In 2008, Americans nationwide voted in the Democratic powerhouse that was Barack Obama. A family man and graceful in nature, while Obama didn’t do as much as he could have for American stability and unity, there’s no denying he was relatively efficient in putting into place his agenda throughout his eight years as president.
As his term ended, however, the Democratic party had still not addressed a fairly large issue: they had no strong candidates for the 2016 presidential election. Obama was such a large figure in the party, he had overshadowed any potential candidates for succession. This certainly wasn’t the only reason for Trump’s victory, but its effects cannot be downplayed. And now, the Republican party seems to be facing the same issue.
When Trump won the 2016 election, the Republican party more or less rallied around his policies and politics. This is characterized by the use of the term RINO, Republican In Name Only, for Republican congressmen and women who vote against Trump’s proposals. For example, in March 2019, twelve Republican senators established themselves as RINOs for voting against Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southern border.
This quasi-factionalism between Trump’s bloc and the moderates of the party has contributed greatly to the issue of the Republican succession. A few names have floated around, including Nikki Haley and the Vice President, Mike Pence, but neither have entirely taken root. No candidate truly stands to take hold of the party once Trump is out of the picture, meaning the possibility of a loss similar to the Democrats’ in 2016.
In order to avoid this scenario, the Republican party needs to do just one thing: rally around Republican ideals, rather than Trump’s ideals.
His American First policy concerning trade and foreign policy is Trump’s main challenge to Republican orthodoxy. Tariffs have flourished, free trade has been attacked time and time again, and his policy against threats like Russia have softened more and more over time. Instead of continuing to support these policy positions, the GOP needs to return to its roots of free trade, and take a strong stance on Russia & China as past Republican leaders have done.
It’s very tempting for Republicans to rally around such a powerhouse like President Trump. However, if the party intends to hold onto the White House beyond 2024, it cannot cling to the same populist ideals it’s temporarily centric on. The GOP ought to focus on conservatism, not populism.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.