack of focus and often outright corruption in America's defense establishment have allowed competitors like China to close the military gap while spending at a fraction of the cost. Most of the leaders on this side of the party have a solid sense of what's really happening. Their problem is competence and sanity.
There are some amazingly talented and sane reformist Republican politicians, but their coalition includes too many crazies, dummies and outright scammers. Simply put, the leadership vacuum in the Republican Party has allowed too many nuts to occupy the field. The downside to this dynamic was in stark display this past election cycle. Crazies scare away normal people. Normal people are turned off by Democrat policies on open borders, woke education and crime. They're begging for something better, and they are there for the taking. But they recoil from leaders incapable of dismissing QAnon, Black Hebrew Israelites or child slave dungeons. Corporate media loves to overplay these weaknesses, but too many Republicans regularly give them the ammunition they need.
The end result for Republicans is chaos. The debate over the massive congressional omnibus spending bill is just the latest example. This spending bill is the definition of what Republicans should unite to oppose. Republicans have an incoming majority in the House of Representatives. They will soon have the leverage to cut a better deal. They are afraid to use this power. Their thin majority and lack of real leadership, and the resulting power vacuum between the warring factions, has left too many Republicans too frightened to stand up to even the most damaging policies.
As a result, many Senate Republicans are going to vote for a bill that says the Border Patrol can't use its operating and support budget for border security. The funds can only be used to improve border processing. Have any of these senators been to the southern border? American border towns are being overrun. Literally millions of people are crossing per year. The government has no idea how many. All they know is that the Border Patrol encountered a record 2.3 million people. They can only guess how many more walked across without getting caught. With these people came enough fentanyl to kill everyone in America. Fentanyl killed over 100,000 Americans last year. It's an epidemic. As with the opioid crisis before it, Republican leaders are asleep at the switch.
As bad as it is, the border insanity is not the worst part of the bipartisan spending package. The worst part is the complete waste of spending with not even a sliver of reform. At $1.7 trillion, the new spending bill once again massively increases funding for just about everything. Many Republicans view this as a win because they got more defense spending as part of the package. Without needed reforms, most of this defense money will be wasted in a broken system. And as a result of this bill and so many before it, when the history of this sad era is written, the total dumping of spending discipline and the crisis it ends up causing the country will be viewed as a monumental failure.
America is now past the point when the country's spending catastrophe should be driving a real reform debate. Sharply increased interest rates and massive emergency spending have brought the country much closer to the pending entitlement crisis and fiscal catastrophe that is coming. Instead of debating reforms, Republicans have decided to join in on the spending binge. Democrats have always been for more spending, but now most Republicans have decided to join the party. The current waste-ridden spending bill just continues and expands this trend.
No doubt, fiscal discipline is a tough issue politically. Leadership is the ability to overcome tough issues and speak the truth that people need to hear. America has a thirst for truth right now. When our children and grandchildren are suffering as a result, when the country ends up weaker as a result, we will all be to blame, but none more than the Republicans who deep down knew better and sold out anyway.
Republicans have the 41 votes needed to stop this spending binge. They also have a very appealing political alternative. They can agree to pass a short-term spending package to fund the government until the new Congress can fix things or at least until Republicans will have more votes to add a little balance.
This alternative makes sense but is unlikely. Republicans are scared of their own chaos. This is unsustainable. Democrats are driving America over the edge with insane policies, and Republicans are in too much chaos to do a thing about it. If ever a country were crying out for leadership, it's now.
Neil Patel co-founded The Daily Caller, one of America's fastest-growing online news outlets, which regularly breaks news and distributes it to over 15 million monthly readers. Patel also co-founded The Daily Caller News Foundation, a nonprofit news company that trains journalists, produces fact-checks and conducts longer-term investigative reporting. The Daily Caller News Foundation licenses its content free of charge to over 300 news outlets, reaching potentially hundreds of millions of people per month. To find out more about Neil Patel and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com