NAHU Washington Update - 03/29/2019 (Plain Text Version)
In this issue:
In this analysis, the Republican Party is split into factions based on their level of support for President Trump...
Two weeks ago we discussed the factions of the Democratic Party so this week we will do the same for the Republican Party. In this analysis, the Republican Party is split into factions based on their level of support for President Trump or, in other words, Trumpism. While there is no official definition of Trumpism, this article splits Trumpism into four primary facets based on an article from Perry Bacon Jr. of FiveThirtyEight:
1. anti-institutionalismWhile the majority of elected Republicans are aligned with President Trump on some level, there are varying degrees of adherence to these four facets of Trumpism.
The group most aligned with Trump is labeled the Trumpists. This faction is most closely aligned with the president and members are strong defenders of most of Trump’s policies, while they are quiet if they do not agree on a policy. Specifically, this bloc tends to loudly support the president on immigration and anti-institutionalism, while they avoid criticizing his foreign and trade policy. Examples include Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL), Rep. Jim Jordan (OH), Rep. Mark Meadows (NC), Rep. Devin Nunes (CA) and Sen. David Perdue (GA).
The second group, labeled the Pro-Trumpers, is the largest group of high-profile Republicans (governors and members of Congress). This group agrees with some aspects of Trumpism, though they may not endorse the rhetoric. For example, the policy stances on immigration for this group are not far from Trump’s. Though they tend to not talk about the media as “fake news” and have a more traditional view of foreign policy, this group tends to avoid criticizing Trump. If they do criticize him, it is modulated and not followed by action. Critics believe this group is “enabling” Trump. However, according to a political scientist, the relationship between Trump and his supporters in Congress essentially works by them pushing a conservative legislative agenda in Congress, and Trump goes with it, while they will not publicly break with Trump as long as he is somewhat within the range of acceptable Republican policies. Prominent examples include Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), and Charles and David Koch.
The third group, the Trump-Skeptical Conservatives, includes Sen. Rand Paul (KY), Sen. Mike Lee (UT) and Rep Justin Amash (MI). It is a small bloc, but they can be very powerful in certain votes. This group tends to be driven more by ideology than the party line, and is made up essentially of the remainder of the Tea Party movement. This group is skeptical of Trump because they believe his policies are not conservative enough.
The Trump-Skeptical Moderates are the fourth faction of the Republican Party. These individuals tend to align with Trump policy-wise but often criticize him publicly, typically in regards to his anti-institutionalism and positions on racial issues. This group tends to be the most forceful critics of the president in certain situations, making them different from the Pro-Trump bloc. However, the Trump-Skeptical Moderates still tend to vote with the party line on most issues. Also important to note is that moderate does not necessarily mean they are politically moderate. For example, Sen. Mitt Romney (UT) is considered a “Moderate” in this analysis, but objectively is not moderate in his policies. However, in terms of the Trumpism scale that this article is working off of, Romney is a moderate. Other prominent examples include Sen. Susan Collins (ME), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rep. Will Hurd (TX) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL).
The final faction of the Republican Party is the Anti-Trumpers, which is also the bloc that has the fewest elected officials. Examples include Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Former Ohio Governor John Kasich and conservative activist Bill Kristol. This group seems open to a primary challenger for Trump, and has overall been resistant to him since the day he was elected president.
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