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Wikipedia

Republican Party (United States)

"GOP" redirects here. For other uses, see GOP (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with American Republican Party (1843), Democratic-Republican Party, National Republican Party, or Republicanism in the United States.

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP ("Grand Old Party"), is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its main historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Republican Party
AbbreviationGOP (Grand Old Party)
ChairpersonRonna McDaniel (MI)
Governing bodyRepublican National Committee
Senate Minority LeaderMitch McConnell (KY)
House Minority LeaderKevin McCarthy (CA)
Founders
FoundedMarch 20, 1854; 167 years ago (1854-03-20)
Ripon, Wisconsin, U.S.
Preceded by
Headquarters310 First Street SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
Student wingCollege Republicans
Youth wing
Women's wingNational Federation of Republican Women
Overseas wingRepublicans Overseas
Membership(2021) 36,132,743
Ideology
International affiliationInternational Democrat Union
Colors Red
Seats in the Senate
50 / 100
Seats in the House of Representatives
213 / 435
State governorships
27 / 50
Seats in state upper chambers
1,091 / 1,972
Seats in state lower chambers
2,912 / 5,411
Territorial governorships
1 / 6
Seats in territorial upper chambers
12 / 97
Seats in territorial lower chambers
9 / 91
Election symbol
Website
gop.com

The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery into the western territories. It was simultaneously strengthened by the collapse of the Whig Party, which had previously been one of the two major parties in the country. Upon founding, the Republican party supported economic reform and classical liberalism while opposing the expansion of slavery. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, slavery was banned in the United States in 1865. The GOP was generally dominant during the Third and the Fourth Party System periods. It was strongly committed to protectionism and tariffs at its founding, but grew more supportive of free trade in the 20th century.

After 1912, the Republican Party began to undergo an ideological shift to the right. Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics. After the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and grew its support among evangelicals. Its 21st-century ideology is American conservatism, which incorporates both social conservatism and fiscal conservatism. The GOP supports lower taxes, free-market capitalism, restrictions on immigration, increased military spending, gun rights, restrictions on abortion, deregulation, and restrictions on labor unions.

In the 21st century, the demographic base skews toward men, people living in rural areas, members of the Silent Generation, and white Americans, particularly white evangelical Christians. Its most recent presidential nominee was Donald Trump, who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021.

There have been 19 Republican presidents, the most from any one political party. As of early 2021, the GOP controls 27 state governorships, 30 state legislatures, and 23 state government trifectas (governorship and both legislative chambers). Six of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices were nominated by Republican presidents.

Contents

19th century

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (1861–1865) and the first Republican to hold the office

The Republican Party was founded in the northern states in 1854 by forces opposed to the expansion of slavery, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers. The Republican Party quickly became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the briefly popular Know Nothing Party. The party grew out of opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to chattel slavery and future admission as slave states. The Republicans called for economic and social modernization. They denounced the expansion of chattel slavery as a great evil, but did not call for ending it in the southern states. The first public meeting of the general anti-Nebraska movement, at which the name Republican was proposed, was held on March 20, 1854, at the Little White Schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. The name was partly chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. The first official party convention was held on July 6, 1854, in Jackson, Michigan.

Charles R. Jennison, an anti-slavery militia leader associated with the Jayhawkers from Kansas and an early Republican politician in the region

The party emerged from the great political realignment of the mid-1850s. Historian William Gienapp argues that the great realignment of the 1850s began before the Whigs' collapse, and was caused not by politicians but by voters at the local level. The central forces were ethno-cultural, involving tensions between pietistic Protestants versus liturgical Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians regarding Catholicism, prohibition and nativism. Abolition did play a role but it was less important at first. The Know Nothing Party embodied the social forces at work, but its weak leadership was unable to solidify its organization, and the Republicans picked it apart. Nativism was so powerful that the Republicans could not avoid it, but they did minimize it and turn voter wrath against the threat that slave owners would buy up the good farm lands wherever chattel slavery was allowed. The realignment was powerful because it forced voters to switch parties, as typified by the rise and fall of the Know Nothings, the rise of the Republican Party and the splits in the Democratic Party.

At the 1856 Republican National Convention, the party adopted a national platform emphasizing opposition to the expansion of chattel slavery into U.S. territories. While Republican nominee John C. Frémont lost the 1856 United States presidential election to Democrat doughface James Buchanan, Buchanan only managed to win four of the fourteen northern states, winning his home state of Pennsylvania narrowly. Republicans fared better in Congressional and local elections, but Know Nothing candidates took a significant number of seats, creating an awkward three party arrangement. Despite the loss of the presidency and the lack of a majority in Congress, Republicans were able to orchestrate a Republican Speaker of the House, which went to Nathaniel P. Banks. Historian James M. McPherson writes regarding Banks' speakership that "if any one moment marked the birth of the Republican party, this was it."

The Republicans were eager for the elections of 1860. Former Illinois Representative Abraham Lincoln spent several years building support within the party, campaigning heavily for Frémont in 1856 and making a bid for the Senate in 1858, losing to Democrat Stephen A. Douglas but gaining national attention for the Lincoln–Douglas debates it produced. At the 1860 Republican National Convention, Lincoln consolidated support among opponents of New York Senator William H. Seward, a fierce abolitionist who some Republicans feared would be too radical for crucial states such as Pennsylvania and Indiana, as well as those who disapproved of his support for Irish immigrants. Lincoln won on the third ballot and was ultimately elected president in the general election in a rematch against Douglas. Lincoln had not been on the ballot in a single southern state, and even if the vote for Democrats had not been split between Douglas, John C. Breckinridge and John Bell, the Republicans would've still won but without the popular vote. This election result helped kickstart the American Civil War which lasted from 1861 until 1865.

The election of 1864 united War Democrats with the GOP and saw Lincoln and Tennessee Democratic Senator Andrew Johnson get nominated on the National Union Party ticket; Lincoln was re-elected. Under Republican congressional leadership, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution—which banned chattel slavery in the United States—passed the Senate in 1864 and the House in 1865; it was ratified in December 1865.

Reconstruction, the gold standard and the Gilded Age

Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States (1869–1877)

Radical Republicans during Lincoln's presidency felt he wasn't going far enough in his eradication of slavery and opposed his ten percent plan. Radical Republicans passed the Wade–Davis Bill in 1864, which sought to enforce the taking of the Ironclad Oath for all former Confederates. Lincoln vetoed the bill, believing it would jeopardize the peaceful reintegration of the Confederate states into the United States.

Following the assassination of Lincoln, Johnson ascended to the presidency and was deplored by Radical Republicans. Johnson was vitriolic in his criticisms of the Radical Republicans during a national tour ahead of the 1866 midterm elections. In his view, Johnson saw Radical Republicanism as the same as secessionism, both being two extremist sides of the political spectrum. Anti-Johnson Republicans won a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress following the elections, which helped lead the way toward his impeachment and near ouster from office in 1868. That same year, former Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant was elected as the next Republican president.

Grant was a Radical Republican which created some division within the party, some such as Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner and Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull opposed most of his Reconstructionist policies. Others found contempt with the large-scale corruption present in Grant's administration, with the emerging Stalwart faction defending Grant and the spoils system, whereas the Half-Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service. Republicans who opposed Grant branched off to form the Liberal Republican Party, nominating Horace Greeley in 1872. The Democratic Party attempted to capitalize on this divide in the GOP by co-nominating Greeley under their party banner. Greeley's positions proved inconsistent with the Liberal Republican Party that nominated him, with Greeley supporting high tariffs despite the party's opposition. Grant was easily re-elected.

The 1876 general election saw a contentious conclusion as both parties claimed victory despite three southern states still not officially declaring a winner at the end of election day. Voter suppression had occurred in the south to depress the black and white Republican vote, which gave Republican-controlled returning officers enough of a reason to declare fraud, intimidation and violence soiled the states' results. They proceeded to throw out enough Democratic votes for Republican Rutherford B. Hayes to be declared the winner. Still, Democrats refused to accept the results and an Electoral Commission made up of members of Congress was established to decide who would be awarded the states' electors. After the Commission voted along party lines in Hayes' favor, Democrats threatened to delay the counting of electoral votes indefinitely so no president would be inaugurated on March 4. This resulted in the Compromise of 1877 and Hayes finally became president.

