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With Trump, a New GOP Emerges

With Trump, a New GOP Emerges

By Friday, 22 July 2016 08:52 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Now that this eventful Republican convention has come to an end, many insiders are talking about a new kind of Republican Party that has emerged.

Delegates at the Quicken Loans Center agreed that nominee Donald Trump’s has begun to reshape the party into a more populist, less internationalist, less free trade, tougher illegal immigration stance, and pro law and order party.

“A new Republican Party is emerging,” Van Mobley, Concordia College (Wisconsin) professor and president of the village of Thiensville, told me. “And it is a classic example of the outsiders taking over. While the outsiders may themselves disagree on some issues, they know that the Republican establishment is in the cross-hairs of the voters and this was the time for them to strike an offer a fresh agenda.”

The “outsider” issues that will attract fresh voters to the Republican Party, Mobley believes, include a harder line on illegal immigration (“the right to have borders”), less regulation, fewer free trade deals, a tougher stance on law and order, and “no more of the neoconservatives making the U.S. an interventionist busybody in the world”).

State GOP Chairman Tom Pauken, a conservative activist since he volunteered for 1964 GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater while an undergraduate at Georgetown University, said: “I definitely think that there has been a movement that upended the Republican Party’s power-structure that has been in control since the post-Reagan era. And that includes the neoconservatives who have been controlling foreign policy since the Bush-41 presidency.”

Their demise, he added, “is quite clear when you listen to Trump talking about being more careful about  foreign intervention and the U.S. role in international organizations.”

Pauken also said he felt that Trump’s movement was capable of “putting back in the Republican Party the working class Americans who were part of the Reagan coalition in the 1980’s but have since drifted away from the Republican Party.”

Along with his protectionist stand on international trade agreements, Trump’s denunciation of “crony capitalism” in his acceptance speech and calls for supporters of failed Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders to now board the “Trump Train” were sure signs he was actively pursuing blue-collar voters.

Another reason portending a different Republican Party on the horizon was the issue of illegal immigration.  As Rep. Glenn Kothmann, R-Wisc., put it, “A Republican Party under Trump wouldn’t be the ‘open borders Republican Party’ it was under George W. Bush.”

Others pointed to the votes of Democrats and independents Trump has successfully wooed in key primary states.  Former Massachusetts GOP Chairman Jim Rappaport, a delegate for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, recalled how “more than 20,000 Democrats changed to vote in the primary in our state and Trump won easily.”

Harrisburg attorney Marc Scaringi, one of the earliest Trump backers in Pennsylvania, noted that more than 75,000 Democrats and independents changed parties to become Republican primary voters. Scaringi believes Trump’s tough talk on trade agreements was key to this appeal. Trump swept the primary and won every county in the Keystone State.

“There’s certainly been a monkey wrench thrown in the machinery of the Republican establishment,” Connecticut House Republican Leader Themis Klarides told me.

Widely regarded as one of the brightest political stars in the Nutmeg State, Klarides added that political reporters “ought to think twice before writing off Connecticut, and consider how many Democrats and independents changed registration to vote for Trump and help him win our primary.”

She feels that the previous two nominees for president, John McCain and Mitt Romney, “were honest men, but seemed to symbolize that the Republican Party is the party of old white males.  Donald Trump may look like that, but he certainly doesn’t act or sound like your typical old white male.  He appeals to newer and younger voters with his honesty and the courage he shows in speaking his mind.

Even several black participants at the GOP convention who spoke to me voiced optimism that Trump’s call for less regulation and greater job growth would resonate in the black community.

“I became more confident in him as our nominee as he delivered his acceptance speech,” said Marissa Adonis of Washington, D.C., who works for the Junior Statesmen Foundation in D.C. and is black.  “He is doing an extremely good job in reaching out [to blacks].”

Ty Turner, an alternate delegate from North Carolina and an early backer of Marco Rubio for president, said he was moved by “Trump reaching out so many people — LGBTQs, the steelworkers, workers in general. I knew black folks who worked on construction in the Northeast and got to know Trump. They said he’s one of the coolest people to know.”

Trump did signal a possible outreach to the gay community when he decried the attack by a Muslim terrorist in Orlando on a gay bar and vowed: “I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”

To the resulting cheers for the first-ever utterance of the term “LGBTQ” at a Republican convention, Trump ad-libbed: “And, I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said.”

Not all of those on the convention floor who spoke to me were enamored with the idea of a new Republican Party forged by Trumpism. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., for example, cited his recent introduction of legislation that would affect entitlement spending.

"But [Trump] says we can balance the budget without entitlement spending,” he said, “and that doesn’t make me very enthusiastic about his candidacy.”

Overall, it isn’t yet clear just what changes Donald Trump’s candidacy has brought to the Republican Party.  But it is clear from the convention that there are both new ideas and new people within the party as a result of Trump and both seem likely to make the fall campaign exciting and unpredictable. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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It isn’t yet clear just what changes Donald Trump’s candidacy has brought to the Republican Party. But it is clear from the convention that there are both new ideas and new people within the party as a result of Trump.
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Friday, 22 July 2016 08:52 AM
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