The GOP is definitely living up to the “Big Tent Party” name, considering that fact that there is only one thing a Republican hates slightly less than a Democrat, and that is another Republican. The Republican Party is basically the equivalent to Nicki Minaj. No, the party is not and does not have “big booty,” but like Nicki, it has different personalities. In the GOP there are the RINOs (Republican in name only), libertarian republicans, tea partiers, and those moderates that no one talks about. These separations are causing Republicans to hate the Republican Party. But how is this affecting current politics?
During the Bush administration there was no right to privacy, as George Bush signed the Patriot Act into law in October 2001, after 9/11. Due to 9/11, the United States as a whole was willing to hand over privacy rights out of fear of terrorism. This allowed wire taping in overseas phone records and more. Being against the Patriot Act in 2001 would have meant being against the Republican Party. However, that is no longer the case.
Rand Paul is classified as a libertarian Republican by much of America. When Edward Snowden released that the NSA was wire tapping into the phone calls of all Americans without warrant, Rand Paul filed a lawsuit against the government agency. The Republican Party took a strong stand for privacy rights, even more so than their Democratic peers. Rand Paul’s libertarian views have put him in the public eye and he is now a potential presidential candidate for 2016. However, due to his libertarian views he has received backlash from other Republicans, such as Peter King.
“I think his views would be disastrous,” King said when asked about Paul’s prospects as a potential presidential candidate. “I think he appeals to the lowest common denominator. This is an isolationist wing from the 1930s.”
But let’s not forget the Tea Party! The Tea Party is basically the right wing of the right wing, which is causing a radical shift in the Republican Party. Right now Democrats want the federal minimum wage raised to $10.10 an hour, but House and Senate Republicans refuse to sponsor a minimum wage hike. This is surprising considering the fact that during the Bush Administration raising the minimum wage was a bipartisan decision. In 2007, 82 of the 202 GOP House members voted for the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which raised the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. In 2014, getting the Republicans to support a minimum wage increase is the equivalent of moving the heavens.
The same can be seen through the lack of passage of the Equal Pay bill that was not open for debate because not a single Republican would vote for women to have equal pay. This was only 4 months ago. However, the Republican Party did vote for pay equality between men and women in 1963. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 required equal pay regardless of the sex of workers. Not a single Republican voted against that bill in 1963. Now, when there is a sex pay gap of 23 cents per dollar, we can’t find a Republican in the House to do the same. Between the Bush Administration and now, the Republican Party has drifted farther right.
Oddly enough, the Republican Party is losing self-identifying members. Right now, 42 percent of Americans consider themselves independent and only 25 percent consider themselves Republicans. I wonder if the scramble and radical shift of the Republican Party these record low numbers.
Jones, Jefferey. Record-High 42% of Americans Identify as Independents (Record-High 42% of Americans Identify as Independents) 8 Jan. 2014 Web. 4 Aug. 2014. http://www.gallup.com/poll/166763/record-high-americans-identify-independents.aspx
Reilly, Mollie, Peter King: Rand Paul Would Be ‘Disastrous’ As President (The Huffington Post) web 4 Aug 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/16/peter-king-rand-paul_n_5160078.html
Rosza, Matthew. “58 Republicans Supported Increasing the Minimum Wage When Bush Was President.”Policy.Mic 28 JAN 2014, n. pag. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.
Image Credit: DonkeyHotey. “Republican Elephant & Democratic Donkey – 3D Icons.”Flickr. Yahoo!, 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 16 Aug. 2014. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/6261650491>.