A Donald Trump-led Republican Party is more extreme than the GOP has ever been. What many believed could never happen has become a reality as Trump has become the official presidential nominee for the Republican party. After his time in the spotlight, however, the Republican Party will begin to make moves toward the center and away from the extremist views of Donald Trump.
Not all Republicans are racist, rich misogynists. New York Times writer Peter Wehner laments both the fact that Trump has been chosen to represent his party for the next few months or years, depending on the outcome of November’s election, and the fact that Trump’s beliefs and comments have imposed an unwanted reputation on many Republicans.
Unquestionably, the Republican Party has brought some of the country’s strongest leaders and most admirable individuals to the nomination and White House. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.
More recently, we can think of presidential candidate John McCain or President Ronald Reagan. No one would dare put them in the same class as Donald Trump. By virtue of Party association, though, these men are grouped together.
Wehner explains that a scattering of traditional Republicans have led the party to the unfortunate place where it resides. He says that a few racists and extremists attracted to the deeply conservative ideals of the Republican Party have somehow taken over the entire GOP.
The result: a push to “Make America Great Again.”
In the aftermath of the Trump era, however, the push will dissolve into a movement to make the Republican Party great again.
Perhaps the outrage initiated by Trump’s nomination is a positive for the future of the GOP. After receiving pushback as Trump offends people time and time again, the Republican Party will be forced to take a serious look at its beliefs, the way the party operates, and the image that the GOP wants to portray to the rest of the world.
The call for a shift has already been made. At the RNC, speakers placed an emphasis on finding “unity” in this country. The use of a token liberal buzzword could represent a quiet call for a shift away from dangerously stubborn right-wing views.
If Trump loses the election, the Republican Party can take the next few years to renovate and rebuild. Wehner suggests that the GOP can use the time to cultivate a more “humane” reputation and reconsider policies affecting lower and middle-class Americans.
Many Republicans have a different outlook on their Party’s future.
Libertarian presidential candidate and former Republican Gary Johnson believes that the GOP is a “dying party.” In article written for Politico’s online magazine, Johnson claims that he believes Libertarianism is the way of the future.
He explains that the Democratic Party and the Whig Party led American politics during the time of the Civil War. Extremist views on slavery split the Whig Party causing it to die out altogether.
Like many discouraged Republicans of late, Johnson claims, “The Republican Party is on its way to becoming like the Whigs.”
The Republican Party rose from the ashes of the Whigs. Will Libertarians take over if Republicans begin to split over Trump-related debates?
Though a Party switch is possible, the more probable result will be a transition within the Republican Party itself.
The only way to salvage a redeemable image of the Republican Party is to adopt a more humane and central take on policies.
At the moment, the GOP cannot lean further right without completely toppling to the ground. In order to save itself, the Republican Party will have to spend the time immediately following Trump’s reign to rebuild closer to the center. That is where stability and a favorable future rests for the GOP.