Brief # 17 Elections and Politics
The Future of the Republican Party, Part 1
by William Bourque
April 14, 2021
On January 20th, 2021, a large part of the country collectively sighed relief. After days of tumult and chaos, President Trump had finally left office, and for what felt like the first time in months, we could see a light at the end of the tunnel. However, we were quickly reminded that just because President Trump was out of office didn’t mean that his influence and rhetoric would disappear. However, throughout the past several months it has been made abundantly clear that the “Trumpism” is here to stay, at least for now. With that in mind we will begin an in-depth series on our predictions for the future of the Republican Party, whether that includes former President Trump or not.
Even before President Trump left office, we knew he would leave a lasting impact on the future of this nation. The January 6th insurrection was a shock to the system of every American, and it wasn’t hard to see that Trump was the root of all the hate that was spewed that day. However, it is notable to look at the reaction of many Republican Senators and Congresspeople after the insurrection. For most of them their first words weren’t to denounce the President, but rather to misdirect the attention to the left and, for folks like Josh Hawley, to continue to insist that the election was “stolen.”
With the Senate and House having a Democratic majority and Democrats controlling the house, Republicans have been scrambling to assert themselves in Congress with little success. Their former President hasn’t had much to say. Trump has made only a few public appearances since he left office, and in these appearances he hasn’t provided much new material, mostly just chatter about “Sleepy” President Biden and the “radical left.”
The Trump wing of the party has begun to lose a significant amount of credibility, with many coming under-fire for their support of the former President. Those like Josh Hawley, whose remarks after the insurrection drew heavy scrutiny, have stuck with their schtick of idolizing far right Trumpian policy and beliefs. Some more experienced members of the party, like minority leader Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, have moved themselves away from Trump and his antics, with McConnell even actively promoting vaccination, which didn’t set right with Trump. Other, newer faces of the party, like representatives Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, have taken to the way of Trump.
Boebert notably posted a video of herself carrying a pistol in and around the Capitol building, citing DC’s anti-conceal and carry laws as a violation of her second amendment rights. Eventually, Boebert did receive a permit to carry a weapon in the District of Columbia. Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, has also been a controversial “Trump Republican”, who has been nothing but trouble for her compatriots on the other side of the aisle. In fact, Taylor Greene has been a subject of conversations regarding expulsion from Congress, something that has only happened to 5 members, as recently as 2002.
The party seems to be splitting into a deep division, much like during the 2016 election cycle when the mainstream members of the party were divided in their support of Trump. The next several months will be critical in the development and formation of their platform that will ultimately frame who the party chooses to run for president. The division of Trumpian Republicans and those who are willing to work with President Biden will be a good measuring stick of where Republicans stand currently. We will be continuing this series on the future of the Republican party as we see how current issues begin to unfold.