A Hopeful Sign?

The “chattering classes” are debating whether the GOP will survive in its current iteration. A recent piece in the Washington Post suggests that defections from whatever the party has become are growing. The guest essay was signed by Charlie Dent, who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House from 2005 to 2018, Mary Peters, who was secretary of transportation under George W. Bush, Denver Riggleman, a former Congressman from Virginia, Michael Steele, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, and Christine Todd Whitman, who served as governor of New Jersey and head of the EPA.

They didn’t mince words.

Alongside dozens of prominent Republicans, ex-Republicans and independents, we are announcing “A Call for American Renewal,” a nationwide rallying cry against extremist elements within the GOP, and highlighting the urgent need for a new, common-sense coalition.

We urge fellow Americans to join us.

Our alliance includes former governors, members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, state officials, seasoned political strategists and grass-roots leaders dedicated to offering a hopeful, principles-based vision for the country — and ensuring that our votes have decisive impact in key elections across the United States.

We want to give voice to the millions of Americans who feel politically homeless and mobilize them to help chart a new path forward for our country.

It is time for a rebirth of the American cause, which we will pursue in partnership and loyal competition with others committed to the preservation of our Union.

The signatories charge that the Republican Party has been perverted by “fear, lies and self-interest,” and they decry the GOP attacks on the integrity of America’s elections.
They note the continuing exodus from the party, and describe today’s GOP as “a privileged third party, ranking behind independents and Democrats in voter registration.”

The essay also acknowledges  that Republican legislators are working to impede voting rights across the country “as a last-ditch effort to retain power.” And they issue a threat:
“We will not wait forever for the GOP to clean up its act. If we cannot save the Republican Party from itself, we will help save America from extremist elements in the Republican Party.”

That means hastening the creation of an alternative: a political movement dedicated to our founding principles and divorced from the GOP’s obsessive cult of personality around a deeply flawed (and twice-impeached) man, whose favorability ratings are reportedly tanking in key swing districts around the country.

We will fight for honorable Republicans who stand up for truth and decency, such as Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney, to name a few.

But we will not rely on the old partisan playbook. We intend to work across party lines with other Americans to oppose extremists and defend the republic wherever we can.

The essay announces the creation of a movement to work against “fear-mongers, conspiracy theorists and the opportunists who seek unbridled power.” They note that they are forming a “resistance of the rational against the radicals.”

We still hope for a healthy, thriving Republican Party, but we are no longer holding our breath.

Next month, we will convene a nationwide town hall open to all Americans and featuring current and former U.S. leaders who will lay out where we must go from here, how we can ensure a freer America and how all citizens can join the fight.

The writers do not explicitly threaten to start a new party, but it is difficult to read the essay without concluding that the planned “nationwide town hall” will consider that option very seriously.

If America didn’t need a minimum of two sane, adult parties–if the current GOP iteration didn’t pose such a threat–I’d say “Pass the popcorn and enjoy the show…” But the future of the Republic shouldn’t be mistaken for an entertaining soap opera.

In a two-party system, the health of both parties is critical.


  1. As a lifelong, loyal Democrat, I pray that these people are correct!

  2. I think it is telling that one does not see so many red Trump hats, or Trump yard flags these days. His followers may not have given up on the fool, but I believe they are re-thinking where they are with him.

  3. What if a healthy two perty system vetted candidates aspiring to higher office based on their innate capacity to engage informed debate on basic principles written into our Constitution. The Constitution expressed six basic principles of governing. These principles are popular sovereignty, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, judicial review, and federalism. Would that not be too refreshing??!

  4. Come on, Charlie Dent! If ever there was a need for sanity, it is now. I am an independent voter who is in fear of what will come if the current GOP leaders and the kooks in that party prevail. Good manners and decorum have left the house and senate. I feel this “great country” is viewed as a joke, a bunch of hypocrites, a disgrace, a bunch of lying toadies,
    by most of the world. I have begun questioning if we ever were as great as we tried to tell everyone we were. Bring it on, Charlie Dent, we need the sensible Republicans back, sooner not later!

