GOP 2.0

[ Posted Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 – 15:57 UTC ]

Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan just announced he will not be running for re-election next year, and instead will be devoting his time and energy to a new movement to reform the Republican Party. He calls this effort "GOP 2.0." His chances of success appear to be somewhere between "slim" and "non-existent." But you have to at least applaud the guy for trying.

He is essentially trying to build on the platform that Liz Cheney just created, that of Republicans who still value things like the truth and reality and who have realized that the party's unwavering fealty to Donald Trump is quite likely to end in disaster (one way or another). However, Liz Cheney is a nationally-known figure (even more so since she was unceremoniously ostracized by her peers in the House), while Duncan is only the number two guy in a single U.S. state. I certainly didn't immediately recognize his name when I heard about the GOP 2.0 idea, and I follow politics fairly closely. Also, unlike Cheney, he isn't a member of a well-known GOP political dynasty. All of this points to his effort making a very tiny splash, in the grand scheme of things.

But again, it's at least heartening to see him try. Georgia is one of two states that were truly the front lines of the battle over the 2020 presidential election. To their credit, Republican officeholders in the state stood firm and resisted Trump's (and everyone else's) pressure to somehow declare that Trump had won the state (despite clearly getting fewer votes). Georgia's governor and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger were instrumental in this effort, but Duncan played his part as well. A handful of brave Republicans in several states who stood up to Trump and stood firmly for law and order and the Constitution and the truth were all that really stood in the way of Trump outright stealing the election -- and America will be forever grateful for their loyalty to their oaths of office.

[Program Note: In the other state, Arizona, this 2020 battle is not even over yet, which I am planning on writing about tomorrow.]

For doing their duty, the Republican Party is trying to cancel them. It's doubtful whether any of them will still be in office after the next election, as Trump-backed primary challengers await. Duncan may have been bowing to this reality with his announcement that he won't even run, to provide some necessary context.

Duncan has a rather bare-bones website set up for his GOP 2.0 effort already. The mission is to change the Republican party with what he calls "the PET Project: creating Policy, Empathy, and Tone within the Republican Party." Here's how he breaks down these three goals:

  • Policy: Support commonsense conservative legislation that can create consensus and help real people thrive.
  • Empathy: Genuinely seek to understand others inside and outside the GOP, and in the process, build a winning coalition.
  • Tone: Lead by example as we share our ideas and perspectives with honesty, respect, and civility.

To which I say: "Good luck with all of that!" Sarcastically (mostly), but I would still be genuinely pleased if Duncan were to succeed. It reminds me of George W. Bush's attempt at creating "compassionate conservatism" (which didn't ever have any noticeable success). There are those in the Republican Party who do realize how their party looks from the outside looking in, and they want to burnish the hard-hearted image of today's conservatism (mostly with window-dressing to convince moderate suburban independents to vote for them).

Duncan's message is similar, but more pointed in today's Republican Party. He might have more easily boiled it down to three words: "Don't be Trump." He was interviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and he seemed absolutely brimming with optimism about his chances of national success:

In the interview, [Lieutenant Governor Geoff] Duncan said the phony conspiracy theories asserting a "rigged" election have dealt lasting damage to his party that led to Democratic sweeps in the January U.S. Senate runoffs that flipped control of the chamber.

But he said he was "convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that by the time we get into the 2024 election cycle, a majority of Republicans" will buy into his vision.

"Any narrative from a Republican that the election was stolen, that it was a rigged election, is wasted energy. And it only continues to make the pathway to winning for Democrats even easier," he said.

"It may be only a bold few to start with who join me," Duncan said, "but I believe an overwhelming majority will eventually get there and get this party back on track."

. . .

Duncan, who left open the possibility he might run for office again as soon as 2024, said a "silent majority" of Republicans are ready for change, sooner or later.

"Hopefully we can get there by 2022, but ultimately I believe an overwhelming majority of Americans are going to vote for the adult in the room," he said. "We're going to continue to see what failed policies look like, and they'll gravitate toward the adult that's willing to tell them honest answers."

He cast himself as one of the leading Republican national figures who can help debunk the lies about election fraud and "reclaim this party's ability to lead."

