THE BATTLE WITHIN

Mitch McConnellThere is a battle going on in Congress.  You probably think I mean between the Democrats and Republicans.  Nope.  I’m talking about within the Republican Party.  This battle is shaping up to be just as vicious as the one between the two parties.

The Republicans are split into two main groups.  No-one in the party can sit on the sidelines.  Everyone is in play.  The establishment Republicans against the conservatives.  There is a lot at stake in this feud, and the party will never be the same again.

The establishment Republicans, who control the leadership positions, and represented by Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, don’t take too kindly to the conservatives who are demanding more from their leadership.  These are the go along, get along girls and guys who believe in the status quo.  They want the conservatives to fall in line and give the establishment their votes on issues.  This group wants more cooperation with the Democrats on policy issues.

The conservatives have been growing in numbers during the last few elections.  Although they don’t yet have the numbers to take the leadership positions, they are getting close.  After the 2014 elections, they hope to have the numbers to challenge for control of the Republican caucus.

The establishment leadership has been active trying to limit the influence of the conservatives.  Conservatives have been stripped of their committee assignments.  They have been moved to less visible committees.  They have placed conservatives on committees where moderate Republicans hold seniority so the conservatives don’t have as much of a voice.  McConnell has been actively campaigning for moderate Republicans challenging conservatives in primary races.  The establishment Republicans have done all they can to keep control.  They oppose the Tea Parties at every opportunity.

The Tea Parties have been making gains the past few elections.  They openly oppose the leadership for not being conservative enough.  When the leadership has not moved far enough right to satisfy the Tea Parties, those groups have vocally campaigned for a change at the top of the party.

The 2014 elections will tell us all which way the party will move.  If the conservatives gain control of the caucus, then the gulf between the Democrats and Republicans will grow.  As the Republicans move to the right, the Democrats have moved hard left.  Many moderate Democrats have been replaced by the Republicans.  There are now hard left Democrats running their side.  The Republicans could find themselves in the same situation on the conservative side.

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