Going into the 2024 Elections, the GOP is a house divided. Then again this isn’t new, ever since 2016 we have been greatly divided by Republicans moving with the base and Republicans who were upset that the party was moving on past them. There were plenty of Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney who tried to elevate themselves by attacking former President Donald Trump to score points with the leftist-dominated media which hated them regardless. After the 2020 election though, things have gotten more complex. It’s no longer just the Establishment versus the Republicans who were actually winning fights, now it’s the Establishment versus Trump versus DeSantis versus a few other factions. And much like the cliques of the beloved high school cafeteria, identifying them is like trying to hit a moving target. But unlike the innocent high school cliques, these groups could tear apart the one party standing between our civil liberties and the Democrats who want to take them away.
I can’t say I really have a solution to this puzzle. Some of these groups are so diametrically opposed to the others they are willing to tank the whole party just to prevent one of the other groups from gaining dominance. Quite frankly, some of these groups simply need to be scourged from the party, and voters are in the process of doing that. Some will cling on like ticks and even more frustrating is that some that are pretty harmful are so popular they don’t need to cling on. For clarity though, I have tried to classify these groups as best as I can see them.
We all know this type. John McCain, Liz Cheney, Paul Ryan. They are out of touch, pissed that the party has moved past them, and willing to send it down in flames. Well basically. To be fair, there are varying levels of Establishment Republicans, from outright destructive ones like Adam Kizzingass, now a CNN Contributor, to Silent Cancers like Mitch McConnell who are slowly destroying us. This group falls under the types that need to be scourged from the party entirely.
At the heart of the issue is the fact these people are stuck in the 90s. They want a Republican Party content to take the insults and losses silently, the type that thinks it’s better to lose everything and be the “better man” than to keep our freedoms by actually fighting back. They prefer the days when we catered to big-money donors and moral groups while turning our backs on actual voters, with the belief they will vote Republican regardless because their only other choice is the Democrats. They were a controlled opposition, happy with the deteriorating status quo, and the reason they are losing now is that voters have woken up. And rather than taking the losses and bowing out or actually finally advocating for the issues our base cares about, they would rather burn it all down and punish the people who dared defy their orthodoxy.
To put it in plain terms, they are absolute scumbags.
The Trump/MAGA Republicans
In my mind, President Donald Trump did a lot to move our party forward than I ever expected in 2016 when I only reluctantly voted for him. And the idea of MAGA is an ideal we need to figure out how to manifest within our leadership even after he is gone, an idea that can build a broader conservative coalition by simply saying we will put our own countrymen first. That said, he has also done a lot of harm, as has his cult of personality. The issue with the Trump Republicans is much like the RINOs, they want Trump so bad they are willing to destroy the party if he isn’t the nominee. The best thing that could have happened honestly would be if Trump had stepped back and played king-maker over the course of the next decade the way RINOs have for decades before him till he achieved his agenda from outside of the White House. Sadly Trump and the Trump Republicans suffer from two fatal flaws, absolute arrogance and a tendency to rush in without a strategy.
That said if Trump is the nominee I will support him, and given a choice between Trump Republicans and RINO’s gaining dominance, I prefer the latter over the former, although I prefer my side above all. But we will get to that at the end.
The Extremists Wearing a MAGA Mask
Not all Trump Republicans are really on board with the Trump Agenda. Enter the Men in the MAGA Masks. To find these look no further than your local central committee in Texas, or in my own state, you can look at Baltimore City. These people will wear the MAGA hat and claim they love Trump and MAGA, but when it comes to accepting the role of Gay Conservatives or Jews or other groups that were put out in the cold by RINO’s catering to evangelists, they will sing a different tune. I personally would scourge the party of these types if I could, but from a more objective standpoint, I would say the best-case scenario is to just slowly push them out of positions of influence.
To truly encapsulate them, they have the same arrogance and tendency to rush in like the Trump Republicans, but none of the redeeming qualities which could help turn the GOP into the greater conservative coalition we need it to be. You see, the difference is the Trump Republicans have a more live and let live attitude, they are okay with whoever you are as long as you are on board with the MAGA message. The MAGA Masks though incorrectly believe their moral beliefs are an integral part of the MAGA message despite what Donald Trump’s stances on Gays and Jews have been, and if they don’t shun these groups outright they view them as nothing more than tools to be used to get ahead which can just be discarded because they aren’t “Truly Republican”. They are a Cancer essentially, just like some of the RINOs. And the problem is it is hard to identify them as they blend in with the movement they are co-opting.
