The Corruption of the Republican Party

Matthew Kim, Segments Editor

“If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…and we will deserve it.” It was May of 2016 when Lindsay Graham, then Republican presidential candidate, tweeted this foreboding and prophetic warning. Four years later his words are seemingly prophetic. 

Recently, Donald Trump and his allies in Congress, including (ironically) now Trump loyalist Lindsay Graham, attempted to nullify a lawfully conducted election. Just weeks ago, in a grotesque display of right wing extremism, fueled by Trump’s inciting rhetoric, thousands of his supporters stormed the very citadel of democracy, the United States Congress. And, for the first time in history, a sitting president faced impeachment for the second time.

“I was really shocked when I saw the riots, and to me it was just really disturbing that Trump’s supporters would do something as crazy as storming the capitol. I feel like just the rhetoric that Trump has been saying about the election has really had consequences,” said (R) Josh Freeman (‘21). 

The Republican party has split into two. It is a party battling for its soul, teetering at the edge of a right wing extremism that, until now, had always been on the fringe of the party. Yet there is a catalyst for it all: former President Trump, a man who has embraced these theories, their supporters, and the extremism they bring. From calling on extremist groups like the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” to insisting that his own Vice President defy his oath, the Republican Party has become distorted under the Trump presidency.

The Republican party used to stand for principles and policies, today it has become synonymous with supporters and even Congressman who promote conspiracy theories on cabals of satan worshipping-pedophiles. Today, the Republican platform is characterized by a cult-like following, in which constituents seemingly worship Trump, choosing to castigate the “fake news” and adopt Qanon theories that show him in a positive light. If there is anything to be learned of the past few months, it is that there is no Republican Party, only Donald Trump’s Party. 

The sad thing is there are still Republicans who do not share the sentiments and extremism that has been highlighted and spotlighted by the media. Many lifetime and staunch conservatives are fighting back against Donald Trump and the division he has brought to the Republican party. 

“As 2020 has gone on, I’ve really changed my views about Trump and the Republican Party. From the Covid response to the claims of election fraud, I know longer feel proud of the Republican Party. Not only have they enabled Trump, they have supported his lies and dangerous rhetoric. I think it will truly be for the best, if Trump becomes impeached and will no longer become central to the Republican party,” said an Amador Republican (’21).

We saw, in the most bi-partisan impeachment in history, ten brave Republicans stand up to the pressure from their party and the Trump base to vote in favor of supporting impeachment and upholding the rule of law. As the Republican party has become inseparable from Donald Trump, there is a fight within the party to redeem the values and dignity that have disappeared. 

While Donald Trump has left office, the question remains, “What will happen to the Republican party?”. As the raw images of a desecrated capital and the coming impeachment loom in the nation’s consciousness, many believe it will soon be the day of reckoning for Trump. Moreso, it is a golden opportunity for the Republican Party, a chance to decry the extremism that has infiltrated their party, and to forever part ways from Donald J. Trump. Perhaps, just perhaps, Republicans should take action upon it.