Fourth of July Post: The Wings of the Republican Party

The Wings of the Republican Party

I figured that, since it’s America’s Independence day, I should write something political.  So today I’m going to write about the different wings of the Republican Party.  The Republican Party is an interesting, and perhaps self-imploding, beast.  Donald Trump, if he can be credited with anything, has shined a spotlight on the deep divisions within the party.  So today, on this celebration of our ability to self-govern, let’s talk about something interesting about the republican party.

The people in power for the longest time in the republican party are the centrists.  The republican centrists basically have positions marginally different from the democrats in congress, but without the overarching philosophy or goal toward which to make progress.  The centrists’ biggest problem is that, unlike centrist democrats, they seem to have positions that are piecemeal.  At some times it seems that the overarching goal of centrist republicans is to keep the democrats from achieving their overarching goal of (if I’m reading them correctly) a radically egalitarian collectivist society.

But that’s just the centrist wing of the republican party.  The weird thing is that the republican party cannot be thought of as a strict continuum that can be represented with a line.  There isn’t some one view on the far right that the “extreme” ends of the party hold.  No, instead I think that the republican party should be represented with a triangle, with one point representing the centrist republicans.  One of the two extremes of the party is what I will call the protectionist wing of the party.  This is the wing that is staunchly anti-immigration, favors ‘protective’ tariffs, and seems to think that muslims are a unified block of people who hate America for her freedom.  This is one of the two extremes of the party that the republicans in washington have ignored.  This wing is the reason that Trump has done well in the party.

If there’s one thing the left has done much better than the right in America, it’s in successfully showing its ideological base that it’s committed to the same principles.  The left has continually done little things that make progress toward the ideal world that many of the more ideologically pure members of the party want to exist.  The right, instead, throws little crumbs while not communicating a coherent progress toward the goals of the extremes.  Trump, finally, has really appealed to the protectionist wing of the republican party.

Now, people are saying that Trump is showing the true nature of the party, but they ignore that there is another extreme of the republican party.  There is the libertarian wing.  To some extent due to Ron Paul and people like Barry Goldwater, there is the laissez-faire, peace-loving, private property is king, leave me alone with my guns and pot wing of the republican party.  This is a little smaller wing of the party, but an important one nonetheless.  While the republican party has been ignoring its ideological base, there has been a battle for the party’s heart going on behind the scenes.  There has been a war between these extremes.  But most right-wing ideologues fall somewhere between the libertarian and the protectionist wing of the party.

One of the great tragedies of the Trump era republican party is the perceived victory this gives for the protectionist wing of the party over the laissez-faire wing.  Hopefully this victory doesn’t taint what’s good about the republican party.  If it does, I hope that the libertarian party can become something major and America can get past the two-party system.

But that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.  Happy Independence Day!

Peace be with you.
-JS

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