More than 200 days have passed and Obamacare remains. High taxes, too, continue to burden the economy. With the lack of progress on his legislative agenda, one would think that President Trump – who rode to victory on those issues and carried many Republican lawmakers with him – was facing a Democratic-held Congress.
The inability of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to push through a Republican Congress Trump's key policy proposals is indicative of a problem identified by Pat Buchanan in 2000. The establishments of both parties are more similar than dissimilar.
"[C]andor compels us to admit that our vaunted two-party system is a snare and a delusion, a fraud upon the nation," Buchanan said as he announced his departure from the GOP. "Our two parties have become nothing but two wings of the same bird of prey. On foreign and trade policy, open borders and centralized power, our Beltway parties have become identical twins."
How is Buchanan wrong? For years the GOP went to the party faithful begging for money and votes. Why? Support a GOP Congress and when a Republican president moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Obamacare would face the guillotine.
When it came time to put their money where their mouths were, GOP leaders folded like a cheap suit. Not only was the party unable to agree on replacing Obamacare, they could not even come together to repeal it. Six months in the Trump administration and Ryan and McConnell proved P.T. Barnum right that there is a sucker born every minute.
But can conservatives and Trump supporters really be surprised? Congressional leaders never liked Trump because Trump was the sole candidate in 2016 that could effectively kill the "bird of prey" of which Buchanan spoke.
Trump was elected by voters because he promised to build a wall, end free trade deals that rip off the country, enact a Muslim moratorium, reduce the size of government, normalize relations with Russia, and resist unnecessary wars of intervention. Trump's positions on these issues are contrary to not only Democrats, but the GOP establishment of Ryan and McConnell.
Make no mistake: the wreckage of third-party formations have littered the road to the White House. But Trump's election presents a unique opportunity. Sitting in the Oval Office is a man who represents the values of the GOP's first elected president, Abraham Lincoln. Trump is not a radical departure from Republican politics; he is a radical return.
His homecoming, though, is being frustrated by Ryan and McConnell, two men who have the same interest in Trump's failure held by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
It is for this reason Trump, and his supporters, must do to the Republican Party what it did to the Whigs.
In 2018 and 2020 Trump's focus should not be on electing Republicans to Congress. Instead, it should be on electing individuals who share his America First vision.
Whether that means starting a new America First Party or unleashing an Inquisition to expel Trump heretics in the GOP, the end goal must be the same – party leadership that will advance the president's agenda, not be part of the resistance.
Joseph Murray (@realJoeMurray) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. Previously, he was a campaign official for Pat Buchanan. He is the author of "Odd Man Out" and is administrator of the LGBTrump Facebook page.
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