News / USA

Conservative Activists Pushing Republican Party to Right

Multimedia

Audio

In U.S. politics, conservative activists around the country are seeking to push the Republican Party to the right this year, and some moderate Republicans are feeling the political heat.

In a number of races around the country, strains are developing between some traditional Republican candidates and more conservative politicians who want to return the party to what they believe are its more conservative roots.

Take the case of a Senate race in Florida that is getting national attention.

In 2008, Florida's Republican governor, Charlie Crist, was so popular that some Republicans touted him as a possible vice presidential running mate for presidential nominee John McCain.

Less than two years later, Crist has left the Republican Party to run as an independent candidate in the race for a U.S. Senate seat in Florida, after realizing it was going to be impossible for him to win the Republican primary.

Crist spoke about his unusual decision on NBC's Today program.

"And consistently they have said to me, be your own person, be your own man," said Crist.  "We need a voice and we need somebody to speak for us and rise above partisan politics, just go to the people."

Crist was forced to abandon his quest for the Republican Senate nomination because he was badly trailing former state legislator Marco Rubio in the primary race.

Rubio sees Crist's transformation from Republican to independent as a political stunt.

"Voters are tired of being manipulated.  I am not going to go out there and reinvent myself to manipulate somebody's vote," said Rubio.

Polls showed Rubio trouncing Crist in the Republican primary, but recent polls give Crist a better chance to win the Senate seat running as an independent in November against Republican Rubio and Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek.

"Crist running as an independent has a much greater likelihood of hurting the Republicans than helping them," noted Georgetown University political scientist Stephen Wayne.

Political experts see Governor Crist's decision to run as an independent as the latest example of a growing trend in U.S. politics.

"I think it is a symptom of the political polarization, which has afflicted the United States now for some time," said Rutgers University political analyst Ross Baker.  Baker says moderates in both parties have increasingly been squeezed out in recent years.

"The most vocal and most active members of both political parties, on the Democratic side they tend to be the most liberal and on the Republican side they tend to be the most conservative," noted Baker.  "Therefore, people who do not measure up to their test of what a proper Democrat or a proper Republican is, are likely to suffer."

This trend makes it harder for Democrats and Republicans in Congress to compromise and find common ground, says Georgetown University expert Stephen Wayne.

"We have become a nation of extremes, at least within our government, with the liberals on the Democratic side and the conservatives on the Republican side over-represented in the Congress of the United States," explained Stephen Wayne.

In the case of the Florida Senate race, Republican Marco Rubio's campaign has also been aided by the so-called Tea Party movement.  Tea Party grassroots conservative activists rallied behind Rubio early on, believing he is a more reliable conservative than Governor Crist.

It is a scenario that could play out in other races around the country during the next several months, says Georgetown's Stephen Wayne.

"I think in the long run what this does is to contribute to what seems to be occurring right now and that is the retrenchment of the Republican Party, opting for purity of ideological beliefs rather than a broad-based appeal to the general public," said Wayne.

Tea Party activists seem more focused on shifting the Republican Party in a more conservative direction than in forming their own political party.

In the short term, most analysts believe the grassroots energy coming from the Tea Party activists will help Republican candidates in November.  It is expected that Democrats will have a tougher challenge in motivating their supporters to get out to vote this year.

Historically, the party that controls the White House loses Congressional seats in a new president's first midterm election.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid