The Trump Problem
It is time for Republicans to finally look at themselves in the mirror.
With two months left till the general election, there are many political insiders who just want to see this whole cycle over with. Besides those who are ardently supporting Trump-who seem to be actual voters instead of seasoned politicians- there is a general feeling that this is all just a bad dream. The problem however, is not Donald Trump. The problem, is the Republican Party.
For the past few years, it has been no secret that there are deep factions within the Republican Party. Factions, that actually help when it comes to the legislative branch elections. For the 2014 election year, the GOP won the largest majority in the House in years, and won a majority in the Senate. The factions within the party allowed politicians to cater to their constituents, and deliver on issues that are important to the state or the district. A problem in Wyoming is very different from a problem in California- so these different types of Republicans could spread a different message throughout their campaign, and thus, the GOP won by a landslide. At this same time, President Obama’s approval rate was low, and it seemed like the only way the GOP could go was up. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus talked about leading the party to incorporate minority voters, and there seemed to be a growing momentum.
The problem, however, was that this momentum looked better on paper than in reality. While the numbers of elections won looked great, and while the idea of being a more inclusive party made sense, there was no one who could successfully embody all of these different factions. It is impossible to take a hard line on immigration but also be for amnesty. The two ideologies that are split within the party are impossible to brand and present in a unified message. So while the GOP said they wanted cohesion across the whole party platform, in reality, it made was impossible.
This is why when Donald Trump burst onto the scene, and when he strongly advocated for whatever issue of the day he chose to believe in, people started to listen. Trump’s support comes from the people- not from Washington insiders. And here, is the problem within the GOP. And while we think that once the election is over, Trump will just disappear and the party can return to their carefully crafted plan, there is a hard truth: the problem is not Trump. The problem, is the Republican Party.
The reality is that the Republican voters have been waiting for change for a long time. They have been waiting for someone like Trump to come onto the scene. The general theme for many Republicans during this election has been taking power away from Washington insiders, and returning it back to the people. But this has been the theme for Republicans for a long time, although, it has not been taken as seriously as it should have been. There have been numerous articles talking about how the Tea Party was just a temporary flair of extremism in response to an unresponsive party. But the reality, is that now, the Tea Party is the new Republican Party.
We saw it in this entire election. Although Trump started with every single thing against him, he resonated with the common man or woman. He revitalized their American dream. He created a story that portrayed a decaying America, and he offered them hope. He promised that while every other politician has delivered no results, he would be different. The way he spoke, the way he delivered his speeches, the way he lived his life was different than all the other sixteen seasoned politicians. Politicians, who fit into the image of a broken poetical system. In his own way, Trump was able to give people something to look forward to again. And the more the party establishment disagreed with him, and the more the media tried to ruin him, the more people believed that he would finally bring change so many have been waiting for.
Trump was also not afraid of factions. He took hard lines on certain issues, and spoke in broad statements for the rest. Trump promised to destroy ISIS-while offering no concrete plan, and the point he continuously turned back to is that he would “Make American Great Again.” During these speeches, no one wanted to listen to hard policies that distinctly outline how he will accomplish each goal. And while political pundits are happy to point out that these statements have no basis in reality-the voters did not care. Finally, there was a leader who seemed fearless, and someone who seemed like he would get the job done.
The Tea Party has been clear about what they want for years. They finally found their guy. There was not one other candidate who could come up against Trump’s message. They could not come up against how he handled himself on stage and the way he commanded an audience. The politicians were too afraid to trip up, so they never truly got in the race.
The Republican Party was like a china shop. Politicians would move around, so afraid they might break something. Donald Trump is the bull. He has basically knocked down the entire party. Everything about his campaign is unprecedented, and still, he has already made history with winning more votes than any other Republican candidate. This is something that the GOP can no longer ignore. We have to face this problem head on, and look at it in the face. If we do not, there will be more Trumps, and more disunity in the party.The china is all broken anyway, so we might as well start from square one and build a new shop that actually resonates with the party on a whole, that is unafraid and unapologetic. We must build a shop that caters to the everyday American-not to the political strategist or political insider. Because of Trump, there is a real chance for change within the party. The question is whether we will finally admit we have a problem and deal with it in a realistic way, or if we will continue to have party disunity and chaos like we have seen this election cycle.