James G. Blaine, 28th & 31st Secretary of State (1881; 1889–1892)

Hayes doubled down on the gold standard, which had been signed into law by Grant with the Coinage Act of 1873, as a solution to the depressed American economy in the aftermath of the Panic of 1873. He also believed greenbacks posed a threat; greenbacks being money printed during the Civil War that was not backed by specie, which Hayes objected to as a proponent of hard money. Hayes sought to restock the country's gold supply, which by January 1879 succeeded as gold was more frequently exchanged for greenbacks compared to greenbacks being exchanged for gold. Ahead of the 1880 general election, Republican James G. Blaine ran for the party nomination supporting Hayes' gold standard push and supporting his civil reforms. Both falling short of the nomination, Blaine and opponent John Sherman backed Republican James A. Garfield, who agreed with Hayes' move in favor of the gold standard, but opposed his civil reform efforts.

Garfield was elected but assassinated early into his term, however his death helped create support for the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which was passed in 1883; the bill was signed into law by Republican President Chester A. Arthur, who succeeded Garfield.

William McKinley, 25th President of the United States (1897–1901)

Blaine once again ran for the presidency, winning the nomination but losing to Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884, the first Democrat to be elected president since Buchanan. Dissident Republicans, known as Mugwumps, had defected Blaine due to corruption which had plagued his political career. Cleveland stuck to the gold standard policy, which eased most Republicans, but he came into conflict with the party regarding budding American imperialism. Republican Benjamin Harrison was able to reclaim the presidency from Cleveland in 1888. During his presidency, Harrison signed the Dependent and Disability Pension Act, which established pensions for all veterans of the Union who had served for more than 90 days and were unable to perform manual labor.

A majority of Republicans supported the annexation of Hawaii, under the new governance of Republican Sanford B. Dole, and Harrison, following his loss in 1892 to Cleveland, attempted to pass a treaty annexing Hawaii before Cleveland was to be inaugurated again. Cleveland opposed annexation, though Democrats were split geographically on the issue, with most northeastern Democrats proving to be the strongest voices of opposition.

In 1896, Republican William McKinley's platform supported the gold standard and high tariffs, having been the creator and namesake for the McKinley Tariff of 1890. Though having been divided on the issue prior to the 1896 Republican National Convention, McKinley decided to heavily favor the gold standard over free silver in his campaign messaging, but promised to continue bimetallism to ward off continued skepticism over the gold standard, which had lingered since the Panic of 1893. Democrat William Jennings Bryan proved to be a devoted adherent to the free silver movement, which cost Bryan the support of Democrat institutions such as Tammany Hall, the New York World and a large majority of the Democratic Party's upper and middle-class support. McKinley defeated Bryan and returned the White House to Republican control until 1912.

20th century

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901–1909)
Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States (1929–1933)

The 1896 realignment cemented the Republicans as the party of big businesses while Theodore Roosevelt added more small business support by his embrace of trust busting. He handpicked his successor William Howard Taft in 1908, but they became enemies as the party split down the middle. Taft defeated Roosevelt for the 1912 nomination and Roosevelt ran on the ticket of his new Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party. He called for social reforms, many of which were later championed by New Deal Democrats in the 1930s. He lost and when most of his supporters returned to the GOP they found they did not agree with the new conservative economic thinking, leading to an ideological shift to the right in the Republican Party. The Republicans returned to the White House throughout the 1920s, running on platforms of normalcy, business-oriented efficiency and high tariffs. The national party platform avoided mention of prohibition, instead issuing a vague commitment to law and order.

Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover were resoundingly elected in 1920, 1924 and 1928, respectively. The Teapot Dome scandal threatened to hurt the party, but Harding died and the opposition splintered in 1924. The pro-business policies of the decade seemed to produce an unprecedented prosperity until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded the Great Depression.

New Deal era, the Moral Majority and the Republican Revolution

Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, 34th and 37th Presidents of the United States (1953–1961; 1969–1974).

The New Deal coalition of Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt controlled American politics for most of the next three decades, excluding the two-term presidency of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. After Roosevelt took office in 1933, New Deal legislation sailed through Congress and the economy moved sharply upward from its nadir in early 1933. However, long-term unemployment remained a drag until 1940. In the 1934 midterm elections, 10 Republican senators went down to defeat, leaving the GOP with only 25 senators against 71 Democrats. The House of Representatives likewise had overwhelming Democratic majorities.

The Republican Party factionalized into a majority "Old Right" (based in the midwest) and a liberal wing based in the northeast that supported much of the New Deal. The Old Right sharply attacked the "Second New Deal" and said it represented class warfare and socialism. Roosevelt was re-elected in a landslide in 1936; however, as his second term began, the economy declined, strikes soared, and he failed to take control of the Supreme Court and purge the southern conservatives from the Democratic Party. Republicans made a major comeback in the 1938 elections and had new rising stars such as Robert A. Taft of Ohio on the right and Thomas E. Dewey of New York on the left. Southern conservatives joined with most Republicans to form the conservative coalition, which dominated domestic issues in Congress until 1964. Both parties split on foreign policy issues, with the anti-war isolationists dominant in the Republican Party and the interventionists who wanted to stop Adolf Hitler dominant in the Democratic Party. Roosevelt won a third and fourth term in 1940 and 1944, respectively. Conservatives abolished most of the New Deal during the war, but they did not attempt to do away with Social Security or the agencies that regulated business.

Historian George H. Nash argues:

Unlike the "moderate", internationalist, largely eastern bloc of Republicans who accepted (or at least acquiesced in) some of the "Roosevelt Revolution" and the essential premises of President Harry S. Truman's foreign policy, the Republican Right at heart was counterrevolutionary. Anti-collectivist, anti-Communist, anti-New Deal, passionately committed to limited government, free market economics, and congressional (as opposed to executive) prerogatives, the G.O.P. conservatives were obliged from the start to wage a constant two-front war: against liberal Democrats from without and "me-too" Republicans from within.

After 1945, the internationalist wing of the GOP cooperated with Truman's Cold War foreign policy, funded the Marshall Plan and supported NATO, despite the continued isolationism of the Old Right.

The second half of the 20th century saw the election or succession of Republican presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Eisenhower had defeated conservative leader Senator Robert A. Taft for the 1952 nomination, but conservatives dominated the domestic policies of the Eisenhower administration. Voters liked Eisenhower much more than they liked the GOP and he proved unable to shift the party to a more moderate position. Since 1976, liberalism has virtually faded out of the Republican Party, apart from a few northeastern holdouts. Historians cite the 1964 United States presidential election and its respective 1964 Republican National Convention as a significant shift, which saw the conservative wing, helmed by Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, battle the liberal New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and his eponymous Rockefeller Republican faction for the party presidential nomination. With Goldwater poised to win, Rockefeller, urged to mobilize his liberal faction, relented, "You’re looking at it, buddy. I’m all that’s left." Though Goldwater lost in a landslide, Reagan would make himself known as a prominent supporter of his throughout the campaign, delivering the "A Time for Choosing" speech for him. He'd go on to become governor of California two years later, and in 1980, win the presidency.

Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States (1981–1989)

The presidency of Reagan, lasting from 1981 to 1989, constituted what is known as the "Reagan Revolution". It was seen as a fundamental shift from the stagflation of the 1970s preceding it, with the introduction of Reaganomics intended to cut taxes, prioritize government deregulation and shift funding from the domestic sphere into the military to check the Soviet Union by utilizing deterrence theory. A defining moment in Reagan's term of office was his speech in then-West Berlin where he demanded Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!", referring to the Berlin Wall constructed to separate West and East Berlin.

After he left office in 1989, Reagan became an iconic conservative Republican. Republican presidential candidates would frequently claim to share his views and aim to establish themselves and their policies as the more appropriate heir to his legacy.

Vice President Bush scored a landslide in the 1988 general election. However his term would see a divide form within the Republican Party. Bush's vision of economic liberalization and international cooperation with foreign nations saw the negotiation and signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the conceptual beginnings of the World Trade Organization. Independent politician and businessman Ross Perot decried NAFTA and prophesied it would lead to outsourcing American jobs to Mexico, while Democrat Bill Clinton found agreement in Bush's policies. Bush lost reelection in 1992 with 37 percent of the popular vote, with Clinton garnering a plurality of 43 percent and Perot in third with 19 percent. While debatable if Perot's candidacy cost Bush reelection, Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report attests Perot's messaging held more weight with Republican and conservative voters at-large. Perot formed the Reform Party and those who had been or would become prominent Republicans saw brief membership, such as former White House Communications Director Pat Buchanan and later President Donald Trump.

