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US politics

Republicans can win without Trump

Liz Cheney, left, with Donald Trump. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

My friendship with Liz Cheney went sour during the Iraq War, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish, when her father, Dick, decided “to commit war crimes in the defence of civilisation”. But she’s right that the Republicans are doomed unless they dump Donald Trump. Right now they’re just a “a backward-looking grievance and conspiracy machine”. They need to take a leaf out of Boris Johnson’s “cannier, less rigid” playbook and do what he has done: go right on culture, left on economics. Everywhere in the West now, that’s “the winning formula”. I don’t mean some kind of “revived Christianism. I mean a critical but undeniable love of country and its flawed but inspiring history.” A focus on “common humanity” would be a bigger election booster than the obsession with group identity shared by both the modern left and the radical right.   

We should pick the best of Biden and Trump, which means big stimulus cheques for working-class families, but a Trump-like nod to the “culturally left-behind”. Republicans should mock and defy the language police, defend trans rights without adopting absurd gender ideology and “lacerate” Biden’s border shambles. They should make the case for reforming, not defunding, the police, while reminding people that tolerance of crime is “deadlier to black lives than police abuse, even as that abuse remains inexcusable”. All they need to win is a figurehead less toxic to moderates than Trump – “and a few f***-ups from Biden”.

Why it matters This week the GOP voted to remove Cheney as its leader in the House of Representatives after she tried – and failed – to move the party away from the “stolen election” conspiracy theory. “Ignoring the lie emboldens the lie,” she warned Congress. What a “bitter, horrible human being”, Trump said in response. 

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