Hawley Op-Ed: The GOP is dead. A new GOP must listen to working people.

Friday, November 18, 2022

By U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) | Nov. 18, 2022 | Washington Post

The old Republican Party is dead. It has been wasting away for years now, and this month’s midterm results are the finishing blow. If Republicans learn nothing else from this election, they must learn that much. 

As frustrating as the election outcomes are, the death of the old GOP is no reasonto mourn. It just means that it’s time for Republicans to forge something new — a party that truly represents the cultural backbone of this nation: America’s working people. 


For decades, Republican politicians have sung a familiar tune. On economics, they have cut taxes on the big corporations and talked about changing Social Security and Medicare — George W. Bush even tried to partially privatize Social Security back in 2005. In the name of “growth,” these same Republicans have supported ruinous trade policies — such as admitting China to the World Trade Organization — that have collapsed American industry and driven down American wages. 

This tax-and-trade agenda has hollowed out too many American towns by shipping jobs overseas. It has made it almost impossible to raise a family on one income and to find a good-paying job that doesn’t require a college degree. Our trade deficit with China has cost this country 3.7 million good jobs, while a crisis of drug overdose deaths — particularly among working Americans — has ravaged many of the same communities that have suffered most from deindustrialization. It has all made it harder to stay rooted in your hometown or region. That’s not a record ofsuccess. 


Republicans will only secure the generational victories they crave when they come to terms with this reality: They must persuade a critical mass of working class voters that the GOP truly represents their interests and protects their culture. The red wave didn’t land in part because voters who cast a ballot for Barack Obamaand later supported Donald Trump — voters who likely disapprove of Joe Biden and the Democrats’ agenda — chose to stay home. 

Republicans must win these voters. We will not be a majority without them. That means waking up to what they care about. Work, family and culture are the touchstones of meaning for working people across the country. They must form the bedrock of a new party agenda. 


Right now, the Republican Party stands at a crossroads. Its leaders can, of course, attempt to resurrect the dead consensus of offshoring, amnesties and “free trade.” That’s the path to further losses. 

A reborn Republican Party must look very different. It must offer good jobs and good lives, not just higher stock prices for Wall Street. And it must place working Americans at its heart and take them as they are, rather than treating them as resources to be exploited or engineered away. 

That’s the way to victory. That’s the way to national renewal. 

Read the entire piece in The Washington Post