In the Republican Revolution of 1994, the party—led by House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, who campaigned on the "Contract with America"—won majorities in both chambers of Congress, gained 12 governorships and regained control of 20 state legislatures. It was the first time the Republican Party had achieved a majority in the House since 1952. Gingrich was made Speaker of the House, and within the first 100 days of the Republican majority every proposition featured in the Contract with America was passed, with the exception of term limits for members of Congress. One key to Gingrich's success in 1994 was nationalizing the election, in turn, Gingrich became a national figure during the 1996 House elections, with many Democratic leaders proclaiming Gingrich was a zealous radical. The Republicans maintained their majority for the first time since 1928 despite the presidential ticket of Bob Dole-Jack Kemp losing handily to President Clinton in the general election. However, Gingrich's national profile proved a detriment to the Republican Congress, which enjoyed majority approval among voters in spite of Gingrich's relative unpopularity.

After Gingrich and the Republicans struck a deal with Clinton on the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 with added tax cuts included, the Republican House majority had difficulty convening on a new agenda ahead of the 1998 midterm elections. During the ongoing impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, Gingrich decided to make Clinton's misconduct the party message heading into the midterms, believing it would add to their majority. The strategy proved mistaken and the Republicans lost five seats, though whether it was due to poor messaging or Clinton's popularity providing a coattail effect is debated. Gingrich was ousted from party power due to the performance, ultimately deciding to resign from Congress altogether. For a short time afterward it appeared Louisiana Representative Bob Livingston would become his successor. Livingston, however, stepped down from consideration and resigned from Congress after damaging reports of affairs threatened the Republican House's legislative agenda if he were to serve as Speaker. Illinois Representative Dennis Hastert was promoted to Speaker in Livingston's place, and served in that position until 2007.

21st century

A Republican ticket of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney won the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Bush campaigned as a "compassionate conservative" in 2000, wanting to better appeal to immigrants and minority voters. The goal was to prioritize drug rehabilitation programs and aide for prisoner reentry into society, a move intended to capitalize on President Bill Clinton's tougher crime initiatives such as the 1994 crime bill passed under his administration. The platform failed to gain much traction among members of the party during his presidency.

With the inauguration of Bush as president, the Republican Party remained fairly cohesive for much of the 2000s as both strong economic libertarians and social conservatives opposed the Democrats, whom they saw as the party of bloated, secular, and liberal government. This period saw the rise of "pro-government conservatives"—a core part of the Bush's base—a considerable group of the Republicans who advocated for increased government spending and greater regulations covering both the economy and people's personal lives as well as for an activist, interventionist foreign policy. Survey groups such as the Pew Research Center found that social conservatives and free market advocates remained the other two main groups within the party's coalition of support, with all three being roughly equal in number. However, libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives increasingly found fault with what they saw as Republicans' restricting of vital civil liberties while corporate welfare and the national debt hiked considerably under Bush's tenure. In contrast, some social conservatives expressed dissatisfaction with the party's support for economic policies that conflicted with their moral values.

The Republican Party lost its Senate majority in 2001 when the Senate became split evenly; nevertheless, the Republicans maintained control of the Senate due to the tie-breaking vote of Republican Vice President Dick Cheney. Democrats gained control of the Senate on June 6, 2001, when Republican Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont switched his party affiliation to Democrat. The Republicans regained the Senate majority in the 2002 elections. Republican majorities in the House and Senate were held until the Democrats regained control of both chambers in the mid-term elections of 2006.

George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States (1989–1993)
George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States (2001–2009)
Former president George H. W. Bush was the father of former president George W. Bush. (Only one other son of a president has been elected president, to wit John Quincy Adams.)

In 2008, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska were defeated by Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden of Illinois and Delaware, respectively.

The Republicans experienced electoral success in the wave election of 2010, which coincided with the ascendancy of the Tea Party movement, an anti-Obama protest movement of fiscal conservatives. Members of the movement called for lower taxes, and for a reduction of the national debt of the United States and federal budget deficit through decreased government spending. It was also described as a popular constitutional movement composed of a mixture of libertarian, right-wing populist, and conservative activism. That success began with the upset win of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special Senate election for a seat that had been held for decades by the Democratic Kennedy brothers. In the November elections, Republicans recaptured control of the House, increased their number of seats in the Senate and gained a majority of governorships. The Tea Party would go on to strongly influence the Republican Party, in part due to the replacement of establishment Republicans with Tea Party-style Republicans.

When Obama and Biden won re-election in 2012, defeating a Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket, the Republicans lost seven seats in the House in the November congressional elections, but still retained control of that chamber. However, Republicans were not able to gain control of the Senate, continuing their minority status with a net loss of two seats. In the aftermath of the loss, some prominent Republicans spoke out against their own party. A 2012 election post-mortem by the Republican Party concluded that the party needed to do more on the national level to attract votes from minorities and young voters. In March 2013, National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gave a stinging report on the party's electoral failures in 2012, calling on Republicans to reinvent themselves and officially endorse immigration reform. He said: "There's no one reason we lost. Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren't inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital, and our primary and debate process needed improvement." He proposed 219 reforms that included a $10 million marketing campaign to reach women, minorities and gays as well as setting a shorter, more controlled primary season and creating better data collection facilities.

Following the 2014 midterm elections, the Republican Party took control of the Senate by gaining nine seats. With a final total of 247 seats (57%) in the House and 54 seats in the Senate, the Republicans ultimately achieved their largest majority in the Congress since the 71st Congress in 1929.

The Trump era

Main article: Trumpism
Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States (2017–2021)

The election of Republican Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016 marked a populist shift in the Republican Party. Trump's defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was unexpected, as polls had shown Clinton leading the race. Trump's victory was fueled by narrow victories in three states—Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—that had traditionally been part of the Democratic blue wall for decades. According to NBC News, "Trump’s power famously came from his 'silent majority'—working-class white voters who felt mocked and ignored by an establishment loosely defined by special interests in Washington, news outlets in New York and tastemakers in Hollywood. He built trust within that base by abandoning Republican establishment orthodoxy on issues like trade and government spending in favor of a broader nationalist message".

After the 2016 elections, Republicans maintained a majority in the Senate, House, and state governorships, wielding newly acquired executive power with Trump's election as president. The Republican Party controlled 69 of 99 state legislative chambers in 2017, the most it had held in history; and at least 33 governorships, the most it had held since 1922. The party had total control of government (legislative chambers and governorship) in 25 states, the most since 1952; the opposing Democratic Party had full control in only five states. Following the results of the 2018 midterm elections, the Republicans lost control of the House yet maintained hold of the Senate.

Over the course of his term, Trump appointed three justices to the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch replacing Antonin Scalia, Brett Kavanaugh replacing Anthony Kennedy, and Amy Coney Barrett replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg – the most appointments of any president in a single term since fellow Republican Richard Nixon. Trump was seen as solidifying a 6–3 conservative majority. He appointed 260 judges in total, creating overall Republican-appointed majorities on every branch of the federal judiciary except for the Court of International Trade by the time he left office, shifting the judiciary to the right. Other notable achievements during his presidency included passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, creating the United States Space Force – the first new independent military service since 1947 – and brokering the Abraham Accords, a series of normalization agreements between Israel and various Arab states. The 2020 Republican Party Platform simply endorsed "the President's America-first agenda", prompting comparisons to contemporary leader-focused party platforms in Russia and China.

Trump was impeached on December 18, 2019, on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He was acquitted by the Senate on February 5, 2020. 195 of the 197 Republicans within the House voted against the charges with none voting in favor; the two abstaining Republicans were due to external reasons unrelated to the impeachment itself. 52 of the 53 Republicans within the Senate voted against the charges as well, successfully acquitting Trump as a result, with only Senator Mitt Romney of Utah dissenting and voting in favor of one of the charges (abuse of power). Following his refusal to concede his loss in the 2020 elections, which led to the U.S. Capitol being stormed by his supporters on January 6, 2021, the House impeached Trump for a second time on charges of incitement of insurrection, making him the only federal officeholder in the history of the United States to be impeached twice. He left office on January 20, 2021, but the impeachment trial continued into the early weeks of the Biden administration, with Trump being ultimately acquitted a second time by the Senate on February 13, 2021. Seven Republican Senators voted to convict, including Romney once again, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey. Their states' respective Republican parties condemned them for doing so. Additionally, Republican U.S. Representative Liz Cheney was censured by her state GOP for her impeachment vote in the House. In response to Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 elections and the subsequent storming of the U.S. Capitol, dozens of Republican former members of the Bush administration made their abandonment of the party public, calling it the "cult of Trump." In 2021, the party used Trump's false assertions of a stolen election as justification to impose new voting restrictions, and to remove Cheney from her House Republican Conference leadership position. In 2021, Republican-controlled state legislatures "advanced their most conservative agenda in years" and were more aggressive in doing so than previous years, according to The Atlantic.

