Republicans are looking to realign the party’s platform in an attempt to undo crippling damage caused by the Tea Party in 2014. Like the Democrats, Republicans are going to shift focus on the middle class, which illustrates the Tea Party’s devastating impact within the Republican party. This party realignment could prove to alter the entire political landscape on the Beltway in 2014.
But this is more than likely just a ploy by the conservatives to save face from the party’s obstructionism and destructive politics over the last year.
House Republicans announced that they will “punish unruly members to help avert party squabbles that badly damaged the GOP brand.” By the peak of the Tea Party-fueled government shutdown, the Republicans’ approval rating decreased to a record low. Gallup indicated that Republicans’ approval rating decreased to 28 percent.
Major right-wing donors like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads want to fund more centrist Republicans. Because the Tea Party created a sour resonance among voters, political contributors want to distance themselves as far away as possible from the faction.
“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said Scott Reed, the top political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”
It appears that the Republicans are wanting to make a “left-leaning” shift to the center as they plan to address the same issues that Democrats harped on in 2013: on-the-job benefits for the middle class and income inequality.
“Working middle-class families are struggling to find a good-paying job, get ahead and keep more money in their pocket,” said Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “House Republicans will continue to offer conservative solutions that help create better conditions for them to succeed.”
This Republican shift echoes the shift announced last week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Reid announced that the Democratic party will place its focus on income inequality and legislation beneficial to the middle class. This is a platform on which progressive Democrats have stood for years.
But just say, for instance, that House Republican leaders do keep the Tea Party on the fringe and to assume the political focus noted by Cantor, this, coupled with the Democrats’ newly announced focus, could bring about an overall leftist shift to Congress.
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.