Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan was a special guest on WDUN’s “Newsroom” this afternoon to share about his new book “GOP 2.0” and his recent experiences with the last election, the Republican party and the current political climate.
According to the website, GOP 2.0 is “an independent movement that brings a fresh and reasoned approach to creating Republican majorities. Join us in advocating for the PET Project: creating better Policy, Empathy and Tone within the Republican Party.”
Duncan, whose book is by the same name, says that this is about more than a book, but about a movement. “The book is just a catalyst to start the national conversation. It gives me an excuse to sit at kitchen tables and boardrooms and everywhere in between,” Duncan said during an interview on WDUN's "Newsroom." He says that the Republican Party needs to talk about the PET Project – Policy, Empathy and Tone.
First, he says policy is important. “We need to remind folks of the policies of why we are conservatives.” Duncan is hoping that going back to the basics of policy will help unite conservatives and moderates alike. “If GOP 2.0 is a success, then we are going to refine the rules of engagement and start putting our policies on display for Americans to vote for, because I guarantee this center, right-leaning country will come our way every time they have a chance.”
He says we need to focus on the issues that unite us, not the ones that divide. “I’m a proud raging conservative that thinks limited government, public safety, national security, and strong economy are tenants of the Republican party. We need to remind people of that.”
He says tone is also very important key – and not something the last president really understood. “We need to move forward with empathy and better tone,” says Duncan. “Even if you supported Trump, we all would agree that if he had used a better tone, we probably could’ve won the election. I was raised in a house that really valued tone. I think we can do a better job as a party.”
One of the things Duncan is hoping for is more unity within the party. “I want to reassure everyone that considers themselves a Conservative or Republican or both… the system is not broken beyond repair. It’s just broken at this point, and we have to figure out how to put a better team on the field. And we will. That process will work.”
He adds that it’s not the policies that are the issue, but the way those policies are carried out. “We are all aligned on all the core tenants of being Republicans or Conservative. It’s the approach, how we execute the plan.”
One of the divisive issues within the Republican party centers around former President Trump and the last election. Duncan found himself at the very center of the election turmoil. He was accused and berated, even by Trump himself who strongly believed Georgia’s election results were inaccurate. Duncan says he would not change the way he handled the situation. “I don’t regret taking the stance I took and I don’t regret speaking the truth and making sure that I didn’t just follow the party line. Doing the right thing is always the right thing.” He says that’s just what he reminded himself of when he was receiving death threats from the public and the ire of the former president.
He says knowing he was doing the right thing kept him moving forward, although, he says sometimes it takes time to prove it was truly right. Duncan says they spent tons and tons of time investigating every lead. “Sometimes it just takes time to be right,” says Duncan. “At the end of the day, there was no fraud, no conspiracy, it didn’t happen. Unfortunately, we lost but we have a chance to win back, we just have to find a way to improve.”
Duncan feels that, if the Republican party can readjust and make crucial changes, as well as accept the last loss, there is a way to unify and win the next election. “I think there’s millions of reluctant voters who didn’t vote for Donald Trump because of the tone or the tenor and the rank that really kind of emanated every day that voted for Joe Biden. Those voters are now just unbelievably astonished at how liberal some of those policies are: what’s happening in Afghanistan, the stimulus in the economy... These are real things that, all of a sudden, people are wanting to see adults make those decisions. Hopefully that’s what GOP 2.0 presents - adults in the room that can make those big decisions.”
While some are hoping to see change, others are still looking backward. A movement to reelect Trump has some wondering if Trump would run again in 2024. Duncan says that would not be a good move for the party. He says the strong reactions from the public means having Trump back on the ballot would no longer be a good move for the party. “The quicker we come to that realization, the better chance we have to win the election in 2024 and send a Republican back to the white house. I invite everyone to that journey to find an even better product to put on display for the voters.”
He says looking backward and trying to fix what already has happened is not the answer. “It’s time to move on and we are going to double down on nonsense and miss out on another election cycle or we are going to right the ship and figure out the best pathway forward and come back as a winner.”
Instead, Duncan hopes that a new revision of the Republican party will provide stronger leadership and move unified team. “I think there’s a massive vacuum of leadership in both parties. I don’t know if you can find a person in the country that would disagree that the political system is broken right now on both sides of the parties. We gotta go to work on that.”
He is hoping that Republicans and Conservatives can see a need to unify together with a new vision for the party. “This whole dream of trying to rebuild a party, called GOP 2.0, is to build a brand and be a safe place. I think the ultimate outcome for us as an organization is to significantly influence who that Republican nominee is for 2024. We have to make sure that we have the reputation of being the adult in the room and be attractive enough for Republicans and Moderates who were reluctant voters for Biden,” says Duncan. “We don’t want to win elections by 50.1 percent but to win them by bigger majorities. We want 55-60% of our country to believe that Republican is best in charge and in guiding our future.”
To find out more about the movement, or the book, you can visit www.gop2.org.