A Party Divide That Can Destroy America
By Craig Papajohn-Shaw
Volume 1 Issue 4
January 20, 2021
Image provided by Vox
It was George Washington and the other Founding Fathers who warned against political factions that would prevent branches of government from exercising powers because of partisan greed. While the democratic system does include smaller parties such as the Libertarian and Green Parties, the failure to establish more than two mainstream parties has led those who follow the ideals of smaller parties to caucus with either one of the two mainstream parties in American politics: The Democratic Party, and the Republican Party. The two-party system has been proven divisive on multiple occasions throughout history. With both the Democratic and Republican parties having large spectrums of beliefs, the question arises: is a party divide necessary, and what are the likely outcomes of a mainstream party split?
The Grand Old Party (GOP), commonly referred to as the Republican Party, has shown their ideology has been shifting. The election victory in 2016 of Donald Trump (R-FL) was the first indication of such a shift. Trump’s political ideology is described as nationalism and has also been identified as populism. Prior presidential candidates for the party including former President George W. Bush (R-TX), a neoconservative, former Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a Libertarian conservative, and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), a socially liberal and fiscally conservative moderate, evince the drastic spectrum across the party. During the final months of the Trump administration, certain leaders of the party, such as Romney and Bush, stated they would not support his pursuance of a second term due to his ideals which run counter to theirs and traditional Republicans.
In the recent months of the lame-duck session, Trump has challenged the election, spread fallacies, and ruined relationships with politicians within his own party. Forcing multiple election recounts in the state of Georgia, Trump attacked Republican Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R-GA), constantly calling the two “RINOS” (Republicans in Name Only) on Twitter, which was followed by an uproar from his supporters. Supporters in Georgia followed suit by claiming the election was fraudulent and blaming their Republican Governor. Furthering the thought of Trump and his supporters retaliating against politicians within their own party, in the days prior to and after the events of January 6th, Republican leaders who were not in favor of overturning the election were verbally harassed by supporters of Trump. Vice-President Mike Pence (R-IN) was claimed to be the way to overturning the election. However, Pence stated, “It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.” Causing yet another uproar from Trump’s supporters, they started to chant “hang Mike Pence” during the January 6th insurrection. A loyal advocate to President Trump, the simple action of upholding the constitution was seen as Pence “defying” Trump.
Another instance in which a pro-Trump group went against a politician within the party was in the way Lindsey Graham got treated at the airport. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is a strong supporter of the president, was stopped by supporters at Reagan National Airport. One woman was caught on video footage yelling, “You are a traitor to this country, Lindsey Graham!” Graham, who voted for Trump in the 2020 presidential election, voted in line with the President’s positions 86% of the time, but due to his refusal to “uphold his constitutional duty,” as one of the supporters stated, he was debatably disowned by the party. Unfortunately, he was not the only GOP senator who experienced harsh treatment. Mitt Romney, who did not vote for President Trump in 2020, was heckled by a pro-Trump crowd who approached him with a barrage of questions about why he would not vote to overturn the election. Some of the hecklers further threatened Romney by saying that he would lose his Senate seat in 2024. As political analyst Damon Cann said, “Republicans need to find out who the person is who can pull the party together.”
Several pro-Trump rallies, such as those on December 12th, served to express his supporters’ displeasure with the GOP. Angry supporters chanted “destroy the GOP,” another example of the growing divide. Host of conservative podcast America First with Nicholas J. Fuentes, said, “We are going to destroy the GOP and transform it into a party that truly puts AMERICA FIRST,” insinuating the belief that far-right conservatives want to remove themselves from the GOP. GOP leaders such as Mitch McConnel (R-KY) are slowly distancing themselves from the failures of the Trump administration, hoping to keep the establishment intact.
The potential outcome of a party that follows the ideals of Donald Trump could redefine the election process as we know it. The divide within political parties, including the Democratic establishment, can lead some to the conclusion that compromise is difficult to achieve. While many are unhappy with each party’s status-quo, a party that is solely based around the ideology of what’s now being termed Trumpism will be devastating. The events of January 6th have opened a realization that Democracy is one of the most essential products for a successful government.
Supporters of President Trump who raided our Capitol have shown their gullibility; listening to lies about non-existent election fraud has shown how easily democracy can be threatened. Supporting a President’s ideology who attempted to coerce Georgia officials to “find him” 11,800 votes is offensive to the free elections this country stands for. Currently, countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada have successfully implemented a system where there are more than two mainstream parties. Even so, a new party in the United States which supports a President impeached twice is undemocratic, unpatriotic, and dangerous to the sanctity of this nation. However, the two extremes of each party have turned away moderate voters from each of the respective establishments. While a third party to accommodate the moderates’ middle-of-the-road views and would be beneficial to those voters, situating the two extremes of each party to have their own party is reckless and would gravely endanger the already divisive nature of politics in this nation.