On Oct. 28, the Republican Party finally nominated Rep. Paul Ryan to be the Speaker of the House. This came after Rep. John Boehner’s resignation from the position in September, following pressures from numerous political factions within the party. It took Paul Ryan quite some time to acknowledge that he is the best man for the job. Ryan’s conditions regarding his acceptance of the position evince a maturity and understanding of the current state of the Republican party that most of his fellow Republican peers have failed to recognize.
Progressives like President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promote policies intended to boost those with a lower socioeconomic status while promoting equality throughout the nation. These progressive policies frequently have adverse side effects.
Republicans would most likely not support these types of bills, which is perfectly reasonable. What is not reasonable is providing no alternatives. The Republican Party, as a result, has earned itself the reputation of the “no” party.
I think the most significant implication of Paul Ryan’s new, powerful position is the transition “from being an opposition party to a proposition party,” as Ryan himself said; however, his other required concessions are also intelligent. Among other factions within the Party, the House Freedom Caucus divides and impedes the Party’s success most significantly. The group has ousted Speaker John Boehner and prevented Representative Kevin McCarthy from nomination, arguing for stronger conservatism. From recent polling data from RealClearPolitics, Congress has a 78.7 percent disapproval rating. The House Freedom Caucus has responded by moving even further to the right, polarizing the Republican Party.
Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of politics should be able to analyze this situation and understand that the American people do not want more of something they dislike. The vast support for a government shutdown manifested by the first Republican debate about Planned Parenthood amazes me. It is as if Republicans can’t grasp that the American people prefer bipartisanship over polarization and lacking productivity.
Ryan is above this onerous behavior, and I believe he has the power to pass conservative bills that facilitate productive solutions. By demanding support from the numerous factions within the Republican Party, he is taking a step toward unifying Republicans to provide solutions, rather than to compete to see who can be the least liberal.
Although Ryan will better the name of the Republican Party, the next president needs to be able to follow through with comprehensive policy that is economically efficient. Right now, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and—as I am sure you all have heard—his peer Donald Trump lead in most recent polls. A neurosurgeon and a television personality/business leader, neither of whom have any previous political experience, are the current Republican frontrunners. Ben Carson: the soft-spoken orator who has a charisma of divinity. The man who said he could not see a Muslim being President of the United States. If Carson himself is so ignorant as to say this, do Republicans have any hope? All of the candidates who have no previous political experience have been manifestly incompetent in playing politics. Fiorina, largely considered the biggest winner of the first GOP debate, overtly lied about Planned Parenthood videos she still claims exist. Fiorina has declined in the polls because of the same reason Clintonwouldn’t make a good president. Each have weak policy positions and feed off of others’ mistakes and personal flaws. Fiorina only climbed in the polls because she successfully attacked other candidates. I hope her decline is because Republicans understand that policy is the most important aspect of a candidate, not how skillfully they can trash talk.
As a Republican, I write this mostly in distress because of the way the GOP has driven its reputation, along with that of Congress, into the ground. Although, in the eyes of the American people, much damage has been done to the Party, I think—to use the President Obama’s campaign slogan—there is hope.
Senator Marco Rubio is the greatest ray of hope for the Republican Party. He is progressive in the sense that he is a policy promoter, as opposed to just a pure anti-liberal. I think that he can work in tandem with Ryan to change the face of the Republican Party from that of an old, white, rich man who enjoys allowing monopolies and exploiting the working class in his free time.
As long as Paul Ryan follows through with his intentions and wins over difficult conservatives, and Marco Rubio is the commander-in-chief of America in just over a year, the Republican Party has a chance of escaping the hole it has dug itself into.
Sehnert is a member of the class of 2019.