1874 Nast cartoon featuring the first notable appearance of the Republican elephant
The red, white and blue Republican elephant, still a primary logo for many state GOP committees
The circa 2013 GOP logo

The party's founding members chose the name Republican Party in the mid-1850s as homage to the values of republicanism promoted by Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. The idea for the name came from an editorial by the party's leading publicist, Horace Greeley, who called for "some simple name like 'Republican' [that] would more fitly designate those who had united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery". The name reflects the 1776 republican values of civic virtue and opposition to aristocracy and corruption. It is important to note that "republican" has a variety of meanings around the world and the Republican Party has evolved such that the meanings no longer always align.

The term "Grand Old Party" is a traditional nickname for the Republican Party and the abbreviation "GOP" is a commonly used designation. The term originated in 1875 in the Congressional Record, referring to the party associated with the successful military defense of the Union as "this gallant old party." The following year in an article in the Cincinnati Commercial, the term was modified to "grand old party." The first use of the abbreviation is dated 1884.

The traditional mascot of the party is the elephant. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper's Weekly on November 7, 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol. An alternate symbol of the Republican Party in states such as Indiana, New York and Ohio is the bald eagle as opposed to the Democratic rooster or the Democratic five-pointed star. In Kentucky, the log cabin is a symbol of the Republican Party (not related to the gay Log Cabin Republicans organization).

Traditionally the party had no consistent color identity. After the 2000 election, the color red became associated with Republicans. During and after the election, the major broadcast networks used the same color scheme for the electoral map: states won by Republican nominee George W. Bush were colored red and states won by Democratic nominee Al Gore were colored blue. Due to the weeks-long dispute over the election results, these color associations became firmly ingrained, persisting in subsequent years. Although the assignment of colors to political parties is unofficial and informal, the media has come to represent the respective political parties using these colors. The party and its candidates have also come to embrace the color red.

Economic policies

Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States (1923–1929)

Republicans believe that free markets and individual achievement are the primary factors behind economic prosperity. Republicans frequently advocate in favor of fiscal conservatism during Democratic administrations; however, they have shown themselves willing to increase federal debt when they are in charge of the government (the implementation of the Bush tax cuts, Medicare Part D and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 are examples of this willingness). Despite pledges to roll back government spending, Republican administrations have, since the late 1960s, sustained or increased previous levels of government spending.

Modern Republicans advocate the theory of supply-side economics, which holds that lower tax rates increase economic growth. Many Republicans oppose higher tax rates for higher earners, which they believe are unfairly targeted at those who create jobs and wealth. They believe private spending is more efficient than government spending. Republican lawmakers have also sought to limit funding for tax enforcement and tax collection.

Republicans believe individuals should take responsibility for their own circumstances. They also believe the private sector is more effective in helping the poor through charity than the government is through welfare programs and that social assistance programs often cause government dependency.[citation needed]

Republicans believe corporations should be able to establish their own employment practices, including benefits and wages, with the free market deciding the price of work. Since the 1920s, Republicans have generally been opposed by labor union organizations and members. At the national level, Republicans supported the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which gives workers the right not to participate in unions. Modern Republicans at the state level generally support various right-to-work laws, which prohibit union security agreements requiring all workers in a unionized workplace to pay dues or a fair-share fee, regardless of whether they are members of the union or not.

Most Republicans oppose increases in the minimum wage, believing that such increases hurt businesses by forcing them to cut and outsource jobs while passing on costs to consumers.

The party opposes a single-payer health care system, describing it as socialized medicine. The Republican Party has a mixed record of supporting the historically popular Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs, whereas it has sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act since its introduction in 2010, and opposed expansions of Medicaid.

Environmental policies

In the United States, Democrats (blue) and Republicans (red) have long differed in views of the importance of addressing climate change, with the gap widening in the late 2010s mainly through Democrats' share increasing by more than 30 points.
The sharp divide over the existence of and responsibility for global warming and climate change falls largely along political lines. Overall, 60% of Americans surveyed said oil and gas companies were "completely or mostly responsible" for climate change.

Historically, progressive leaders in the Republican Party supported environmental protection. Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was a prominent conservationist whose policies eventually led to the creation of the National Park Service. While Republican President Richard Nixon was not an environmentalist, he signed legislation to create the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and had a comprehensive environmental program. However, this position has changed since the 1980s and the administration of President Ronald Reagan, who labeled environmental regulations a burden on the economy. Since then, Republicans have increasingly taken positions against environmental regulation, with some Republicans rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change.

In 2006, then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger broke from Republican orthodoxy to sign several bills imposing caps on carbon emissions in California. Then-President George W. Bush opposed mandatory caps at a national level. Bush's decision not to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant was challenged in the Supreme Court by 12 states, with the court ruling against the Bush administration in 2007. Bush also publicly opposed ratification of the Kyoto Protocols which sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions and thereby combat climate change; his position was heavily criticized by climate scientists.

The Republican Party rejects cap-and-trade policy to limit carbon emissions. In the 2000s, Senator John McCain proposed bills (such as the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act) that would have regulated carbon emissions, but his position on climate change was unusual among high-ranking party members. Some Republican candidates have supported the development of alternative fuels in order to achieve energy independence for the United States. Some Republicans support increased oil drilling in protected areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a position that has drawn criticism from activists.

Many Republicans during the presidency of Barack Obama opposed his administration's new environmental regulations, such as those on carbon emissions from coal. In particular, many Republicans supported building the Keystone Pipeline; this position was supported by businesses, but opposed by indigenous peoples' groups and environmental activists.

According to the Center for American Progress, a non-profit liberal advocacy group, more than 55% of congressional Republicans were climate change deniers in 2014. PolitiFact in May 2014 found "relatively few Republican members of Congress ... accept the prevailing scientific conclusion that global warming is both real and man-made." The group found eight members who acknowledged it, although the group acknowledged there could be more and that not all members of Congress have taken a stance on the issue.

From 2008 to 2017, the Republican Party went from "debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist", according to The New York Times. In January 2015, the Republican-led U.S. Senate voted 98–1 to pass a resolution acknowledging that "climate change is real and is not a hoax"; however, an amendment stating that "human activity significantly contributes to climate change" was supported by only five Republican senators.

Immigration

In the period 1850–1870, the Republican Party was more opposed to immigration than Democrats, in part because the Republican Party relied on the support of anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant parties, such as the Know-Nothings, at the time. In the decades following the Civil War, the Republican Party grew more supportive of immigration, as it represented manufacturers in the northeast (who wanted additional labor) whereas the Democratic Party came to be seen as the party of labor (which wanted fewer laborers to compete with). Starting in the 1970s, the parties switched places again, as the Democrats grew more supportive of immigration than Republicans.

Republicans are divided on how to confront illegal immigration between a platform that allows for migrant workers and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (supported more by the Republican establishment), versus a position focused on securing the border and deporting illegal immigrants (supported by populists). In 2006, the White House supported and Republican-led Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform that would eventually allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens, but the House (also led by Republicans) did not advance the bill. After the defeat in the 2012 presidential election, particularly among Latinos, several Republicans advocated a friendlier approach to immigrants. However, in 2016 the field of candidates took a sharp position against illegal immigration, with leading candidate Donald Trump proposing building a wall along the southern border. Proposals calling for immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants have attracted broad Republican support in some[which?] polls. In a 2013 poll, 60% of Republicans supported the pathway concept.

