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Todd Johnson / Oct. 3, 2017

Failed GOP Leadership

The party of Lincoln and Reagan is at serious risk of losing its majorities in both houses of Congress in 2018.

Following the recent failure of the Republican Party to even bring a cogent bill to the Senate floor to repeal ObamaCare, it’s time to admit that the GOP is at an inflection point unlike any other seen in recent years. The caterwauling by the Republican leadership, specifically Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, is leaving many right-leaning and independent voters with a sense of ennui and is putting the party of Lincoln and Reagan at serious risk of losing its majorities in both houses of Congress in 2018.

While some prominent conservative pundits and commentators would like to put the dire situation facing the Republican Party squarely at the feet of President Donald Trump or Washington, DC dysfunction, they would be better served by directing their ire at McConnell and Ryan. The senator from Kentucky and the congressman from Wisconsin have failed bitterly in their critical legislative roles and their inability to work together to pass even one piece of significant legislation over the last 256 days is political malpractice.

There is no doubt that McConnell and Ryan have tried to steer their respective delegations but it’s obvious to even the casual observer of American politics that they don’t have the prerequisite skill sets to lead the Republican phalanx going forward. Both have shown an inability to adapt and change to the new dynamics of legislating in the 21st century, primarily because they have served in Congress for so many years, (McConnell since 1985 and Ryan since 1999) and both are fully ensconced members of the GOP establishment.

McConnell’s and Ryan’s lackluster leadership styles have also exacerbated the tension that currently permeates the Republican Party.

Roy Moore’s triumph in Alabama’s Republican primary runoff last week and Trump’s win last November are two major examples of significant body blows to the Republican establishment, which the Senate majority leader and speaker of the House personify.

Moore’s surprising margin of victory was especially noteworthy since his campaign was able to overcome an opponent who received millions of dollars from a political action committee known for its strong relationship with McConnell.

It’s no secret that the GOP is performing well at the local and state levels but it is barely functioning on Capitol Hill and much of the blame needs to be directed at the current leadership.

McConnell and Ryan are the proverbial dogs who caught the car and didn’t know what to do when they caught it. Their vociferous opposition to ObamaCare for the last seven years was a mantra for the Republican Party, yet neither could deliver the votes when put in a position to make something to happen.

So, what will the repercussions be going forward?

It’s now only one year before the 2018 congressional elections and it’s a political fact of life that milestone legislation is not usually passed in the months prior to voters going to the ballot box. Which is why the last nine months have been so frustrating for so many Republicans.

Many feel betrayed and it has become clear that the current path being blazed by McConnell and Ryan is no longer tenable.

Yet McConnell and Ryan will remain in their posts for the foreseeable future and the Republican brand will continue to suffer in the process. Establishment candidates backed by the dysfunctional duo will face primary challengers and millions of dollars will be spent during these contests, which will resemble circular firing squads and enhance the Democrats’ chances of taking one, if not both, houses of Congress.

The Republican Party is on the precipice of suffering some serious long-term damage if it continues to follow its current path, and if something isn’t done soon to mitigate the circumstances, it could be a very rocky 2018 election season.

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