From the Presidential address to the GOP response — it’s obvious that Republicans are divided on their current identity.
So, what does a Republican look like in 2016?
Many will say they have conservative views — but is it that easy? The fundamental core values of the GOP have been lost in the current narratives of the Republican presidential candidates and their new staunch supporters.
You can’t help but notice the subtle jabs made by President Obama in his final State of the Union address toward the divisive messaging of right-wing candidates.
"We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion," he said earnestly. “That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world ... it betrays who we are as a country.”
By now, we all know President Obama is primarily addressing GOP Presidential front-runner, Donald Trump. Trump has made himself the controversial contrarian to almost anything progressive in Congress and such infamy has earned him a following that’s brought him to the polls.
There has not been too much GOP backlash outside of the presidential primary debates from other Republicans about how toxic Trump’s policies on immigration, border control, religious intolerance are. I assumed that the GOP was basking in the tragic resurgence of a billionaire that might be the party’s only hope to win the White House.
But clearly, I was wrong — it’s clear the GOP establishment hates him, but still has to put up with him.
Enter Nikki Haley, the Indian-American governor of South Carolina who pulled down the Confederate flag last year, who was the GOP’s choice for responding to the Presidents SOTU address. Her response wasn’t that focused on discrediting the President’s points – but clarifying her party’s core beliefs.
"Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference," Haley said when encouraging Americans not to follow the “siren call of the angriest voices.” “That’s not true.”
At this point, we can infer that the loud and angriest voice is that of Trump who has dominated much of the news on practically anything political. In an unfortunate series of events, his voice has now been disguised as the voice of the GOP and that is primarily because of the party rifts in Congress.
Tea Party candidates who aren’t truly in line with the GOP have run under their umbrella. Current presidential candidate Texas Senator Ted Cruz benefited from such division. This alone fractured the party’s identity and opened the door for newcomers with completely different conservative ideologies to take advantage.
Donald Trump is the beneficiary of a political party whose central beliefs got muddled in the midst of trying to win elections. Without the Tea Party, the GOP wouldn’t have been able to secure its dominance in Congress.
Now it has come to bite them in the ass with the rise of Trump – a candidate that has now been officially disowned through bipartisan mutual agreement.
But unfortunately, it’s too late for the GOP. Because as much as they now are ready to admit Trump is a poor choice – he’s still their front-runner and their alternatives aren’t that promising at all.