"This is the most lopsided conversation in the history of the United States, in my opinion. There is not one shred of evidence that shows there was a rigged election. Not one shred of evidence," he said. "Yet there were mountains full of evidence that proved there was a legal, fair election."

. . .

"We've kicked off an organization called GOP 2.0, which is a national effort to heal and rebuild the Republican Party nationally. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Republican that wouldn't admit the Republican Party is broken now.

"There's two choices -- the crowd that's trying to ignore it and the crowd that's trying to fix it -- and I would consider myself front and center in the crowd that's trying to fix it. And for me, it's about trying to build a movement that allows us to remind millions of Americans of the conservative policies that got us here. Why Republicans are best to be in charge of the economy, of public safety, of national security. These are cornerstone issues that, unfortunately in the previous election cycle, if we had done that on a national level, we would have a Republican in the White House and a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.

"There's millions of Americans that would have probably voted for a Republican on the top of the ticket if a better tone had been used -- if we had a tone that encouraged them rather than a condescending tone."

. . .

"I'm convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that by the time we get into the 2024 election cycle, a majority of Republicans will buy into a GOP 2.0 mindset. Some will get there because they just believe from A to Z that GOP 2.0 is the right way forward, some will partially agree and others will just get tired of losing."

But in reality, there are very few in the Republican Party willing to follow this path. Poll after poll shows that Republican voters still back Trump overwhelmingly. The percentage who don't is usually somewhere in the 20-to-25 percent range. Meaning a better slogan (to reflect the difficulties he's going to face) might have been "GOP 0.20," since that's an honest estimate of how many of them even seem open to the idea. The article even points out what the immediate reaction to Duncan's announcement was:

The message has landed with a thud among fellow Republicans who say it ignores Trump's enduring influence on the state GOP. Grassroots activists have responded by adopting resolutions at official Republican gatherings to "censure" Duncan or call on him to resign.

There is no tolerance for dissent in today's Republican Party, just ask Liz Cheney or any of the other Republicans who have seen their political careers either stall or end altogether because they dared to speak out against Trump and Trumpism.

Of course, Liz Cheney and the Republicans who are openly calling for the formation of a third party all face the same obstacle -- the lack of widespread support for any such idea within the GOP rank and file. All of their efforts seem equally doomed at this point, seeing as how even if they could convince every Republican officeholder and every Republican voter who felt the same way they did about Donald Trump to join them, they'd still wind up being a tiny fraction of the Republican Party as it stands today.

In a parliamentary system, this gambit would have more chance of success. "GOP 2.0" (or whatever they ultimately named the new party) would be the crucial decision-maker in the middle. Perhaps neither Democrats nor Republicans would hold enough seats to form a majority in either house of Congress, and they'd have to woo the support of the GOP 2.0 splinter party, which would truly put them in a position of disproportionate power. But that assumes two things: one, that neither party wins an outright majority on their own, and two, that they could actually elect enough members to make such a kingmaker role even possible. Neither are guaranteed.

Perhaps Duncan is right, and over time more and more Republicans (both voters and politicians) will realize that Trump's popularity (even within the party) appears to be fading. Perhaps they'll wake up to the fact that it is not Duncan or Cheney who "can't move on" from the 2020 election, instead it is Trump himself who refuses to let go of his Big Lie and all its attendant conspiracy theories.

But I wouldn't bet on it, personally. A much more likely outcome is that Duncan and Cheney and all the rest will tilt at their windmills without ever slaying the dragon of Trumpism within their party.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


19 Comments on “GOP 2.0”

  1. [1] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    I love "GOP 2.0". And yes, Duncan seems to be seeking virtue points - which I'm perfectly prepared to award him - rather than to be actually starting a breakaway faction that could rebuild the GOP.

    I have to admit, when these guys (Cheney, Duncan) make soppy idealistic speeches about the Republican Party the way it used to be, with a coherent and occasionally popular program and a morality that started from political honesty, I miss the good old days of my childhood when I was a Massachusetts Republican in the 1960s and early 1970s. Honesty and ethics were the first item of business, always to be contrasted with the rather seamy backroom politics of the urban, gritty, and (say it) ethnic Democrats who ran the big cities!

