Is the Republican Party Dead?
Is the Republican Party Dead?
OK, don’t jump on me all at once with flamethrowers. I’m not somehow implying that I’ve left the Republican Party, become a Democrat, or that I’m starting a new political party called the Party of Hernandez. Let me explain my question.
I was catching up with an old friend of mine who had moved to Texas about five years ago. He had run for Congress as a conservative Republican when he lived here, but he lost to an establishment GOP candidate, who got his ass handed to him by the Democrat.
My friend was and remains a gold standard for conservatism. He’s an engineer with a supremely analytical mind. He’s pro-life. He’s a devoted Christian. He is a free-market capitalist and a Second Amendment absolutist. And yet, when I asked him whether he’d gotten involved in his local GOP politics, his reply was, “I haven’t been involved in politics since the GOP jumped the shark.”
That got me thinking.
I remember debating with someone on social media during the 2016 election, and the woman told me, “This is today’s GOP. Get on the Trump train, or fuck off.” Yes, she was a very mature, kind individual, willing to debate issues like an adult. *rolls eyes hard, needs baby oil and salad tongs to retrieve them*
But is this the face of the GOP? Is the Republican party evolving in a direction of which you approve? Do you still believe the Republican Party is the party of free markets and limited government? How about fiscal conservatism? Do you support the nation-building direction in which former Republican presidents have taken us? Do you approve of high-ranking GOP officials taking on their opponents by name-calling and rudeness, or do you view polite discourse as we’ve come to know it today to be little more than political correctness?
Those are some of the questions I posed to a group of conservatives in a private social media group, and they graciously allowed me to post their replies without attribution. Most of them did vote for Donald Trump in 2016 – some proudly, and some holding their nose in disgust just to ensure Hillary Clinton never made it to the White House. Some of them voted for
Egg McMuffin Evan McMullen, and yet others left the Presidential vote blank.
This is by far not a scientific poll, and I really just wanted to get a sense of what conservatives believe about the GOP now that Donald Trump has been President for a little more than 18 months and to display a small sample of comments.
There are those who believe that the GOP lost its way a long time ago, and it’s about time the Establishment was booted in the ass. Polite discourse has become worthless political correctness in their eyes, and it’s about time someone said it like it is.
The GOP hasn’t changed. It’s just gotten more membership from people tired of the PC police.
Others continue to display a certain amount of disbelief and disgust.
Trump is gone in 6 years max, and Trump isn’t popular amongst young Republicans. Impossible for this to be the future of the party.
The turn in the party is the reaction of the party not doing a damn thing for decades. I don’t mind the new approach to attack rather then to be defensive the whole time.
The “GOP” is an empty vessel. You don’t scrap the party – you pour more of what you want into it. We need more Liberty and Constitution candidates (and the activists who work to get them into office). The “establishment” has been lazy over recent decades. Instead of teaching people the values, they sold out and lurched leftward to hold power. Populism is a symptom of 30 years of frustration with milquetoast Republicans who never had the courage to bring the Country back to our founding values.
This is from someone who ran for statewide office as a Republican and got zero support from the State GOP because the party officials believed that running a Republican in a deep blue district wasn’t worth the resources.
I am staying out of it this cycle. So disgusted by the vitriol on our side that I don’t think i can shoulder the GOP brand without so many disclaimers that i start to look pathetic. “I am a Republican but…” is a shitty premise. Do we wait for the party to remember its roots? do we start a new one? do we absorb the frothing idol-worshippers? do we wait for them to slink back into their caves? this all aside from the mechanics of trying to run for office as a Republican in enemy territory and getting nothing more than ‘attagirl’, good luck with that’ from the party – which is a whole other set of catastrophic system failure that’s magnifying every cycle.
Yet others believe the GOP is not lost, and the party is only what we make it, and they don’t believe that the populist wave means that the party has “jumped the shark.”
The party is up for grabs. The powers that be are losing their grip, and there’s a battle between the populists and the conservatives. As troubling bad it is to see populism embraces by so many republicans… It’s quite possible the GOP goes down the wrong path, but for now the battle is not lost for us and there is no reason or excuse to quit.
This individual also believes that the party is merely a delivery vehicle, but that we will lose it if we don’t engage and actively promote conservative principles.
The GOP is a tool. That’s it. A method to promote conservative principles. Nothing more, nothing less.
…conservative activists have let it go left. Take the ship back.
Join your local committee, bring twenty of your closest friends.