Foreign policy and national defense

Some, including neoconservatives,[who?] in the Republican Party support unilateralism on issues of national security, believing in the ability and right of the United States to act without external support in matters of its national defense. In general, Republican thinking on defense and international relations is heavily influenced by the theories of neorealism and realism, characterizing conflicts between nations as struggles between faceless forces of an international structure as opposed to being the result of the ideas and actions of individual leaders. The realist school's influence shows in Reagan's "Evil Empire" stance on the Soviet Union and George W. Bush's Axis of evil stance.[citation needed]

Some, including paleoconservatives and right-wing populists, call for non-interventionism and an America First foreign policy. This faction gained strength starting in 2016 with the rise of Donald Trump.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, many[who?] in the party have supported neoconservative policies with regard to the War on Terror, including the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The George W. Bush administration took the position that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to unlawful combatants, while other[which?] prominent Republicans strongly oppose the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which they view as torture.

Republicans have frequently advocated for restricting foreign aid as a means of asserting the national security and immigration interests of the United States.

The Republican Party generally supports a strong alliance with Israel and efforts to secure peace in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab neighbors. In recent years, Republicans have begun to move away from the two-state solution approach to resolving the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In a 2014 poll, 59% of Republicans favored doing less abroad and focusing on the country's own problems instead.

According to the 2016 platform, the party's stance on the status of Taiwan is: "We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island's future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan." In addition, if "China were to violate those principles, the United States, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself".

Social policies

The Republican Party is generally associated with social conservative policies, although it does have dissenting centrist and libertarian factions. The social conservatives support laws that uphold their traditional values, such as opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and marijuana. Most conservative Republicans also oppose gun control, affirmative action, and illegal immigration.

Abortion and embryonic stem cell research

A majority of the party's national and state candidates are anti-abortion and oppose elective abortion on religious or moral grounds. While many advocate exceptions in the case of incest, rape or the mother's life being at risk, in 2012 the party approved a platform advocating banning abortions without exception. There were not highly polarized differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party prior to the Roe v. Wade 1973 Supreme Court ruling (which made prohibitions on abortion rights unconstitutional), but after the Supreme Court ruling, opposition to abortion became an increasingly key national platform for the Republican Party. As a result, Evangelicals gravitated towards the Republican Party.

Most Republicans oppose government funding for abortion providers, notably Planned Parenthood. This includes support for the Hyde Amendment.

Until its dissolution in 2018, Republican Majority for Choice, an abortion rights PAC, advocated for amending the GOP platform to include pro-abortion rights members.

Although Republicans have voted for increases in government funding of scientific research, members of the Republican Party actively oppose the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research beyond the original lines because it involves the destruction of human embryos.

Affirmative action

Republicans are generally against affirmative action for women and some minorities, often describing it as a "quota system" and believing that it is not meritocratic and is counter-productive socially by only further promoting discrimination. The GOP's official stance supports race-neutral admissions policies in universities, but supports taking into account the socioeconomic status of the student. The 2012 Republican National Committee platform stated, "We support efforts to help low-income individuals get a fair chance based on their potential and individual merit; but we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides, as the best or sole methods through which fairness can be achieved, whether in government, education or corporate boardrooms…Merit, ability, aptitude, and results should be the factors that determine advancement in our society.”

Gun ownership

Republicans generally support gun ownership rights and oppose laws regulating guns. Party members and Republican-leaning independents are twice more likely to own a gun than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

The National Rifle Association, a special interest group in support of gun ownership, has consistently aligned itself with the Republican Party. Following gun control measures under the Clinton administration, such as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the Republicans allied with the NRA during the Republican Revolution in 1994. Since then, the NRA has consistently backed Republican candidates and contributed financial support, such as in the 2013 Colorado recall election which resulted in the ousting of two pro-gun control Democrats for two anti-gun control Republicans.

In contrast, George H. W. Bush, formerly a lifelong NRA member, was highly critical of the organization following their response to the Oklahoma City bombing authored by CEO Wayne LaPierre, and publicly resigned in protest.

Drugs

Republicans have historically supported the War on Drugs, as well as oppose legalization or decriminalization of drugs, including marijuana. The opposition to the legalization of marijuana has softened over time.

LGBT issues

Republicans have historically opposed same-sex marriage, while being divided on civil unions and domestic partnerships. During the 2004 election, George W. Bush campaigned prominently on a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage; many believe it helped George W. Bush win re-election in 2004. In both 2004 and 2006, President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and House Majority Leader John Boehner promoted the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment which would legally restrict the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples. In both attempts, the amendment failed to secure enough votes to invoke cloture and thus ultimately was never passed. As more states legalized same-sex marriage in the 2010s, Republicans increasingly supported allowing each state to decide its own marriage policy. As of 2014, most state GOP platforms expressed opposition to same-sex marriage. The 2016 GOP Platform defined marriage as "natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman," and condemned the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriages. The 2020 platform retained the 2016 language against same-sex marriage.

However, public opinion on this issue within the party has been changing. Following his election as president in 2016, Donald Trump stated that he had no objection to same-sex marriage or to the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, but at the same time promised to appoint a Supreme Court justice to roll back the constitutional right. In office, Trump was the first sitting Republican president to recognize LGBT Pride Month. Conversely, the Trump administration banned transgender individuals from service in the United States military and rolled back other protections for transgender people which had been enacted during the previous Democratic presidency.

The Republican Party platform previously opposed the inclusion of gay people in the military and opposed adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes since 1992. The Republican Party opposed the inclusion of sexual preference in anti-discrimination statutes from 1992 to 2004. The 2008 and 2012 Republican Party platform supported anti-discrimination statutes based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin, but both platforms were silent on sexual orientation and gender identity. The 2016 platform was opposed to sex discrimination statutes that included the phrase "sexual orientation."

The Log Cabin Republicans is a group within the Republican Party that represents LGBT conservatives and allies and advocates for LGBT rights and equality.

Voting requirements

Virtually all restrictions on voting have in recent years been implemented by Republicans. Republicans, mainly at the state level, argue that the restrictions (such as purging voter rolls, limiting voting locations, and limiting early and mail voting) are vital to prevent voter fraud, claiming that voter fraud is an underestimated issue in elections. Polling has found majority support for early voting, automatic voter registration and voter ID laws among the general population. Research has indicated that voter fraud is very uncommon, and civil and voting rights organizations often accuse Republicans of enacting restrictions to influence elections in the party's favor. Many laws or regulations restricting voting enacted by Republicans have been successfully challenged in court, with court rulings striking down such regulations and accusing Republicans of establishing them with partisan purpose.

After the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder rolled back aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Republicans introduced cuts to early voting, purges of voter rolls and imposition of strict voter ID laws. In defending their restrictions to voting rights, Republicans have made false and exaggerated claims about the extent of voter fraud in the United States; all existing research indicates that it is extremely rare. After Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and Donald Trump refused to concede while he and his Republican allies made false claims of fraud, Republicans launched a nationwide effort to restrict voting rights at the state level.

The 2016 Republican platform advocated proof of citizenship as a prerequisite for registering to vote and photo ID as a prerequisite when voting.

This map shows the vote in the 2004 presidential election by county.
This map shows the vote in the 2020 presidential election by county.

In the Party's early decades, its base consisted of northern white Protestants and African Americans nationwide. Its first presidential candidate, John C. Frémont, received almost no votes in the South. This trend continued into the 20th century. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, the southern states became more reliably Republican in presidential politics, while northeastern states became more reliably Democratic. Studies show that southern whites shifted to the Republican Party due to racial conservatism.

While scholars agree that a racial backlash played a central role in the racial realignment of the two parties, there is a dispute as to the extent in which the racial realignment was a top-driven elite process or a bottom-up process. The "Southern Strategy" refers primarily to "top-down" narratives of the political realignment of the South which suggest that Republican leaders consciously appealed to many white southerners' racial grievances in order to gain their support. This top-down narrative of the Southern Strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed Southern politics following the civil rights era. Scholar Matthew Lassiter argues that "demographic change played a more important role than racial demagoguery in the emergence of a two-party system in the American South". Historians such as Matthew Lassiter, Kevin M. Kruse and Joseph Crespino, have presented an alternative, "bottom-up" narrative, which Lassiter has called the "suburban strategy." This narrative recognizes the centrality of racial backlash to the political realignment of the South, but suggests that this backlash took the form of a defense of de facto segregation in the suburbs rather than overt resistance to racial integration and that the story of this backlash is a national rather than a strictly southern one.

