To say the least, the U.S. Presidential election has been captivating. A spectacle like no other in American political history, the past year was one filled with more bluster and drama than I certainly ever anticipated. This, of course, is largely attributed to the candidacy of ‘The Donald’ as the Republican Party candidate.
As I have watched this spectacle unfold what has fascinated me most is the noticeable rift it has caused within the Republican Party – most strikingly within the Evangelical community which, historically, is considered to be a large voting block for Republicans.
For some Evangelical leaders like author Max Lucado, this election had become so disturbing that – for the first time ever – he publically added his voice to the discussion. Citing both a degree of hypocrisy and a lack of decency Lucado, via an online video, stated that he never would have said anything if Mr. Trump did not claim to “be a Christian.” He went on to say that “as the father of daughters… (Trump) would not pass the decency test.” Finally, Lucado calls-upon all Christians in America not to vote for Mr. Trump.
On the flip-side of the coin is Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, who has endorsed Mr. Trump. Seemingly unconcerned that Mr. Trump regularly demonstrates his lack for the most basic of Christian values (decency, respect, and grace, to name just a few), Dr. Dobson is clearly more concerned about the kinds of Supreme Court Justices the future President will appoint.
In addition to the polarization that is taking place within the Evangelical sub-set of the Republican Party, so too is there a fracturing within the party as a whole. Indeed, in a recent BBC News article (12 October 2016), there are several key issues where Mr. Trump diverges from the Republican Party. These issues include, though are not limited to: immigration, international trade, foreign policy and social services. With these notable divergences in mind, it is no wonder that Speaker Paul Ryan of the U.S. House of Representatives has, on several occasions, stated that: “I think what a lot of Republicans want to see is that we have a standard bearer that bears our standards.”
For the Record…
Regardless of what happens on Election Day, one thing is certain: the Republican Party will never again be the same. Between the polarization within one of its largest voting blocks, to the lack on uniformity by Mr. Trump with respect to key party positions, the Republican Party is going to have to embark on a journey of serious self-reflection.
Having said that – as someone who has never been a fan of the two-party system in the U.S., and is hugely thankful to be Canadian and to have a country governed by a parliamentary system – I think such a journey has the potential to shape U.S. politics in a hugely positive way.