In his column for the Daily Beast, conservative commentator Matt Lewis predicted Donald Trump will lose badly in November and that a crushing defeat will give the party the opportunity to reclaim its values -- but only if the "stench" of Trumpism is ousted at the same time.
Lewis, who left the GOP over Trump, first noted that he can see a possible "blue wave" that will not only show Trump the door but could also take down one of his most avid supporters, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who was previously believed to be unassailable.
According to the columnist that will provide a "window" for Republican lawmakers who have been gritting their teeth through the Trump years to step forward into the power vacuum and make sure another Trump never rises within the party again.
"What I am about to propose is admittedly heavy-handed. It will be called 'undemocratic.' But whoever said a political party is supposed to be a democracy? It might even be called a 'coup' by people who call everything that. What I am suggesting is a return of the establishment… of smoke-filled rooms with party bosses. What I am saying is that the empire must strike back," the columnist proposed. "I am now convinced that if Trump loses on Nov. 3, sane Republicans must impose order and discipline, or wait for the next Trump to emerge."
According to Lewis, certain behavior and rhetoric, of the type used by Trump, should be forbidden and strict messaging about Republican ideals should be adhered to.
"The GOP should be a big tent, so I’m not talking about imposing an ideological litmus test so much as I am talking about imposing a moral one. Support from the new party apparatus should be contingent on character and comportment," He wrote. "Without writing a manifesto on acceptable behavior (I’m spitballing here. Presumably, someone smarter than me would pick up this idea and run with it), I think racism should be a deal-breaker. So should threats against democratic institutions (calling the media 'fake news,' or saying you won’t accept the results of an election, etc.). Likewise, any affiliation with conspiracy theories like QAnon would be cause for a blackball."
As for that "blackball"...
"What kind of discipline could they impose? It depends how much leverage they can wrangle. But let’s say a Republican QAnon supporter is running for Congress. They get zero funds from any party committee. Zero. Any member who gives them money immediately loses his committee membership. That and maybe they make an example of you and drop a million bucks into your next primary race," Lewis suggested. "Any radio host who has this candidate on loses access to every Republican who wants the support of The Team. Basically, you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists (a line George W. Bush might be able to deliver). Oh, and, by the way, the train is leaving the station. We might look past your previous behavior, but you can sign up to me on the new team, or not. Your call. This has to be hardball."
Writing the election may "flush the system" of Trumpism, Lewis said the "adults" in the party need to step forward after the election and assume control to thwart any Trump wannabes from trying to keep the departed president's spirit alive.
"Now that we’re in the death throes of the Trump presidency, there’s a limited time to restore order and prevent that fate. But it’s gonna take leaders with guts. Will the adults rise to the occasion?" he asked.
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