The Party's 21st-century base consists of groups such as older white men; white, married Protestants; rural residents; and non-union workers without college degrees, with urban residents, ethnic minorities, the unmarried and union workers having shifted to the Democratic Party. The suburbs have become a major battleground. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 25% of Americans identify as Republican and 16% identify as leaning Republican. In comparison, 30% identify as Democratic and 16% identify as leaning Democratic. The Democratic Party has typically held an overall edge in party identification since Gallup began polling on the issue in 1991. In 2016, The New York Times noted that the Republican Party was strong in the South, the Great Plains, and the Mountain States. The 21st century Republican Party also draws strength from rural areas of the United States.

Towards the end of the 1990s and in the early 21st century, the Republican Party increasingly resorted to "constitutional hardball" practices.

A number of scholars have asserted that the House speakership of Republican Newt Gingrich played a key role in undermining democratic norms in the United States, hastening political polarization, and increasing partisan prejudice. According to Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, Gingrich's speakership had a profound and lasting impact on American politics and the health of American democracy. They argue that Gingrich instilled a "combative" approach in the Republican Party, where hateful language and hyper-partisanship became commonplace, and where democratic norms were abandoned. Gingrich frequently questioned the patriotism of Democrats, called them corrupt, compared them to fascists, and accused them of wanting to destroy the United States. Gingrich was also involved in several major government shutdowns.

Scholars have also characterized Mitch McConnell's tenure as Senate Minority Leader and Senate Majority Leader during the Obama presidency as one where obstructionism reached all-time highs. Political scientists have referred to McConnell's use of the filibuster as "constitutional hardball", referring to the misuse of procedural tools in a way that undermines democracy. McConnell delayed and obstructed health care reform and banking reform, which were two landmark pieces of legislation that Democrats sought to pass (and in fact did pass) early in Obama's tenure. By delaying Democratic priority legislation, McConnell stymied the output of Congress. Political scientists Eric Schickler and Gregory J. Wawro write, "by slowing action even on measures supported by many Republicans, McConnell capitalized on the scarcity of floor time, forcing Democratic leaders into difficult trade-offs concerning which measures were worth pursuing. That is, given that Democrats had just two years with sizeable majorities to enact as much of their agenda as possible, slowing the Senate's ability to process even routine measures limited the sheer volume of liberal bills that could be adopted."

McConnell's refusal to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland during the final year of Obama's presidency was described by political scientists and legal scholars as "unprecedented", a "culmination of this confrontational style", a "blatant abuse of constitutional norms", and a "classic example of constitutional hardball."

After the 2020 United States presidential election was declared for Biden, President Donald Trump's refusal to concede and demands of Republican state legislatures and officials to ignore the popular vote of the states was described as "unparalleled" in American history and "profoundly antidemocratic". Some journalists and foreign officials have also referred to Trump as a fascist in the aftermath of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.

Following the storming of the Capitol, a survey conducted by the American Enterprise Institute found that 56% of Republicans agreed with the statement, "The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it," compared to 36% of respondents overall. Sixty percent of white evangelical Republicans agreed with the statement.

Ideology and factions

In 2018, Gallup polling found that 69% of Republicans described themselves as "conservative", while 25% opted for the term "moderate", and another 5% self-identified as "liberal".

When ideology is separated into social and economic issues, a 2020 Gallup poll found that 61% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents called themselves "socially conservative", 28% chose the label "socially moderate", and 10% called themselves "socially liberal". On economic issues, the same 2020 poll revealed that 65% of Republicans (and Republican leaners) chose the label "economic conservative" to describe their views on fiscal policy, while 26% selected the label "economic moderate", and 7% opted for the "economic liberal" label.

The modern Republican Party includes conservatives, centrists, fiscal conservatives, libertarians, neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, right-wing populists, and social conservatives.

In addition to splits over ideology, the 21st-century Republican Party can be broadly divided into establishment and anti-establishment wings. Nationwide polls of Republican voters in 2014 by the Pew Center identified a growing split in the Republican coalition, between "business conservatives" or "establishment conservatives" on one side and "steadfast conservatives" or "populist conservatives" on the other.

Talk radio

In the 21st century, conservatives on talk radio and Fox News, as well as online media outlets such as the Daily Caller and Breitbart News, became a powerful influence on shaping the information received and judgments made by rank-and-file Republicans. They include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Larry Elder, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Dana Loesch, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Prager, Michael Reagan, Howie Carr and Michael Savage, as well as many local commentators who support Republican causes while vocally opposing the left. Vice President Mike Pence also had an early career in conservative talk radio, hosting The Mike Pence Show in the late 1990s before successfully running for Congress in 2000.

In recent years, pundits through podcasting and radio shows like Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder have also gained fame with a consistently younger audience through outlets such as The Daily Wire and Blaze Media.[citation needed]

Business community

The Republican Party has traditionally been a pro-business party. It garners major support from a wide variety of industries from the financial sector to small businesses. Republicans are about 50 percent more likely to be self-employed and are more likely to work in management.[better source needed]

A survey cited by The Washington Post in 2012 stated that 61 percent of small business owners planned to vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Small business became a major theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Demographics

In 2006, Republicans won 38% of the voters aged 18–29. In a 2018 study, members of the Silent and Baby Boomer generations were more likely to express approval of Trump's presidency than those of Generation X and Millennials.

Low-income voters are more likely to identify as Democrats while high-income voters are more likely to identify as Republicans. In 2012, Obama won 60% of voters with income under $50,000 and 45% of those with incomes higher than that. Bush won 41% of the poorest 20% of voters in 2004, 55% of the richest twenty percent and 53% of those in between. In the 2006 House races, the voters with incomes over $50,000 were 49% Republican while those with incomes under that amount were 38% Republican.

Gender

Since 1980, a "gender gap" has seen stronger support for the Republican Party among men than among women. Unmarried and divorced women were far more likely to vote for Democrat John Kerry than for Republican George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. In 2006 House races, 43% of women voted Republican while 47% of men did so. In the 2010 midterms, the "gender gap" was reduced, with women supporting Republican and Democratic candidates equally (49%–49%). Exit polls from the 2012 elections revealed a continued weakness among unmarried women for the GOP, a large and growing portion of the electorate. Although women supported Obama over Mitt Romney by a margin of 55–44% in 2012, Romney prevailed amongst married women, 53–46%. Obama won unmarried women 67–31%. According to a December 2019 study, "white women are the only group of female voters who support Republican Party candidates for president. They have done so by a majority in all but 2 of the last 18 elections".

Education

In 2012, the Pew Research Center conducted a study of registered voters with a 35–28 Democrat-to-Republican gap. They found that self-described Democrats had an eight-point advantage over Republicans among college graduates and a fourteen-point advantage among all post-graduates polled. Republicans had an eleven-point advantage among white men with college degrees; Democrats had a ten-point advantage among women with degrees. Democrats accounted for 36% of all respondents with an education of high school or less; Republicans accounted for 28%. When isolating just white registered voters polled, Republicans had a six-point advantage overall and a nine-point advantage among those with a high school education or less. Following the 2016 presidential election, exit polls indicated that "Donald Trump attracted a large share of the vote from whites without a college degree, receiving 72 percent of the white non-college male vote and 62 percent of the white non-college female vote." Overall, 52% of voters with college degrees voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, while 52% of voters without college degrees voted for Trump.

Ethnicity

Republicans have been winning under 15% of the black vote in recent national elections (1980 to 2016). The party abolished chattel slavery under Abraham Lincoln, defeated the Slave Power, and gave blacks the legal right to vote during Reconstruction in the late 1860s. Until the New Deal of the 1930s, blacks supported the Republican Party by large margins. Black delegates were a sizable share of southern delegates to the national Republican convention from Reconstruction until the start of the 20th century when their share began to decline. Black voters began shifting away from the Republican Party after the close of Reconstruction through the early 20th century, with the rise of the southern-Republican lily-white movement. Blacks shifted in large margins to the Democratic Party in the 1930s, when major Democratic figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt began to support civil rights and the New Deal offered them employment opportunities. They became one of the core components of the New Deal coalition. In the South, after the Voting Rights Act to prohibit racial discrimination in elections was passed by a bipartisan coalition in 1965, blacks were able to vote again and ever since have formed a significant portion (20–50%) of the Democratic vote in that region.

In the 2010 elections, two African-American Republicans—Tim Scott and Allen West—were elected to the House of Representatives.

