It seems like Americans love to create groups to be a member of. You see that online. It’s common in religion. And there are dozens of political parties, most of which no one is aware of. Any time someone gets their nose out of joint by something someone said or did, they’d go off on their own to create a new group and hoped others would join. Sometimes they did, often they did not.
It’s the two primary political parties that win elections, although sometimes a third party or independent wins. Four presidents won on the old Whig ticket, and John Adams became the 2nd president of the United States before there was a Democrat party and a Republican party. Andrew Johnson, a Southern conservative slave-owner, won the election after Lincoln was assassinated. He was Lincoln’s Vice President and stayed with the Republican party and a Unionist, although he was from Tennessee.
One of the first political parties to use the names of Democrat and Republican was the Democratic-Republican Party, also known as the Jeffersonian Republican party, founded in the 1790s by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The party was divided in 1824 into separate parties.
Both conservatives and liberals were in both parties, although traditionally, Southern conservatives tended to support the Republicans and liberals the Democrats. The further division began in the 1860s when Lincoln suggested free status for black slaves and the end of slavery, which caused Southern states to secede from the country and create their own government separate from the United States. Many insist that the civil war was caused due to a lack of state’s rights, and essentially that was true, but the Southern states wanted to continue their right of slavery and denied freedom to the black slaves who were there against their will. To Northern liberals, this went entirely against “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” from the constitution. To many people, the idea of equality only applied to white, straight, Christian men, and for many, that still applies today.
The division between the parties widened more and more over time, especially in the 1960s with the Civil Rights Movement and the 1970s with the Equal Rights and Women’s Liberation Movement. Southern conservative Republicans felt both women and people of color should be submissive to the controlling white men. The existence of non-Christians was completely ignored.
But the ultimate division between the parties was with the help of Donald Trump. For the first time, we started seeing the in-your-face hatred of one side of the other, something Trump encouraged.
Throughout history, Republicans have been anti-immigration, pro-gun and pro-war, pro-state’s rights, anti-reproduction rights, pro-female submission, pro-church involvement, anti-affirmative action, anti-drug, anti-gay rights, and pro-restriction of voting rights.
For the most part, Southern Republicans have been traditionalists, and they object to their traditional ideas and way of life being denied. They want people of color, women, and non-Christians to remember their place, which is not up there as anyone in charge of business or government. Within the Trump movement, there was a push to repeal the 14th and 19th Amendments so that women and people of color would not have any rights, including the right to vote. There was also a group on Facebook that wanted to deny anyone who was not a Christian the right to vote.
There are now Republicans all over the country, but the most significant groups are those in the Southern states who still cling to the ideology and are resistant to new ideas and the rights of others. They want a “small government” that doesn’t tell them how to live, and they don’t want to help anyone other themselves. A good number of Republicans live where they were born, follow the ideas of their elders, and often lack higher education and a college degree. Those Republicans who do have a college degree and tend to be wealthy have long ago learned how to take advantage of those conservative Christians who have been trained to be obedient and gullible.
Will this ever change? Right now, it’s hard to say. Some insist that the GOP is toast and a new party will need to take its place; others say that the more moderate Republicans will need to go back to “The Party of Lincoln,” and still others say that the old Republican party will rally and come back from the brink of destruction. But it does seem clear that the party of Trump is slowly dying. There will always be those racist, sexists, selfish Trumplicans who will push for their place at the head of the line, but I suspect that many of the more moderates who initially supported Donald Trump have changed their tune. Perhaps they have learned critical lessons with this. Others never will.