America always does best when it looks to the future, not the past, and this is the way it should always be. After all, “Yesterday is not ours to recover,” said Lyndon Johnson, “but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
Only a few weeks into this new year, we’re getting some glimpses of our tomorrow, and there are encouraging signs. Here are a few that stand out.
Tesla is the hot name in electric cars, yet in terms of revenue, it is dwarfed by the likes of General Motors. So it’s huge news that GM says it plans to phase out gasoline-powered cars by 2035, just 14 years from now. As other automakers hit the gas on their own electric vehicles (and pardon the soon-to-be outdated pun), get ready for a wave of technological innovation, competition and entrepreneurial achievement.
Any form of economic disruption means job losses in some industries, but also the creation of entirely new ones. This sort of “creative destruction,” as economist Joseph Schumpeter put it, is what keeps the always evolving American economy moving ahead
Republicans are falling apart
The National Rifle Association has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. I support the Second Amendment and the right to own guns. But the NRA is run by out-of-touch extremists who dismiss school shootings and think it’s OK for anyone to own military-style assault weapons. They speak neither for me nor for tens of millions of Americans who want some common sense.
Just to give one example: Even 92% of Republicans and Republican leaners either strongly or somewhat favor barring people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns. Yet then-President Donald Trump, with the NRA’s encouragement, made it easier for such people to get weapons, by rolling back an Obama-era regulation in 2017.
While the NRA “bankruptcy” is probably just a disingenuous attempt to evade an investigation by New York’s attorney general, I’m delighted to see it squirming and on the defensive.
The Republican Party, meanwhile, is cracking up. I've voted for Republican presidents in the past; my first vote was for Ronald Reagan, for example. But that GOP — of immigration, free trade, the rule of law and standing up to the Russians — hasn’t existed for a long time. Scores of Republican lawmakers downplayed the deadly Trump-inspired attempt to overthrow a free and fair election in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, and 43 of them voted Saturday to acquit him of inciting the attack.
Since the shocking violence at the U.S. Capitol, Republicans have literally given a standing ovation for Georgia’s loony, unstable Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a white supremacist who has previously endorsed racist filth and the execution of Democratic lawmakers.
At the same time, many in the GOP have turned on Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who had the temerity to blame Trump for the Capitol attack and vote to impeach him. She has been censured for this by cowardly Republicans in her home state, as has Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, with a censure vote scheduled Monday night for Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina. Both senators voted Saturday to convict Trump.
The Republican Party is eating itself alive with its fanatical devotion to a twice-impeached con man. It has lost the popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections and remains clueless as to why. Meanwhile, most Americans are moving on from the Trump era faster than you can say “you’re fired."
Trump won't make headlines forever
A Sunday scan of the home pages of numerous news sites on Feb. 7, the Sunday before the Senate impeachment trial launched, revealed few mentions of the 45th president. The Washington Post had one — a piece on how Trump’s election lies have cost taxpayers more than half a billion dollars and counting. The New York Times had a few, largely dealing with the many messes left behind by Trump, and Fox News had two — both concerning his second impeachment trial.
Republicans think their future lies in Trumpism? Good luck with that. No president has ever been so utterly deserving of humiliation and contempt.
Though Trump won a second acquittal at his second impeachment trial, his followers will sulk and play the victim like they always have. The rest of the country is already looking to a more prosperous and civilized future, one in which the name "Trump" will hopefully be heard less and less — and then not at all.
Paul Brandus is the founder and White House bureau chief of West Wing Reports and a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors. His latest book is "Jackie: Her Transformation from First Lady to Jackie O." Follow him on Twitter: @WestWingReport