The Grand Old Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, two of the most popular presidents in American history. But whose policies now define the modern GOP? Today, to even publicly declare oneself as Republican is seen as embarrassing, as racist, as ignorant of every possible social issue, without regard of what the term means to the individual. Perhaps what the GOP was then and what it is now are two very different things, or the party has been replaced by an entirely different group. After the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters, the state of the Republican party was left in questionable ruin. A clear division within the party was acknowledged as members of Congress would come to vote for or against the impeachment of former President Donald Trump for a second time.
The president is supposed to be the head of their party, as was Trump for the GOP. He wasn’t a horrible leader nor a great one. He passed the USMCA, a better trading deal for Americans than its predecessor, NAFTA, yet he lacked leadership and clarity when it came to defeating COVID-19. There was also his conflicting handling of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests as well as his history of making derogatory comments toward women and immigrants. However, even days after the Capitol riot, Donald Trump still had a strong following. It is these supporters that now define and plague the modern Republican Party.
Just as there are many different kinds of Democrats, there are many different kinds of Republicans too, the most common of which just now happen to be pro-Trump. There are pro-Trump extremists, racists and homophobes, to name a few, who cry out against growing federal power yet preach for the former president to never leave office. But they are not all like that. Not all of them stand for everything the face of their party does and the conflict lies in the misguided belief that all Republicans are the same.
Americans are living through a polarizing time when racism, sexism, homophobia and all the injustices in the world are still being debated, a majority of people believing that these issues are only in the interest of Democrats or liberals. Everybody is a product of their time. Abraham Lincoln, despite being “The Great Emancipator,” the man who opposed and ended slavery in America, was still a racist, but so was Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat and the only president to serve more than two terms. So the fate of the Republican party has come to depend on those who hate it, who fight against issues that their own party stood for years ago and those who have redefined it into something that not everybody agrees with. This party is on the verge of collapse as generalization from both sides grows. There’s the possibility of it dying out completely, the few anti-Trump members choosing to join the Democratic party against the growing Progressive movement, with it the birth of a whole new faction: a right-wing populist party based on Trumpism to oppose them all.
The GOP was hit hardest when those pro-Trump rioters entered the Capitol building. It was an example of right-wing extremism that millions got to watch on national television. That moment was when Republican’s “Back the Blue” motto didn’t matter anymore as Capitol police officers were videotaped being crushed against doors and walls, one of them dying in the chaos. It was the ultimate blow to what the party really stood for. Many Republicans are tired of it, voting for the impeachment of the president they once supported. They are tired of being generalized into something that a number of them aren’t.