The Republican Party has split into three feuding factions: Trumpism, the Establishment, and Young Republicans with power, in that order. These groups all have different visions for the Republican Party, the policies it should pursue, and what the party will look like in twenty years.
For Trump and his supporters, an “America First” mentality undergirds every domestic and foreign issue. It leads to restrictionist immigration and protectionist trade policies. This patriotism and nationalism attract the “Forgotten Man,” the blue collar worker. It provides these voters with a sense of identity, which the Establishment has failed to do. This segment of the Republican Party can attract new voters; however, it strays from traditional conservatism and thereby alienates traditional Republicans.
The Establishment is the fiscally and socially conservative group which has dominated the party since Reagan. They champion responsible spending, deregulation, and lower taxes. However, Trump and Young Republicans also support these policies. What sets apart the Establishment are their traditional views on social issues, including gay marriage, environmental deregulation, criminalization of drugs, and Common Core. This sector of the party attracts older, generally Evangelical voters who are consistent voters (hence why the Establishment has been the face of the party).
Finally, there is the Young Republicans branch. It leans towards the Establishment, but doesn’t scorn Trump nearly as much. They tend to support gay marriage, drug decriminalization and accept global warming. Socially speaking, young Republicans could be mistaken for moderate-liberals. Their support for fiscal conservatism and limited government explain their Republican nomenclature.
The Young Republicans’ views on most social issues fit within a traditional conservative worldview. It comes down to limited government— the idea that the government should generally not be involved in individuals lives. It is not the government’s job to tell who someone can marry or what to ingest. To do otherwise contradicts the conservative ideal of a limited government. Young Republicans are trying to save the ideology of the party, not push it left.
There is a reason that the Young Republicans are more likely to shift parties, as 23% of young R’s flip into D’s. President Trump’s rhetoric on social issues has turned many Young Republicans away. Those policies tend to favor older voters, which will not help the party in the long run, and can offend the Young Republicans’ socially liberal sentimentalities.
The Republican Party’s identity crisis will determine the course of its future, setting the stage for its long-term demographic appeal. I believe that Trumpism will be the least popular faction in twenty years, followed by the Establishment due to their social views of its followers. Young Republicans will lead the Republican Party to prosperity by focusing on fiscal responsibility, limited government, and the unwillingness to get bogged down in socially conservative squabbles.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.