The Red Sheep/Opportunistic Republicans
There are opportunists in politics, this is nothing new. The Red Sheep are what I call Young Republicans who pick whichever side they see as the dominant one and ride their coattails. Essentially, they cling to the legs of whoever they perceive to be in power or as someone who will be in power, either because they want to snatch up whatever crumbs fall off the table, or simply out of a base need to be on the winning side. They of course will predictably switch up their allegiance at the drop of a dime, although in rare instances some will dogmatically stick with their original allegiance. These types will only go as far as the stars they attach themselves to for the most part, although that is concerning as well. I honestly fear for the future of the party if this type of Young Republican continues to be the predominant type we see entering the GOP, as they lack inspiration or the necessary talent which is needed to lead. But much like the other puzzles the world of politics has thrown me in the past year, I am at a loss as to how we address this.
The problem is that 10 years down the line they grow into the opportunistic types if the star they attached themselves to fizzles out. They are usually the ones who bill themselves to potential candidates as political consultants or campaign managers, then milk these candidates for all the donor money they can get and leave behind a failed campaign while looking for their next meal ticket. This is harmful on the whole, and often borderline criminal. Here is a prime example of this from Maryland. According to County Commissioner Caryn Abbott who won her race in 2022, she was approached by someone who leveraged his position in the MDGOP to get her to hire him as a Comms consultant and convinced her to pay him to produce and send out mailers for her campaign. The 2nd and 3rd batches she paid for however were never sent out and he denied any responsibility for taking her money and not rendering her service.
The individual in question had for years followed and sucked up to anybody in a position of power within the MDGOP, from Central Committee chairs to the former Chairman himself. The individual in question had gained accolades nearly a decade ago by shouting down an elected Democrat at a state college and then spent the next 10 years attaching himself to influential people and in some instances caused their downfall himself for his own gain. This is the problem with the opportunistic types, they can often go bad very quickly and then cause years of damage. We need to figure out how to change this mindset when they start in politics to turn our little red sheep into big red stallions.
The Single Issue Republicans
Single-Issue Republicans are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they are passionate and experts on their issue of concern. On the other hand, if their issue goes away or is deemed of secondary importance, their help and support disappear too. For each issue, this type of Republican creates another faction within our party from Abortion to Parental Rights in Education. And it’s not that any of these issues are unimportant (well a few are but not the ones I mentioned), but they all are part of a larger picture. And that’s the issue.
The 2 big issues these Republicans pose are their tendency to be divisive by believing their issue is more important than any other, and that when they achieve a victory it tends to be short-lived. Thats because since they don’t view the big picture, they tend to walk away from the table thinking things are done and they have won while the “losing” side tries to find ways to overturn their loss. Typically these successful attempts to overturn the single-issue victories come from avenues outside of the field of focus for Single-Issue Republicans. For example, while pro-life activists focused on the Supreme Court for years to overturn the unconstitutional Roe v Wade decision, they didn’t take enough time to focus on state courts and legislatures where leftists are now trying to essentially nullify the Dobbs decision by amending state constitutions and other such methods.
The Dyed in The Wool Republicans
I consider myself part of this category. And I took the name from the words of one of the greatest Republicans in our party’s history, Fredrick Douglass. Douglass once said, “I am a Republican, a black, dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.” That sums up Republicans like me, and I know quite a few. We have a strong allegiance to Republican ideals, ideals men like Lincoln, Douglass, Teddy Roosevelt, and many others fought for. We see a larger picture of the Republican Party as the truly grand old party, a big tent for those who believe in the constitution, freedom, and liberty regardless of their race, religion, gender, or sexuality. A tent that will help us weather out the storms of oppression and emerge from them dry, a shelter from tyrants and dictators who would turn the slings and arrows of despotism against us. We try our hardest to endure, and we will take up whatever battle we are asked to fight to keep the tent standing.
I know that sounds grandiose, even like I am being arrogant or that I feel like people who think the way I do are better than other Republicans. Thats not the case though. The only Republicans I would even say I am morally better than are the RINOs and The Men Wearing MAGA Masks. Of course we are better than people who actively betray the party. But as for the rest, the Dyed In The Wool Republicans act as both a glue to bond us together and a gentle shepherd’s crook to try to herd us in one direction. This is why we say thing’s like, “we will support the party’s nominee regardless of who it is” or “we need to stop fighting each other and focus on fighting the left”, because we know the one thing standing between freedom and tyranny in this country is a strong and vibrant GOP. And for people like us, watching the party as it is now is painful.
2024 Isn’t Written In Stone….
But what is clear is that it will be a flash point, not just in the battle between freedom and tyranny in our country, but in the battle for the soul of our party. All that I can hope for is that we see more Dyed in The Wool Republicans come out on top. More Jim Jordans, more Rand Pauls, more James Lankfords. And in the end, I don’t know what kind of future our country has if the more liberty-minded men and women of our party don’t prevail over the more self-interested factions of our party. America is the last bastion of true freedom in this world, and the Republicans for better or for worse are the last viable defenders of America’s Freedom in its own halls of power.