The Republican Party
Civics went to one is brought to you in part by the corporation for public broadcasting. Icu I grew up in a George will household. I'm sure a good many people were listeners. I did too way back when we decided to finally do episodes about the party's what is the Republican Publican Party. What is the Democratic Party? I think that this was your first suggested guests. Nick Yeah George will is a conservative journalist. List who played a major role in the cavity home. When I was a kid I was the only one who didn't get sick when reading in the car so I would read? George will to my dad in the backseat. You know what he's talking about. No idea what he was. Hello Hello Mr George. Well this is me. Hello this is Hannah McCarthy at new in Hampshire public radio. How're you doing this afternoon? Drive George well conservative political commentator writer many columns and many bucks at most recently the conservative sensibility. I wrote the book precisely because I felt the Republican Party and hence the conservative movement had become untethered from its serious intellectual pedigree in the founders thinking and I like to think that It's a path back to that right. The thing you need to know about George will. Is that this. Lifelong Republican is not a Republican at the current time he severed ties after the twenty sixteen election. He is now unaffiliated losing the Republican political parties. Not Leaving Church like leaving your family. It's not on a ranch. Dear identity political parties are useful until they're what can I decided. New Republican Party wasn't useful to me anymore. George will this discontented at the moment which is kind of perfect because discontentment the writing of new political philosophy. The sloughing off of the old and no longer useful that is where the Republican Party all all start it and that is why it has changed over time people outta remember that. The Republican Party started as a third party Americans periodically. Say Gee can't can't we break up the the duopoly of our two party system. Well we did once and that is the whigs were there and then suddenly they weren't there they were replaced by this. Insurgent Insurgent Third Party the Republicans founded in eighteen. Fifty four in Wisconsin. Okay so how did we get from that party in Wisconsin in eighteen fifty four to to the party that George will has just left in twenty twenty well that is a long messy story. So let's get started. I'm Hannah McCarthy I'm Jay and this is civics went on and on and today. We are talking the Republican Party and the Republican Party that started in Wisconsin in eighteen. Fifty four looked dramatically. The different from the party today before we dive back into the history of the Republican Party. Can we just together establish. What is the Republican Platform? That form right now. So the last time The party published official platform was two thousand sixteen and keep in mind few members of the party outside of politicians and pundits actually read platforms but lawmakers do tend to vote along the lines. Established are there. So the Republican platform reflects social conservatism. It supports restrictions on abortion an immigration but it fewer restrictions on gun rights and corporations. It's big on states rights as well and choice when it comes to healthcare in school. It's about what the individual wants rather than what the government says is good for you or not and fiscally the GOP is all about the low taxes and free market capitalism. What does that mean because I hear that so often with the Republican party what is free market? Capitalism right up most is basically it means a system where the market regulates itself and government stays out of it okay. Socially conservative generally opposed to government government interference with economics and state law making and. That's the brand of the. Gop Right where why do we call them the GOP Oh yeah GOP GOP Stanford Grand Old Party which used to be a moniker used by the Democrats but the Republicans kind of took it over following the civil war and it just stuck okay despite them being the grand old party. The Republican Party is in fact younger than the Democratic Party. It is indeed for a few decades in the nineteenth century. It was the Democrats and the WHIGS and they're holding down the fort trading the presidency back and forth well the Republican Party as we know it formed in eighteen fifty six and it was the first time that the Republicans as a party had a national convention. This is Catherine Paolo Gould. She's a professor of Political Science at Florida International University and really what had happened previous. CBS To this is the Democratic Party created in eighteen. Twenty eight really. With the election of Andrew Jackson had existed alongside the whigs and the WHIG party had competed with Democrats up until about the eighteen fifties so mid eighteen fifties civil wars on the horizon. At that point slavery became such a huge issue. And the Whig Party refused to take a stance and by the eighteen fifties. Slavery wasn't something you could just sort of go. So what happened. Was the week's split apart. And those that had supported slavery became Democrats in those Who wanted slavery abolished became the Republicans? So the WHIG party just vanishes. It couldn't agree slavery an issue powerful enough to tear the country apart sort and It toward the whigs apart as well. So the Republicans stick their platform mostly on being anti-slavery some of them are outright outright. ABOLITIONISTS want to get rid of slavery entirely Some just don't want it to expand. West is the country expands West. There's a whiff of small government in in state's rights and they're fighting slavery. Is the great unifier for this young party. Their first presidential candidate John C. freemont loses is to James Buchanan but their next candidate is Abraham Lincoln so a completely brand new party manages somehow to elect the guy Who later considered the greatest president of all time? But you can't discount the fact that this party bursts onto the scene in what is essentially a perfect political storm mm-hmm you've got the weakening of the whigs. There's this division in the Democratic Party and this really strong simple platform of being the anti-slavery party okay but after the war is done then what are the Republicans won Slavery's Reza Radical. What's their new platform? What is interesting is the Republican Party really became this sort of civil rights? It's party even during reconstruction after the civil war they pushed different. Civil rights acts to protect these newly freed slaves from their state governments For violating their rights for a while after the war the Republican Party remained the party on the side of African Americans they pushed for civil rights legislation Russian and they started the Friedman's