Political scientists explore the future of the GOP

Grove City College Political Science professors Dr. Michael Coulter and Dr. Caleb Verbois discussed the past, present and future of the Republican Party in an online forum presented by the Jefferson Education Society.

Their Feb. 4 Facebook live conversation on “The Future of the G.O.P.” with Ben Speggen, vice president of the Erie, Pa., think tank, covered the situation nationally, in the state and the region at a critical moment for the Republican Party. It is available for viewing here.

Coulter and Verbois talked about the party’s internal divisions and external challenges on the national and state levels. They also delve into the Jan. 6 insurrection, impeachment and the need for political leaders to tell the truth, even when it is inconvenient. 

Verbois discussed the recent historical development of the national Republican coalition and the present challenge. “In the aftermath of the 2016 election Republicans controlled more federal and state office than at any point since the 1920s. Four years later Trump was the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose the White House, the Senate, and the House in just one term. The party turned winning into losing in record time,” Verbois said. The big question, he said, is what happens to the party now that Trump is no longer president.

Coulter, who chairs the Department of Political Science, focused on the future of the GOP at the state level. “State parties have ideological variations but generally try to have a big tent,” he said. That’s being tested by recent state level action taken against Republicans critical of Trump. The possibility of inter-party divisions resulting in a spinoff “Patriot Party” are complicated by varying state election rules that make it very hard for anyone outside of the two-party system to compete, Coulter noted.

The Jefferson Educational Society of Erie is a non-profit institution founded to promote civic enlightenment, and community progress for the Erie Region through the study, research, discussion of those ideas and events that have influenced the human condition. For more about the Jefferson Education Society, visit jeserie.org.

For more about the Department of Political Science at Grove City College, visit gcc.edu/pols.

Political scientists explore the future of the GOP

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