Opinion: Why I can’t support fellow Republicans right now

My 2023 resolution: Not voting Republican again until the party purges MAGA.

Like most Americans, I usually make the time-honored New Year’s resolutions — eat better, exercise more and write the Great American novel.

Not this year. I have made only one resolution — never, ever again will I vote for a Republican candidate for anything until the Grand Old Party — that I once enthusiastically supported — has succeeded in purging the MAGA craziness from the party.

Credit: contributed

Credit: contributed

The current Republican Party is a disaster. Its “big tent” of members is more accurately described as a circus tent containing two rings — a right ring where members seem content to hear no evil and see no evil, and a far-right ring where the party clowns perform. And of course there are frequent high-wire acts featuring party leaders attempting to keep from falling while being taunted by the clowns below.

The failed attempt to elect a Speaker of the U.S. House on January 3rd and 4th clearly demonstrates the increasing influence of the far-right MAGA ring of the circus. Today’s GOP is such a mess that it will take a lot of evidence to convince me that the MAGA elements have been purged.

For starters, I would like to see some signs from the current GOP leadership that they are aware that the MAGA movement is a serious problem and that they are willing to take some risks to rid the party of MAGA’s lunacy. Alas, however, the reverse seems to be true.

It unfortunately appears that GOP leaders, in the interest of self-preservation, are willing to let the MAGA-ites continue spouting conspiracy theories and nonsense about stolen elections, Jewish space lasers, vaccines, the war in Ukraine and other matters, hoping that somehow, some way, they will wear out their welcome and just go away.

I’m not that patient. At 77 years of age, I don’t imagine I will be voting in a great many more elections, and I would like to have a choice of candidates in those elections in which I am fortunate enough to participate. Now, I have no choice. Until the Republican Party successfully purges the MAGA element, a vote for any Republican appears only to strengthen the power of a party tacitly controlled by those without a positive agenda, who refuse to work with Democrats on any major issues and who believe in an amazing number of deranged conspiracy theories.

Before I vote for another Republican, I need concrete evidence that the GOP has learned its lesson. Among other actions, I want to see the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties adopt resolutions that state unambiguously that Republicans recognize that accepting the results of elections is as vital to democracy as the right to vote. As an example:

“Whereas the United States government is the world’s oldest democracy, and whereas democracy depends not only on people exercising the right to vote, but also on the acceptance by the people of election results whether their candidates win or lose,

“Now be it therefore resolved that the Republican National Committee condemns all attempts by its candidates and members to call into question the legitimacy of election results once all claims of fraud or abuse have been adjudicated by the proper authorities and election results have been legally certified.”

I would also like to see Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures enact rules to punish election denier members by preventing them from serving on legislative committees and condemning them publicly. By attacking election results, MAGA-ites are attacking an essential element of our democracy.

And before I venture back into two-party voting, I would very much like to see examples of Republicans working with Democrats to address some of the problems that Republicans are always complaining about, such as illegal immigration, the rising national debt and violent crime. I want to know that the party of a candidate for whom I vote actually believes in the value of compromise to address difficult issues. Why elect someone to office whose party prefers to use issues as political wedges rather than do the hard work to solve them?

That is my resolution for this year – and for as many years as it takes for me to see real evidence of a GOP no longer under the sway of MAGA nonsense.

After teaching high school American history and government for 11 years, Lee Raudonis worked with Republican Paul Coverdell in the Georgia Senate and later with a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also served as the executive director of the Georgia Republican Party in 1988.