bureau To protect formerly enslaved people in the south but the country is changing and so the Republican Party begins against change. To the beginning of it I guess would be the Twentieth Century The early twentieth century. And maybe around. Nineteen twelve or so. This is William Adler associate professor of Political Science at Northeastern Illinois University. And this is actually the nineteen. Twelve presidential election turns into a three way contest Between Woodrow Wilson for the Democrats William Howard. Taft who's the president at the time the incumbent president of the Republican Party and then Teddy Roosevelt who had already been president under the Republican Banner Comes back in one thousand nine hundred decides he wants is to try to get the nomination of the Republican Party again. away from Taft Very complicated and messy drama between the two former friends. Taft ends up getting the Nomination and Roosevelt and his supporters. Leave the Republican Party and form a new third party that they call the Progressive Party Sometimes called the Bull Moose party because of the insignia of the Artie Organization right. This is the election where Teddy Roosevelt spoils. The Republican vote by running as a strong third party candidate did you have the more progressive Republicans behind Teddy Roosevelt and the more conservative. Republicans behind taft and the Democrat. That would your Wilson wins now. The Progressive Party does not stick around but that divide between liberal Republicans and Conservative live. Republicans Dutt's is this that moment. That shifts the Republican Party towards conservatism. Let certainly part of it but the shift shift takes a really long time for decades. The Republican Party dances and vacillates on social and economic issues. It's not clean gene because you still do have conservative. Democrats representing the South Progressive Republicans representing New England in the northeast But it's sort of the first move toward that process The presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt also a step in that process. Remember the Republican Party is the party of the north extensively. The Party of African American rights but as the nation is becoming more urban and more industrialized. It's also the party of northern businessmen and both parties are reassessing who it is. They want to court as voters and a few other complications implications arise between the nineteen twelve election and the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in nineteen thirty three. One of the important things that happens is the Great Depression and in the Great Depression. The parts have to make a decision about how they are going to respond. The Republican Party suggests that it wants to respond by waiting it out. It'll be okay. We we have kind of down ticks in our economy all the time this is Anita Grant Assistant Professor of Political Science at Howard University. She also happens to be a foremost scholar collar on the other major shift happening in the United States at the time the great migration black people are flooding into the cities the great migration brings about six and a half million black people from the south into the north. The Republican Party is focusing on business interests and towing different line than the Democrats in terms of the economy economy. Right in all of these African Americans were moving into the north. I imagine there needs. Don't necessarily line up with the needs of comparatively prospering northern northern elites right the Republican Party and the people who are making decisions in the Republican Party are suggesting that the Great Depression is not actually that bad. You know it'll pass. It'll be fine but they're making those statements because they are not impacted in the same way like they they may may lose money But their losses are not gonNA look anything like the losses of the person who has just moved to Philadelphia for example this when the African American community started to to vote more Democrat would be elected. FDR Well not the first time he was elected. Actually the nineteen thirty two election was the last one in which the Republican candidate got the majority of African American and person of Color Votes. Things began to change after that. But you know again it was slow this this is not a neat transition. It's a messy transition. So whether Republicans support black political participation Shen and how they do vary from place to place so I went to school in Syracuse for Grad School in Syracuse New York black people participated as Republicans for a long longtime because the Republican Party was actually friendly to black interest. So we think about Chicago we think about New York. We think about Democrats but there are some pockets of places where the Republican Party does Kinda do. The civil rights thing and black people are thoughtful enough to go to the party that best supports reports their interest at the time but eventually the things that are happening percolating at the state and local level. Have to be reckoned with at the national level and I think this is where we end up with Republican Party. That's making decisions about Not necessarily we don't want to be the party of civil rights but we really care hear about business interests of the GOP starts focusing less and less on civil rights that leaves this huge issue and a voter base wide open right. This is all part of that transition and then something big happens in the mid twentieth century. Here's William Adler again. And then the big shift happens After the presidency of Lyndon Johnson in the nineteen sixties really tied into the passage of the civil rights laws which which really marks the Democrats as the Party of the liberal side and gradually the Republicans Even though they're split on the issue of civil rights gradually after that point read turn in a more conservative direction gradually over the course of the sixties seventies eighties and nineties all those southern Democrats gradually become Republicans. And so what you have today. Then as a situation where those people's you know the next generation down the line Have essentially flipped their their partisan loyalties as a result many Republicans including George will say that this change really happened with Barry Goldwater ran for president in one thousand nine hundred sixty four goldwater sought to refocus the party Goldwater said in his book. The conscience of a conservative that we had strayed from the idea limited government that the founders wanted it limited for a reason that government should be limited in its power to allocate gate wealth and opportunity. So that we don't politicize life promiscuously I think beginning with Goldwater. We began into worry about this articulately. And we began to say that the Republican Party has to rethink. Its its connection to the founding