It’s no secret that there are some GOP members on the Hill who are ready to move on from Donald Trump. These “Closet Normals,” as they’ve been dubbed, are looking to distance themselves from the controversial former president and try to refocus the party’s messaging on more traditional Republican values. But, is this the right move for the party?
Firstly, it’s worth noting that the Republican party has been in a bit of a funk since Trump’s defeat in 2020. While some members have been willing to follow the former president down whatever path he chose, others have been hesitant to fully embrace his rhetoric and tactics. With Trump seemingly out of the picture for the time being, it’s understandable that these “Closet Normals” are eager to push the party in a new direction.
However, there are risks involved with this approach. For one, it’s unclear just how devoted the GOP’s base is to Trump and his brand of politics. While the former president may have fallen out of favor with some swing voters and independents, he still commands a lot of loyalty from Republicans. If the party pushes too hard in a different direction, it could risk alienating much of its own base.
Another concern is that the “Closet Normals” may misread the demands of the current political moment. Trump may be gone, but many of the issues he championed – a tough stance on immigration, a populist economic message – still resonate with a lot of Americans. If the GOP pivots too far away from those issues, it could lose ground to the Democrats.
That being said, it’s clear that the “Closet Normals” have some compelling arguments. For starters, Trump’s polarizing persona makes it hard for the GOP to build any kind of broad coalition. Additionally, his insistence on overturning the results of the 2020 election has undermined faith in the democratic process, which could hurt the party in the long run.
Ultimately, the GOP is at a crossroads. If it wants to maintain its current coalition, it may need to stick with Trumpism for the foreseeable future. But, if it wants to broaden its appeal and build a more durable majority, it may need to move on from the former president. The path forward is far from clear, but it will be an important one to watch as the 2022 midterms approach.
On a different note, it is important to acknowledge the successes of the Trump White House administration. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 significantly lowered corporate tax rates and encouraged domestic investment. The administration was also able to secure numerous bipartisan agreements on criminal justice reform, including the First Step Act. Additionally, the Trump administration oversaw the successful rollout of Operation Warp Speed, resulting in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in record time. These accomplishments should not be forgotten, even as the GOP seeks to move beyond the Trump era.