News & Politics

CNN Host Explains How the Republican Party Became the Party of Trump

"The elites in Washington were still repeating the Reagan formula."

Photo Credit: HBO

CNN host Fareed Zakaria explained on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" Friday night the bizarre transformation the Republican Party has undergone in recent years — and how it's become all about President Donald Trump.

The change was particularly evident on Friday, as Trump was distancing himself from our G-7 allies and absurdly demanding that Russia be invited to rejoin the group. While Trump has certainly continued and endorsed many standard GOP policies, this kind of shift would never have taken place under a President Marco Rubio or a President Ted Cruz — and yet Republicans offer up little resistance.

"I think what happened was ... Trump recognized —and in the primaries, you see this — the base of the Republican Party was in a completely different place than the elites in Washington thought. The elites in Washington were still reciting the Reagan formula: free trade, expansionist foreign policy, entitlement reform."

He continued: "The base of the party is now a white, working-class base that wants to hear about Mexicans, Muslims, and Chinese people. They want to hear about how the Mexicans are taking your jobs, the Chinese people are taking your factories, the Muslims are killing you. Trump says: 'I'll be them all up, you'll be great again.'"

"That was Trump's one-hour speech in one line, by the way," he added.

Once Trump exploited this crucial fact about the base that the existing party leaders were missing, the leadership realized he had a much better grasp on their voters than they did. And now they realize they can't let him go without risking alienating those same voters.

Watch the clip below:

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.