In a development no one saw coming, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (MO) over the weekend declared the death of the GOP in its current incarnation and insisted that now is the time for conservatives to "build something new" in the wake of a slew of disappointing midterm election defeats, as Fox News reports.
"The old party is dead. Time to bury it. Build something new," Hawley tweeted after media outlets began projecting that Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto had pulled out a re-election win against Republican candidate Adam Laxalt.
Hawley also observed Friday that "you can't expect independent voters to vote Republican unless you give them an agenda they care about."
Slamming the party establishment he feels is to blame for the GOP's fading fortunes, Hawley added, "Washington Republicanism lost big Tuesday night. When your 'agenda' is cave to Big Pharma on insulin, cave to [Democrat Sen. Chuck] Schumer on gun control & Green New Deal ('infrastructure'), and tease changes to Social Security and Medicare, you lose."
The Missouri senator continued, according to the New York Post, "What are Republicans actually going to do for working people? How about, to start: tougher tariffs on China, reshore American jobs, open up American energy full throttle, 100k new cops on the street. Unrig the system."
"Not enough to say the other side is no good," Hawley insisted. "Have to offer an actual agenda."
Hawley is part of a cadre of Republicans pushing for a postponement of the Senate leadership election, something which is a sign of mounting backlash against the campaign support decisions made by current Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY).
Joining Hawley in his call for delay are GOP Sens. Rick Scott (FL), Lindsey Graham (SC), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Mike Lee (UT), Ron Johnson (WI), Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL), as Fox News noted separately.
Monday witnessed further amplification of the voices urging a temporary moratorium on Republican leadership elections, with a large group of conservative activists signing onto a letter expressing concerns about McConnell together with their desire for change.
"The Republican Party needs leaders who will confidently and skillfully present a persuasive coherent version of who we are, what we stand for, and what we will do," the letter explained. "Many current elections are still undecided. There should be no rushed leadership elections."
The letter's signatories, which included such conservative luminaries as Matt Schlapp of the Conservative Political Action Conference, David McIntosh of Club for Growth, former Trump Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, and Ginni Thomas stated, "We strongly urge both Houses of Congress to postpone the formal Leadership elections until after the December 6 [Senate] runoff in Georgia and all election results are fully decided."
Though a postponement appears unlikely, the demand for change among the party's top echelon has also spread to the Republican National Committee, and reports suggest that Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who mounted an impressive – yet ultimately unsuccessful – race for governor in the Empire State is being courted to seek the organization's chairmanship, according to NBC News. Whether such a potentially significant shift will indeed materialize, only time will tell.