Election night can feel a rush for conservatives, which makes sense: After a few years, those politicians who rejected the country’s history, attacked the police, weaponized science, and persecuted Christians and their children were finally sent packing.
It’s always good to get a little separation from something as destructive as the modern Democratic Party, but there’s one problem, and it’s what comes next?
Really. Most of us lived through Scott Brown’s special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Just two years after he’d been elected in a historic victory, President Barack Obama had launched his signature legislation to increase government control over health care, and the reaction to his (and the GOP’s) elitist overreaches had finally brought out a previously quiet base of Americans. If he won the election, Scott Brown would break Obama’s supermajority, and stop Obamacare from becoming law.
As the election approached, the excitement spread. My parents took a commercial flight a few days before Election Day where the pilot pranked the intercom system, asking a “Sen. Scott Brown to please come to the front of the plane” to raucous applause. When the day finally came, I was off at the D.C. bar I was working at, so flew home to vote and spend my last dollar sharing a room at the campaign’s hotel. “Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night” blasted out of the speakers, while a smiling Gov. Mitt Romney gave television interviews from the ballroom risers.
I still have the issue of the arch-liberal Boston Globe announcing Brown’s win that night. I saved it because I thought he’d stopped Obamacare from becoming reality. And Brown did try! (At least on that issue.) The Republican Party, however, underestimated the lengths their political opponents would go to wield power and defeat their opponents. Twelve years later, Obamacare is still the law of the land and by now, not even talked about.
Ten months after the special election, Americans got another go at sending their men to Washington. The “tea party wave” was so strong, even the always-confident president appeared quiet and chastened, admitting to reporters his party had lost touch and taken “a shellacking.”
But he didn’t give up, eventually warning his opponents, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone,” before embarking on an ambitious agenda (that included remaking American citizenship) wielding solely executive power.
There was something to 2016, sure. A total outsider was elected president and, despite years of conspiracy theories, owed nothing to anyone. He’d serve as a wrecking ball, fighting the left on every front they opened, but by 2021, was gone. If just under two years on, Republicans are back, to what end?
Sure, neither Mitch McConnell nor Kevin McCarthy will be winning the presidency (a fact they’ll remind you of ad nauseum), but if they win the power of nominations and the power of the purse, how viciously will they wield the power they’ve been handed?
Will they halt the president’s extremely successful judicial nomination record? Halt it completely, without exception?
Will they ask where the billions in dollars and arms going to Ukraine ended up, or just keep sleepwalking toward a nuclear standoff?
Will they claw back the IRS’s newfound funds, or leave their tens of thousands of new agents on the job?
Will they continue to send $45 billion to America’s hard-left universities without a word of objection, as they have for years?
Will they demand funding for a wall, end funding toward abortions here and abroad, and refuse to confirm ambassadors and other posts devoted to spreading the left’s culture war to Vatican City and further abroad?
Will they break up the Big Tech companies who wield their power to control the flow of information to voters?
Or on all these issues, will they just tinker around the edges and go on Fox News to crow about it?
While election nights like last night can be a whole lot of fun, the reality is voters often wake up next to a stranger who’s planning to stick around for the next two years.
Conservatives have been losing for about a century now, and at this point rightly find little to conserve. If this will change any at all, they’ll need to think of themselves not as conservatives, but as revolutionaries. If they’re going to make a difference, they might as well: They’ll be up against a powerful executive, its sprawling army of lifelong employees, its allies in the intelligence agencies, Pentagon, corporate media, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and beyond.
Like an addict realizing the vicious power the drug holds over them, some among us have finally realized the vicious power being wielded against the West. We’ve been losing for a century, yes, but really, we’ve only begun to fight. Maybe 2022 will be different from all the rest, but not without a fight. You don’t beat the regime by voting on Election Day — you beat it by making hell each and every day.