The Party of Lincoln morphed over time into the Party of Reagan.
Now it has become the Party of Trump.
The first men, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, both defined Republicanism to conform to the spirit of their respective times. President Lincoln sought the party to become a more inclusive body and he fought to preserve the Union. President Reagan instituted a contemporary form of conservatism, one that saw government as part of the problem that afflicted the nation.
Donald Trump? Well, he has taken it somewhere else altogether. It’s an angry political party. He calls himself a “populist,” but flaunts a garish, glitzy lifestyle every weekend he jets off to Mar-a-Lago or to Bedminster. He panders to the religious right while having to live down a past of philandering and obscene behavior.
Now he has gone against traditional Republican policy favoring free trade to something called “fair trade.” He has imposed punishing tariffs on imported goods, prompting our international trading partners to respond with tariffs of their own on goods they import from the United States.
American farmers are getting pounded.
Congressional Republicans, particularly in the Senate, are incensed with the president’s punishing policies. The GOP is at war with itself. House members are backing Trump, seemingly out of some kind of fear that he’ll strike back at them. Senators aren’t so reticent, to which I say, “Good on ya.”
Donald Trump is not your “normal” Republican. I will continue to declare that he is not a Republican at all. He stands only for himself. He demands credit he doesn’t deserve and pushes aside blame that he does deserve.
The president has redefined every parameter one can imagine. His followers say that’s a good thing. The rest of us just shake our heads.
Politico has posted a story on the GOP divide. You can read it here. It will open your eyes.