The current debate on the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act has once more revealed the deep splits within the #Republican party. The election victories which gave the GOP the Oval Office and the majorities of both Houses only gave the Republicans a larger stage on which to display divisions which are impeding the good government of the country.
When #Paul Ryan unveiled the proposed replacement for Barack Obama’s most hated piece of legislation the House Leader papered over the public protests against the will of the party to repeal a law that gave medical cover to millions of Americans, even amongst those who initially greeted its introduction with disdain. Yet the strongest opposition to the proposed law is not amongst the Democrats, but within the Republican Party, on both sides of its division.
Since Tuesday’s announcement the members of the conservative wing of the Party such as its Freedom Caucus which is opposed to “big government” and is led by Mark Meadows of North Carolina believe that Ryan’s proposal does not go far enough. The group even went so far as to publicly propose an alternative to the new Bill. In the Senate Paul Rand and Mike Lee also oppose the new law seriously putting at risk its approval.
On the other hand, those Republicans who believe in Planned Parenthood such as Senators Corey Gardner of Colorado and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia believe that the new Bill has gone too far and would exclude many poor from being able to access health care. These splits may well have serious consequences for the GOP in the midterms and even put at risk its majorities in both Houses.
Yet the biggest cause of the split is also of the man who is ostensibly its Leader and he sits in the #White House.
The Oval Office
The Republican primaries were particularly belligerent and the open hostility between the candidates and in particular towards the man who would go on to the White House were the very public face of a Party with no true identity at the present time.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were only two of these candidates who became targets of the unorthodox and divisive behaviour of #Donald Trump. This animosity has never dissipated and still affects relations within the Party.
The subsequent allegations of Russian interference in the election campaign in favour of the Republican candidate has added more tension in a party which has traditionally been a strong opponent of Russia. While many of its politicians have avoided any direct criticism of the President of the matter others such as John McCain have not hidden their personal reservations towards the 45th President of the United States.
The final results of the investigations of the allegations could potentially bring these tensions to a head and will be felt in the Oval Office.
The missing factor
When President Trump signed the anti abortion executive order the photo of the male only presence at the ceremony emphasized the perception that the GOP is a male bastion. The previous Saturday’s Women’s March was in protest to the President’s attitudes to women highlighted the Party’s lack of a strong female representation. This missing factor too could well play a part in the midterm elections.
Party Leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have themselves had rocky relationships with the resident of the White House. Ryan in particular had been a target of a number of irate tweets from the President and this does nothing to ease tensions within a Party that still feels the effects of the Tea Party which were never resolved.
Every major political party has divisions within its ranks and the presence of factions is normal, but few are in the position of controlling the Presidency, Congress and the Senate. The GOP should recognize that these splits are now threatening good government and the repeal of AFA is only one issue that will rock the party and others include the border wall and the increased military budget.
There are interesting times ahead.