A political shift is occurring in America, and it’s at the expense of the Grand Old Party. However, the Republican party isn’t doing much to prevent this from happening. In fact, recent events have shown that by catering to extremist conservative values, Republican nominee frontrunners Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have alienated the party from the majority of Americans.
It’s undeniable the drastic views being spewed from the mouths of these potential presidents aren’t catching on with the majority of Republicans. This could have led to the dramatically high 42 percent of Americans currently identifying as independent voters, as shown in recent Gallup polls.
While Ted Cruz’s blatant rejection of scientific and statistical evidence may keep him in good graces with his campaign donors and the religious right, he certainly isn’t winning over the general public. Specifically, we’re talking about his refusal to accept that climate change is a legitimate phenomenon. By denying the evidence provided by NASA, among other credible sources, Cruz is placing a divide between himself and the record-high 70 percent of Americans— and majority of Republicans—who accept the validity of global warming, as reported in a national survey on energy and the environment by University of Michigan.
Furthermore, the self-proclaimed “Christian first, American second” has allowed his religious beliefs to create a divide between himself and the public. By fixating on the defunding of Planned Parenthood, Cruz is alienating himself from the 98 percent of American females—including Catholics—who have used birth control in their lifetime, according to Johns Hopkins Manual of and Gynecology and Obstetrics.
While he may not condone abortions, which make up a whopping 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services, Cruz is doing himself and the rest of his party a disservice by singling out a company deemed so necessary by the public.
If there’s one person that takes political extremism to, well, an extreme, it’s Donald Trump. It’s truly astounding that it’s 2016 and we have a political frontrunner with such asinine and out-of-touch beliefs and declarations. Personally, I’m not convinced that it’s worth going into his specific viewpoints; the media has already done an exceptional job at replaying every eccentric statement of his. What’s more frightening than these absurd comments, though, is how carelessly they can get thrown around.
In one interview with The New York Times, Trump addressed his style of public speaking, “If it gets a little boring, if I see people starting to sort of, maybe thinking about leaving, I just say, ‘We’ll build the wall!’ and they go nuts.”
Are these thoughtless exclamations shocking? Sure. Will he get news coverage for every outlandish statement like this? Sadly, yes. But are these extreme statements truly representative of the opinions of majority America? Not even close. Trump has built his campaign on more shock-and-awe tactics than actual political reasoning, and the Republican reputation is suffering because of it.
Data from the Pew Research Center reports only 23 percent of Americans identify as Republican, the lowest amount since Richard Nixon was in office. It certainly appears that the current trend of political peacocking and catering to marginal interests has left a bad taste in the mouths of would-be Republicans. With the New Hampshire Primaries quickly approaching, the fate of the conservative GOP may be shifting for the worse.