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Lloyd Omdahl: As Donald Trump's star dims, Republicans have a chance to restore order to our political system

Trump has been an aberration. He stormed onto the political scene and rallied a following before most people knew who or what he was. Because he won in the primaries, the rational Republicans had little choice but to accept him as their candidate.

Lloyd Omdahl, use online, horizontal.jpg
Lloyd Omdahl
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As Donald Trump's star dims on the horizon, Republicans have a chance to restore order to our political system.

Trump has been an aberration. He stormed onto the political scene and rallied a following before most people knew who or what he was. Because he won in the primaries, the rational Republicans had little choice but to accept him as their candidate.

In recent weeks, he has lost some of his appeal. The Jan. 6 committee has taken some shine off; he is still faced with numerous court cases; he lost half of the candidates he endorsed in the midterm elections; his announcement for president fizzled and some Republicans have been openly opposing him.

Though he is an anathema to the left, it should be said that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would be a better president than Trump. Serving as governor, DeSantis understands the environment in which American politics are conducted. Trump never had a clue.

Much of the tumult in Trump's administration was caused by his inability to move from his raucous business operations where he was never accountable to a system where responsibility and accountability were an important part of the ballgame.

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In government, Congress, the press, interest groups and the opposite party are constantly looking over shoulders and second-guessing decisions. This was new to the inexperienced president.

He treated government just as he conducted his private business, not realizing that the government has three branches, all sharing the national power. He didn't share well.

A major function of government in the American system is the negotiating of competing demands by various groups that want a share in the pie. DeSantis is negotiating conflict every day. Negotiating was never in Trump's vocabulary.

In a society that has become the world's greatest human melting pot, successful negotiation and compromise become more important as diversity grows.

All of the minorities in the melting pot are struggling for their place in the sun. Demographers predict that our minorities will be majorities by 2050. Then we will be forced to negotiate on a level playing field.

As each minority gains legitimacy, it will become a part of the policymaking process. In spite of discriminatory election laws, African-Americans have been able to muster so much muscle that the Republican Party has had to nominate an African-American to run for the Senate in Georgia. That is an example of a minority getting its feet under the table.

While DeSantis is a hard-line conservative, he is predictable because he understands and follows the norms of politics. On the other hand, Trump has been erratic. We wouldn't have been too surprised if he had dropped the bomb on North Korea the day his toast was burned.

As a conventional Republican, DeSantis would handle foreign relations in a predictable manner. The status of the United States in the world community declined during Trump's administration because he was so unpredictable.

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The big question is whether DeSantis can attract enough of Trump's followers to succeed. Have enough of them come to realize that Trump's style is bad for the Party and bad for a country that needs stability and order?

Will his evangelical core see that it is time to quit this political binge, sober up and move on to someone closer to New Testament values?

Lloyd Omdahl is a former state lieutenant governor and professor at UND.

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