By William Andrews
The Eisenhower Republican platform is now nothing but a footnote in GOP history. This moderate platform was most dominant during his Presidency from 1953-1961 and ended when Nixon resigned back in 1974. Since the Nixon administration, the Republican Party has become more and more conservative, and with Ronald Reagan winning the Presidency in 1980, Eisenhower Republicans officially lost control of the Party. Many people call Eisenhower Republicans “Moderate Republicans.”
We believe in Fiscal Conservatism, but not to the extent of destroying social programs. We simply do not want deficit spending. We also are socially liberal, but do not side with Democrats on every social issue. We do not believe in trickle down economics, and we are aware of the positives and negatives big business can have on citizens. We believe in a strong military designed to protect our citizens. We consider our beliefs to be a balanced approach to Republicanism. The most important aspect of being a Moderate Republican, is being able to work with your opposing party and come to some consensus on an issue.
Fast forward to 2016, and the Republican nominee for President is Donald Trump. I will admit I was pretty angered and amazed at what happened. However, the whole process showed just how far to the right many of the Republican Primary voters’ are. More moderate candidates such as John Kasich did not even make a dent in the delegate count. He, out of all the 16 candidates, was the closest to the Eisenhower model. Even so, there were many social and fiscal issues, where I did not see eye to eye with the Ohio Governor. I do not believe in limiting workers right to collective bargaining or in gutting social programs such as planned parenthood. However, despite this, I could support him in the Primary simply because I wanted someone who has had a track record of getting bipartisan legislation passed in Washington. But unfortunately, other primary voters in my party voted for a candidate who has turned the election into fear and divisiveness based on people’s religion and ethnicity. The only saving grace about Donald Trump being the nominee is if he loses maybe the Conservative leadership will be replaced with a group that has a more Moderate approach to politics.
It is true I did not live at the time of Eisenhower or Nixon, but from my own research and talking to my elders, many people liked them. They thought that their policies were fair. For example, Eisenhower warned us about the dangers of the military-industrial complex and how corporations, if left unchecked, will seek war to add to their profits. He expanded some of the New Deal Programs started from FDR and sent U.S. Marshalls to the South, when bigotry against African Americans was high and their safety in non segregated schools was jeopardized. He constructed the U.S. Interstate Highway to protect us from the threat of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Finally, he left us economic prosperity without raising taxes on the middle class. I hold onto what is essentially a dead kind of Republicanism and I have been ostracized, by my fellow Republicans being told you’re simply a RINO (Republican In Name Only), and you should be a Democrat. I welcome the criticism, but hope that this election forces my party to wake up and realize that perhaps it is time to revisit the “old” Eisenhower Republican platform and its ways of Moderation. For now, I am simply a minority in the GOP holding onto a forgotten form of Republicanism.
William is a Junior Sociology Major and Political Science Minor
Graphic By: Joseph Gotto