Republicans are Turning a New Leaf


ABC News

Mehmet Oz campaigning for the Pennsylvania Senate race

Trumpism lost this election, by a lot.  What does this mean for the Republican party?

Candidates running for office during these Nov. 8 midterms were more likely to lose when they had an endorsement from Donald Trump.  This is most present in state elections for governor or secretary of state, as those positions are executive and therefore more directly influential.  

This effect had a significant influence on federal Senate elections, also, as Democrats ended up winning control of the Senate and also many notable elections, such as in Pennsylvania where Trump-backed nominee Mehmet Oz lost against his Democratic opponent John Fetterman.  Or in Arizona, where incumbent Senator Mark Kelly won re-election against Republican Blake Masters, also endorsed by Trump.

Because of this, a debate has been raised concerning whether this incredible disappointment for extremist Republicans will make way for a more moderate (or maybe just more reasonable) Republican party in the future.  

For context, moderate Republicans have been ignored and villainized throughout the Trump presidency.  A prime example is the exile of Liz Cheney from the Wyoming Republican party, because she condemned the Jan. 6 insurrection.  

According to The Guardian, “The Wyoming Republican party will no longer recognize Liz Cheney as a member of the GOP in a rebuke over her vote to impeach Donald Trump over his role in the 6 January insurrection.”  The party doesn’t make room for many moderate voters who feel that there aren’t any candidates that represent their non-extremist views, so of course those voters feel pushed aside in the Republican Party.

I believe that this will lead to a significant change within the Republican Party.  

It’s important to note that, although this may seem like common sense to some, candidates should want the greatest number of their base to vote as possible.  However, extremist Republicans (particularly Trump) don’t seem to grasp this concept.  

Although it’d be absurd to claim that Donald Trump’s Republican party is bad at creating a passionate base, it is true that the party isn’t doing well when it comes to voter turnout.  

As aforementioned, moderate Republicans who have realized by now that far-right politicians are not willing to negotiate their extreme beliefs will likely either have lower rates of voter turnout, vote non-Republican, or vote for their Republican candidates reluctantly.  

Additionally, the false idea of election denying certainly does not do a good job at encouraging voter turnout.  According to Poynter, about 70% of Republicans falsely believe that Joe Biden lost the 2020 presidential election.  If I were to tell you to vote Republican for midterms, except your vote actually won’t matter because the system is rigged and your vote won’t be counted, would you do it?  Maybe not.

A notable counterargument, however, is that Trump is an incredibly charismatic character with a devoted base, a base that will probably vote for those who support him no matter what absurd policies or ideas he promotes.  

It is definitely true that a charismatic leader does a lot to create a loyal following.  Die-hard Trump supporters are certainly not the voters I am referring to when I talk about Republicans feeling conflicted.

However, I do think that it will take more than one group of devoted supporters to win elections.  Republicans will have to win over swing voters, and swing states such as Arizona or Michigan in future elections.  They’ll need to appeal more to those voters and, maybe this is too optimistic but, I don’t believe that can happen through just demonizing moderates and Democrats, boisterous rallies and catchy slogans.

All in all, I do believe that there will be some change among Republican politicians in order to appeal to a larger base, although the change will be subtle–just the bare minimum–in order to remain likable to their current base.