Republicans, basking in Tuesday's wins, diverge on what's to come

LAS VEGAS – Two surprisingly divergent visions of Republican political strength unfolded this weekend at a conference of Jewish conserva...

LAS VEGAS – Two surprisingly divergent visions of Republican political strength unfolded this weekend at a conference of Jewish conservatives, the first large gathering of GOP leaders since the party’s resounding success in Tuesday’s election. There were dazzling displays of confidence. And there were calls for caution and restraint as party leaders tried to deal with their drastic gains.

Above all of this, and most importantly approached with caution, was the uncertainty of whether Republicans could replicate their decisive gains with suburban voters, especially women, if former President Donald J. Trump remained the leader. party face.

Although a majority of speakers at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference praised the former president and spent much of the two-day meeting citing the most conservative political achievements of his administration, others warned that Republicans who continued to cover his baseless claims about 2020 election fraud were jeopardizing the party’s recent success.

Trump’s most notable skeptic was former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who urged Republicans to push for a “plan for tomorrow, not a grievance for yesterday,” and said the party would be making a big mistake. he did not re-engage. to tell the truth.

“Winning campaigns are always campaigns that look forward, not back,” Christie said, earning only a few applause from the crowd. Noting the half-hearted response, Mr. Christie pleaded with the audience, “This deserves applause. Because if we don’t get it, we’re going to lose.

The 2020 election, Mr Christie said, “is over.”

But that was not the message delivered by most of the other speakers – a group that included more than half a dozen current and former Governors and Senators who are seen as possible presidential candidates and pending leaders each time. that Mr. Trump is stepping away from the spotlight.

They offered very different interpretations of the results on Election Day last week, which won victories for Republicans in the top-down Democratic strongholds of the ballot – from Virginia, where they won the governor’s race for the first time since 2009, in Washington State, where a candidate running on a public order message prevailed in the contest for the city attorney in Seattle. Republicans also won municipal race seats in New York and Long Island and came close to causing colossal upheaval in New Jersey’s governor race.

“The trend is undeniable,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader who hopes to bring his party back into a majority next year. “A Republican wave is on the move.

A year after the start of the Biden administration, poll data, history, and Tuesday’s results indicate that the political climate has become very unfavorable for Democrats, who have proven they can beat Mr. Trump but not. have not convinced enough Americans that they can govern effectively.

Democrats took what they hope will be a significant step toward reversing that perception over the weekend with the passage of a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill – the kind of massive investment in public works that Mr. Trump said he wanted as president but never saw the light of day.

Last week’s election results only added to the optimism of Republicans who already believed they were likely to win the small number of seats they needed to take control of the House next year and were also in a strong position to win a majority in the Senate.

That confidence was overwhelming when they gathered in Las Vegas this weekend, as Republicans predicted not only big gains in the 2022 midterm election, but also in 2024.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said last week’s results pointed to victory in the House and Senate. He also praised the “extraordinary courage” and “steel backbone” Mr. Trump has shown as president.

Mr Cruz described in astonishment the discouragement he said he witnessed among his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill during last week’s election and vowed that the mid-terms of 2022 would bring the day “Nancy is going to get on her broom “and“ go back to California. ”This remark, referring to the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, elicited a big laugh from the audience.

Speaking to reporters after his Friday night speech, Cruz noted that suburban mothers are “coming home to the Republican Party” as an encouraging sign of the party’s fortunes. “I think there are a lot of people across this country including soccer moms in Virginia who maybe voted for Joe Biden, and watched last year and were horrified.”

But he twice declined to say whether the GOP could again expect similar results if Mr Trump – who pushed men and women out of the suburbs in such numbers in 2020 that it cost him multiple states. swing – resumed his role as the standard bearer of his party.

Yet like many other prominent Republicans who have offered their analysis of the country’s suddenly shaken political landscape, Cruz said he believes President Biden and the Democratic Party’s poor public perceptions are enough to guarantee success. republican.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is frequently mentioned as one of the top contenders for the 2024 Republican nomination should Mr. Trump decide not to run, has thundered against what he called a ‘Fauchian dystopia’ , a reference to the government’s leading expert on infectious diseases. , Dr.Anthony Fauci, who is a supporter of the kinds of public health mandates and restrictions on daily activities that many Republicans have opposed.

“If they can violate your freedom on this matter, they will violate your freedoms on other matters,” Mr. DeSantis said.

Mr. DeSantis also spoke about his work as governor of Florida implementing policies that borrow from Mr. Trump’s agenda. He spoke of his efforts to ensure “electoral integrity” by signing a law limiting the distribution of mail-in ballots and his refusal to help the Biden administration resettle undocumented migrants in Florida after their arrest in the southwest border.

Mr. Trump did not speak at the in-person event but recorded a video message broadcast at the conference on Saturday morning in which he predicted record years for the party. “We are going to reclaim the House,” he said. “We are going to win back the Senate. We will reconquer this magnificent white building in 2024.

In an interview, Mr Christie said he told Mr Trump in private everything he had said from the scene on Saturday. “He decides what role he wants to play,” he said, adding that he hoped the former president would choose to play a more constructive role than he has done recently. Mr. Trump, for example, warned that Republican voters would not show up to the polls unless party officials embraced his lies about voter fraud.

“But anyone who talks about the past in this election is a loser,” Mr. Christie said. “They’re just going to lose because the audience doesn’t want to see it.”

In addition to Mr. Christie, the other Republican who urged his party in no uncertain terms to overcome Mr. Trump’s false and repeated insistence on being cheated of victory was Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire.

Addressing the optimism in the room, Mr. Sununu offered hope but also a reality check. “This week has been a great week,” he said, “but if you think this week is going to carry us for a year, you have something else to come.”

He cited a conversation he said he had recently with a Trump supporter he tried to dissuade focusing on last year: “Someone asked me, ‘Well, and the election in 2020? ‘ I said, ‘Don’t worry about the elections. This is history, man.

He added: “If you’re sitting here talking about 2020, or worrying about who’s going to run in 24, you’re missing the mark.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Republicans, basking in Tuesday's wins, diverge on what's to come
Republicans, basking in Tuesday's wins, diverge on what's to come
Newsrust - US Top News
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