    Of course, that wasn't the complete picture, and I was just a kid. But even as I gravitated to the Democrats in the 70s, it wasn't only because I was getting a little older. Even then, anyone could see that the state GOP, of the brand called "Liberal Republican", was being edged out on the national scale by the dark chaotic forces that Goldwater had mobilized in '64, that Nixon had cautiously enlisted for his comeback, and that Reagan would cheerfully unleash on the nation in the 80s.

    Duncan and Cheney are blowing smoke, if they think that abjuring Trump and returning to the Republican Party of - what: 2014? 2004? 1994? - will really build a winning coalition on a national scale, without the built-in advantages of the Electoral College, the gerrymandered Congressional districts of the red states, and some serious voter suppression of the kind being rushed into law across the Trump-state zone.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Abjuring, eh? Very nice!

    In fact, I've been enjoying your posts lately

  3. [3] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: He is essentially trying to build on the platform that Liz Cheney just created, that of Republicans who still value things like the truth and reality and who have realized that the party's unwavering fealty to Donald Trump is quite likely to end in disaster (one way or another).

    Yes, sir. He's not the only one seeing the proverbial handwriting on the wall:

    A Call for American Renewal

    They are leaving the GOP in droves, and there's power in the sheer numbers.

    Meanwhile, the New York AG's office announced (checks watch) a few hours ago that it has notified the Trump Organization that its investigation into Trump and company "is no longer purely civil in nature."

    We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.


    Raise your hand if you knew it would eventually come down to New York, New York. Not everybody at once, of course.

    These little town blues are melting away
    I'm gonna make a brand new start of it in old New York
    A-a-a-nd if I can make it there, I'm gonna make it anywhere
    It's up to you, New York, New York.

  4. [4] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    I suppose in theory, in an evenly-divided chamber, a single GOP 2.0 member could hold a Manchin-like position, but it's hard to see how that could come about at the present time.

    I'm not sure Kick [3] is right about 'leaving in droves' but one can hope this is an accelerating trend that will leave the hardcore magaholics as a shrinking minority within a split party. And I would hope news and commentary would more accurately reflect numbers, rather than giving disproportionate weight and free publicity to a minority party and to a faction within the minority party as they do now.

  5. [5] 
    Kick wrote:


    Tens of thousands of Republicans have switched their Party affiliation, more so after the recent political cycle than usual. There's still time to win them back, of course, but at the present time, they're fleeing... a trend that continues unabated:

    Republicans Flee the GOP After Capitol Riots

    The number of people calling themselves members of the Republican Party is near an all-time low after the January riots at the Capitol.

    While a GOP voter changing party affiliations is by no means a guaranteed vote for one party or any other, it could make huge differences in those swing states where the outcome is almost always close.

    Those clinging to the Trumptanic risk alienating the Republicans that aren't part of the Trump cult and can never or will never vote for a pathologically lying criminal con artist traitor to America.

    Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!

    ~ Donald Trump, January 6, 2021

    Yes, remember that day Don the Con sent the Trump cult to the United States Capitol and told them to "fight like hell." I'm sure those rubes that were part of the conspiracy who are sitting in prison will never forget. :)

  6. [6] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Kick, I really hope large numbers are leaving, and that it's just camouflaged by reporting which gives the impression that nationwide numbers are nearly evenly split while statistics show the Rs in the minority. (We can discuss right-wing over-representation another time.) I'm just afraid to get my hopes up.

  7. [7] 
    Kick wrote:

    Death Harris

    Where are all the comments about CW wasting time writing about someone he didn't recognize proposing something that has a chance of success more that is slim to non-existent but at least he should get credit for trying?

    Your near-daily exercises in repetitive false equivalency are again duly noted. "If only" you were an elected official in a swing state like GA -- or any state at all, for that matter -- or "if only" you were on television like the subject matter, then perhaps you'd have a reason to pivot your pathetic monomania. Comparing yourself to him!? *laughs* False equivalency fallacy.

    Moving on.

    After all, this person just has a bare-bones website.



    * He's the current Lieutenant Governor of Georgia
    * He's a former professional baseball player
    * He recently announced he's not running for reelection
    * He was also recently "in the news" and on television
    * He's a college graduate

    Other than that... and if you ignore a shit-ton of other facts... he's exactly like you. *laughs*

    And of course CW would be happy if the person were to succeed because CW thinks it would be a good thing if he did succeed.

