The Republican Party after McCain The end of an era

10/09/2018

 

Cristina Crespo Palomares is Director of External Relations and General Coordinator of the Franklin-UAH Institute.


A few days ago we watched as Washington bid farewell to Republican Senator John McCain in a staging that reminded us of past times rather than present. With the great absence of President Trump by express wish of the deceased, the image of conciliation and politics, where gestures and forms matter as much or more than actions, was a pure mirage. The soul of the Republican Party has left. One of the few who defended its essence in recent times and who stood firmly and clearly against President Trump.

Senator McCain represented the Republican America of traditional values, of pride and tribute to the nation, of honor to the family. Always faithful to his party, the usual, the great, the so-called Grand Old Party (GOP). But the Republican Party, the same party that stood up for making the nation great throughout its history, is no longer the same, or at least its representatives do not express it, since they have elevated to power a president far from the ideology of their own party.

Senator McCain had a life full of successes and mistakes, but above all he was respected and admired by the entire political class and by the average American. A political animal, a man of consensus, a war hero who served his country all his life and who has received the same affection and respect in his last farewell. His funeral, full of messages to the Trump Administration, staged a political class of yesteryear, of ex-presidents, of ex-leaders.

In his farewell letter, McCain called for the conciliation of the American people, appealing that despite the differences, "they have always had much more in common''. But times have changed and continue to change at a dizzying rate in a world where almost nothing is predictable anymore. What made McCain's America great is far from the America that brought Trump to the White House. Society is divided, but we must not forget that Trump legitimately has the support of the ballot box and his party knows this, although many oppose him, but not in public.  

Pure Republican romanticism is that of McCain because, according to polls, Trump Administration's outrages and ups and downs seem to not to matter. The president's popularity is low (41%), but not in the Republican party where he has 85% support, according to FiveThirtyEight and Gallup.

The great old party is no longer what it used to be. If they did not raise their voice to the image of a republished president shaking hands with a Russian president, there is little we can expect. Not even the evangelical sector of the party has criticized its president after the scandals of payments made to prostitutes.

In the recently published article in the New York Times a senior White House official exposed the obvious: Trump is not a regular Republican, even though he was elected as one of them, he does not follow the Republican ideals of freedom of thought, freedom of the market or freedom of people.

The resistance group, as Trump's adversaries in the White House have called themselves, adds to the great ideological and even moral division that the American nation suffers. The president's immediate response via Twitter, mentioning once again the swamp he is draining, feeds the division and his idea of cleaning of corruption the bowels of power in Washington. Because Trump knows very well how to address his base. A base that is made up of discontent, and not necessarily republican discontent. And the latest leaks feed Trump's discourse on the existence of a conspiracy theory against him in the White House.

The republicans' loss of power in both chambers in the next mid-term elections on November 6 could be a new starting point. In this way they could put pressure on Trump and prepare to look for a candidate by 2020. Otherwise, Trump would increase his power within the party and consolidate himself as a candidate for the next presidential elections.

Regardless of what happens in the Midterms, the Great Party is no longer what it used to be. With McCain ending an era, the greatness of America has died - in the words of his daughter - and so has the greatness of the Republican Party.

Translated by David Outeda

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