History

How The Tea Party Is Splitting The GOP

As the 2016 elections approach, the Republican Party is split between the establishment and the Tea Party. Why are Republicans so divided?

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With the Iowa caucuses just days away, there's a great deal of attention on which of the twelve candidates will take the lead in the early primary races. This episode of TestTube News explores why there is no clear front-runner (although Donald Trump's poll numbers remain high). On top of that, there's a major divide within the Republican Party. As the party faces the 2016 presidential election, there is a growing rift between moderate career politicians (unfavorably referred to as "Washington insiders") and people who are more focused on social and religious issues. The divide really began under George W. Bush's presidency. President Bush was able to appeal to the far right ideologies while longtime politician Dick Cheney helped drive conservative policy through Congress.

In 2008, Senator John McCain ran as a fairly moderate Republican candidate. Some pundits say this ultimately hurt Senator McCain as he could not court the votes of the far right. This gave rise to the Tea Party and ushered in a Congress that refused to compromise with Democrats on legislation. More recently, in 2013, there was a government shutdown after conservative lawmakers refused to pass a spending bill that did not repeal the Affordable Care Act. Ultimately, candidates like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina have been building their campaigns on their decided "outsider" qualities. How this move will fare in the primaries and general elections is yet to be seen.

Learn More:
A Republican party split in two (bbc.com)
"For the chieftains of the Republican Party, Campaign 2016 has hardly gone to script."

'I'm Against the Muslims': Trump's Supporters and the Republican Divide (theatlantic.com)
"What if the populist, nativist bloc of the party turns out to be larger than the intellectual conservative movement?"

Voter mistrust of Washington insiders elevates Trump, Carson (sfchronicle.com)
"The brash billionaire businessman and the brilliant neurosurgeon appear to have little in common - except that neither has ever made a formal run for public office, not even school board."

32 Republicans Who Caused the Government Shutdown (theatlantic.com)
"Friday was the fourth day of the government shutdown, and there's still no sign of an exit."