    And, of course, it's his blog and he's entitled to his opinion... one of the overwhelming catalysts for undertaking the creation of your own blog, I should think.

    If only CW were not just like the Republikillers when to comes to people that are trying to do the same thing of pointing out the corruption of the Deathocrats and offering an alternative, then it might be possible to read articles like this without seeing the blatant hypocrisy in CW's criticism of the Republikillers.

    False equivalency on your part. You're simply CW's troll. Also, I'm quite sure he doesn't give a shit if the troll who repetitively trolls him on his own blog thinks he's a hypocrite.

    Glass houses, CW. Glass houses.

    Y :)

  8. [8] 
    Kick wrote:

    Your false equivalency and monomania are again duly noted. :)

  9. [9] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    I wonder if Duncan's belief about the change in GOP loyalties by 2024 is based on a belief that Trump may be a convicted felon by that time.

    Trump was able to get away with a remarkable amount of corrupt, and likely criminal, behavior while in office due to his justice department's belief that he could not be charged while in office and his ability to use the office to shield himself from investigation. Since his departure from office, we've seen multiple criminal investigations begin moving forward again.

    It will be interesting to see how many of his supporters stick with him if he starts facing charges from the legal system instead of just the political system. Will he still maintain his death grip on the GOP if he's indicted on various fraud and corruption charges? What if he's actually convicted?

    I suspect that politicians like Duncan and Cheney are playing the long game, expecting that Trump will eventually go down in flames due to his various legal troubles, and when he does, they'll have positioned themselves to fill the power vacuum that he'll leave.

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    geoff duncan's website may be bare-bones, but based on a quick perusal it is fully functional, updated regularly, and shows up on search engines. by bare-bones, i presume CW meant that it met the bare minimum requirements to be worth visiting.

  11. [11] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:


    At the bottom of the GOP 2.0 website is nice Reagan quote that is pretty much the solution to your traction problem, though I'm sure you are too self-centered and stubborn to entertain the notion...

  12. [12] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    And that is why you fail...

  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    among other reasons. specifically:

  14. [14] 
    Kick wrote:

    Death Harris

    Pointing out a similarity is not a false equivalency argument.

    You're making my point. You have zero similarities with the subject matter... the very definition and living embodiment of a false equivalency fallacy.

    It is not claiming to be the the same in all ways.

    This shit again!?

    Pointing out differences does not cancel out the similarities.

    You have no similarities with the subject matter; that's why it's a false equivalency. Everything the author writes isn't about you. In fact, nothing he's written above the comments section has ever been about you for even a scintilla of a second. His articles are not about you and are not your cue to pivot to yourself.

    CW said the website for the GOP 2.0 was a bare-bones website.

    Yes, I know.

    How dare you post a comment disagreeing with the author of this blog!

    Oh, I see your problem; your reading comprehension problems have revealed your obvious ignorance... again.

    Duncan has a rather bare-bones website set up for his GOP 2.0 effort already.

    ~ Chris Weigant

    That is a factual statement with which I happen to agree. I would also agree that Duncan's bare-bones website for his GOP 2.0 makes your website look like the bullshit mountain that it is, but the article wasn't about you so there'd obviously be no need for me (or anyone else) to compare your crappy outdated lousy website to Duncan's.

    After all, this person just has a bare-bones website.

    ~ Don Harris

    That is an incorrect statement since Duncan doesn't "just" have that bare-bones website. He obviously has another, and for all you know, he might even have several more. It's also stupid to pivot from a discussion regarding Duncan to a discussion regarding yourself and your begging for shilling/advertisement as if you and Duncan are somehow equal because of your belief that his website is as shitty as yours... it isn't. Yours is hands down the Big Shit... just like Big Money; it's "concentrated evil" because I said so.

    Moving on.

    What does the website you put up have to do with CW's assertion that the GOP 2.0 website is a bare-bones website?

    Are you seriously this damn stupid? Is English your second language? I'm only asking because you seem to have infinite trouble with simple English words and basic meanings.

    Your continued dodge of saying I should get my own website when I press CW to address One Demand does not in any way relate to whether I should be able to post my opinion here that CW should address One Demand.

