GOP still faces uncertain future

Nrhari Duran

Democrats and Republicans are taking this chance to catch their breath, but sooner or later the Republican party will have to resolve a new, post-Trump challenge: how to regroup after electing Donald Trump.

Throughout the Republican primary and general election, the GOP has been divided on whether or not Trump was preferable to Clinton, given the Republican candidate’s notoriety as an unethical and offensive candidate. Further polarizing, a number of Trump’s stances were inconsistent with those of the Republican establishment — the party’s influential, senior members. It’s unclear if the pro-Trump and anti-Trump GOP camps will cooperate in Congress, but both camps will need to collaborate if they are to de-Trump the Republican party’s current image.

For the “Party of Family Values,” Trump’s candidacy has been a question of compromise or principle. The GOP’s various ethics and faith leaders were split by their ballot, throwing the party’s definition of “family values” into question for Republican voters. If the party intends on bearing the cross for another four years, the party will have to either unify in their chastising of Trump or confess their sins and pray for the Christian Right’s forgiveness.

The rest of the GOP’s leadership had their share of concerns about Trump too. As it became more and more clear that Trump was going to be the face of the GOP in 2016, party leadership grappled with a choice: vote for the Simpsons’ president or denounce the wild card candidate entirely? Initially, the GOP’s leadership and conservative influences, such as the Koch Brothers, had supported traditional, “team-player” Republicans like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Unfortunately for the GOP, the party’s candidate was neither a politician nor subservient to the party’s needs and advice.

The moral and political issue of whether or not to support Trump incited what South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham described as a “civil war within the Republican Party.” The Atlantic counted 110 significant Republicans and political entities that denounced Trump, which is hardly an insignificant opposition. While the GOP’s House majority leader, House majority whip and Senate majority leader endorsed Trump to the very end, party icons like former Republican candidate Mitt Romney and first-lady Barbara Bush remain staunch opponents to the real estate mogul’s candidacy.

Unfortunately, Texas Republican leaders were largely on board with Trump. Texas’ pro-Trump faction of the GOP includes Governor Greg Abbott, former Governor Rick Perry, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator John Cornyn and Texas’ Land Commissioner George P. Bush (sadly, no, there isn’t a George Bush for every letter of the alphabet, just three). The opposition is light, with only Representatives Will Hurd, Mac Thornberry and Kay Granger publicly opposing Trump.

If the GOP fails to effectively realign, the party risks galvanizing voters in the 2018 midterm elections or, more radically, splitting into two separate parties.

We can only hope the new faction will be “The Toupee Party.”

Duran is international relations and global studies freshman from Spring.