Donald Trump is Holding the Republican Party Back


Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

Alessandro De Stefano

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s paradox: you can’t win with him or without him.

Since 2016, Donald John Trump has had a stranglehold on the Grand Ole Party (GOP). The day he won the presidency was when the Republican Party changed forever. They became a far-right behemoth, an establishment that lost its true prowess and patriotism.

You can’t win without Donald Trump. In 2021, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney came under fire from the Republican Party for her role in the January 6th committee’s investigation of Donald Trump and the events that transpired during the Capitol riots. Cheney was the vice president of the committee, as she was selected by the Democratic majority due to her disdain for Trump. Her anti-Trump actions during the investigations cost her boatloads of support from the uber-conservative Wyoming voters for her 2022 re-election campaign. These voters thought of her as a RINO (Republican in name only) because she completely lost the support of Trump due to her scorning comments about his claims of election fraud after the 2020 presidential elections. Ultimately, Cheney lost out to Harriet Hagerman, a far-right politician who earned the all-valuable endorsement of Donald Trump.

You can’t win with Donald Trump. This past election cycle, one of the most fierce and fiery Senate races of all time happened. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker faced off for an all-important Georgian Senate seat that would give Democrats a clear majority in the Senate, while the Republicans would get a clean 50/50 split. Herschel Walker was the Republican candidate, and he was one of Trump’s most loyal servants. Walker was a believer in far-right ideals, such as strong abortion restrictions, restrictive borders, and opposing Medicare expansions. Trump obviously campaigned heavily for Walker in an attempt to drum up support, but this method only further disconnected neutral voters from the Republican Party. Herschel Walker did not perform well enough in the first election to solicit a runoff because neither he nor Warnock garnered 50% of the vote. But in the runoff election, Warnock ultimately prevailed, as he won by thin margins, margins that could have swayed the Republican Party if they were not puppets of Trump.

Now, we are in the middle of the longest election for speaker of the House since the Civil War, all because of Donald Trump. Republicans already have a razor thin margin in the house with a six-representative lead, but former House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is unable to earn enough votes to become the speaker of the house. There have been 11 elections so far, and in all of them, multiple Republicans have voted for other candidates, with Florida Representative Matt Gaetz voting for Donald Trump in an outlandish stunt. By now, many Republicans have lost hope in Donald Trump. Utah Senator Mitt Romney said, “I know a lot of people in our party love the former president, But he’s, if you will, the kiss of death for somebody who wants to win a general election. And at some point, we’ve got to move on and look for new leaders that will lead us to win.”

Republicans are now looking forward to the 2024 election, where they could finally oust Trump for good. Boston Globe columnist Joan Vecchoni joked, “It feels like people in the Republican party, the establishment, have had enough of him, maybe they’ll just kidnap him and keep him down at Mar-a-Lago.” One man primed to take the job is Ron Desantis, a slightly more sane version of Trump who is the current governor of Florida. Desantis could take back the moderate voters from the Democrats with enticing tax policies.

2024 is the deciding year for the Republican Party.