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The Republican Divide Continues. Predicting the Party's Future.

Over the course of the past decade, the Republican party has seen its base, its platform and its core ideologies completely shift. From the more moderate Mitt Romney, to the ultra-conservative TV star, Donald Trump, the party has undergone astonishing change.

President Donald Trump shakes Senator Mitt Romneys Hand, Via AP News

In fact, that change is so drastic, that Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for President did not support the re-election of Donald Trump. Furthermore, this past week, Romney was 'booed' in his home state, in a conservative political conference for voicing opposition to the Republican mega-star (Donald Trump).

(Watch Below) Senator Romney 'booed' in his home state

(Courtesy of The Guardian)

But, the divide doesn't end there with increasingly conflicting perspectives at the top of the party chain. GOP House Leadership has seen significant divide among itself. Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of that leadership, is expected to face a vote next week determining her status as head of the conference chair. Cheney, a Wyoming Representative since 2017, was one of ten House Republicans to impeach the former President in the second impeachment proceedings. Immediately afterward, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said, "Liz Cheney is a leader with deep convictions and the courage to act on them. She is an important leader in our party and in our nation. I am grateful for her service and look forward to continuing to work with her on the crucial issues facing our nation". The minority leader still voted to acquit citing questions of constitutionally in impeaching a President no longer in office.

Rep. Liz Cheney addresses the Media, Via USA Today

Meanwhile, Trump supporters were furious initiating a vote held by the House Republican Conference to determine her status as head. She held her position, with an impressive145–61 vote. After the vote, Cheney tried to bridge the divide and suggested, "we’re not going to be divided and that we’re not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership”. Yet, those wishes have not come true, as she faces more opposition in an increasingly divided party.

Last week, among conservative backlash, Cheney offered several tweets, first defending herself for 'fist pumping' the current President before his presidential address.

She then, denounced those who questioned the integrity of the 2020 election, calling them dangerous to democracy.

The tweets received mixed reviews with many illustrating how the Republican divide has only worsened.

Following the tweet, later that day, sources told CNN, that this afternoon at a republican conference, Cheney ripped into the former president, with some of her words leaking to the public.

She demanded:

"We can't be a cult of personality… We can't white wash what happened on January 6 or perpetuate Trump's big lie. It is a threat to democracy. What he did on January 6 is a line that cannot be crossed."

(Rep. Liz Cheney, (R), Wyoming)

Cheney's statements represent an increasingly divided party, unfolding in the public's view.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted just a few weeks ago, 55% of Republicans believe Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate. This 55-45 split, reflects an ongoing divide between Trump loyalists and party loyalists. Party leaders, like Mitch McConnell and Liz Cheney slam the 'Trumpers' and dispute these election fraud claims. Further stated, they have endorsed the idea that Joe Biden's presidential win was legitimate. To the contrary, former President Donald Trump, has said the complete opposite, doubling and tripling down, holding that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Consequently, like a child with disagreeing parents, Republicans don't know who to believe. One perspective says to separate from the Trump-era while another is just getting started.

In a GOP poll from just over a month ago, the former President received 51% of the Party's support while the remaining 49% was split between several other party figures. Among these potential candidates was former Vice President Mike Pence, and Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis. All in all, the disparity represents the clear divide between Trumpism and classical republican ideals.

So, where is the party heading?

The answer, evidently unclear, is largely dependent on the party's next Presidential nominee.

Former President Donald Trump, the obvious frontrunner, told Fox News:

"[I'm]100 percent thinking about running again... we will be very successful.” (Fmr. President Donald Trump)

Yet, still, many political experts are hesitant to consider his candidacy a guaranteed success.

On the contrary, other scenarios have emerged as entirely possible.

Here's a few.

The nominee is former President Donald Trump. A large majority of the party embraces him, uniting to fight the increasingly leftist Democrats. Trumpism re-takes the Republican party likely becoming the core ideological platform for the next few decades. Tough immigration laws, pro-life conservatism, and lower corporate taxes are among key goals of the party.

The nominee is not Donald Trump. Claims of election fraud largely fade, with the embrace of the next face of the party. (Of the expected front runners, all have acknowledged the 2020 election to be fair and acceptable). The party also focuses on the national debt while distancing itself from the expensive stimulus proposals of President Trump. Social issues like race relations take a backseat to the economic agenda.

Trump speaks at CPAC, this past February

And lastly, is a possible third-party run from the former president. This conservative nightmare will likely hand the Democrats the presidency in a landslide. Notably though, the former President has openly rejected this idea, saying he will run as a Republican or he won't run at all.

What Will Happen? Historical Precedence?

Based on the under-workings of the party, it is entirely conceivable and rather inevitable that come primary season, the party choose its future. Leadership will either further the agenda of the former President or undermine it and evolve separately. Expect key figures like Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, and Mitch McConnell to openly endorse another candidate.

Historically speaking, only once has a President ran a third time, following a loss in second campaign. Grover Cleveland, from the state of New York, won the 1884 Presidential Election before losing re-election in 1888. Yet, still, he ran again in 1892, re-winning the White House.

This is the only precedent for a Presidential win following a loss. But, times have changed and unlike President Cleveland, President Trump likely sees a great loss of support compared to his days in office. The effects of the events on January 6th have plagued his Republican approval.

Altogether, it is more likely that another candidate lead the party, maintaining that the party stay unified behind one candidate.

Among some other impressive candidates include Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley.

Winning Pick: Nikki Haley

Prior to the pandemic, Haley's 2024 aspirations seemed incredibly strong. The former ambassador, Governor and House Representative has an accomplished resume to stand on. If she decided to run, and choose a less divisive political ideology, she could definitely win a general election. Her conservative but logical political stances would resonate, being more socially liberal than other active GOP members. Garnering huge portions of the female vote (for a Republican), Haley's chances would be strong.

Nikki Haley meets with then-President Donald Trump

Overall, one reality is true. The Republican party is clearly split, and will need to unify to take back the White House. The schism between the Trumpist base and the classic conservatives is just beginning.

Whats Next: Possibly as early as next week, the House GOP is expected to vote on Rep. Liz Cheney's leadership status


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