The reason everything has gone left is because there are not enough activists on our side playing no prisoners.
To be sure, I didn’t specifically ask about Trump, but rather about the direction of the GOP. And my friend wasn’t specifically referring to Trump when he said the GOP “jumped the shark,” although I suspect this is what he meant. But that said, it’s nearly impossible to separate the party from its leadership, so even though my initial question never mentioned Trump, many who were kind enough to respond, automatically assumed I was talking about him rather than the party writ large.
To put it simply, Trump is a reactionary figure. He is a creation of the Left, from over a decade of constant cries of racism and bigotry against people who were never involved in such beliefs. He came along and din’t sit down when someone said he was a racist, he just kept going. That was attractive to a lot of people who were sick of being caricatured as something they’re not.
It ended up working in 2016, as there were enough people sick of the identity politics who chose to cast a ballot for him in the right states. His win was a huge upset, but we cannot expect that type of victory again. This was a very odd election, and the Trumpian approach to politics is not a sustainable one in the long-term, especially the demonizing of people who have any disagreement with him and the like.
We need to bring back the coalition builders, the ones who stick to their principles of liberty-minded governance, but are willing to work with those who may be their opponents in some or many areas. Making an enemy of everyone gets you nowhere after a while.
His economic policy is tapping into the frustration that many Americans have had since the Recession, with a lot of job loss. But the solution for him is to start central planning through trade restrictions. So many Trump people don’t recognize how much control that entails, in spite of their claim to be lovers of a free market. I don’t know a way to break through the tariff cultism on that one…
All in all, though, there is a blatant idolatry among millions of Americans with this President. Any disagreement with him on a subject is often met with backlash one may expect from the Left on certain social issues. That cultism needs to end, because it won’t convince people to become more liberty-minded, probably the opposite. We have to work with what we have, but know that change needs to start now, and move away from Trumpism for the long term.
I do agree with the individual who believes that the school system is failing our kids and essentially breeding a society of morons incapable of analyzing information, but rather reacting to it emotionally. As a matter of fact, as I spoke to my friend the other night, we both agreed that when schools stopped teaching critical thinking, our society has become susceptible to biased news and even foreign attempts to influence our society and our confidence in our system of government and our nation.
It’s not a one party change it’s a national change . As far as I’m concerned this is what you get when you marginalize the study of history and philosophy and basic economics in school. Combined with the average person spending 8 hours a day in front of the tv .
As for my fellow Victory Girls, Darleen says and others agree…
IMHO it depends on what you mean by GOP? Rank and file Republicans or the GOPe? I would say the reason Trump was elected can be traced back to when the TEA party came about. TEA Party was made up of middle class who finally had enough of being told to shutup and take it, especially from “moderates” on both sides of the aisle. I actually marched in several TEA Party demonstrations and the frustation and disappointment (and then anger). We then worked our buns off to elect people to Congress on the promises of the GOPe who turned right around and brushed us off.
I know I wasn’t the only one, too, that was incensed that GWBush never ever pushed back on the hate-filled slanders & libels tossed his way. Ditto McCain (who later turned on Palin who endured stuff that was jaw-dropping) and even Romney, one of the most personally decent candidates EVER was literally Hitler – and he never even tried to fight back. Remember Biden’s “they will literally put you all back in chains” …
Trump may be crude, obnoxious, and to publicly say stuff worthy of headdesking a thousand times … BUT HE FIGHTS BACK.
If the GOPe abandons him or keeps trying to cut his legs out from under him … if the toxic NeverTrumpers like Max Boot don’t cool their jets, then the GOP will be finished because all the TEA Party – Constitutional conservatives and the religious will stay home and try and figure out how to do a 3rd party.
For Kate, a few things are a no-go.
I consider myself an evangelical Christian Republican, one of the dreaded social conservatives who though I don’t vote single issue, if the GOP ever removes Life from the platform, I walk.
I started out in college as a D because my parents were D’s and quickly realized they (democrats) didn’t believe like me: free markets, strong defense.
I think conservatism is still very strong. I think we question if it is truly welcomed in the GOP. Ted Cruz Ted Cruz Ted Cruz!
Folks, I didn’t create this post to start a fight about Trump, so if you’re here screeching that this post – and Victory Girls by association – are anti-Trump, and that means you’re done with us, I would suggest you’re part of the problem.
I ask you to consider the views of your fellow conservatives, even if you don’t agree with them, and tell us your views in the comment section.