The Republican Party has been going through a rough period for the last several years. The party itself started to fracture over eight years ago. A group of very vocal people decided to create the Tea Party movement within the Republican base. These individuals had a very brutal, Conservative ideology that was very different from most mainstream Republicans in the party. Tea Party members are generally against most forms of taxation at any level. They are against a large number of government programs dealing with social services and education. The party has a firm stance against immigration and immigrants in general. The members are incredibly conservative on social issues such as marriage equality.
Things changed in the Republican Party when Tea Party members started making real waves. An influx of Tea Party candidates were elected into office. Some of the more moderate standard-bearers for the Republican Party were ousted by radical Tea Party candidates. This changed the makeup of the Republican Party as the base slowly began to embrace the radical ideals of the Tea Party. The traditional leaders of the party soon came under constant fire from the base. The trend continued for a very long time. It is still going on in some ways today.
The shift in the Republican Party base became very obvious when Donald Trump was elected as the presumptive presidential nominee. The party leadership was hoping for a moderate candidate like Jeb Bush who would appeal to all types of people. The Republican voters did not want that. They overwhelmingly handed Trump a victory. This indicated the base was rejecting the conventional stances of the Republican Party in favor of harsher rhetoric and promises to do things like ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
The shift within the party has caused some very prominent officials and pundits to simply walk away. Evan Alvarez is the chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans, or MFCR. The organization is made up of students who are Republicans. Alvarez released a letter stating that he was going to be leaving his position in the MFCR. He also said that he would be leaving the Republican Party. His letter included some scathing words for members of the party.
Alvarez said that he will “refuse to simply let people break the rules and think they don’t have to answer for their actions.” He went on to say that the Republican Party has allowed “extremist to have too much of a voice and because of that, the platform of the Republican Party has shifted too far to the right.” Alvarez specifically blames the influence of Tea Party extremists. He describes how the party is constantly insulting women, minorities and other people needed to win elections. He talks about how disgusted he is by the ignorant rhetoric of those people. Alvarez laments in his letter about how the party has become so extreme that he cannot be a part of it anymore.
Alvarez is not just leaving the party to become an independent. He is actually going to register with the Democratic Party now. Alvarez is not the first to do this. People in key positions across the party are dropping out and registering as Democrats. This should be worrying for Republican leaders. The problem is that the leadership is mostly powerless to do anything about the trend. The right-wing extremists in the party have all but neutered most of the moderate leaders. The question remains as to how many other Republicans will follow Alvarez. His resignation might cause a generation of Republican students to reconsider their affiliation with the party.