Donald Trump, a Republican, won the Presidency against all odds, yet there are many situations that have the potential to cause massive, irreparable rifts in the Republican Party. This can actually be blamed on the President-elect himself, despite his using these tactics to win the election.
The first and most glaring issue is the current discontinuity in the GOP. To be blatant, conservatives are homeless when it comes to political parties in this country. Looking back, the Republicans have basically become the party they replaced in the mid-19th Century: the Whigs. The Whigs were created exclusively to oppose Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party. The issue with the Whigs is they didn’t exactly have any identity other than this, which is almost identical to what happened in the 2016 race with the Trump Coalition uniting to defeat Hillary Clinton. In case there is lingering doubt about this, think about it. Was there a consensus regarding abortion or gay rights? There was none. Except the right to own guns.
What does Trump even believe? Nobody really knows. He flip-flopped constantly during the campaign and recent years, leading many people, including myself, to assume he is more liberal socially than he is letting on. Ironically enough, the ability to make this argument may have won him more votes than it would have cost him. From some basic polling methods, I calculated the possibility that Trump would not attack the LGBT community swayed votes in his favor. Results among a sampling size of 47 (28 registered Republicans, 13 Democrats, 4 Libertarians, and 2 Greens) people aged 18-58 had 57% saying Trump’s possibility of supporting the community more likely to vote for him, 29% were neutral, and only 14% said they were less likely vote for him based off that possibility. That being said, there is no denying he energized the so called alt-right and frankly expanded the definition to encompass many more mainstream conservatives rather than neo-Nazis (which may or may not be a good thing). The issue with his lack of clarity is the strong possibility for division to arise in the party, an issue that Obama never had to deal with and is the sole reason he won in 2012. To quote the legendary Abraham Lincoln, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and I fear if Mr. Trump does not have a more solid platform in 2020 his coalition may be in jeopardy.
Another glaring issue is that conservatives no longer make up the soul of the GOP. AS stated earlier, the GOP is now a populist party. There is now a large diversity of ideas ranging from moderate viewpoints, to far-right, to libertarian ideologies. Possessing such a wide-ranging coalition such as this is extremely dangerous, and like the original Republican party we must focus on one key issue to back. We cannot continue focusing on beating HRC, she’s done in politics. If the Republicans maintain their antiquated stance on gay and trans rights the coalition will far apart because the moderates and libertarians believe people should do what they want, not to mention separation of church and state. Frankly, the issue the populist movement needs to focus on is manufacturing. This issue is a fight the left simply cannot beat us populists in, if they say Trump is doing a bad job on something, there is always a trump card that is the economy: if it’s doing better you will always win. That is how Obama won (aside from the reason stated earlier), his economic numbers were better than they were in 2008 and many people voted for him because of that, and Romney had trouble combating that. If Mr. Trump can continue acquiring foreign investments in this country the Dems will not be able to win in 2020. Hands down.
Aside from that, the old Republican guard needs to adapt, and believe me, I hate to say that. Times are changing, and despite my cynicism in this piece, Trump is the last chance the GOP has to remain relevant. Trump will either be a new Lincoln or a new Millard Fillmore, and that depends on the voter. The Constitution is a divine bundle of compromises, and the GOP can continue that good fortune, only if they can come to terms with the libertarians and moderates, and remember that for us libertarians we believe in freedom for all, not just for one. So, support everyone’s freedom, as long as they are peaceful.