By Aaron M.
Most people would agree that the American political system is in a period of intense turmoil. A new president has brought a new set of ideals and new cabinet members, leaving Congress confused about how to act. We have seen massive protests from a normally quiet section of the population, and the party that controls the Executive and Legislative branches of the government has been faltering due to major divides in policy, and that has already caused one of the new President’s priorities to fail.
Of course, we are talking about Donald Trump and the Republican party, who have been having a difficult time despite newfound power. In March, House lawmakers failed to pass a new healthcare bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act. Republicans have been attempting to repeal and replace the ACA since it first went into effect, and this failure will likely cost them popularity.
Their failure to pass the bill was not due to Democrats, who are a minority in both the House and Senate. It was due to a divide in the Republican party that has become larger since Trump’s election.
There are two primary types of Republican politicians. One type is defined by figures such as Paul Ryan and John McCain. They are called moderate Republicans. Their policies are typically based on traditional Capitalist ideals, and their main policy initiatives are tax reduction and healthcare reform. They are typically considered the politicians of the rich and powerful.
The other kind of Republican politician is usually called the far right. Since Barack Obama’s 2008 election, they have grown in strength and power. They are what was once the Tea Party and are now categorized by a single person: Donald Trump. They are motivated by the shrinking of government and the deregulation of corporations. They are the political entity that has typically promoted the idea that climate change is a hoax in the name of corporate interests. With the rise of Trump, the far right has also embodied racism and protectionism as political motives.
The American Healthcare Act, intended to replace the Affordable Care Act, was backed by Paul Ryan and the more moderate Republicans. No Democrats were in favor of it, and neither were the more extreme Republicans, embodied in the house by the House Freedom Caucus. For this reason, there were not enough votes for the bill and it failed.
Will the Republicans unite and become unusually powerful during Trump’s presidency? Or will they stay separate, and continue to be unable to pass laws until Democrats possibly regain some lost power?