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The GOP is at war with its base


Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

For many years, the leadership of the Republican Party has been at war with the grassroots activists who work tirelessly on its behalf. This division has been apparent ever since Donald Trump descended the escalator in 2015 and announced his presidential campaign.

The party establishment worked overtime to deny the nomination to Trump, yet the Republican voters overwhelmingly supported him. The resentment toward Trump and his supporters continued during his presidency and still exists today.

Sadly, there is little chance this divide will be bridged any time soon. The latest example occurred last week as congressional Republicans were attempting to elect a House Speaker.

The overwhelming favorite of the party’s base was U.S. Representative Jim Jordan(R-OH). He was the co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus and has served admirably as the House Judiciary Committee Chairman. His history as a stalwart conservative earned the trust of grassroots Republicans.

Unfortunately, a contingent of moderate Republicans were steadfast in opposing Jordan. Despite their office phone lines burning up with calls from Republicans throughout the country, these obstinate opponents of Jordan refused to budge. By the third and final vote, 25 House Republicans opposed Jordan.

This group includes the type of establishment Republicans who are steadfastly opposed to the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement. Jordan would have been a different type of House Speaker, listening to the grassroots instead of the special interest groups. He would have been hesitant to add to the $113 billion already sent by Congress to Ukraine.

Jordan would have also ended the practice of passing continuing resolutions which has been the standard operating procedure for 27 years. He would have insisted on Congress passing twelve separate appropriations bills, which is what former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) did not do.

The Republican Party establishment was extremely comfortable with McCarthy but did not want to take a chance on Jordan, exposing the division in the Republican Party. In contrast, the Democrats are united. For example, in the latest House Speaker vote, every Democrat voted for their nominee, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

As late as the Clinton administration, there were a sizable number of moderates in the Democratic Party. Today there are very few moderates, and none wield any power. All the top leaders in the Democratic Party are far-left progressives who espouse socialist policies.

Unlike far-left Democrats, most Republican Party voters are Trump conservatives who believe in the MAGA agenda. Unfortunately, too many of the party’s leadership reject those policies and are more comfortable promoting a moderate political agenda.

This agenda was embraced by both Bush Presidents, the late U.S. Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican Party presidential nominee, and the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT). This agenda includes support for open borders, generous government programs, globalism, a neocon foreign policy, and the aggressive extension of American military power.

In addition, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds those beliefs. McConnell, referred to by President Trump as the “Old Crow,” hates the MAGA movement. He does not believe in putting “America First” and addressing the problems of his countrymen.

In fact, just a few months ago, McConnell said that the war in Ukraine was “the number one priority for the United States right now according to most Republicans. That’s how we see the challenges confronting the country.”

Maybe McConnell and his fellow neocons believe that the war in Ukraine is the top priority, but most Republicans are concerned about the weaponization of the Department of Justice, the censorship of conservative ideas, the poor economy, the high crime rate, the influx of illegal drugs and the open southern border among other issues.

In a recent Pew Research poll, the major concerns for Republicans were inflation, the budget deficit and illegal immigration. The war in Ukraine was not among the top 16 issues identified by Republicans.

As Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, there is a disconnect between “actual Republicans and DC swamp rats.” The leadership of congressional Republicans and at the Republican National Committee (RNC) are “swamp rats.”

They should listen to the grassroots of the party for their priorities are right on target. There are major alarm bells sounding for each one of the top three concerns of Republicans.

Inflation is at 3.7%, increasing for three months in a row, and is almost triple the 1.4% rate at the end of the Trump presidency. In the last fiscal year, the budget deficit increased a massive $1.7 trillion, an increase of 23% from 2022.

Of course, illegal immigration is a tremendous problem. In the last fiscal year, “a total of 3.2 million non-U.S. citizens attempted to enter the country illegally or be paroled into the country at different ports of entry.”

Loyal Republicans are screaming at party leaders to address real problems, but the “swamp rats” have other priorities. At some point, this disconnect will lead to the party’s dissolution.

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