  5. Yeah, well… Liz Cheney is still a backward policy advocate. She also claims that Biden’s policies are destroying the country and the economy. Typical of a Republican maven, whether or not they are radical Trump-ites or not.

    Yes, we must save democracy from the frothing morons who lust for power. But look at who they are too. Matt Gaetz will soon be taking perp walk dance lessons. MTG is batshit crazy. Lauren Boebert is a miniature Martin Bormann in waiting. Kevin McCarthy is a lying invertebrate. Louis Gohmert is a brain dead Texas Republican. And the list goes on.

    Yes, the radicals must be expunged from politics, but what of all those state legislators who are working ever so hard to destroy the Constitution and our democratic republic? Who and what are slamming the door on their fingers? Those who are tearing up the fabric of voting rights are NOT in Congress. They are our next-door neighbors. Oh. And did I mention that they are Republicans too?

    The fragile few who are “defecting” from Trumpworld are brave and actually have a spine and conscience. But about the clown car in Wisconsin that have gerrymandered voter rights for years so that the backward party can retain power? THAT is the issue. THEY are the people working ever so hard to ruin our experiment.

  6. Hmm, why has the two-party system fought so hard to maintain its power by making it so difficult for other parties to join the fray?

    As a journalist, the 1/6 insurrection aftermath has been beyond curious. We had billionaire funders, organizers on Facebook, nonprofits, Republican lawmakers, and then boots on the ground all involved. It specifically violates USC 2383:


    It’s been four months and all the Intel has been collected but none has been handed over to Congress. Where are the prosecutors? Where is the grand jury? Where are the indictments against all the “enablers” who “assisted” in an insurrection?

    Supposedly, the Democratic Party in Congress has introduced a bill to form a Committee to study the insurrection further. What?

    Does anybody else see what is happening right in front of our eyes?

    We have laws in this country but they are being ignored. I’m sorry, but Liz Cheney is not a principled leader. She lied about the “Russian bounty” story to keep Trump from pulling troops in Afghanistan. She’s as big a liar as her dad who should be rotting in The Hague with GWB for international war crimes.

    This is a theatrical performance to white-wash what happened against our country. Why aren’t all these insurrectionists from the funders to the lawmakers assisting in the event getting the full brunt of the law? Let the DoJ do their job and prosecute these lawbreakers.

    Not to mention, someone gave an order to stand down which hasn’t been revealed. Did that order come from the AG Barr, Trump, or the Pentagon?

    From where I sit, Congress is giving them all a pass on national TV while they get treated for PTSD.

  7. It seems to me that if HR1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act pass, and gerrymandering, dark money, and voter suppression are put away, then the country has a chance to turn this ship around. If those do not pass, nothing will change.
    The reason these acts will make a significant change is they will force both parties to work for the benefit of the middle and working classes, and encourage participation in our political life. Right now it is the Republican Party that stands in the way of progress, but given time and power the Democrats would act the same. A one-party state is not good for anybody, no matter which party is in control.

  8. “It is time for a rebirth of the American cause, which we will pursue in partnership and loyal competition with others committed to the preservation of our Union.”

    The Union is again fighting to pass and enact Amendment XIII, Abolition of slavery; this time the Abolition of Trump’s Dictatorship and enslavery of the nation.

    “Hmm, why has the two-party system fought so hard to maintain its power by making it so difficult for other parties to join the fray?”

    Todd; why do you and so many others forget we already have a FOUR party system? Libertarian and Green Party garnered more than TEN MILLION VOTES in 2016; how many of those votes were actually against Trump and how many against Stein we will never know. We do know that those TEN MILLION VOTES put the election into the hands of the Republican Electoral College members in the states for their second appointment to the presidency.

    “Our alliance includes former governors, members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, state officials, seasoned political strategists and grass-roots leaders dedicated to offering a hopeful, principles-based vision for the country — and ensuring that our votes have decisive impact in key elections across the United States.”

    That alliance has an opinion and a voice in the media but no power; it is the sitting Republicans who hold the power at state and federal levels and are the only ones who can ensure that our votes are even counted.

