A changing GOP

The republican party, or the GOP, Grand Old Party, is in a state of transformation. The principles that have defined the party for decades are limited government and local control. During the Trump presidency, the federal government expanded, the military grew, and old republican principles were abandoned. Trump is the leading candidate to represent the republicans in the 2024 presidential election and the former president recently laid out his plans for his new presidency.

Trump is planning to wield his executive authority to influence school curricula, prevent doctors from providing medical interventions for young transgender people and pressure police departments to adopt more serious anticrime policies. All are areas where state and local officials have traditionally taken the lead. Trump and his supporting republicans have reached a point where they think drastic federal actions are required to stop the country’s morale decline.

Trump has said he would establish a government-backed anti-woke university and create a national credentialing body to certify teachers who embrace patriotic values. These are governing principles that are quite different from previous republican platforms.

Many argue that a new radical republican platform might be needed to counter the democrats’ agenda. This would entail to reshape the republican party, moving away from core conservative ideals espoused for decades by Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, and Ronald Reagan. The rapid shift in the priorities of the party has led to something of an existential crisis. Previous republican campaign items such as leaner government, balanced budgets, entitlement reform and free trade have been replaced by totally different items.

As a president, Trump presided over rising annual deficits and higher federal spending. He launched a trade war with China. In the ongoing culture war with the democrats, both parties have become more extreme, more polarized, and more radical. Some conservative republicans are skeptical to the shift as they still emphasize a leaner government and less spending. These conservative voices are a minority though, which is also the case in the democratic party. The conservative or moderate voices are getting fewer and fewer. This is an unfortunate trend.

Republicans are broadly in favor of a more active federal government. In congress, some republicans have pushed for such federal measures as caps on credit-card interest rates, social-media regulations and even worker protections. Like Trump, several other GOP presidential candidates say that an aggressive use of federal authority is needed to push back against a radical democratic social agenda that they say has taken hold in schools, academia, the media, and corporate boardrooms.

Trump’s suggestions and ideas are not surprising though. He is not a conservative republican, barely a republican, but rather a populist businessman, who could not care less about William F. Buckley’s conservative ideas and principles. Trump wants to win the presidency at all costs and his new platform might attract new voters, primarily democratic working-class voters and other disenfranchised voters who are disappointed in the country’s direction under the Biden administration.

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