Opinion | Republicans Have a Large Problem: Themselves

With a tumultuous start to 2023; the GOP’s problems lie within themselves.


Photo Illustration by Zakary Peterson

Zakary Peterson, Co-Editor

After having been “punched, dragged, spit on[,] stomped, electrocuted by a taser, [and] suffered a traumatic brain injury” during the January 6th riot, former D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone talked with then House Minority GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to request that he condemn the language of some of his republican colleagues—one who even called the day a “normal tourist visit”—and to commit to a serious insurrection investigation.

His response was something from another world—one in which accrediting and recognizing those who protected America’s fragile democracy don’t exist—as McCarthy deflected the question and blamed his far-right colleagues for being unwilling for him to carry out Fanone’s simple requests. This type of void in leadership has caused numerous problems within the Republican Party and especially led to the far-right’s own stranglehold on the now House Speaker.

Exemplified by the 15 rounds of voting it took to make McCarthy the House Speaker, republicans such as Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and Paul Gosar have portrayed the party as extraordinarily divided. These high levels of disunification have allowed fringe members to increase their own power over the leader, which in turn has swayed many voters to more negatively view the GOP.

In fact, according to a recent poll by YouGov from the 2-16 of January, Republicans in congress have had a 7.6 percent decrease in favorability. This decrease shows one of the largest problems among republicans: they can’t control themselves, because while Fanone was fighting rioters trying to overthrow Capitol Hill, Boebert stated on twitter “The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.” Which had potentially devastating and life threatening consequences for the former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

With such a high level of incitement of violence, it would be fair in a democracy for Boebert to be held accountable and possibly even removed from her seat as a representative entirely. However, just over 2 years after that fateful day, she’s in the Committee on Oversight and Accountability and she continues to be an influential member of the Republican party through the House Freedom Caucus as well; both of which are powerful and can be used to reign over and gnaw at the republican party.

So what can McCarthy do to retain power over some of his most outspoken and critical members as well as protect the GOP’s political future? The answer is quite complex as building a more positive public image of his party will be a major issue. The first few steps in order to be a party more in line with voters is to work on distancing themselves with former president Donald Trump who has become an unpopular figure among the public and within Congress, reduce the extremism manifested within certain members of the party by becoming more moderate on social and economical issues, and finally work to attempt to reduce government spending in an effort to decrease the deficit and have more control over inflation.

These policies, among others, would be adequate to getting the GOP back on the right track to becoming a more unified party that listens to its voters while being able to compromise with certain firebrand Republicans and possibly have a big chance at taking on the democrats in the 2024 election.