The Republican Party Needs to Change



By Richard Colman

The Republican Party, in California and nationally, drastically needs to change.

There was a time when the Republican Party had electable and popular candidates like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Earl Warren (as governor of California from 1943 to 1953), Dwight Eisenhower (president from 1953 to 1961), and Ronald Reagan.

In Califoria today, the Democrats control all state-wide elected offices.  Also, by overwhelming margins, the Democrats control both houses of the state legislature.

In 1952 and 1956, Eisenhower won landslide victories for president.  Eisenhower’s slogan, which used Eisenhower’s nickname, Ike, had a memorable slogan, “I like Ike.” 

As president, Eisenhower was a centrist.  While he did not expand such New Deal programs as Social Security, he did not favor repealing popular New Deal programs.

Ronald Reagan, as governor of California (from 1967 to 1975) and as president (from 1981 to 1989) knew how to win elections.  Reagan was affable and had a great sense of humor.

One of the most well liked Republicans in recent years was the late Jack Kemp, a former professional football player and later a Republican Congressman from the Buffalo, New York, area.  Kemp called for a “big tent” Republican party, a party that embraced such groups as African-Americans and Latinos.

Another excellent Republican figure was Senator Howard Baker from Tennessee.  Baker was an open and likeable figure.  Baker was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1966.  He listened to people.

In recent years, the Republican Party under President Donald Trump has become a party of protectionism, xenophobia, and nastiness.  Only a few elected Republicans are willing to challenge Trump’s obnoxious behavior.

Not all of the Republican Party’s troubles are due to Trump.  But Trump has set a tone for Republicans, a tone that has caused problems for other Republicans.  As president, Trump’s approval rating has stayed close to 40 percent.  If Trump were a better politician, he would be an overwhelming choice for re-election.

Trump has criticized the “deep state,” meaning the gigantic bureaucracy that exists within the federal government.  He has also criticized the nation’s immigration policies.  But the criticism has been leveled in a way that irritates many Americans. 

Normally, the Republican Party stands for free trade, less government bureaucracy, and free markets.  The party was founded as an anti-slavery party.

Today, the party has become narrow minded.  Trump himself insults not only Democrats but fellow Republicans like Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.  Some people would argue that Trump has insulted more people that Don Rickles, the late comedian.

In 2018, Trump, as president, referred to African countries, Haiti, and El Salvador as (expletive deleted) “_______ hole” countries.

In 2015, when campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best . . . They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime.  They’re rapists.”

While Trump may have legitimate concerns about immigrants, he could have used more diplomatic language.

During Trump’s time in office, the annual budget deficit went from $585 billion to $984 billion in 2019, up 68 percent.  The estimated deficit for the 2020 fiscal year is $3.8 trillion.

In foreign policy, the Republicans under Trump made a huge mistake by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  To counter the power of a rising China, TPP originally involved assembling a group of nations to offset Chinese hegemony in the Pacific region.  TPP originally involved such nation as the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam.  In 2017, Trump withdrew U.S. participation in the TPP.

Too often, Republicans seem mean.  Such criticism does not apply to Eisenhower and Reagan.  During their respective presidencies, the U.S. stayed out of war.  (When Eisenhower became president in January 1953, the Korean War was still raging.  By July 1953, an armistice was arranged, and American participation in the war ended.  For the rest of Eisenhower’s presidency, the U.S. did not have any wars.) 

Today, the U.S. is fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

When Reagan became president, the national debt was $1 trillion.  When he left office, the debt was nearly $3 trillion.  Today, that debt is over $26 trillion and climbing quickly.  Reagan helped arrange for the demise of the Soviet Union.

Reagan had an optimistic outlook.  He, like Eisenhower, made Americans feel good about their country.

From 2003 to 2011, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a movie actor and a Republican, was governor of California.  In 2006, he won re-election as governor easily.  Schwarzenegger was a moderate governor and was well liked.  Schwarzenegger supported stem-cell research.  While he was not a supporter of gay marriage, he did support civic unions.  He was a flexible politician and was willing to compromise with a Democratic state legislature.

Right now, it looks as if Donald Trump will lose the 2020 presidential election.  The tragedy of Trump is that he did not try to expand the appeal of the Republican Party.

Richard Nixon, a Republican, was overwhelmingly re-elected as president in 1972, winning 49 states.  Nixon, first elected as president in 1968, imposed wage-and-price controls in August 1971.  The goal was to reduce inflation.  In February 1972, Nixon made the first trip ever made by an American president to China.  In May 1972, Nixon became the first American president to visit the Kremlin in Moscow in the Soviet Union.  In the Kremlin, Nixon signed an arms control agreement with the Soviets. 

Before the 1972 election, Nixon, in October 1972, appeared to end the Vietnam War.  However, the war did not end until January 1973.

In 1972, there was a group called Democrats for Nixon.  Nixon was able to expand his base.

In 1984, Reagan Democrats appeared, showing that Reagan was able to expand his base.  In his 1984 bid for re-election, Reagan won 49 states.

The time has come for Republicans to put forward imaginative candidates who can expand the Republican base and win elections.

Republicans have done it before.  They can do it again.

Richard Colman is the founder and president of Biomed Inc., a biotechnology, publishing, and informatics company.  He is a biochemist and earned masters and doctoral degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.  He lives in Orinda, California.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

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3 Responses to The Republican Party Needs to Change

  1. John Wurts August 5, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Trump is the first president since Reagan who says what America thinks and that is why he won in spite of all the media lies and no help from the old outdated establishment Republicans and that is also why he will be re-elected. I do tax returns for many hundreds of people and everyone who voted for Trump before will do it again, and many who voted for Clinton will vote for Trump now. Also, the large group who voted Libertarian will now vote for Trump. On top of all that, more black and Hispanic votes are going to Trump than are going to the communist/socialist/BLM/Democrat party. Trump is headed to another even bigger landslide win. The left will be rocked to their core when they realize the depth of the rejection that America will deliver to them. People do not want rioting. People do not want to defund police departments. People do not want their taxes raised. People do not want their jobs destroyed by a needless shutdown where LESS than one hundredth of one percent of the population have died from the supposedly scary virus. This is INSANITY and Trump is the cure. History may show him to be the best president in a century.
    I love Trump’s tenacity, fearlessness, ingenuity, and sense of humor (totally lacking in the left).
    Trump is Teddy Roosevelt, George Patton, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Barnum and Bailey all rolled into one magnificent unstoppable Tour De Force and could end up the fifth face carved into Mount Rushmore.

  2. Sue August 4, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Please review. This is a President?

  3. Mike Smith August 4, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    The Republican Party needs to change more than President Trump does.

    Meanwhile, Richard Colman, would you rather…

    Be offended by President Trump, or left for dead by Joe Biden?


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