so go loaders. The Republican Party should get back to its roots which is about small government and the free market. Yeah he was very much opposed to government interference. He was all about states rights. He was opposed to more social programs. A lot of moderates in the GOP thought that he was too far right but he had passionate support among voters odors and really served to establish the Republican Party as the Party of the right even that though took decades ideological tug of war between conservative and and Liberal Republicans that lasted until run. Reagan came in and the parties began to sort themselves out there really are no longer liberal. Republicans and and they're no longer conservative Democrats whether people are happy about this remains to be seen Hannah we've been talking so much about strong but limited government and free market capitalism. But we also have social social conservatism right. We haven't talked about the quote Christian. Right how how did they become such a significant part part of the Republican. Party's voter base. What Reagan Reagan like really firmly established? What the Republican Party is? He played to both the capitalist leanings and the social conservative leanings of the voter base George. Well calls this. The theory of fusion bringing together two separate but overlapping wrapping groups of People Evangelical Christian Social Conservatives concerned with abortion pornography and all the rest and and on the other side the libertarian impulses of those who believe in free market capitalism. And what Ronald Reagan did was successfully. Bring those two into the Republican tent and keeping those two in equilibrium and in an an amicable relations has been sometimes challenging project but it has been the essence of Republicans Success Center again. So all of these elements limited government government limited regulations social conservatism. Those are still part of the Republican Party Platform. That's how they define themselves. So what is it that may George will a lifelong Republican sever his ties of the GOP to know. The Republican Party is in in my judgment a cult of personality when the party gets back to ideas which are interesting in which people like to talk about. Then you can have really really serious arguments about whether or not government should allocate wealth and opportunity whether or not the government should is more efficient than the market ticket in allocating services such as healthcare our. Pensions are these. When you start arguing about ideas like this then questions become empirical Oracle questions? What does the evidence show us? What does history teach us about government's effectiveness and you can lower the temperature politics by bringing amended by increasing the fact content of it? So I'm not gonNA say that the country is anything like it was in the eighteen fifties but the Republican Party did arise out of extreme division and a bunch of people defecting from another party. George will is looking for a return into something right. A party recommitted to old ideas. The Republican Party called itself that name way back in eighteen fifty four because they were going to be the true representation of Jeffersonian politics of a philosophy that our nation was built upon. They were hearkening back. That was there genesis and it's something that Republicans like George will revere but I'm wondering about the future of the Republican Party. Aw I asked Catherine Diplo Gould about this what might the. Gop Look like going forward. I mean what it's going to look like. I could never predict but that is something something that parties change and I think the winning candidate who has voters who vote in the electoral college system and this candidates ideas go forward really influences. The party's platform because especially in these days where we have ideologically divided parties. They're very polarized ideologically which we haven't really seen frankly since you know the the federalists with Hamilton and and atoms and the Democratic Republicans Jefferson and Madison. It's fascinating meeting that it's almost like what is my team doing. And I'm going to go with my team and you know that kind of partisanship Is something again we. We've only the only seen a few times. I would argue in in US history. I want to be careful because we're show that talks about say the civil war and making big broad sweeping sweeping statements about how hey things have never been as partisan as they are right this second but that said we are divided as a nation. Unlike I've seen in my lifetime and I wonder how that division will change. Both parties does Katherine think that stark divide between the parties will result in them changing yet again. The Republican Party is going through changes and this is actually a normal course of events you know. Parties are a big tents. They have to have a lot of voters they have to. They have a lot of issues. They're not going to please. Everybody but as society grows and changes. You're going to have shifts and I think thank the sort of parsing out that happens from election to election Is a very normal thing to be happening. And it's fascinating to see what comes out at the end over the course of its lifetime lifetime. The one reliable constant in the Republican Party has been change. The party stays alive not because of its commitment to anyone social or economic the issue but because it can court voters so what the GOP will be and if the GOP will be all in the hands of the people who keep it in power. The top three things that are important to us is the economy Pro Pro life and we want a more tolerant Hollerin party to the LGBT community and other person that actually stands for you know what they've been thinking in their head but were too afraid to say all the era seeing a Latino in the Republican Party is not the easiest thing in the world. This election flightless. Also I honestly I do not recognize the Republican Publican Party of today assault plan to bring back a manufacturing base America and that's the economy needs a majority of young Republicans now support marriage equality. Aw they reject Republicans on social issues and they reject Democrats on economic issues if they're connected to donald trump they're not connected to me bring American back. Yeah I think there's value if you don't like this country get out fleet. That's all. He said today's episode was produced by me and McCarthy with you Nick Kappa. Dj Our staff includes includes. Jackie Fulton Erica. Janik our executive producer. Maury mcmurray is neither granted nor old but she sure is a party music in this episode by Cambo Bio Unit Audio Cohorts Krista Brisky Chad crouch and pro leader. Civics would've won is made possible in part by the corporation for public broadcasting and is a production of HP. Our New Hampshire sure public radio the.