A friend of mine recently noted that at the end of a calendar quarter, as campaigns and candidates report their fundraising totals — which are proxies for their political and popular strength — everyone in politics is bombarded with texts, emails and sometimes phone calls asking for cash.
Many of these requests for cash nowadays come from people in former President Donald J. Trump’s orbit. They also tend to be freighted up with declarations of loyalty, insinuations of betrayal and the like.
My friend asked whether anyone has pointed out that the loyalty demanded flows only in one direction. There appears to be limited awareness that the president and his team let down their supporters by indiscriminate and unwise use of Twitter, by the boorishness of the first debate in the 2020 cycle, by durable indifference to the sensibilities of those voters who were the difference between victory and defeat, etc.
It is within the bounds of reason to be annoyed or even angry when asked for fealty from people who give none of their own and who were, in many respects, the authors of defeat in what was a winnable election.
At some point, it is reasonable to measure people both by their own yardsticks and by the results they have produced.
Now that the audit of the Arizona election results have been conducted and the firm – selected by those skeptical of the election’s sturdiness – has concluded that President Biden did in fact win Arizona, is it finally time to get on with the business of being an effective opposition party?
Investigations (both formal and private), courts of competent jurisdiction, and legislatures in a handful of states have spent almost an entire year examining potential evidence of wholesale electoral fraud and found that nothing sufficiently material warrants revisiting the election results.
Was there fraud? Of course, there always is. Was it exacerbated by the rules put in place ostensibly to adjust for COVID-19? Absolutely. Have any of those rules been readjusted to minimize fraudulent voting in future elections? Fortunately, yes.
Is there any scenario in which the election results are voided or altered and Mr. Trump becomes president again? Absolutely not.
Given all that, why is time being wasted worrying over something that can’t and won’t happen? Every second spent on the 2020 election is a second that can’t be spent trying to defeat the truly disruptive elements of President Biden’s agenda. Every minute spent indulging the fantasy of a stolen election is a minute stolen from working on the 2022 and 2024 elections.
Every hour wasted looking backward is an hour that can’t be spent moving forward.
In “The Shawshank Redemption,” two prisoners are talking about the nature of hope. At the end of the exchange, one says to the other: “It comes down to a simple choice, really. You get busy living or get busy dying.”
Those obsessed with relitigating the past are busy dying.
It’s time to put the 2020 election in the rearview mirror and get serious about the challenges ahead. Mr. Trump and the party he leads will never become politically healthy if they remain tangled in pointless grievances.
The party and the man both need to get back into the fight and stop worrying about yesterday’s game. The 2020 elections were lost. In the wake of a loss, you rarely get better by blaming the referees, the weather, the other side cheating, etc. You get better by becoming better at the game.
• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, is the president of MWR Strategies. He was most recently a deputy assistant to President Trump and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.