    Vernon; “…Liz Cheney is still a backward policy advocate.” But she put her political future and probably her life on the line to try to break the Trump stronghold on the entire GOP. I am sure she is also correct in her warning of another “January 6th insurrection” in our future; that may be what it takes to wake up the GOP and the Trump voters to the dangerous situation they are holding our entire Congress in at this time. The next insurrection will have a much higher death count as the “visiting tourists” will come heavily armed and will go in with more than flagpoles as their weapons.

  9. Sounds like: We don’t like it, so we’ll write letters telling everyone how bad it is. Oh yeah, we might decide to form a new party of old unworkable ideas.

    There’s an easy way for the GOP old guard to end this, and that is team up with Democrats to pass SB1 (For the People Act) and SB4 (John Lewis Voting Rights Act). For good measure, they should also pass the Jobs Act to rebuild our infrastructure, which should ensure we never hear from DJT again. Support the party that is supporting the rule of law and the Constitution.

  10. Having begun checking out the ~150 who signed that declaration, my hopes are pretty low. So far, most are 70-90 years old working on their legacy or are veteran lobbyists looking for a gig….

  11. So the conflict within the GOP has now come out in the open. I would like civility returned to the GOP and for the extremists to be disempowered because they are a real threat to the 13th and 14th amendment.

    It is my perception that the nonTrumpers are a minority within the GOP. Question is if the GOP splits will that empower Democrats to retain their majority in Congress? I’m not sure that it will. Biden has 2 years to move his agenda forward. Chances are the GOP will take the house in 2022.

  12. As Cas Mudde wrote a few days ago in the Guardian:

    “For all the media spin about “influential Republicans” or “Republican leaders”, none of the 150 signatories currently holds a significant position within the Republican party. In fact, the vast majority are people past their political career or who never were politicians.”

    “It is the Republican party of an imagined past, harkening to a moderate, noble era that never really existed. Amplifying the anti-Trump Republicans’ message uncritically, as many liberal media and politicians are doing, will not make them more relevant within the Republican party. However, it might help them further whitewash their own pasts as well as that of the Republican party.”

    Some in the GOP may reject The Trumpet. 30 plus years of Reactionary Right Wing, bible thumping talk radio and Fox News has created the standard that a Mitch McConnell and MTG can thrive in. No matter how you cut it The Trumpet won 25 states in the 2020 election.

  13. Roberta, no, we were never as great as we told everybody, including ourselves.
    Yes, Todd, especially about Cheney and GWB.
    Sheila, I will do popcorn, and hope for the best.

  14. We are in the position of cheering the less bad rather than the worst, of going for Chamber of Commerce anti-labor Republicans rather than Republican pretenders who are ready to chuck our whole experiment in democracy and follow the model of the Austrian corporal. We are caught up in the rationale of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” much as we became friendly with Stalin during our common war against the corporal, a war, incidentally, in which I participated though in a different theater.

    Our Reichstag burning orchestrated by a man of German heritage was on 1/6/21. It failed, but contrary to the cheerleading of some, democracy did not necessarily win. That determination is still up for grabs, and will be until the leaders of the failed coup are punished for their attempt to end our democracy, a series of trials many of us are impatient to see happen. In many countries such leaders would have long since been executed (imagine how they would have fared had they tried their luck in a Hitler or Stalin regime); whereas here such seditionists enjoy the rights and privileges granted to criminal defendants by the Constitution which, ironically, they were trying to destroy.

    The temptation in light of what some of these Republicans want to do to save their party from Whigdom is to say “A pox on both your houses,” but I will (if temporarily) encourage their efforts since bad is better than worst and a two or multiparty system is necessary for the give and take and compromise baked into small d idealism.

  15. All of our hope for a return to normality is predicated on a Republican loss in the next two elections. However, these insurrectionists are not planning on fading into oblivion like the Whigs. Their intent to is to restore themselves to power and hold onto it permanently, regardless of how the American people cast their votes. Whether they have the cunning and the fire power to pull this off is questionable, but their intent is not. There must be counter-planning to thwart their effort to subvert the military, the police, their core constituents, the gun owners, the state legislators and the true believers who will happily support them. Simply asserting the primacy of our Constitution is necessary but not sufficient to derail their efforts. Undermining their rebellion is necessary to restoring and holding onto democracy.

