The Remaking of the Gop Donald Trump's Republican Party Is Something Entirely New, but We're Not Sure Yet What It Is

By Shribman, David M. | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), August 6, 2017 | Go to article overview

The Remaking of the Gop Donald Trump's Republican Party Is Something Entirely New, but We're Not Sure Yet What It Is


Shribman, David M., Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


A president campaigns with promises to achieve a specific goal. The House goes along. The Senate begins to examine the matter, accedes to various lawmakers' demands for special favors and concessions, but the process runs into resistance. Commentators ask why a Republican president with a Republican House and a Republican Senate can't pass a major element of the Republican platform.

That describes the legislative history of the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill of 1930, admittedly an unfortunate comparison to President Donald J. Trump and his efforts to win repeal of Obamacare. That tariff bill eventually passed into law, beginning a debate that dates to this very day about whether it caused, or deepened, the Great Depression. That debate is beside the point, at least for this column. What is relevant is the process - and the political implications.

"Hoover's inability to manage Congress was rooted in a fundamental and amateurish misapprehension of his job," Kenneth Whyte writes in a new (refreshingly positive) biography of the 31st president, to be published two months from now. He adds: "His ascension to the presidency without benefit of the usual Republican machinery had duped him into thinking that he had little need of his party's congressional potentates."

The result of the Trump experience with health care - the president has described some Republicans as "fools" and said that if the GOP doesn't try again to repeal Obamacare they would be "total quitters" - is a fresh set of questions about what the Republican Party is all about, and who is a Republican.

These kinds of questions have been raised before. They arose, for example, during the Barry Goldwater insurgency of 1964, again during the Ronald Reagan ascendancy in 1976 and 1980, and a third time when religious conservatives became a vital element of the GOP coalition around 1988. Nor are these questions confined to the Republican Party. The Democrats asked similar searching questions about 1968 and over the next three decades, when they lost five out of six presidential elections and might have lost them all had not the Republicans been burdened by the Watergate scandal in 1976.

But this month the question is taking on new urgency, prompted by the rise of a president who once was a Democrat and who won the White House by running against the establishment of the very party that gave him its presidential nomination. Mr. Goldwater tried that more than a half-century ago and failed. By the time Mr. Reagan won his first nomination, in 1980, he had a good deal of the establishment behind him, and his running mate, George H. W. Bush, whose father was a Connecticut senator, was a gold-plated member of that establishment.

Mr. Trump's Republican Party is something entirely new.

The GOP is being re-formed, or reformed, at this very moment. Sober voices are asking whether some members - the names of Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska inevitably are invoked here - are really Republicans after all, and whether they ought to be allowed to remain under the party's policy umbrella.

"The fact is that last year after Trump won everyone was on the same page: full repeal of Obamacare," says Andrew Roth, the chief lobbyist for the Club for Growth, a conservative group that emphasizes economic issues, especially lower taxes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Remaking of the Gop Donald Trump's Republican Party Is Something Entirely New, but We're Not Sure Yet What It Is
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.