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Letter to the Editor by Chase Empsall

The Red Wave that never was 

On Nov. 8, many of us expected a red wave in the election. The reality showed a different outcome with the Republicans expected to narrowly take the House and Democrats retaining the Senate. Why? I suspect that there are three reasons. These start with abortion being a bigger issue than anticipated and the level of quality of candidates in this election. This could also be because former President Donald Trump is the image of the Republican Party. 

Firstly, abortion is an issue that will need to be addressed by the GOP moving forward as the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case’s decision harmed the Republican Party in key areas. There are a couple of stances the Republican Party can take surrounding abortion moving forward. One option is to be completely against abortion at any stage of gestation.  The second option is to allow abortion up to 15 weeks as observed in several states such as Virginia. The third option would require more government spending. We could give families tax breaks for having children, as well as expanding sexual education and access to contraception. The Republican Party will need to find an effective approach through ideological moderation or face the same problem until Dobbs gets overturned. 

Another major issue is Trump.When thinking of the Republican Party, people jump to the thought of Trump immediately. I personally experienced this and for full disclosure, Trump should not be the nominee in 2024. Moving forward, the GOP should move beyond him, as his image has become hypertoxic to the party and shies away from actual policy. Instead, the presidential race becomes a bullying game and a popularity contest. There are others who can take the helm of the party. Some names include Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Tim Scott and so many more. If primary voters do not dump Trump, he is likely to face another general election loss to Biden or whoever the Democrats nominate. 

Finally, candidate quality nationwide is an issue seen from this most recent election. This is seen through the likes of Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, a far-right election denier who did not resonate at all with voters. Another is J.R. Majewski in Ohio’s 9th district, a QAnon proponent and Jan. 6 rally participant. Finally, there was Dan Cox in Maryland, who praised Trump while Jan. 6 happened and resonated with far-right presences in his state. Maryland notably elected Larry Hogan, a middle-of-the-road moderate in 2014 and 2018. Mastraiano, Majewski and Cox had one thing similar besides their views: their endorsement of Trump, who changed the course of the primaries by picking unelectable candidates. Finally, there was Kari Lake of Arizona, who dissed McCain Republicans within the state and promoted Trump’s ideals. This resonated in a state Trump lost very narrowly in 2020. Ultimately, the voters said no to Lake in favor of Democrat Katie Hobbs. 

Republicans lost the opportunity to go against Biden’s agenda this year. Let us not make the same mistake in 2024, which will require reform of the entire Republican Party. If serious reform does not happen, Trump as the nominee will only mean a Biden reelection victory in 2024.   

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