Published July 26, 2021
The transformation of the Republican Party from the home of the nation’s educated business elites to one whose voters draw primarily from the working class is likely to be President Donald Trump’s most enduring legacy. How to reorient the party’s domestic policy dogma to reflect the desires of its new voters, however, remains a work in progress.
The GOP’s new voter coalition is no longer unified around the party’s old verities. A January poll of Trump voters I crafted clearly shows this. Trump’s coalition is divided on core economic questions such as cutting entitlement spending, free trade and cutting the income tax rate paid by those in the top bracket. The party is even split over whether to provide all Americans with a basic minimum standard of living provided people work to the best of their ability. In each case, the new Republicans — people who voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2020 — are significantly to the left of the base GOP voter.
Republican officeholders and prospective presidential candidates all see this disunity, but they are divided on how to respond. So far, they have separated themselves into five rough groups.