In recent decades, Republicans have been moderately successful in gaining support from Hispanic and Asian American voters. George W. Bush, who campaigned energetically for Hispanic votes, received 35% of their vote in 2000 and 39% in 2004. The party's strong anti-communist stance has made it popular among some minority groups from current and former Communist states, in particular Cuban Americans, Korean Americans, Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans. The 2007 election of Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana was hailed as pathbreaking. Jindal became the first elected minority governor in Louisiana and the first state governor of Indian descent. According to John Avlon, in 2013, the Republican party was more ethnically diverse at the statewide elected official level than the Democratic Party was; GOP statewide elected officials included Latino Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and African-American U.S. senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.

In 2012, 88% of Romney voters were white while 56% of Obama voters were white. In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won 55% of white votes, 35% of Asian votes, 31% of Hispanic votes and 4% of African American votes. In the 2010 House election, Republicans won 60% of the white votes, 38% of Hispanic votes and 9% of the African American vote.

As of 2020, Republican candidates had lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. Since 1992, the only time they won the popular vote in a presidential election is the 2004 United States presidential election. Demographers have pointed to the steady decline (as a percentage of the eligible voters) of its core base of older, rural white men. However, Donald Trump managed to increase nonwhite support to 26% of his total votes in the 2020 election — the highest percentage for a GOP presidential candidate since 1960.

Religious beliefs

Religion has always played a major role for both parties, but in the course of a century, the parties' religious compositions have changed. Religion was a major dividing line between the parties before 1960, with Catholics, Jews, and southern Protestants heavily Democratic and northeastern Protestants heavily Republican. Most of the old differences faded away after the realignment of the 1970s and 1980s that undercut the New Deal coalition. Voters who attended church weekly gave 61% of their votes to Bush in 2004; those who attended occasionally gave him only 47%; and those who never attended gave him 36%. Fifty-nine percent of Protestants voted for Bush, along with 52% of Catholics (even though John Kerry was Catholic). Since 1980, a large majority of evangelicals has voted Republican; 70–80% voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 and 70% for Republican House candidates in 2006. Jews continue to vote 70–80% Democratic. Democrats have close links with the African American churches, especially the National Baptists, while their historic dominance among Catholic voters has eroded to 54–46 in the 2010 midterms. The mainline traditional Protestants (Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Disciples) have dropped to about 55% Republican (in contrast to 75% before 1968).

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah and neighboring states voted 75% or more for George W. Bush in 2000. Members of the Mormon faith had a mixed relationship with Donald Trump during his tenure, despite 67% of them voting for him in 2016 and 56% of them supporting his presidency in 2018, disapproving of his personal behavior such as that shown during the Access Hollywood controversy. Their opinion on Trump hadn't affected their party affiliation, however, as 76% of Mormons in 2018 expressed preference for generic Republican congressional candidates.

While Catholic Republican leaders try to stay in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church on subjects such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and same-sex marriage, they differ on the death penalty and contraception. Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical Laudato si' sparked a discussion on the positions of Catholic Republicans in relation to the positions of the Church. The Pope's encyclical on behalf of the Catholic Church officially acknowledges a man-made climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. The Pope says the warming of the planet is rooted in a throwaway culture and the developed world's indifference to the destruction of the planet in pursuit of short-term economic gains. According to The New York Times, Laudato si' put pressure on the Catholic candidates in the 2016 election: Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum. With leading Democrats praising the encyclical, James Bretzke, a professor of moral theology at Boston College, has said that both sides were being disingenuous: "I think it shows that both the Republicans and the Democrats ... like to use religious authority and, in this case, the Pope to support positions they have arrived at independently ... There is a certain insincerity, hypocrisy I think, on both sides". While a Pew Research poll indicates Catholics are more likely to believe the Earth is warming than non-Catholics, 51% of Catholic Republicans believe in global warming (less than the general population) and only 24% of Catholic Republicans believe global warming is caused by human activity.

In 2016, a slim majority of Orthodox Jews voted for the Republican Party, following years of growing Orthodox Jewish support for the party due to its social conservatism and increasingly pro-Israel foreign policy stance. An exit poll conducted by the Associated Press for 2020 found 35% of Muslims voted for Donald Trump.

As of 2021, there have been a total of 19 Republican presidents.

# President Portrait State Presidency
start date
Presidency
end date
Time in office
16 Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) Illinois March 4, 1861 April 15, 1865 4 years, 42 days
18 Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) Illinois March 4, 1869 March 4, 1877 8 years, 0 days
19 Rutherford B. Hayes (1822–1893) Ohio March 4, 1877 March 4, 1881 4 years, 0 days
20 James A. Garfield (1831–1881) Ohio March 4, 1881 September 19, 1881 199 days
21 Chester A. Arthur (1829–1886) New York September 19, 1881 March 4, 1885 3 years, 166 days
23 Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901) Indiana March 4, 1889 March 4, 1893 4 years, 0 days
25 William McKinley (1843–1901) Ohio March 4, 1897 September 14, 1901 4 years, 194 days
26 Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) New York September 14, 1901 March 4, 1909 7 years, 171 days
27 William Howard Taft (1857–1930) Ohio March 4, 1909 March 4, 1913 4 years, 0 days
29 Warren G. Harding (1865–1923) Ohio March 4, 1921 August 2, 1923 2 years, 151 days
30 Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) Massachusetts August 2, 1923 March 4, 1929 5 years, 214 days
31 Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) California March 4, 1929 March 4, 1933 4 years, 0 days
34 Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969) Kansas January 20, 1953 January 20, 1961 8 years, 0 days
37 Richard Nixon (1913–1994) California January 20, 1969 August 9, 1974 5 years, 201 days
38 Gerald Ford (1913–2006) Michigan August 9, 1974 January 20, 1977 2 years, 164 days
40 Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) California January 20, 1981 January 20, 1989 8 years, 0 days
41 George H. W. Bush (1924–2018) Texas January 20, 1989 January 20, 1993 4 years, 0 days
43 George W. Bush (born 1946) Texas January 20, 2001 January 20, 2009 8 years, 0 days
45 Donald Trump (born 1946) New York January 20, 2017 January 20, 2021 4 years, 0 days

As of January 2021[update], six of the nine seats are filled by Justices appointed by Republican Presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump.

Portrait Justice Senate Vote Since President
Clarence Thomas

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

52–48 October 3, 1991 George H. W. Bush
John Roberts Jr.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

78–22 September 29, 2005 George W. Bush
Samuel Alito Jr.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

58–42 January 31, 2006
Neil Gorsuch

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

54–45 April 10, 2017 Donald Trump
Brett Kavanaugh

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

50–48 October 6, 2018
Amy Coney Barrett

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

52–48 October 27, 2020

In congressional elections: 1950–present

United States
Congressional Elections
House Election year No. of
overall House seats won
+/– Presidency No. of
overall Senate seats won
+/– Senate Election year
1950
199 / 435
28 Harry S. Truman
47 / 96
5 1950
1952
221 / 435
22 Dwight D. Eisenhower
49 / 96
2 1952
1954
203 / 435
18
47 / 96
2 1954
1956
201 / 435
2
47 / 96
0 1956
1958
153 / 435
48
34 / 98
13 1958
1960
175 / 435
22 John F. Kennedy
35 / 100
1 1960
1962
176 / 435
1
34 / 100
3 1962
1964
140 / 435
36 Lyndon B. Johnson
32 / 100
2 1964
1966
187 / 435
47
38 / 100
3 1966
1968
192 / 435
5 Richard Nixon
42 / 100
5 1968
1970
180 / 435
12
44 / 100
2 1970
1972
192 / 435
12
41 / 100
2 1972
1974
144 / 435
48 Gerald Ford
38 / 100
3 1974
1976
143 / 435
1 Jimmy Carter
38 / 100
1 1976
1978
158 / 435
15
41 / 100
3 1978
1980
192 / 435
34 Ronald Reagan
53 / 100
12 1980
1982
166 / 435
26
54 / 100
0 1982
1984
182 / 435
16
53 / 100
2 1984
1986
177 / 435
5
45 / 100
8 1986
1988
175 / 435
2 George H. W. Bush
45 / 100
1 1988
1990
167 / 435
8
44 / 100
1 1990
1992
176 / 435
9 Bill Clinton
43 / 100
0 1992
1994
230 / 435
54
53 / 100
8 1994
1996
227 / 435
3
55 / 100
2 1996
1998
223 / 435
4
55 / 100
0 1998
2000
221 / 435
2 George W. Bush
50 / 100
4 2000
2002
229 / 435
8
51 / 100
2 2002
2004
232 / 435
3
55 / 100
4 2004
2006
202 / 435
30
49 / 100
6 2006
2008
178 / 435
21 Barack Obama
41 / 100
8 2008
2010
242 / 435
63
47 / 100
6 2010
2012
234 / 435
8
45 / 100
2 2012
2014
247 / 435
13
54 / 100
9 2014
2016
241 / 435
6 Donald Trump
52 / 100
2 2016
2018
200 / 435
41
53 / 100
2 2018
2020
213 / 435
14 Joe Biden
50 / 100
3 2020

