Brief # 22 – Elections and Politics
The Moderate Republicans: A Guide to Who’s Who
By William Bourque
June 21, 2021
When it comes to political beliefs, a large portion of voting bloc seems to be wrought with radicals. However, the truth is that most Americans don’t have very extreme ideas at all, and are actually quite moderate. In recent elections we have seen this, with an increasing amount of folks with more radical beliefs being elected to Congress. On the right side of the aisle, folks like Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Madison Cawthorn are examples of extremes who don’t represent the majority of Americans, or even the majority of their party, yet get some of the most airtime and screen time of any folks in Congress. However, moderate Republicans also get a lot of time to talk, and these are some of the most popular people in Congress, mostly because they are willing to work with the President and the other side of the aisle. We will now highlight several prominent moderate Republicans who we think may end up running for president.
Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney has been under some scrutiny from her own party recently, with much of the heat coming from the far right of her party that supported former President Trump. Cheney, the daughter of infamous vice-president Dick Cheney, has been in office since 2017, and was often loyal to Trump during his time in office. However, since the January 6th insurrection, it has become clear that Cheney wished to remove herself from the far right Trumpian wing of her own party. She was removed as the chair of the House Republican Conference following a closed door meeting. Many think that Cheney has put herself in pole position for a run against a Trump-backed candidate, which would likely put her on the good side of many moderate Democrats—only time will tell.
Romney, who has already famously run for and lost the race for the presidency, is another moderate Republican who has broken with Trump on a number of occasions. Romney is seen as a traditional conservative, with particularly staunch views on marriage and abortion. However, many moderate Republicans have praised Romney on his condemnation of Trump on many issues, which indicated that he had, and still has, some sort of respect for the values of democracy and integrity. However, Romney must adjust his views on marriage if he is to have any sort of shot at a presidential run, and must also be able to explain to conservatives his choice to vote to impeach Trump. Of course, if there is a swing towards a more moderate candidate, Romney will always be a name that folks bring up. We see him making a run to the Republican nomination and is a dark horse to win the nomination if the Trump-backed candidate makes any mistakes.
Murkowski, the second-longest serving female senator, represents the state of Alaska. Much like her state, Murkowski is seen as a bit of a wild card, leading a moderate cohort of conservatives while also voting with democrats on a select few issues. Murkowski was one of several Republicans who voiced their deep disturbance and sadness with Trump’s January 6th insurrection, even calling for his resignation a number of times. This, of course, is representative of her disdain for Trump, something that may end up helping her should she decide to seek the nomination. Murkowski would likely be a popular candidate for moderates on both sides of the aisle, but her more partisan votes, such as the one to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett, may prove to hold her back if she were to reach a general election. Nevertheless, Murkowski is one to watch if the Trump faction of the party begins to splinter.
Susan Collins is often regarded as the most bipartisan of Senate Republicans, having worked closely with both Republicans and Democrats as the longest-tenured female senator. Collins is almost certainly going to end her illustrious career as Senator after being reelected for another term last year. Despite this, she still has lots of work to get done in the Senate, where she will continue to be an asset for the right and left alike. Despite her bipartisan record, Senator Collins voted with Trump a large majority of the time, indicating her still staunch conservatism. Unlike the others on this list, we don’t think Collins will consider running for the Republican nomination, mostly because of age. However, it is possible that the Senator may aim for a term as Governor in her home state of Maine. But that is a long six years away. For now, we expect to see Collins remain as a vital swing vote in the ever-changing Senate.