About 20 years ago, America’s politicians identified as mostly moderate. Think of a bell curve, with the majority of people aligned at the center and contingents of each party representing the extreme left and right.
Flip that bell curve end-over-end, and you have a parabola — that’s the world we live in today. Now the extremists flocking to opposite ends of the curve are even drawing battle lines against their own party members.
Both parties exhibit this behavior, but it is most pronounced in the GOP, where new-age Trump policies are forcing veteran party members to re-evaluate their values. It’s making the divide between conservative vs Republican more glaring. A reckoning is inevitable.
Let’s give my fellow millennial readers a nod here and use a metaphor from the software engineering world. Chaos engineering is a term used to refer to the practice of subjecting a new program or service to adverse conditions in a test setting so you can observe where things break. The method is much older than the software industry, though.
Those with backgrounds in the professional world know that part of being a business leader is taking risks. When you shake things up, you see where the weak points are.
Donald Trump believes he’s doing that with the Republican Party. Coming off success he feels was his own in the business world, his confidence in policies derived from what he thinks his white middle-class base wants is all that is necessary to carry him through a presidency with historically low ratings. However, there are glaring inconsistencies with the policy Trump is preaching and old-school GOP values.
Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right
Even if they don’t all vote, many Americans take moderate views on political subjects. They understand compromise better than their political representatives, or so it seems. However, the push for recognition from Trump’s vocal base has created a mandate Trump is determined to drive home. Here are some examples of where Trump’s agenda and the majority of conservative American’s clash:
- 71 percent of GOP supporters approve of Paul Ryan, but only 35 percent of Trump supporters do.
- 32 percent of GOP supporters want to keep DACA, whereas 85 percent of Trump supporters oppose it.
- Only 27 percent of Trump supporters approve of the GOP leadership, as compared to 51 percent of GOP supporters.
These are not small divides. Twenty years ago, these numbers could have constituted the differences between the GOP and Democrats. Trump is tearing the Republican Party apart.
Desperate Measures for Desperate Times
Just how much tension can the party take before the bond between these warring factions breaks? At the moment, they are united by a strange loyalty to party colors — even while these glaring differences continue to cause infighting.
The Republican Party was warned not to lose their rapport with minorities in the early 2000s. They have done precisely that, and with Trump at the helm, they are becoming the party of misogyny and bigotry. It’s common knowledge that the party has been losing people for years on what many like to call “social issues.” For example, the fact that many right-leaning citizens are not against marijuana legalization at all. Or the fact that there are Republicans that practice other religions besides Christianity, and even Republican atheists. GOP leadership knows this, and don’t want to allow their party to sink after all they’ve built over the years.
To survive, the GOP is going to have to hew off the frostbitten Trump-limb they may have hoped would vault them into a new era of political supremacy. Just a look at the way mid-terms are lining up for 2018 is enough to tell you the bottom is coming out from beneath the Republican machine. No amount of blind faith in Trump will fix that.
What is being hailed as the second coming of the Republican Party is really just a natural outcome of this extreme behavior. At some point, the party will realize that a return to more moderate views is needed to continue to attract voters. The Democrats will face the same type of reformatting not long after, since they are showing similar, if less dramatic, symptoms of infighting.
A centrist movement is likely. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that it will take the form of a party, but a group of congressmen and women who can act like adults and be willing to work together on issues the country desperately needs answers for is what that should look like. It’s tougher for the GOP because it means defying the president.
While attempting to leverage the highest seat in the land to move a party agenda forward might seem like a compelling political tactic, Trump’s increasingly unpredictable behavior makes it a gamble for traditional conservatives to continue drinking the Kool-Aid, hoping the party will ultimately gain from Trump’s initiatives.
The convenient idiot is a term referred to in Russian spy techniques. Rather than recruit an actual spy, you find someone who is easily influenced and then manipulate them into making mistakes to advance your own cause. It turns out Russia is better at playing that game than the GOP is.