Boehner Backs Trump: A Reflection on the Current State of the Republican Party

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By: Adam Ishaq

Former Republican Speaker John Boehner made national headlines this week after he let off a string of candid responses concerning the 2016 Presidential race and the state of the Republican Party. Boehner, who stepped down from his position as Speaker of the House in late October 2015, was quick to choose sides in the race for the Republican nomination. Discussing Senator Ted Cruz, Boehner described him as “Lucifer in the flesh,” while adding, “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” Voicing his support for Donald Trump, Boehner claimed he has golfed with Mr. Trump for years, claiming the two were “texting buddies.”

Perhaps what is most surprising about Boehner’s remarks is that in the context of the 2016 election, Boehner’s comments seem so normal. Only six years ago, the Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell famously said, “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Embodying the increasing polarization between the two parties, McConnell’s statement emphasized the way in which Democrats and Republicans have increasingly seen their ability to agree wither away. Yet, Boehner’s remarks that he would prefer a Republican presidential candidate who has in the past advocated for nationalized health care, abortion rights, and higher taxes to pay off the national debt are astounding. Considering that McConnell’s statements contain the vitriol that indicated an unwillingness to work with a Democratic president, it is shocking to hear a former Republican Speaker announce his support for a candidate who has voiced such liberal beliefs.

Boehner’s dislike of Ted Cruz is not a unique opinion, as Complex’s collection of negative comments about Cruz help illustrate. With Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich supposed, although now apparently nonexistent, alliance attempting to pull down Trump and enter a brokered convention in July, one has to wonder: what happened to the Republican Party? Apparently unable to rally behind more traditional candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, it seems the Republican Party has left itself without a candidate that they will be able to rally around come November. It is hard to understand how the the Republican party can rally around Cruz, or Lucifer as Boehner called him, or Trump, who the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has labeled a “phony” and a “fraud.”

With the parties entering the crucial time in which national presidential campaigns start to form, it appears the Democrats are left in a much more favorable position entering the November election. Though the Democrats still have not chosen between Senator Sanders and Hillary Clinton, there is not such a high level of animosity among party elites as is seen across the aisle. With six months left until Americans cast their ballots for president, it seems the Republican Party will need to figure out what has happened to their party’s cohesion and how to fix it.

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