Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Top Republicans are optimistic about 2022 prospects after Virginia’s victory

LAS VEGAS (AP). After a strong run in last week’s election, some of the leading Republicans this weekend have expressed a newfound confidence that they are well positioned to regain control of Congress next year and ultimately reject the White House.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the leadership of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, Texas, Senator Ted Cruz, a potential presidential candidate in 2024, boasted that Democrats are “going crazy” after losing the Virginia governor’s race and nearly losing in New Jersey. … Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, called Tuesday’s strong reading a “tsunami” and “a harbinger of really great things to come in 2022.”

But under the bravado of the Palazzo Grand Ballroom at the Venetian Resort, the GOP was still in the shadow of Donald Trump, a former president who plans to play a major role in next year’s midterm elections and may run again for the White House in 2024. Pretty much everyone. who addressed the crowd praised Trump, who also spoke on video. But for the first time since losing the 2020 election, he seemed to have faded into the background as others urged the party to reflect on its future.

Republican power in Virginia and New Jersey last week was fueled by candidates who deliberately kept Trump at a distance and successfully ousted the rural conservatives who make up the former president’s base, as well as reaching out to suburban voters who have quit the party in recent years. This could be a model for the Republican Party’s success in future elections.

But Chris Christie, a former New Jersey governor who could run for president again in 2024, warned that this will only happen if GOP leaders, including Trump, focus on the future instead of re-challenging the past, including the former president’s lies about last year’s lies. the elections were stolen.

Republicans have “exceptional opportunities in the next few years,” Christie said, but only if they propose to voters “a plan for tomorrow, not a grudge about yesterday.”

“We can no longer talk about past and past elections, no matter where you deal with this issue – no matter where you stand – it’s over. And every minute we spend talking about 2020, he said, is a “waste of time.” The party needs to “take your eyes off the rearview mirror and start looking through the windshield again.”

In an interview after his speech, Christie said that, in his opinion, Trump’s role in a party that is moving forward “depends entirely on the behavior of the president himself.”

“If the president wants to talk about the future and spend most of his time talking about the future and what he sees next, then I’m sure he will be a welcome voice in any debate,” he said. “But if all we’re going to do is talk about grievance policy and make statements that either you cancel the 2020 election or Republicans shouldn’t vote in 22 and 24, I mean it can’t be the leader of our party. It just can’t. ”

The RJC event, called by its organizers a “kosher cattle call”, provided an opportunity for contemplating race candidates to attract some of the party’s largest and most influential sponsors on stage and in private forums. In addition to Christie and Cruz, they included former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

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Congressional and governor candidates have also served in the room, including retired soccer player Herschel Walker, who is running for Senate in Georgia, and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sonunu, who has been repeatedly called upon to launch the Senate campaign he is considering.

“We are kind of the gatekeepers of the kosher nostra, because of whom they run along the road. You have to come here first and show us your stuff, ”said former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who sits on the group’s board of directors. “It is very interesting to see how potential future candidates flaunt their things, to see what they have. They will improve, they will have to change. This is through the years. But this is how candidates get better. ”

But first, as some participants emphasized, the next year came the victory.

“A lot of people came here to audition,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “We have a very rich bench. We have a lot of energetic people. We have a resume that I think would make them fit to lead this country. But until 2022, none of this matters to me. “

With that in mind, some of those eyeing the presidential election first highlighted the importance of next year’s election. Pence was among those who received the loudest plaudits as he headlined Saturday night, predicting that the country would be “just 12 months before the great return of the Republicans.”

“Right here and right now, from now on, we will all decide to do our part to bring back the House of Representatives, Senate, governorships across the country in 2022,” he said, without offering any details about plans for his own political future. … … “And we’re going to bring this country back in 2024.”

Others focused on culture war issues related to vaccination mandates and critical race theory, an academic structure that came to dominate in the final weeks of Virginia’s governor’s race. It is based on the idea that racism is systemic in national institutions and that they act to maintain white dominance. In recent months, it has become the universal political word for any teaching in schools about race and American history.

DeSantis, who proclaimed his state the “freest” in the country, opposed pandemic restrictions, including mandatory vaccinations, while South Dakota Governor Christie Noem, like others, accused the administration of turning its back on Israel.

“They are not just trying to discredit Israel,” she said. “They’re not just trying to justify Israel. They are not just trying to alienate Israel. They are trying to delegitimize Israel. And they challenge Israel’s right to exist. “

And they highlighted the lessons learned from Tuesday, including the importance of focusing on issues of concern to voters, including education.

“Virginia was won by parents. Virginia won over moms – moms who were disappointed, outraged by the arrogance and condescension of Democratic school boards and the Democratic administration that looks down on them, ”Cruz said.

“You just woke up a whole bunch of moms,” McDaniel repeated.

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