Anyone who’s paying attention can see that there are major divisions within the current Republican Party. It was highlighted, although not created by, President Donald Trump. Within Republican circles, there are two main schools of thought regarding the 45th President. Most love his unapologetic brashness and his adeptness at handling (and taunting) the mainstream media. The fact that he is unfiltered and completely the opposite of a career politician is what originally drew people to him.
There are those in the Republican Party, however, who feel that Trump’s personality is too brash, too uncouth for the office of the President of the United States. These Republicans, often called “Never Trumpers” by the media, for the most part, admit that Trump did an excellent job as President. Yet for some reason, they can’t seem to get past his boorish behavior, even though the country is by all measures better thanks to him.
Another major divisive moment in our country, and for the Republican Party, happened on January 6th, 2021. While we can all agree that the sight of citizens storming the Capitol Building was shocking and appalling, most people on the right concluded that it fell well short of an “insurrection”. President Trump’s words and actions surrounding the election left a bad taste in the mouth of many Republicans, even his supporters. The final straw for many was when he publicly pressured Vice President Mike Pence to decertify the election results.
Republican division over Trump is real, but it’s not nearly the biggest “elephant in the room”, so to speak. The real division, and the struggle for control of the party, is between authoritarian “RINO” Republicans and libertarian-leaning Republicans. The GOP is full of Republicans in Name Only, politicians who call themselves Republicans but act like big-government liberals.
An authoritarian Republican is the same as a liberal Democrat. They feel that they can make better decisions about your life than you can and that they should have the power to do so. They support expanding the reach of the federal government, as long as they are the ones in control. They support ever-increasing spending because bringing federal bucks back home to their district is the best way, they see getting themselves reelected. Every decision they make is about their reelection.
The libertarian-minded Republican, on the other hand, understands that each individual is capable of running their own life, and people are accountable for the choices that they make. It comes down to one simple concept: RINOs want more government involvement in peoples’ lives, and libertarian-leaning Republicans want less government.
This is the real division within the Republican Party. Will the RINOs like Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, Lisa Murkowski continue to hold on to control, or will the small but powerful minority of those like Rand Paul, Thomas Massie, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz be able to steer the party in a new direction?