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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Republican divisions

An article on Foxnews discusses the divisions in the Republican party. With the party encompassing roughly a third of the nation and constantly having to court independents to come up with half the votes on election days, many views have been expressed within the party that differ greatly from one another. It's quite hard to please so many different opinions, and when each person holding those opinions feel the party should represent them (after all, each voted for Republicans), it's a bit hard to find a concensus. Various issues have caused this problem and divided the party against itself, including immigration, foreign coutries buying ports, Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court, Fiscal responsibility, and even Iraq.

With so many issues dividing the party, it will be interesting to watch Republican primaries across the country as they battle it out to find the median voter in their district. Many Republicans are retiring or running for different offices, including in Colorado. With Joel Hefley's retirement, candidates have begun positioning themselves as reformers, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, for tougher or more lax immigration laws, etc. The same is being seen in the Governor's race between Bob Beauprez and Marc Holtzman. Tom Tancredo (R-CO 6th district) will be facing a Republican challenger who disagrees with Tancredo's immigration stances.

Democrats have seen a political advantage in the Republican divisions. Senate Democrats have blocked the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform essentially leaving only the House Republican version of reform up for votes. Apparently they view the House bill as being far from the median voter.

Things could get more interesting in 2008 as so many diverse views vie for the party nomination for President. Already many potential contenders are making different guesses as to where the median voter in the party stands. John McCain, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Representative Tom Tancredo have all expressed interest in running for President and have each taken very different stances on immigration. Other potential but less likely contenders such as Chuck Hagel (R-NE) have also been going very public with their opinions.

With so many different views and issues, and with the Senate immigration bill now stalled, immigration will be an issue to watch over the next few years. While media pundits will show polls telling us how Americans feel about immigration, the real tests are going to come in the primaries in 2006 and 2008. Hopefully voters will have enough options to choose their "median." That is unlikely however, since immigration alone seems to have so many positions. All the other issues dividing the party may end up taking a back seat to just the one issue. Furthermore, it is not yet known whether immigration will be what the median voter is most concerned about. The deciding issues could be any of the others dividing the party. Only time will tell, and even then we may not be sure of what Time actually said.

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