Republican senators up for re-election are pretending there’s a different president in office.
The New Yorker‘s Benjamin Wallace-Wells watched eight senatorial debates in the past week and came away with a sense of nostalgic anachronism.
“The television graphics were boxy and dated, the questions excellent, and the candidates nimbler than you might expect,” Wallace-Wells wrote. “Politicians are charming people who have been operating under a spell of charmlessness for a decade, roughly since Mitch McConnell made it obvious that he was on a mission to thwart the Obama Administration and a mood of wartime enmity suffused the capital.”
“But the more consequential anachronism of those Senate debates came from the Republican senators themselves, who generally acted as if Donald Trump were not the President and his policies were not the bedrocks of their party — as if, once he leaves office, the dials could be turned back to their 2011 settings and the decade could begin again,” he added.
Republicans try to distract from voter dissatisfaction with an unpopular GOP president is by raising the specter of socialism, but Wallace-Wells wondered what the party would look like after President Donald Trump leaves the stage.
“The Party’s future no longer looks much like its past,” he wrote. “Those Republicans who seem most likely to run for President in 2024—among them, Tom Cotton, Nikki Haley, Josh Hawley, and Marco Rubio — have all oriented themselves to a party that is now dominated by white voters without college degrees, and by what Hawley has described as anti-cosmopolitanism. If one of these politicians does end up leading the Party, then it will have something to do with how establishment conservatives used their power during the Trump era: to impose tax cuts that exacerbated inequality and weakened the economy, and to undermine a health-care policy that Americans increasingly support and rely on.”
“That has left the Republicans — even the Party’s central politicians — without much to brag about after years in charge,” Wallace-Wells added.