Opinion: Republican party must establish political philosophy to earn presidential win

By Olivia Covington
olivia.covington@franklincollege.edu

And so it begins.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign announcement on Monday was the “official” beginning of the 2016 presidential election, a race that is certain to be filled with more finger-pointing, name-calling and political jousting than any of its predecessors.

But the unique part about the early stages of a presidential election is that it’s not Republican versus Democrat. In the primary races, people of the same party will attempt to destroy their “colleagues” in an attempt to win the party nomination.

This year, it seems like the Democrat primary won’t be as cutthroat as it was in 2008, when President Obama appeared seemingly out of nowhere and stole the nomination from Hillary Clinton in a surprise victory. But this time around, it seems like members of the left wing might let Hillary finally make a run for the White House — this time so she can sit in the Oval Office.

But things aren’t so simple for the GOP. While the New York Times named merely three candidates who might step into the Democrat race, it listed 11 — plus Cruz — who might try to win the Republican nod.

The frontrunner in the hypothetical Republican race is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, better known as the son of Bush 41 and brother of Bush 43. Conservatives have been calling for Bush to follow in the family business for months, and in December he announced that he was “actively” looking into a presidential bid.

Other potential candidates include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, as well as a slew of other big- and small-name conservative politicians.

While it may be good to have options, Republicans will not benefit from this kind of divide. The reason the party can’t decide on two or three prominent candidates is because it doesn’t know what it wants.

Much like the entire country, the GOP is at a crossroads right now. But its dividing line is a bit blurred. Instead of being torn between liberal and conservative, Republicans are trying to decide which side of the conservative line they’re going to stand on.

On one side of the line are the “true” conservatives. In the past few years, this has come to mean the Tea Party and other like-minded, super conservative voters. These people are conservative in every aspect of the political world, except financially and socially. Big government is bad government, and they tend to fight against liberal social movements.

But on the other side stands those who are more moderate. They remain financially conservative, but tend to be more open to more socially liberal ideas. They might be willing to support same-sex marriage or other issues that “true” conservatives shy away from.

And this is the divide that, if not resolved, will hurt the GOP.

If Republicans have any desire to not only take back the White House, but to run it successfully, they need to collectively pick a side. Internal battles and political pettiness is not the way to the White House.

If you look at the list of potential Republican candidates, the divide is evident. You have the “true” conservatives like Tea Party-favorite Cruz, and then you have more moderate candidates like Christie or Bush (yes, Bush is considered a moderate).

If the party can’t even decide what political philosophy its candidate will have, how does it expect to win the election?

If Republicans want a fighting chance at taking back the White House, the party needs to pull together, pick a side and stop being their own worst enemy.

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About Ashley Shuler 1253 Articles
Ashley Shuler is the executive editor of The Franklin. She has held various multimedia journalism and public relations internships, including positions at Indianapolis Monthly, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and Dittoe Public Relations. When she isn't staying up late to edit stories, Ashley spends her time boutique shopping and eating as many boneless wings as possible. This is Ashley's third year in a leadership role and her fourth year on The Franklin staff. She previously held positions as web editor and news editor.

1 Comment on Opinion: Republican party must establish political philosophy to earn presidential win

  1. As Hop-Along Confucius might well have said: “As members the firing squad circle themselves, he who doth not know what he is shooting for is likely to shoot himself in foot.”

    For the membered and dismembered of the Republican Party of today there is going to be no Appomattox Courthouse from which to ride away in peace. This is not your Grand Old Party of Abe Lincoln and is one in which everyone has to have a gun ever up and ready to blast away and that BOOM-BOOM does not sound like disarmament.

    From the outside looking in—THANK GOD—one might picture this GOP’s perfection to be for Iowa’s population composed of a few million Iowa Gov. Terry Branstads. And given that he appears to be making an eternal run at being governor for life this may very well come to bass. And such Iowans would not be Terry Branstad like people; they would be the many one-true Terry Branstad.

    Such an Iowa would obviously be situated in a world the rest of which was populated by the owners of Republicanism, the Koch brothers. Necessarily there would be just one of them to avoid sibling rivalry that would come of one of them having to work for the other. And of course all of these individual just-alikes would be of NRA membership and go packing a gun and in this there would seem to be a bit of a downside. With only the good guy left to shoot nonexistent bad guys . . . ah . . . what’s their gun going to be good for?

    Aside from that it is going to be home-home-on-the range in the sky sweet home, where never is hear a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. Which leaves and outsider totally puzzled about how conservatism could work—-if you aren’t going any place because you are already situated there, what good old days are there to get back to? True, the good God of the religious right would have obviously prevailed and this side of hell there are only the happy who had no faith in progress before they go there, but how can he one that did get there be sweetly happy if he has no lesser folks to look down on—yup, home alone.

    True, it might bring a smile to his-his face if he-he were to every once in a while look down on those masses of humanity roasting in pain of hell, but after a while this might get old—particularly if the chosen got a gun and there is no one to shoot. It doth sound like hell on Earth which seems to be the agenda of the GOP in the first place so why ever go someplace else in the last place? Makes one wonder if half the fun might be just getting there—heaven or hell and may the last man standing take his pick?

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