The Party of Trump?

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Patrick Murray's picture

The Party of Trump?

Its 2016 and Donald Trump is poised to be officially nominated at the Republican National Convention this week as the party's nominee for the Presidency. You're probably wondering how is it that a Liberal Democrat turned RINO won the hearts of millions of Republican voters from across the country? How have we gotten to this point? What has happened to the U.S. Republican Party? The party that nominated Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Reagan now faces the largest task in a generation. Which is will they continue to abandon actual conservatism or become more and more extreme?

Many Democrats and Americans can't comprehend what's happened to the Republican Party. Heck! Many in the GOP have no clue as to how they've gotten to this point. It all began in the 1980s with the election of President Ronald Reagan. That's when the GOP started to become a more and more quasi-religious political party. Since then the GOP has shifted to the far right on many social issues. A Conservative Republican of the 1970s is not the same as a Conservative Republican of 2016. In the 1970s if you met a Republican they'd sound very moderate or liberal if you talked to them about the issues. That's not the case for many on the far right today within the GOP. The religious wing of the party has continued to gain leverage since the 1980s. This faction within the party has hijacked the party completely. The once majority moderate Republican Party is almost unrecognizable.

The U.S. the Republican Party is no longer actually conservative. To understand what I mean is to begin to understand the basic tenets of conservatism. Conservatism and the meaning of it varies from around the world. But in general conservatism at its core means limited government, a strong belief in states rights, more personal and economic freedom, more individual liberty rights, more personal accountability and responsibility. But with the rise of the religious faction within the party it's caused the party itself to abandon actual conservative principles. In the United Kingdom if you're political beliefs are conservative you're probably a supporter of the Conservative Party. In Australia if you're beliefs are conservative you're probably in support of the Liberal Party. Yes you read that right. To be a conservative in Australia it means you're most likely in agreement with the Liberal Party of Australia. That wasn't a typo. Conservatives are generally hesitant to embrace rapid change. American liberals are more likely to jump on the change train much quicker. Especially pertaining to social issues. The problem with the Republican Party is that its become more reactionary in recent decades. Reactionaries oppose all or most forms of change. They believe in going in reverse literally. Especially when it comes to social issues. Conservatives while they usually oppose rapid change they remain more open to it. For example, British conservatives generally support same-sex marriage, many are pro-choice, and even support universal healthcare. All of which are views American liberals comfortably support.

How can Trump, someone who isn't all that religious gain the support of many evangelical Christians? Many have different answers. He's all over the map and a different person almost every day. His views vary from day to day and are extremely inconsistent to the point where you don't know what he really believes. Does Trump have any real convictions? Many would suspect not at all. How can a man who donated to Democrats in the past, supported single-payer healthcare, supported Hillary Clinton by saying she'd make a great President, be against the Iraq War, be critical of the Bushes, and lastly be critical of the GOP in so many ways in the past yet still earn its party's nomination? Many will record years from now that the basic tenets of conservatism were severely damaged even more by the GOP's new leader. The party is undergoing an identity crisis.

You're probably wondering what does any of this have to do with Donald Trump? Well the meaning of conservatism has been on its way out in the Republican Party for years. But Trump has no real conservative principles and neither does his party apparently since its become so fractured. Many would say he has reactionary tendencies. Or that Trump does what's good for Trump. His new leadership role in the GOP just validates the future of the Republican Party in the way that he is now in charge of it. Therefore, he can now do whatever he wants with it. The party can either hold true to actual conservative principles or become more and more reactionary.

Where does the Republican Party go from here? Well it must go back to the basic tenets of conservatism and moderation in order to go back to becoming a serious political party for the White House. If not then they're destined to lose Presidential elections from here on out. If they lose in November to Democrat Hillary Clinton that will only validate my argument. What many don't realize is that they can go back to becoming a center-right party. The question is: Will they choose to? And if they do, when? This nation requires a healthy debate on the issues. Even if that means having two or more viable parties. Right now we have far right Republican Party in this country. As a result, more and more Republicans are becoming Democrats or Independents. And if the GOP doesn't change course Republicans will continue to leave the party and lose national elections. Many Americans feel left out by both parties, but its more evident in the Republican Party than it was 40 years ago. If this nation turns into an apparent one-party state where the Democrats rule everything for years or even decades then a healthy debate and argument on the issues will seize to exist. We need a multi-party system to allow for vigorous debate on the issues. Too much of anything is never good. President Jimmy Carter once said that we must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles. That is the message I send to the Republican Party today. It's that you don't need to change the principles of conservatism by going against public opinion time and time again on many social issues. So what the GOP needs to do is to stop running reactionary candidates, but instead redefine what it means to be conservative first then we can go from there.

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