  16. What I worry about are the not seemingly not so radical Republicans at the state level. It seems very few are foaming at the mouth over Trump, yet like the 1920’s era KKK who, through all of their carefully crafted PR, seemed to have sanity and broad appeal, state level Republicans are quietly following the Trump playbook for everything it is worth.

    There may be a broad split at National level, but at the state level I worry the cancer will still remain.

  17. Dan -per my fav GOP “I can see Russia clearly now…” – YOU BETCHA!

  18. From the Guardian:

    The House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, said on Tuesday he opposes a proposal to form an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly Capitol attack of 6 January.

    He said: “Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation.”

    McCarthy has long said the commission should also investigate left wing groups that protested against police violence after the murder of George Floyd. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/18/kevin-mccarthy-rejects-bipartisan-commission-capitol-attack

    So there you have it. The House Republican Leader sees no reason to have a special commission to instigate the “Capitol Coup”. So much for “Hopeful” signs.

  19. Todd – Apprehensions of Jan. 6 insurrectionists began almost immediately. The FBI, with the help of the public and social media, has identified, charged, and arrested a few hundred of them and continues to do so. It will take time for all these cases to work their way through the courts, but the FBI progress on identifying, finding, and arresting these folks has been impressive.

  20. Nancy – WADR – most press coverage suggests that nearly all the 1/6 folks will not go to jail and get relatively small fines. As opposed to a young Latino girl who steals a loaf of bread…

  21. Nancy,

    The organizers were planning this on Facebook so it was known well in advance. Christopher Wray was asked by Congress about the Intel and he lied under oath that it was missing. The prosecutors have already leaked info showing that it was collected and the Capitol police were told to stand down. Who gave that order? Why wasn’t the National Guard there?

    Let’s also not forget that during BLM protests in Washington, the military used one of their helicopters to fly over the citizens causing them and the tear gas to disburse. Why wasn’t a military helicopter surrounding the Capitol?

    I guess the last and obvious question is, “Why are Democratic Party leadership protecting the funders, organizers, lawmakers who assisted, along with the boots on the ground?”

    When initially asked that question, Nancy Pelosi replied, “We need a strong Republican Party.”

    Why would Nancy concern herself with the life of the GOP?

    IMHO, without the GOP intact, the lawmakers couldn’t blame anyone for NOT pushing through progressive legislation.

    When the game is rigged, the other team has to pretend to put up a fight, or it will become rather obvious that it’s rigged. Have you ever watched the poorly done pro wrestlers at a county fair? It’s rather obvious their wrestling is fake. Now, those guys at the WWF put on a good show for the crowds. Some even believe it’s not acting. 😉

  22. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but as long as Fox News has a strangle hold over the Republican party, nothing positive is going to happen. Even Trump would be nothing without the blessing of Rupert Murdock.

  23. Sadly, as I said a few days back, unless the so-called “sane” Republicans and willing to destroy the party, nothing will change. Cheney won’t support any national effort to protect voting rights. Will Collins of Murkowski buck McConnell? Will any of them actually change the mid-terms by trying to cause a monumental loss for the Republicans – a true repudiation?

    I will watch from the sidelines, as that is where I am at the moment. I will do what I can to “break” the fix that Republican legislatures are beginning to institute, but for the Republicans, they have to fix their own house; a life-long Democrat can’t do that.

  24. I see that we have one functional political and governing institution, the Democrat Party. To be that in today’s media-saturated culture they need two skills, governance and to quote the current vernacular, influencing, which is just a modern name for politics.

    The Republican Party business has devolved based on what they are good and bad at to be something that can be variously called advertising, media, religion, or cult, based on following a vision of what would be nice but is unrealistic. They want to be superheroes saving the imagination day from supervillains.

    Democracy depends on a minimum of two political parties.

    Therefore in all likelihood, we are at the beginning of a probably painful transition back to the reality that our Constitution was based on the assumption of.

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