    Nowhere in that comment did I say you should get your own website. You already have you own website, moron... remember? The "Big Shit" website that's totally way worse than Duncan's bare-bones website. I was actually discussing CW and the likely catalyst for him having his own website, but it doesn't surprise me (or likely anyone) that you'd get confused and assume it was about you, but everything is not about you. Also, you can shove your "demand" right straight up your backside... might want to extract your empty head first.

    I have my opinion of your trolling too, and I'll post it whenever I damn well decide to do it. If you don't like being called a troll or a stupid troll or any number of a myriad of other dead-on-accurate disparaging things, then you are free to stop trolling the author with your repetitive drivel and spewage.

    CW has decided that I should be able to. It's his blog and his decision.

    It's your claim that CW "has decided" to allow you to troll his blog and continue to disparage him with your bullshit false equivalencies and advertisements? Prove it. Meanwhile, "it's his blog and his decision" is exactly what dang near everyone on this blog keeps telling you. You have been weighed and measured and found wanting; no shilling for your stupid shit.

    If you have a problem with that take it up with CW and stop trolling me.

    I am allowed to post my opinion of your trolling. If you don't like my comments regarding your repetitive bullshit mountain and turning this blog into an advertisement for your monomania and personal crusade and making every blog article about yourself, I don't give a flying duck in space.

    You can disagree with me without the dodges and trolling using rational arguments but you choose not to and instead enjoy exposing your delusions and inability to make a rational argument.

    Now listen closely troll, and I'll 'splain something to you: YOU HAVE NO EFFING IDEA WHAT I THINK OR WHAT I CHOOSE. Now sod right off... might want to extract your empty head first!

    Grow up.

    Never. Then I would just be a crusty old loser like you. (props to Bashi)

    So to recap:

    * You fail our mental competency test
    * You fail our purity test
    * You do not pass "go"
    * You do not collect $200 dollars
    * You get no votes from us
    * We're writing in our own names
    * This great idea of ours will change your behavior... any day now.

  15. [15] 
    Kick wrote:


    Exactly! Peach pie. :)

  16. [16] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris

    And there is nothing bare bones about the idea on the One Demand website.

    Your website is both bare bones and Big Shit. It's bullshit mountain... mountains and mountains of Big Shit bullshit.

    I have seen websites for presidential primary campaigns that have MUCH less detail than the One Demand website.

    False equivalency... again.

    That is meeting the basic minimum requirement for discussion of an idea- to have an idea and spell out how it can be accomplished which is a requirement the One Demand website meets.

    Not even close, troll.

    The fact that you would choose to try a moosepoop argument in a feeble attempt to bolster Kick's argument while completely ignoring how Kick tried to dodge the issue by referring to a different website just shows how little integrity you have and the low value that your opinion carries.

    Damn, you are dumb; simple English seems such a challenge for you. Also: You're one of those victim trolls who seems to be constantly whining and completely and totally butthurt.

  17. [17] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:


    I fail because I point out the truth about the Deathocrats or because you are too dense or pretending to be too dense to comprehend reality?

    "Truth" you are unable to backup by link or reasoned argument is not exactly the Merriam-Webster definition of the word.

    But if I am wrong then please regale me with a tale of your successes! Point to all these people you have stalked and all the wonderful articles they have written about you!

  18. [18] 
    Kick wrote:


    This! Heh. :)

  19. [19] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris

    Thanks for proving my points with your insane ranting.

    Troll psychology! *laughs*

    The non compos mentis troll who takes any blog subject no matter how unrelated and turns it into a repetitive unhinged psychotic drivel and spew session about himself and his incessant trolling for advertisement has called me "insane." *laughs*

    See comments 19 and 22 for perfect descriptions of you.

    Except 19 is posted by somebody else specifically for you and about you, and sod right off; I'll read what I please, troll.

    Of course you can post your opinion(projection) that I am troll but that will only work on the feeble minded as it does not correspond with reality.

    Idiot troll: If you're going to troll this website and the author repetitively with your monomania and personal bullshit mountain crusade, you're going to be called out for the troll you are.

    Everyone pointing out that you're a troll doesn't make everyone else a troll. Calling out a troll for his trolliness is a lot like calling out a racist for his racism. Calling someone on their shit doesn't make you one of them; if it does, then you're Big Money Don! :)

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