Divided Republicans in the Congress - GulfToday

Divided Republicans in the Congress


Donald Trump. File

Eleven times majority of the Republicans who had wrested the majority in the House of Representatives in the November elections from the Democrats have tried to elect Californian Ken McCarthy as the Speaker but failed. The obstruction is coming from a bunch of hardline Republicans, including Trump Republicans like Scott Perry.

This minority group of Republicans is obstructing the election of McCarthy, and it is indeed intriguing.  If the majority of those elected to the Congress is of moderates – of course, the definition of the moderate Republican is full of contradictions because McCarthy is a hardliner by standard – then a few from the far-right are refusing to play ball as it were.

This is more a division among the Republicans rather than a reflection of conservative America. And this would harm the Republicans in the 2024 presidential election. The solution appears to be that the Republicans have to choose between former President Donald Trump and the conservatism of traditional Republicans. Trump either could remake the Republicans in his own image, or the Republicans could exorcise Trump and save the party and themselves.

Can Democrats derive any solace from the mayhem in the Republican camp? It is unlikely because America’s problems go beyond the partisan rivalry between the Democrats and Republicans. The challenges are on the economic front, on the climate change front, and on the social anomie that plagues American society in general.

The Republicans do not have much to offer on the economic front, they refuse to recognise that there is a climate change crisis, and their answer to social anomie is narrow-minded religious conservatism. And none of these responses are constructive. It is not the case that the Democrats have better solutions to the challenges. The lazy liberalism of the Democrat zealots is not an adequate response either.

American politics have become an end in themselves, and this is symbolised by the intrigues played out in Washington. The rest of America is not just disappointed with the two major parties, but it is angry with American politics. Trump is only a symptom of what ails American politics. If the American politics is reformed, then the Trump phenomenon will fade away. And the solutions may not be easy ones. Neither traditional conservatism nor traditional liberalism can hope to solve the challenges that Americans face. There is need for a hard rethink on political ideology.

It would be wrong to despair of America based on its present predicament. America has managed to reinvent itself time and again, and restate its fundamental values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence to face the new challenges. America faced turning critical points in its history at the time of independence, at the time of writing its Constitution a decade after independence, and the American Civil War in mid-19th century when it had to take a moral stand on the issue of slavery.

America participated in the two world wars to defend democracy, and though there was much moral and ideological ambiguity when America stood for an open society, the ideal was unexceptionable. America has to find its moral compass once again to set right its politics. It is to be hoped that the American political crisis is looked upon as an opportunity to regain the inherent idealism of American democracy based on the principles of equality and freedom. It was understandable that America did not live up to its own ideals. But the failures did not matter as long as the ideals remained to inspire the country. Right now, America has lost sight of its founding principles, and it has to revive its idealism before it can realise the Trump motto of making America great again. America cannot become great through the ‘America First’ slogan.

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