Friday, March 24, 2017

The Divided GOP

Since Trump's inauguration on January 20, he has largely failed to translate his campaign promises into legislation and policy. However, since his earliest media coverage on the campaign trail, he has succeeded in exposing previously suppressed viewpoints. For example, those viewpoints which oppose immigration, be it for fear of job security or for fear of the US relinquishing its identity as a majority-white nation, are largely being subdued in a progressive country. Considering that the Republican party controls every branch of government, it seems it shouldn't be hard to advance the Republican agenda. But, it is not so simple.

The truth is, there is more than one Republican agenda. First, Trump strives to represent those voices that have previously been silenced in Washington. For example, I was listening to The Daily podcast, a daily news podcast from the New York Times, in which a coal miner was being interviewed. He asserted that, despite the fact that science and advancements in technology may suggest otherwise, there is a future for the coal industries. Trump carried Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states whose citizens are concerned blue collar workers -- concerned that they are being left in the dust in a technologically-advancing world. He promised, albeit implicitly, to preserve their conception of the US as a white nation. He failed, however, in passing his immigration ban. Perhaps this is why his approval rating is at an all-time low of 35%. Supposedly, that is Trump's Republican agenda -- that is, to advocate for those who have been forgotten.

Establishment Republicans, most prominently Paul Ryan, have an entirely different agenda. Though it has since failed, Paul Ryan attempted to replace the Affordable Care Act with his own bill dubbed "TrumpCare," which was criticized for being too much like Obamacare. Additionally, there is the House Freedom Caucus, an especially conservative and libertarian group of Republican congressmen. Trump has successfully driven a wedge through the GOP, to the point that we now see varied agendas in one party. This is why John Cornyn and Steve Scalise, the Senate and House majority whips, fail to collect the votes necessary to create policy. If Trump had chosen to make his first initiative bipartisan, perhaps infrastructure, rather than replacing the Affordable Care Act, he would have taken a step in the direction of unification. Instead, the party seems to be in shambles -- or, at the least, disunified.

Meanwhile, the defeated Democratic party is successfully rallying to oppose and halt Republican legislature. Most recently, Chuck Schumer secured enough votes to filibuster Trump's Supreme Court Appointment, Neil Gorsuch. The current state of the GOP is not conducive to a successful re-election campaign for Trump in 2020.