Midterm elections greatly affect Republican Party

The Republican Party, also referred to as GOP, or the Grand Ole Party, is represented by an elephant. The symbol has been tied to the party since it first appeared in a political cartoon in 1874.

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The Republican Party, also referred to as GOP, or the Grand Ole Party, is represented by an elephant. The symbol has been tied to the party since it first appeared in a political cartoon in 1874.

Ellie Werthman, co-editor in-chief

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Voters from rural, urban and suburban counties across the nation eagerly anticipated the midterm elections. Democrats canvassed across states, including Georgia, in heated elections while Republicans were forced to either side with Trumpian candidates or a third party. So how did the Republican Party become a white nationalist party?

Rewind to 2012 when former president Barack Obama won his second term in office, where minorities overwhelmingly voted Democrat, and to some, this has simply become an assumed fact of elections. However, after these elections, instead of focusing toward trying to gain these votes for future elections, the Republican party remained idle, and in their absence of control, Donald Trump was able to rile up his primarily white base affected by deindustrialization.

Not only did he bash establishment politicians, but he used rhetoric based on racism and white nationalism. To him, illegal immigration did not show a need to reform our immigration system but he called immigrants from Mexico “rapists” and those seeking refuge from hot spots in the Middle East as “terrorists.”

This ideology that dominated his 2016 presidential campaign, as well as many of the comments he has made in office, are tactics used to motivate voters from rural areas who need someone to blame for their economic losses and the societal change. With the deindustrialization of America, many of these people lost jobs as companies downsized and found less of a need for unskilled workers. In addition, as women and minorities gain more rights in society, white men are not inherently superior as they made themselves to be (even though the fight for social equality is a long and windy one). These people felt forgotten by Washington and voiceless. Trump came and gave them a voice. He gave them people to blame and validation for their racism.

The Republicans that dominate the Republican Party now are not the same as the ones who praised the Reagan Revolution, or even the same as the ones who backed George W. Bush after he won the electoral vote in 2000.

The gubernatorial race in Georgia was a prime example of what the Republican Party has become. In the primaries, rather than nominating the more traditional conservative, Casey Cagle, Georgians choose a nominee whose campaign at that point included ads where he threatened to “round up the illegals” himself and take them back to their native country, and ads where he pointed his own gun at his teenage daughter’s boyfriend: Brian Kemp.

In the midterm elections, Kemp ran in a very close race against Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee, who would have been the first female black governor in the United States. Abrams was a moderate liberal and Kemp was an extreme conservative, running on views that parallel those of Trump. Ultimately, the Kemp campaign motivated voters through racially charged phone calls to encourage people to get to the polls and vote against Abrams.

The Republican Party we see today is no longer one of small government, but one where in order to win, the candidate must use racially charged, nationalist messaging.

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