By Dallas Emerson, SARC Deputy Communications Director
The GOP is Divided — and That’s Good — let’s explore…
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in conservative conversation.
“Let’s start a new party. A party for trueconservatives.”
We’ve all heard some version of that.
The Republican Party is publicly fracturing. As President Trump leaves office, some of his own party are happy to see him go; others see this as the first step in the fall of the Republic.
I confess, I was never fully on board with the President. I opposed him in the primaries. I refused to vote for him in 2016, considering myself something of a Never-Trumper, but eventually decided to vote for him in 2020, fearing the madness of the Left. I have been on both sides of the Trump debate.
I’m here to tell you that if you love Trump or hate Trump, we have to share the party with those we disagree with, and that’s a good thing.
How can I say that? A divided party loses elections. A divided party struggles with messaging. A divided party spends too much energy fighting itself to convert persuadable voters.
Yes, but a party with intellectual diversity has the opportunity to refine ideas. Divisions in the party allow different messages to be brought to different populations and regions. Internal arguments can strengthen the ability to communicate.
True, the Republican Party is, at the moment weaker, for its division between Pro-Trump (the majority) and Anti-Trump (the decided minority).
It may shock you to know that both sides consider the others to have abandoned “true conservatism.” As though there was one version of Conservatism. There have always been differences in our movement—Trump just made them intensely personal.
Remember, the “anti-Trump” wing of the party encompasses moderates like Romney and hardcore Tea Partiers like Sen. Ben Sasse. The Pro-Trump wing has former Democratic moderates like Rep. Van Drew and unquestionable conservatives like Governor DeSantis.
In many ways “pro” and “anti” Trump are better understood as style, rather than policy, differences.
I encourage each and every one of you to consider that the large majority of people you disagree with on the subject of the President came to their opinion in good faith, following their understanding of the facts, and their own upbringing. Try to bring others to understand your ideas all you like; tell them why you think they’re wrong, but please remember we on the Right have a lot more in common than it feels like at the moment.
And we’ve never exactly been a monolithic movement.
Soon, however, the debate within the GOP will move beyond Trump. It has to.
He won’t be President, and Biden, with backed by narrow majorities in the House and Senate will be striving to accomplish everything he can before his political capital is entirely spent.
As a party, we are not going to suddenly come together in unity. Instead, we will return to some version our older arguments: establishment vs. grassroots, nationalist vs. libertarian, intervention vs. isolation. Trumpism is difficult to define, again maybe being a style rather than ideology, but it will be added to our numerous internal disputes.
We’ve had these debates for generations and we’re better for it.
In its founding days, the Republican party argued about how best to combat slavery.
In the Cold War, it was Republicans who sought to strike the appropriate balance of assertiveness and restraint.
The Left has a single answer to all questions that face our society: government. Lots and lots of government intervention.
By remaining the party of argument, the GOP can remain the party of ideas.
So, when you run into another insufferable Never Trumper, and when you encounter another die-hard Trumpist, remember, we’re not a party that revolves around a single man, but around a complex set of ideas.
We need each other, we can’t win without each other, and we’re better off arguing with one another than just sitting around talking about how much we all agree.