Thursday, 13 May 2021

 

We cannot wait for the GOP to clean up its act. So we’re creating an alternative movement.

Image without a caption
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, before a vote was taken by Republicans to remove her from her House GOP leadership position. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Opinion by Charlie Dent
, 
Mary Peters
, 
Denver Riggleman
, 
Michael Steele
and 
Christine Todd Whitman
 
May 13, 2021 at 9:00 p.m. GMT+8

Charlie Dent represented Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District in the U.S. House from 2005 to 2018. Mary Peters was secretary of transportation during the George W. Bush administration. Denver Riggleman represented Virginia’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House from 2019 to 2021. Michael Steele is a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Christine Todd Whitman was governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001.

The Republican Party made a grievous error this week in ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) from the House leadership for telling the truth about Donald Trump’s “big lie,” which has wreaked havoc in our democratic republic by casting doubt over the 2020 election.

Cheney rightfully struck back against party leaders and warned about the GOP’s dangerous direction. She is not alone.

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Alongside dozens of prominent Republicans, ex-Republicans and independents, we are announcing “A Call for American Renewal,” a nationwide rallying cry against extremist elements within the GOP, and highlighting the urgent need for a new, common-sense coalition.

We urge fellow Americans to join us.

Our alliance includes former governors, members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, state officials, seasoned political strategists and grass-roots leaders dedicated to offering a hopeful, principles-based vision for the country — and ensuring that our votes have decisive impact in key elections across the United States.

We want to give voice to the millions of Americans who feel politically homeless and mobilize them to help chart a new path forward for our country.

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It is time for a rebirth of the American cause, which we will pursue in partnership and loyal competition with others committed to the preservation of our Union.

Tragically, the Republican Party has lost its way, perverted by fear, lies and self-interest. What’s more, GOP attacks on the integrity of our elections and our institutions pose a continuing and material threat to the nation.

The Jan. 6 insurrection was a wake-up call for many who had remained loyal to the party, even while harboring concerns about its direction.

Many have since left. The GOP has effectively become a privileged third party, ranking behind independents and Democrats in voter registration.

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Meanwhile, Republican legislators are trying to impede voting rights across the country as a last-ditch effort to retain power.

We will not wait forever for the GOP to clean up its act. If we cannot save the Republican Party from itself, we will help save America from extremist elements in the Republican Party.

That means hastening the creation of an alternative: a political movement dedicated to our founding principles and divorced from the GOP’s obsessive cult of personality around a deeply flawed (and twice-impeached) man, whose favorability ratings are reportedly tanking in key swing districts around the country.

We will fight for honorable Republicans who stand up for truth and decency, such as Liz CheneyAdam KinzingerLisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney, to name a few.

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But we will not rely on the old partisan playbook. We intend to work across party lines with other Americans to oppose extremists and defend the republic wherever we can.

Together with our patriotic allies in other parties, our movement will stand against fearmongers, conspiracy theorists and the opportunists who seek unbridled power.

We plan to invest in a deeper bench of effective leaders in cities and states across the country while recruiting a new generation of principled, pragmatic citizens to the cause.

Some no doubt will urge us to join the Democratic Party. We believe that inching toward a single-party system would be dangerous and would fail to represent the diverse viewpoints in our nation.

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America cannot have just one party committed to preservation of its democratic institutions. There must be at least two, if not more.

With Cheney’s dismissal from House leadership, the battle for the soul of the Republican Party — and our country — is not over. It is just beginning, which is why we are forming a “resistance of the rational” against the radicals.

We still hope for a healthy, thriving Republican Party, but we are no longer holding our breath.

Next month, we will convene a nationwide town hall open to all Americans and featuring current and former U.S. leaders who will lay out where we must go from here, how we can ensure a freer America and how all citizens can join the fight.

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Extremists may have fired the first shot in this moral struggle for America’s future, but with truth as our lodestar, those laboring to renew America will fire the last.

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