Sunday, November 22, 2020


If you are a Republican, it is time to refocus your time and attention.

It is time to refocus on winning the two Senate races in Georgia. If Republicans lose even one of those races, presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden and the Democrats in the Senate will give statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and whoever else may want it. They will pass the largest tax increase in history. They will impose their climate change agenda without remorse.

If Republicans lose one of those seats in Georgia, it will be difficult to recover any time in the next generation.

It’s time to refocus on the fight against all the terrible ideas and appointments that will be offered by a Biden administration. Time and mental space now spent chasing electoral phantoms could be used instead to develop clear, coherent arguments against policies ranging from letting Iran off the hook and wiping out student loan debt to compromising American energy independence.

It’s time to refocus on the present and put away the past. Did Democrats work diligently to undermine the legitimacy of the 2016 election? Absolutely. Is President Trump now returning the favor? Absolutely.

But none of the churn associated with an election four long years ago makes any difference in advancing the policy objectives of the Republican Party or the conservative movement. The only thing the obsession with 2016 does is waste time that could be spent on more productive pursuits.

It’s time to refocus on 2022. Senate Republicans face a challenging map in 2022, defending seats in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (where the excellent Ron Johnson is up for reelection). The map may be complicated by an early departure and consequent special election in one of those states. The work to hold the Senate in 2022 begins right now.

House Republicans — due to the great work of Tom Emmer at the National Republican Congressional Committee — are close enough that even a moderately competent effort next cycle should be sufficient to reclaim the majority. But that requires focus and attentiveness. It won’t happen by itself.

It’s time to refocus on 2024. Even if Mr. Trump is planning on running in 2024, there will be others who will seek the GOP nomination as well. If they are serious, those candidates should be thinking about how best to defeat Mr. Trump, not how best to humor him in the present moment.

What happens in the next few weeks may determine the course of the 2024 Republican primary. To date, only Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse — who has been clear-eyed about this since before the election — seems to understand that the way to win an election is by drawing distinctions, not by standing in another candidate’s shadow.

It is time to refocus on the difference between what one thinks or knows and what one can prove. Was there voter fraud Nov. 3? Certainly; there always is. Was it widespread? Probably not. Was it material to the outcome? Doubtful, though there’s no way to know now given that the president’s legal team has made a hash of the case.

What we do know is that judges are loath to invalidate ballots absent specific proof, and that the legal challenges have, to date, all failed.

And finally, it is time to refocus our time and attention. Each and every family has a drama queen who needs to create a stir and then be at its center. The only way to minimize the problem is to be and remain dismissive of that person.

The president will never stay silent for too long. He requires constant attention. The only choice that leaves Republicans is whether to focus on him or the far more urgent tasks at hand.

• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, is the president of MWR Strategies. He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.

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