GOP ‘Do Nothings’ ignore our very real problems

If it weren’t so intent on inventing wedge issues and waging culture wars, the GOP could offer conservative ideas to help solve actual problems.

SHARE GOP ‘Do Nothings’ ignore our very real problems
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on June 7, 2022 in Washington, DC. McConnell told reporters he hoped the two parties could find common ground on potential gun violence legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks after a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on June 7 in Washington, DC.

Getty

It’s often pointed out that, under the tutelage of former President Donald Trump, the Republican Party abandoned long-held conservative orthodoxies and interests — think lowering the debt and deficit and anti-protectionism — in favor of whatever Trump just said. For the four years Trump was in office, the GOP busied itself with the projects he ordained important, and little else.

Now, with Trump relegated to Mar-a-Lago and his floundering social media endeavor, the GOP’s been left to its own devices. Lest you think lawmakers have been sitting on their hands, they’ve actually been dizzyingly busy introducing hundreds of pieces of legislation all over the country.

Indeed, Republican state lawmakers across America have introduced more than 500 anti-abortion laws just this year, which is only halfway done.

Since 2021, Republican state legislators have introduced more than 200 bills to combat critical race theory.

Columnists bug

Columnists

In-depth political coverage, sports analysis, entertainment reviews and cultural commentary.

Driven by the same GOP outrage machine, there have been 1,586 books banned in schools between August 2021 and April 2022, most of which targeted LGBTQ people and people of color.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Republicans introduced a staggering 440 bills with provisions that would restrict voting access in 2021. So far in 2022, they’re at 393.

Busy, busy, busy.

By the sheer volume of new laws, it almost feels like the GOP is solving actual problems. Except when it comes to those, Republicans have become the Do Nothing Party.

After a slew of horrific mass shootings, including in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children were senselessly slaughtered, the vast majority of elected Republicans have offered zero changes to our current gun laws.

Even things that are popular — including among Republican voters — like universal background checks and boosting the minimum age to purchase an assault rifle, have been met with total opposition from lawmakers.

Where Republicans have offered solutions, as BuzzFeed laid out, they’ve not explicitly addressed guns, but instead inane things like locking doors, more fencing, window coverings, bulletproof backpacks and prayer in school.

A shocking new poll from CBS News/YouGov shows just how uninterested Republicans are in doing something about these tragic incidents.

While 85% of Democrats and 73% of independents say mass shootings can be stopped, nearly half of Republicans said mass shootings should be accepted as part of a free society.

It’s hard to wrap your mind around that alarming apathy, the capitulation that we must just live with the mass murder of innocent people in bunches, and the perplexing irony in asserting that a society in which grocery stores, movie theaters, churches, synagogues, malls, businesses, news outlets, concerts, hospitals, sporting events and schools are no longer safe is still somehow “free.”

But it’s not just mass shootings. Republicans have decided we just have to accept a whole host of very real problems.

After dismissing COVID-19 as nothing more than a cold, then promising it would be gone within a few months, then blaming Democrats for inventing new variants, many Republicans insisted we just have to live with it and fought common sense precautions, like masking, social distancing, vaccines and boosters. All of this while COVID-19 ravaged red states. More than a million Americans have died from COVID-19 — and yet a majority of Republicans believe the government spent too much money combating the deadly virus.

Opinion Newsletter

Opinion This Week

A weekly overview of opinions, analysis and commentary on issues affecting Chicago, Illinois and our nation by outside contributors, Sun-Times readers and the CST Editorial Board.

Republicans also think there’s little to be done about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, a deadly event meant to overturn a democratic election. The chair of the Republican National Committee said the investigation into that dark day amounts to the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” Trump has said that if he were re-elected in 2024, he’d consider pardoning anyone convicted in that attack. Will he also consider pardoning others who assault and kill police officers on the streets of our cities? The question answers itself.

Similarly, Republicans don’t seem at all concerned about the very real rise in domestic terrorism incidents from white supremacists and anti-government extremists on the far right. Fox News’s Tucker Carlson said bluntly that right-wing domestic terrorism “doesn’t exist.” (It does, and it is up.) And every Republican lawmaker in the House, save one, voted against a bill to expand resources to investigate and respond to domestic terrorism.

Guess we’ll just have to live with that, too.

Same goes for climate change, the war in Ukraine, and infrastructure issues, about which most Republican lawmakers want to do little or nothing.

These aren’t liberal problems. They’re American problems, and they’re real and urgent. If it weren’t so intent on inventing wedge issues and waging culture wars, the GOP could offer conservative ideas to help solve them.

Instead, the Do Nothings keep doing nothing. After all, it’s so much easier to slay imaginary dragons.

Send letters toletters@suntimes.com

S.E. Cupp is the host of “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” on CNN.

The Latest
Nicolas Toledo, a grandfather visiting family in Highland Park, was identified by his granddaughter as one of the people killed in the mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in the northern suburb.
When government refuses to act, it betrays the ideals we celebrate on the Fourth.
The strike also is delaying road resurfacing around Chicago and projects including the Interstate 55 and Weber Road interchange and the Interstate 80 bridge in Joliet.
MLB
Home runs and sacrifice bunts are down. So are strikeouts, but that is almost entirely because of the National League using the DH.
Here’s a look at photos taken by Sun-Times and WBEZ photographers following the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park.