Virginia victory gives some Republicans glimpse of future without Trump

Prominent Republicans are seizing on the victory of Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia gubernatorial race last week to call for a realignment of the party that would move beyond Donald Trump and his “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.

While most 共和党員 remain either in lockstep with, or silent about, the former president’s campaign of misinformation surrounding his defeat by Joe Biden, a number of voices have begun tentatively to argue for a reboot.

Liz Cheney, the Wyoming representative ousted from the No 3 leadership position in May over her resistance to Trump’s lies, told Fox News Sunday her party needed to change tack. She said that it was imperative for the wellbeing of the US that it had two strong parties.

“The only way the Republican party can go forward in strength is if we reject what happened on 6 1月," 彼女は言いました. “If we reject the efforts that President Trump made frankly to steal the election, and if we tell voters the truth.

“In order to win elections we have to remember that the most conservative of ideals is embracing the constitution and the rule of law.”

Cheney was also asked about attempts, notably by Tucker Carlson of Fox News, to divert blame for the deadly attack on the US Capitol away from the Trump supporters who sought to overturn his election defeat.

“It’s the same thing that you hear people saying 9/11 is an inside job," 彼女は言いました. “It’s un-American to be spreading those kinds of lies, and they are lies.”

Cheney’s comments came a day after Chris Christie, a former governor of New Jersey and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, made an impassioned plea to the Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas.

クリスティー, a longtime confidant of Trump, nonetheless called for the party to move beyond the former president’s obsession with the last election.

“We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections – no matter where you stand on that issue, no matter where you stand, it is over," 彼は言った.

彼が追加した: “Every minute that we spend talking about 2020 – while we’re wasting time doing that, ジョー・バイデン, カマラハリス, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are laying ruin to this country. We better focus on that and take our eyes off the rearview mirror and start looking through the windshield again.”

Youngkin defeated a former Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, in a bitter contest in which the issue of race in education was pivotal. The Republican assiduously avoided anything to do with Trump in his pitch to Virginian voters.

But he did run a campaign that borrowed heavily from Trump’s tactics, not least his use of dog-whistles to drive a wedge between white suburbanites and Democrats and his willingness to exploit falsehoods and misinformation. Youngkin ran heavily on his opposition to critical race theory, an academic discipline that examines the ways in which racism operates in US laws and society, saying he would ban its use in バージニア 学校. It is not taught in a single Virginia school.

Trumpism without Trump appears to be gaining ground among Republicans in the wake of Youngkin’s success in a state that has been trending Democratic. But with Trump hinting at another bid for the White House, and with his threat still hanging over the party that he will endorse primary challengers to anyone who defies him, many Republicans continue to act with extreme timidity, for fear that they too will be ousted.

Rick Scott, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, chose his words carefully on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.

He began by saying that Trump’s endorsement was welcome.

“We would love Donald Trump’s endorsement. If you’re a Republican, you want his endorsement.”

But he then emphasised that candidates should campaign on issues.

“I think you’d be foolish not to want and accept Donald Trump’s endorsement. But you’re going to win not because somebody endorses you, you’re going to win because you focus on making sure inflation gets stopped, making sure people get a job, making sure your kids aren’t indoctrinated on critical race theory. That’s going to be the issues that people care about.”

Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland and a frequent critic of Trump, was unsurprisingly more outspoken.

Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, he said the lesson of Youngkin’s win was that “voters want to hear more about what you are going to do for them, rather than what you want to say for or against the former president”.

Hogan said he was concerned about the damage Trump could do in the presidential race in 2024, should he continue to use his power of endorsement to promote extremist Republican candidates.

“If the former president interferes with primaries and tries to nominate people who are unelectable in the swing and purple states," 彼は言った, “that’s going to hurt”.

Hogan added: “Trump is likely not going away. But if the Republican party wants to be successful at winning elections I agree with Governor Christie, we can’t look back and constantly re-litigate what happened in 2020, we have to look to ’22 and ’24.

“We have to have a message that appeals to more people that’s not about the former president.”