GOP's deepening internal divide now spans across state and local parties
The Trump presidency is over, but for the Republican Party, it appears Trumpism will be a haunting derivative of the former president's politics that will loom over the party for many years to come.
Remnants of Trump's misguided utopianism are now trickling down from Congress and infiltrating the Republican Party on state and local levels across a substantial number of states. The wide spectrum of political views that now exist within the Republican Party are contributing to the intraparty division that is continuing to grow.
A report published by NPR highlights the latest controversy in El Paso County, Colorado as a prime example of the problem. Eli Bremmer, a former chairman for the county's Republican Party explained how the outcome of the presidential election has influenced lawmakers' and voters' reactions.
"Republicans are rightfully very upset and frustrated with the recent election and some of them are dealing with it very appropriately and some of them are dealing with it inappropriately," Bremmer said.
Bremmer also offered details about the latest controversy around electing a new chairman for the county's party. As part of the tentative agenda, safety concerns were discussed. Some members of the party fear "it could intimidate attendees" while Bremmer expressed concerns about the meeting, itself, not being safe.
He added, "Obviously there are some underlying tensions here between sort of the radical fringe elements and sort of the more mainstream, common-sense conservative liberty-minded Republicans."
Other tensions center around the coronavirus pandemic. Even after a full year and more than 400,000 deaths as a result of COVID-19, Republicans are still divided on the existence of the virus. It also contributed to the El Paso County divide. Current El Paso County Chair Vickie Tonkins faced calls to step down from nearly 20 Republican lawmakers after claiming the virus was a hoax but to no avail.
Some have insisted that racial tension played a part in the calls for Tonkins' resignation. "I can find no other reason to do what you have done to Vickie," Joe Oltmann, a Colorado podcaster, and activist, said to the party in an email. "The simple lack of basic maturity is astonishing. I am just trying to figure out if you are truly wanting to unite and grow the GOP, or destroy it."
OItmann's question is one many Republicans are asking but few answers have been provided.