The Republican Party is Falling Apart

Image: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

We all witness the first half of the 2016 presidential race, that is known as the Republican primary. This was the first time that we saw a wide ideological spectrum in the Republican Party. How did the Republicans get to that point, and what is the outlook for the party?

Rather than give a political history seminar on this topic. Let me address in brief that since Goldwater’s run for president. That there was a serious effort to corral various individuals and develop conservative organizations to build the kind of political power they wanted. This was due in large part to the late William Buckley. Buckley played a huge role within the conservative movement and help the Republican Party for nearly 40 years. What Buckley did was from the 1950s is to bring all the conservative leaders to the table and design a plan to win elections. Since that time they won local and state races from the 50s to the 70s. Then by the 1980s Buckley and other conservatives elected Ronald Reagan as President for two terms, which carried into George H.W. Bush’s election.So from school boards to Congress, multiple candidates got elected. Leading up to the eventual win of Reagan in the 80s. Along with the growth of organizations of the Heritage Foundation and the media outlet of National Review. Plus bringing in the Christian Right movement.

After that, younger Republicans, who were inspired by Reagan, was rising to the top. To which more established Republicans were getting elected. Then started a shift in the party and ideology that began around 2008. The rise of the Tea Party. Since the Tea Party came into the political scene many people have said that they are the group, who will help boost the Republican Party. A vehicle if you will. The Tea Party can say that they got certain candidates elected into office. Rand Paul is one of those “Tea Party elected officials”. During his campaign in Kentucky, he was charming the Tea Party groups and during his campaign he mentioned that he will uphold the Tea Party ideals. Well, as soon he was elected and went to Washington D.C. he quickly turned a 180 and said that he does not advocate what the Tea Party says. Rand Paul is not the only person who did that. The fact is the Tea Party cannot be a vehicle for the Republican Party. The Tea Party is another example of how divided the Republican Party really is.

Then you have the GOP leadership. The Republican National Committee (RNC) had a term with Michael Steele, where he put the party on the forefront, not because of his political strategy rather for his own personality, and now their current chair Reince Priebus is not doing a better job. The only reason Priebus was elected as the new chair, was because of the Republican wave that happened in Wisconsin during the 2010 election. Priebus was the GOP state chair at that time; however, the success in Wisconsin does not equate a successful “takeover” for the party during the 2012 election. Which leads into the branching out of the GOP.

Outside of the two examples, I provided. You then also have the following groups that play a role in the division of the Republican Party. Many of whom either hold political office, are a part of the private sector, serve in a capacity in the third sector, are in print or broadcast media, and more. Here is a list:

This group is about proactive foreign policy, and at the same time distrust international institutions. They also favor big business. Those involved are former President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

National Greatness Conservatives
This group goes beyond the NeoCons in that they assert the need to have an “appeal to America’s Greatness”; such as the war on terrorism. Those involved would be” Senator John McCain, David Brooks, and Bill Kristol.

Traditional Values Conservatives
They are concerned with their perception of the decline of social morals and the breakdown of the institution of Family. Sara Palin, Peggy Noonan, Ted Cruz, and former US Senator Rick Santorum

As the name suggests their focus is on religion and tend to look at social issues from that lens. former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Gov. Sam Brownback, and Rev. Pat Robertson would be involved in this group.

They tend to favor smaller government, and the little bit more liberal on social issues like legalizing marijuana. Rep. Ron Paul and 2016 Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson are involved in this group

Named after the conservative intellectual William Buckley, this group is more of the reality check group. Meaning that those involved in the group tend to be involved with other conservative groups, so they can bring people back together. Mitt Romney and columnist Rich Lowry would be most visible

Sometimes knowns as RINOs (Republicans in name only) have more of a historical context to them. They come from the likes of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, pretty much pre-Goldwater. Former Senator Arlen Specter, and General Colin Powell.

We have seen this group from time to time where they have preached on the issues of illegal immigrants, have high tariffs to protect American jobs. Pat Buchanan and the late Robert Novak would be in this group.

And how we are here at the point of another molting of the Republican, who advanced the primaries and now the nominee for the party. Where is this evolution going to be? Something that we have seen in history, with the populist movement of the 1890s. Where farmers in the South and Midwest revolted against the Democratic Party, due to not listening to their needs? Whatever the direction it will be. We cannot deny this election year will be an epic one. And if the Republican Party is truly the party of Lincoln. Then they ought to take heed to what he said in the Illinois state capitol building. That “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Republicans should look more at the past to see where they are at in the present.