2016 should have been the rebirth of the Republican party. With a sweeping electoral stroke, Republicans captured an impressive majority of blue-collar rustbelt workers. They simultaneously savaged the Democratic aristocracy and ended the Clinton dynasty, while maintaining control of both the Senate and the House. Despite these successes, however, Despite this success however, this party has been almost unbelievably inept, inefficient, and incapable of governing. Republican factions are riddled with infighting and chafing under an uncaring and unhelpful leader. Every piece of legislative agenda Paul Ryan tries to advance winds up being another sword to fall upon. Now that the GOP agenda is no longer concerned with blindly obstructing Obama’s presidency, our neo-Republican party finds itself unable to transition to actual leadership.
A lot of this ineptitude has been overshadowed by the antics of their elected leader, President Trump. While his asinine tweets and insane actions capture a lot of attention, they obfuscate more significant party-wide failures. House Speaker Paul Ryan has spent the past year alternating between cowardly sidestepping, without ever taking a moral stand against Trump’s depravity, and consistently failing to get a single piece of legislation passed through a majority Congress. So far, the only success of this administration has been putting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, and even that required changing the
voting laws to bypass Democratic resistance.
Trump has eroded the morality of the GOP, often forcing his party’s members to defend his truculent, inappropriate, and often-unconstitutional remarks. As the Mueller investigation becomes more aggressive, the moral outrages will only continue to sidetrack the Republican agenda. As Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton proved, it is extraordinarily difficult to affect policy change while surrounded by the fugue of shame and scandal.
Trump possesses neither the interest or skill at galvanizing his party. He has bragged about support that never existed and guaranteed victories that have never materialized. On the eve of the Republican’s most
prominent failure, the repeal of the ACA, Trump could be found not on the phone calling supporters (as Obama did) but pretending to drive a truck outside the White House.
Warring factions have created a stunning impotence for the Republican governing body. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been unable to coalesce the three main voting blocs they need to move forward with their agenda; primarily, the institutionalized, small government Republicans (a Reagan-esque group with realistic policies that forms the backbone of their ideology) whose votes they desperately need.
The “Freedom Caucus” and a fledgling group I call the Bannon Nihilists are proudly obstructionist and unyielding in their primitive ideals. The Freedom Caucus is the stodgy, highly Conservative group of Republicans elected in the Tea Party wave who once forced a government shutdown out of ideological spite. They excel at protesting the status quo but do not have enough inspiration or vision to lead a country, let alone pass legislation to keep it operable.
However, there is a new and previously unseen wave of populist Republicans taking over. The Bannon Nihilists, steeped in the anarchic visions of their promoter Steve Bannon, are rejecting all governmental institutions, including the Republican party itself. These Breitbart-inspired, these politicians reject
any governmental institution – including the Republican party itself. Reportedly, former Trump advisor, now Breitbart editor Steve Bannon, has given up on Trump as an effective politician. He contends he still believes in Populist Trump-ism as an idea, but since his departure from the White House, Bannon has supported candidates who aim to uproot and overturn modern Conservatism in its current
He has been fairly successful in this campaigning so far, as evidenced by the election of Alabama firebrand Roy Moore and the resignation of outspoken Trump critic, Jeff Flake. If Bannon gets his way, a new wave of Republican rebels will soon render moderate conservatives like Ryan and McConnell obsolete.
While this column is foremost an indictment of the Republican party, it does not absolve the Democrats of responsibility in creating this volatile scenario. This grotesquely inefficient Congress is a result of the Democrats’ inability to defeat the highly-flawed candidacy of Donald Trump. They are now paying
the price of being shut out in the 2016 election, and forced to play defense while keeping the ACA on life-support. Even a year after the election, their inner turmoil is still making headlines – most recently, concerning the DNC’s treatment of Bernie Sanders – and is still a factor in American politics. America continues to suffer from the marked deficiencies of both parties: one, a party who proved they can govern but cannot convince the people of their worth; and the other, a party who convinced a nation that
it would Make America Great Again, but is failing spectacularly at every legislative endeavor.