How divided is the Republican Party?
Is there division within the Republican Party? Well, the fact that I’m writing about this clearly shows that there is. The Grand Old Party claims to be a big tent that can hold everyone, but it seems its tent is too small to cover minorities, women, working families, the LGBT community and the middle class, but I digress.
The division within the Republican party was always evident during its presidential primaries, but now it has become clear how divided the party really is after House Republicans caused the shutdown of the federal government.
So, what led to the division of the GOP? Is it its ideologies? The GOP’s big tent is composed of a plethora of ideological factions that are hurting the party, and what is holding it together is its strong opposition of the Affordable Care Act.
The Republican Party has been the home for conservatives and has now become the home for libertarians, but it seems there are strong differences within the party when it comes to social and economic issues.
There are many kinds of conservatives, and there are two that stand out the most. For example, there are social conservatives and fiscal conservatives. Social conservatives are commonly known as the religious right. They oppose marriage equality, women’s rights, affirmative action and public education.
Fiscal conservatives want a smaller government, and they want reductions in spending toward entitlement and social programs. They also want less regulation on the economy and believe in trickle-down economics. Libertarians believe in a strong free market, nonintervention when it comes to foreign policy and a government that should stay out of social issues like abortion and gay marriage.
Why do I mention ideology so much? Well, because it influences how a party behaves and functions. And if the ideologies are different from that of the Republican Party, then of course there will be division. The name of that division within the GOP is called the Tea Party.
The Tea Party started out as a grassroots movement, and its main goal is to decentralize government. The Tea Party wants reduction in our national debt by significantly reducing taxes and government spending. Other than tits main goal, the Tea Party has no structure. The Tea Party is composed of radical conservatives and libertarians that believe strongly in their ideologies.
Republicans have no control on how to tailor their message, because they are not even sure about the message that is coming from the factions within their own party. Tea Party groups all across the country have put their own candidates in races running against Republicans, which makes Republicans cater to the Tea Party in order to win elections.
The Republican Party has become weak, allowing the Tea Party to influence it into shutting down the federal government. The Republican Party holds one house of one faction of government, and within that house their party is divided. The Tea Party is not scared to criticize other Republicans or shut down the government, for that matter.
As a Democrat, I know that split within the Republican Party is a blessing in disguise. Republicans have used the U.S. as a bargaining chip to try to get their way, but they have forgotten that we live in a constitutionally limited democratic republic, which means we will see the American people’s reaction to Republicans when it is time for midterm elections. If Republicans thought they were divided now, I can’t wait to see what they will be after midterm elections.
A main concern among many Republicans across the nation is the future of the Republican Party. Is the “Grand Old Party” falling apart? How does this division of the GOP affect the nation and the outcome of past and future elections?
Can the GOP win the White House and gain a majority in the Senate again? That is the question Republicans in Congress and Republican governors need to consider before taking any action that could possibly make the Republican Party appear as radical.
Where exactly does this division of the party occur? Well, the members are all united on the issue of limited government and low taxes, but how “far right” should they express themselves? This is where the degree of this division occurs.
Republicans are united on the drive to get rid of Obamacare, but the way that they want it to be done is where their beliefs differ. Some Republicans just wanted to postpone the implementation of Obamacare for a year, but some wanted to completely do away with it.
Republicans on the far right, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, may have appeared as radical to people of his party. The reason why he fought so hard for this was because he is a minority in the Senate, and with his filibuster, he was really just trying to do whatever he could to support his fellow Republicans in the House and help them with their cause.
Cruz knew that it would be tough for the Senate to agree with the House on this issue, and as a conservative, he fought hard for this. In this case, I understand why he thought that this was necessary, especially when the Democrats in his chamber say that they “refuse to negotiate” on this issue.
Now sometimes, there are instances when candidates should watch what they say because it can affect the outcome of results in elections. Because of former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” statement and Richard Mourdock of Indiana’s statement saying that a child born from a rape is a “gift from God,” Republicans lost two Senate seats.
Of course, one can argue that these are just slip-ups that they probably didn’t actually mean. The Republicans aren’t the only ones that have done this, because we all know that our Democratic vice president is famous for that.
Other differences exist on beliefs on foreign policy and immigration. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wanted to strike Syria, while the majority of Republicans in Congress were against this. Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., disagreed over the immigration legislation. Also, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie battled over domestic surveillance and the cost of preventing terrorism. Because of these differences among these potential 2016 leaders, I am curious to see the outcome of the 2016 Republican primaries.
There is a continuing fight between Republicans, Libertarians and the Tea Party. In 2010, the Tea Party went against the traditional Republican establishment, and this division became more distinct.
The Libertarian Party is another concern for Republicans. If Republicans elect Libertarians to Congress, they may be convinced by the Democrats to pass legislation. It’s not just the Libertarians though, because they tend to lean right on economic issues, but left on social issues. Basically, any Republican that may appear as too moderate could be a concern for this reason.
What Republicans should do prior to an election is not appear too radical or too moderate, so that they can at least get elected. Then, their issues can be debated in Congress. They all want to get to the same place, but the question is how to get there. What the Republicans need for congressional elections and the 2016 presidential election are strong conservatives not afraid to stand up for their party’s ideas, but also not too radical.