Opinion | GOP disappointment is understandable. But the path to 2024 hasn’t changed.


Smart Republicans in disappointing elections want someone to blame. Expectations, including me, soared as the country was swept away by bad economic news. It wasn’t unreasonable excitement, but it was still understandable to look beyond the elections before us and look at the GOP agenda while looking at the obvious shortcomings of our candidates. (re)learned lessons.

But this isn’t the GOP version of the 2016 Democrats’ shock, with shocked employees sitting on the curb. It helps to better organize your party and master the rules that exist when you can’t change (and not be in California).

What the GOP needs is a quick trust vote from an experienced Congress that knows how to position the party with some victories in the course of the big run for the 2024 presidential election. GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) have critics in the caucus and buzzwords in the conservative media ecosystem, but both are smart, hardworking and capable coalition managers.

Now the question is, what’s the best way to win in 2024? Spending a lot of time trying to oust or try to oust one of the leaders would simply be the party’s suicide.

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Right now, Republicans are overcorrecting their deep disappointment, and of course there are accusations fueled by Blue Bubble media and Democrat activists who want to see the Republican civil war. What should be important to constitutional-priority conservatives is that the House is still more likely not to go to the Republican Party as of Sunday morning, and if so, the Republican Party will (1) form a screening committee for China and (2) the exhausted Pentagon. While keeping an eye on the budget (3) it provides strong oversight of failed federal agencies, particularly the Department of Homeland Security.

A minority majority can do this, and it matters to both the content and the voters. Go there. And standing as a wall against the excesses of the past two years, he cast a hard vote in front of the Democrats.

McCarthy has been the de facto Minority Leader of the GOP House of Representatives since then Republican Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) announced his retirement in April 2018. McCarthy guided Republicans to increase numbers in 2020. If he made it to the top this year, it would be crazy to start filming in a tent. No leader in a caucus of more than 218 members can satisfy them all, but outliers should not control the majority of McCarthy’s supporters.

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McCarthy and his capable ally Steve Scalise (L. Jim Banks of Indiana) are by far the best fit for the job.

Like clockwork, the Senate forgets that every 10 years, the GOP-winning candidate is too far to the right of the general. Republicans can’t stay away from independents who don’t want abortion rights to be restricted. They can’t stay away from young voters. Comply with the Berkeley Rules: Pick the most conservative candidate to win. Republicans did not. McConnell warned them, but he did his part for Ohio’s JD Vance (successfully) and Nevada’s Adam Laxalt (the most disappointing defeat in the election). In a tightly divided Senate, the GOP must stick to someone with the guts and insight to do what’s needed to secure a conservative Supreme Court majority.

Senate Republicans total 49 or 50, It will remain as a check on management. Let the battle-tested McConnell plan the final transition of his legacy in the Senate majority leadership.

“Never climb too high” should be the signature of the GOP headquarters. Right next door: “Don’t get too low or make decisions when you’re angry or disappointed.” McCarthy and McConnell could return the GOP to power in 2024 and, as in 2016, they will support whoever the party nominates, promising another demolition derby presidential primary. So it should be.

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And by the way, deadlock is not inevitable. Even if the GOP has some margin. There may still be legislative compromises on borders and immigration. It is also possible for Big Tech’s legal regulations to ban CCP-controlled products like TikTok from our shores without hindering innovation in artificial intelligence or quantum computing. There is much more work to be done and more work to be done, and the chaos of the party congress will not end it.

Disappointment can be a cause of change, but not when it comes down to bitterness. With the president in the hands of the Democrats, we will always have divided powers in DC. Republicans should focus on making 2024 a second 1980, not a second 1964. It won’t take much time to secure the House, Senate and White House trio. But it could turn into a triple loss if activists and donors fail to turn away from the internal battle that divides the party.

Winning will require optimism and a lively but non-destructive 2024 primary season. And it requires a patient and consistent progression on the hill. That’s a goal best achieved with a quick vote of confidence from McCarthy and McConnell.


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