The latest polls show the potential for a “blue wave” of Democratic Party victories this fall. Conventional wisdom holds that the Democrats will win back control of the U.S. House and possibly the U.S. Senate in the mid-term elections.
In the House, this forecast is not surprising as the party out of power usually wins seats in a mid-term election. In the fall, Democrats only have to win 23 more seats to gain control of the House. What is scary for the Republicans is the Senate prediction, considering that Democrats have to defend 25 seats compared to only eight for the Republicans.
In recent weeks, it has been looking bleak for Republicans as the Democrats have won a number of special elections. There has also been a large number of Republicans either resigning or declaring they will not be seeking re-election.
The latest GOP leader to make this announcement was House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). He claimed that he was retiring to spend more time with his family. Skeptics will maintain that he retired because he was frustrated by the lack of achievements for the GOP in Congress and his strained relationship with President Trump.
During his retirement speech, Ryan told reporters that he was most proud of the recently passed tax cut legislation and the increased spending that was secured for the U.S. military. Unfortunately, the $160 billion military budget increase was part of an outrageous $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that will massively increase the deficit and add over $1 trillion to the national debt.
The 2,232-page omnibus monster also increased domestic spending by $128 billion but gave almost no attention to the nation’s border security and included only $1.6 billion toward the construction of a border fence. It is especially insulting that the bill prohibits the fencing from resembling the prototypes that the President inspected last month. The anemic total is a far cry from the $25 billion that was requested by the Trump administration.
On the issue of border security, Ryan and House Republicans clearly failed. The flow of drugs and illegal immigrants has not been stopped. This minor increase in funding will do almost nothing to solve the underlying problem. While a lack of a border wall will be seen by grassroots conservatives as a failure, it was never a priority for Speaker Ryan.
Another failure for Ryan is that he did not come close to accomplishing his goal of entitlement reform, despite spending a career focusing on the issue. In addition, Obamacare remains the law of the land, while there is a desperate need for welfare reform and the federal debt is skyrocketing.
Unfortunately, Ryan has pledged to finish his term; however, he would do a service to his party and his country if he resigned immediately. A quick departure would allow the GOP to search for a new House Speaker to lead the party in the fall mid-term elections. It makes no sense for the GOP to go into the fall elections with a retiring House Speaker at the helm.
To lead the GOP in mid-term elections, the Republican Party needs a true conservative as the House Speaker. The leading candidates are Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA). There is even a possibility that Freedom Caucus Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) will enter the race.
All of the candidates must commit to move the party in a more conservative direction on healthcare, border security, debt reduction, reform of welfare and entitlements and enhanced tax cuts, which need to be made permanent.
The next GOP House Speaker also needs to fully embrace President Trump and his populist/conservative agenda. Paul Ryan represented the dying and unpopular establishment wing of the Republican Party. He represented the Republican Party of the Bush family, Mitt Romney and John McCain, but that is the Republican Party of the failed past.
The next House Speaker needs to represent the Republican Party that was rewarded by voters in November of 2016 with control of the U.S. Congress and the White House. Right now, this conservative base is demoralized as it has seen very little accomplished by Congress in the last 15 months.
The only way to energize this base to prevent a mid-term disaster is for Ryan to resign immediately. This must be followed by the election of a real conservative as House Speaker, who must quickly thereafter implement a reform agenda. Otherwise, the “blue wave” will swamp the GOP this fall, and Democrats will take control of Congress. Then, it will be goodbye to the Trump agenda and hello to impeachment.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]