top of page

A New Group Of Elderly Anti-MAGA Republicans Aims To Save The GOP From The Wild Right-Wing Kids

Alan Simpson with Joe Biden

Not thrilled that 3 MAGA senators, Rick Scott (FL), JD Vance (OH) and Tommy Tuberville (AL) wasted a day at the Trump hush money trial in NY, Lisa Murkowski (AK), the GOP’s most independent-minded senator, sounded exasperated when she told a reporter “Do we have something to do around here other than watch a stupid porn trial? I mean, this is ridiculous.” She doesn’t seem closed to the idea of quitting the GOP. In a CNN interview, she said “I wish that, as Republicans, we had a nominee that I could get behind. I certainly can’t get behind Donald Trump.” Alaska voters like her— and keep reelecting her— but the Alaska Republican Party doesn’t support her. If the Senate turns into a 50-50 tier if the GOP is ahead 51-49 with a Biden presidency and she leaves the party, the Republicans could be crippled, especially, as is likely, the House flips blue.

John Danforth (R-MO), William Cohen (R-ME) and Alan Simpson (R-WY) are no longer senators, but they were also relatively bipartisan guys, mainstream conservatives who were serious and wanted to get stuff done, even if it meant compromising with Democrats. Cohen even wound up serving as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense. He’s still a Republican, although he endorsed Hillary in 2016 and Biden in 2020. Trump’s not his kind of Republican.

Danforth, an ordained Episcopal priest, was elected to the Senate 3 times before retiring in 1995. Bush appointed him Ambassador to the UN in 2004. I’m not certain how he felt about Trump but I suspect he wasn’t a fan. He had been a Josh Hawley mentor and supporter when he ran for Missouri Attorney General and then Senator but after Hawley behavior encouraging the J-6 rioters, Danforth said supporting Hawlrey had been “the worst mistake I ever made in my life.”

Simpson is the most conservative of the three and served as the GOP whip in the Senate for a decade and retired after 3 terms in 1997. He was quoted by Mark Leibovich in his 2022 book, Thank You for Your Servitude: Donald Trump’s Washington and the Price of Submission, calling the GOP “a cult” and Trump a “vicious animal who has poisoned our democracy.” On Tuesday Cohen, Danforth and Simpson penned a joint OpEd for the Washington Post, Between Trump and Biden, what should real Republicans do? The three of them served in the Senate with Biden when he was a conservative Democrat always on the hunt to make deals with Republicans. I’m pretty sure they consider themselves real Republicans and feel Biden is the right choice.

“Millions of Republicans,” they wrote, “are struggling with the question of how to vote in November. Not content with the choices offered by either party, they find themselves at a loss as to how to proceed. Some are considering staying home, writing in a name of their own choosing or voting for a man they don’t really want to see in the White House.” Millions? That many. I wonder how they came up with that number. Although maybe two million; that’s millions. 

They wrote that they won’t “presume to tell these people what to do on Nov. 5. What we do want to offer, however, is a framework for thinking about the decision and for helping to secure America’s future beyond 2024, no matter what happens on Election Day. We believe that our nation’s well-being depends on having the positive, stabilizing influence of a healthy, two-party system, which we currently do not have; and that one of those parties must reflect the traditional Republicanism which we embraced in our decades of public service.” The corporate hand of the Democratic Party, unfortunately does reflect the traditional Republicanism they embraced in their decades of public service.

“Recently,” they admitted, “it has become popular to assert that this traditional brand of Republicanism is dead, replaced by a new populist, radical version. We disagree. In our view, traditional Republicanism, though currently in eclipse, is no more extinct than the sun was over portions of the country on April 8. And all of us who believe in it must do what we can to ensure its expeditious return. To facilitate this comeback, we and other former GOP officeholders and officials are not leaving the party, but instead forming a new organization within it— ‘Our Republican Legacy.’ This new group will serve as a big tent for all of us who believe in what the party has been and must continue to be.”

They’re new organization rests on 5 foundational principles missing from teh MAGA movement that they expect to come back into fashion among Republicans:

  • Adherence to the Constitution

  • American Unity as one indivisible nation

  • Fiscal responsibility

  • Free enterprise

  • Peace through strength

To sustain these principles, the three of us are launching “Our Republican Legacy.” It will not be a lobbying organization or a political action committee. It will not, as we said, tell people how to vote in 2024 or beyond. It will be a digital rallying place for all of those currently dispirited about the state of our party and see nowhere to go with their beliefs. It will be an information hub— a center of news and commentary and ideas about strategies and tactics.
In short, this group will be a catalyst for a movement to reassert traditional Republicanism against the populist version it has become under Donald Trump. 
This is something new. Many Republicans have given up on trying to winch their party out the populist ditch. National resistance has been missing. Our Republican Legacy will provide that resistance and do so with credible leadership and sufficient funding and will continue as a force well beyond the November election.

So will Lisa Murkowski embrace what they’re doing? Mitt Romney? Larry Hogan? Liz Cheney? Dick? How about Pence? Nikki Haley? Mick Mulvaney? They spoke of “other former GOP officeholders and officials.” Let’s see… Jeff Flake? Rob Portman? Bob Corker? Mo Brooks would be interesting. So would John Boehner and Paul Ryan. I would imagine they’ll get Adam Kinzinger, Fred Upton, John Katko, Will Hurd, Tom Rice, Anthony Gonzalez, Joe Walsh, maybe Mike Gallagher. It will be interesting to see if people like John Kasich, Chris Christie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Asa Hutchinson join. A Bush? I doubt it; they try to stay above the fray. But Michael Steele, Barbara Comstock, George Pataki, Geoff Duncan, Meghan McCain, Bill Weld, Marc Racicot… Maybe Joe Scarborough? This will be fun to watch as the Biden campaign rolls out the names for the next half year. Do they have any influence on voters. I doubt it. The names bolded are people who have already explicitly endorsed Biden.)



As Thomas himself recognized, he never would've made it to the SCOTUS at age 43 without Danforth as his mentor and Senate confirmation shepherd:

Simpson was 1 of the 3 GOP attack dogs (Biden's buddies Specter and Hatch were the others) who smeared Prof. Hill in the Thomas hearings and enabled his confirmation.

Thomas and Alito are currently neck and neck for the worst SCOTUS member since Roger Taney.

Cohen's a decent enough guy, dating back when he voted to impeach Nixon on House Judiciary in 1974.

May 18
Replying to

thomas would commit political seppuku if he thanked the guy who really got him confirmed -- biden, who refused to call corroborating witnesses during the Anita Hill sacrifice.

bottom of page