The Republican Party has become divided in an unprecedented way

In almost every way, the rise of Donald Trump has been appalling to me. I disagree with him on nearly everything and am not voting for him. However, there is one aspect of his rise that I like— he has managed to rip apart one of the two major parties that hold too much power in American politics.

As someone who does not associate with a political party and who has views on both sides of the aisle, I have grown up disheartened by the two-party system in the U.S. The increasing rigidity of the views of both parties leave out the views of many Americans, myself included. The expected loyalty of politicians to their party’s nominees and policies is disheartening as well. In at least one of the two major parties, Trump has changed this in a serious way.

One of the major news stories this election cycle has been the internal conflicts of Republican Party politicians over whether they should support Trump as their nominee. Countless Republican politicians have refused to endorse Trump, or have distanced themselves from him after controversial comments. In fact, the numbers of Republican politicians who do not support Trump are so high that many news outlets have published articles listing all such Republicans, notably The Atlantic’s “cheat sheet” and the New York Times’s interactive timeline of all Trump’s controversial comments and which Republican politicians refused to support him afterwards.

In addition to shaking up party loyalty norms, Trump has also been unique as a major party nominee due to his veering away from orthodox party views. Although many of his views are unclear, constantly changing, and viewed by some as on the verge of fascism— which is terrifying to see in a candidate who has come this far—he also has some views that are far from conservative. Particularly on trade, Trump’s rhetoric is often on course with the far left, extremely critical of trade deals due to their potential to cost American jobs. It is very unusual to see that in a Republican nominee.

Between his extremely unorthodox views, which have mobilized (for better or worse) a whole new group of American voters and his lack of party support, it is clear Trump has divided the Republican Party in a way no major American party has been divided in recent history. It is unclear how the Republican Party will change in the long-term because of this, but whether he wins or loses, the party will be extremely split.

It is unfortunate that it took a candidate like Trump to divide a major party, but I am glad one of the major parties has potential to change. While I personally am hoping he loses, his rise has exposed the fact that there are countless Americans whose views are not represented by  major party platforms. It has also exposed the flaw in blind loyalty to one’s party. Many Republicans have clearly regretted the fact that they felt obligated to support Trump as their nominee simply because they share the same party affiliation. I hope this serves a message for both major parties in the future.

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