What’s behind the civil war within the Republican Party, with presidential hopefuls from the party’s right wing surging ahead of candidates favored by the GOP establishment?
According to Lawrence Rosenthal, director of Berkeley’s Center for Right-Wing Studies, tensions within the GOP have been building for a quarter century, as party populists’ sense of betrayal has grown “deeper and more acrimonious” with each passing year.
Recent world events — including the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino — have created “the optimum conditions for Donald Trump’s immediate, astounding and durable rise to the top of the field” in the 2016 presidential campaign, he says. “Should Trump accumulate enough delegates in the primaries to win the nomination, the Republican party with him as its leader will come to resemble the anti-immigrant populist third parties that are common in Europe.”
This would mean not only “a collapse of the center-right in the U.S.,” writes Rosenthal, “but the abandonment of the Republican establishment’s most dearly held tenet, free-market economics.” Read his analysis, “Behind the Republican implosion,” on the Berkeley Blog.