In presidential elections: 1856–present

Election Candidate Votes Vote % Electoral votes +/– Result
1856 John C. Frémont 1,342,345 33.1
114 / 296
114 Lost
1860 Abraham Lincoln 1,865,908 39.8
180 / 303
66 Won
1864 Abraham Lincoln 2,218,388 55.0
212 / 233
32 Won
1868 Ulysses S. Grant 3,013,421 52.7
214 / 294
2 Won
1872 Ulysses S. Grant 3,598,235 55.6
286 / 352
72 Won
1876 Rutherford B. Hayes 4,034,311 47.9
185 / 369
134 Won
1880 James A. Garfield 4,446,158 48.3
214 / 369
29 Won
1884 James G. Blaine 4,856,905 48.3
182 / 401
32 Lost
1888 Benjamin Harrison 5,443,892 47.8
233 / 401
51 Won
1892 Benjamin Harrison 5,176,108 43.0
145 / 444
88 Lost
1896 William McKinley 7,111,607 51.0
271 / 447
126 Won
1900 William McKinley 7,228,864 51.6
292 / 447
21 Won
1904 Theodore Roosevelt 7,630,457 56.4
336 / 476
44 Won
1908 William Howard Taft 7,678,395 51.6
321 / 483
15 Won
1912 William Howard Taft 3,486,242 23.2
8 / 531
313 Lost
1916 Charles E. Hughes 8,548,728 46.1
254 / 531
246 Lost
1920 Warren G. Harding 16,144,093 60.3
404 / 531
150 Won
1924 Calvin Coolidge 15,723,789 54.0
382 / 531
22 Won
1928 Herbert Hoover 21,427,123 58.2
444 / 531
62 Won
1932 Herbert Hoover 15,761,254 39.7
59 / 531
385 Lost
1936 Alf Landon 16,679,543 36.5
8 / 531
51 Lost
1940 Wendell Willkie 22,347,744 44.8
82 / 531
74 Lost
1944 Thomas E. Dewey 22,017,929 45.9
99 / 531
17 Lost
1948 Thomas E. Dewey 21,991,292 45.1
189 / 531
90 Lost
1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower 34,075,529 55.2
442 / 531
253 Won
1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower 35,579,180 57.4
457 / 531
15 Won
1960 Richard Nixon 34,108,157 49.6
219 / 537
238 Lost
1964 Barry Goldwater 27,175,754 38.5
52 / 538
167 Lost
1968 Richard Nixon 31,783,783 43.4
301 / 538
249 Won
1972 Richard Nixon 47,168,710 60.7
520 / 538
219 Won
1976 Gerald Ford 38,148,634 48.0
240 / 538
280 Lost
1980 Ronald Reagan 43,903,230 50.7
489 / 538
249 Won
1984 Ronald Reagan 54,455,472 58.8
525 / 538
36 Won
1988 George H. W. Bush 48,886,097 53.4
426 / 538
99 Won
1992 George H. W. Bush 39,104,550 37.4
168 / 538
258 Lost
1996 Bob Dole 39,197,469 40.7
159 / 538
9 Lost
2000 George W. Bush 50,456,002 47.9
271 / 538
112 Won
2004 George W. Bush 62,040,610 50.7
286 / 538
15 Won
2008 John McCain 59,948,323 45.7
173 / 538
113 Lost
2012 Mitt Romney 60,933,504 47.2
206 / 538
33 Lost
2016 Donald Trump 62,984,828 46.1
304 / 538
98 Won
2020 Donald Trump 74,216,154 46.9
232 / 538
72 Lost
  1. The Republicans are the minority party in the Senate because of Vice President Kamala Harris's tie-breaking vote, as independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King caucus with the 48 Democrats, effectively making the Senate 50–50.
  2. Died in office.
  3. Resigned from office.
  1. All major Republican geographic constituencies are visible: red dominates the map—showing Republican strength in the rural areas—while the denser areas (i.e. cities) are blue. Notable exceptions include the Pacific coast, New England, the Southern United States, areas with high Native American populations and the parts of the southwest
  2. Similar to the 2004 map, Republicans dominate in rural areas, making improvements in the Appalachian states, namely Kentucky, where the party won all but two counties; and West Virginia, where every county in the state voted Republican. The party also improved in many rural counties in Iowa, Wisconsin and other midwestern states. Contrarily, the party suffered substantial losses in urbanized areas such Dallas, Harris, Fort Bend, and Tarrant counties in Texas and Orange and San Diego counties in California, all of which were won in 2004, but lost in 2020
  3. Although Hayes won a majority of votes in the Electoral College, Democrat Samuel J. Tilden won a majority of the popular vote.
  4. Although Harrison won a majority of votes in the Electoral College, Democrat Grover Cleveland won a plurality of the popular vote.
  5. Taft finished in third place in both the electoral and popular vote, behind Progressive Theodore Roosevelt.
  6. Although Bush won a majority of votes in the Electoral College, Democrat Al Gore won a plurality of the popular vote.
  7. Although Trump won a majority of votes in the Electoral College, Democrat Hillary Clinton won a plurality of the popular vote.
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    Republican Party (United States)
Republican Party United States Language Watch Edit GOP redirects here For other uses see GOP disambiguation Not to be confused with American Republican Party 1843 Democratic Republican Party National Republican Party or Republicanism in the United States The Republican Party also referred to as the GOP Grand Old Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States along with its main historic rival the Democratic Party Republican PartyAbbreviationGOP Grand Old Party ChairpersonRonna McDaniel MI Governing bodyRepublican National CommitteeSenate Minority LeaderMitch McConnell KY House Minority LeaderKevin McCarthy CA FoundersAlvan E Bovay 1 Horace GreeleyEdwin D MorganHenry Jarvis RaymondAmos TuckFoundedMarch 20 1854 167 years ago 1854 03 20 Ripon Wisconsin U S Preceded byWhig Party majority Free Soil PartyLiberty PartyAnti Nebraska PartyNorth American PartyHeadquarters310 First Street SE Washington D C 20003Student wingCollege RepublicansYouth wingYoung RepublicansTeen Age RepublicansWomen s wingNational Federation of Republican WomenOverseas wingRepublicans OverseasMembership 2021 36 132 743 2 IdeologyMajority Conservatism 3 Factions Centrism 4 Neoconservatism 5 Libertarianism 5 Christian right 6 7 Right wing populism 8 9 International affiliationInternational Democrat Union 10 Colors RedSeats in the Senate50 100 a Seats in the House of Representatives213 435State governorships27 50Seats in state upper chambers1 091 1 972Seats in state lower chambers2 912 5 411Territorial governorships1 6Seats in territorial upper chambers12 97Seats in territorial lower chambers9 91Election symbolWebsitegop comPolitics of United StatesPolitical partiesElections The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas Nebraska Act 11 which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery into the western territories It was simultaneously strengthened by the collapse of the Whig Party which had previously been one of the two major parties in the country Upon founding the Republican party supported economic reform and classical liberalism while opposing the expansion of slavery 12 13 Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress slavery was banned in the United States in 1865 The GOP was generally dominant during the Third and the Fourth Party System periods It was strongly committed to protectionism and tariffs at its founding but grew more supportive of free trade in the 20th century After 1912 the Republican Party began to undergo an ideological shift to the right Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 the party s core base shifted with southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics 14 After the Supreme Court s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and grew its support among evangelicals 15 Its 21st century ideology is American conservatism which incorporates both social conservatism and fiscal conservatism The GOP supports lower taxes free market capitalism restrictions on immigration 16 17 18 increased military spending gun rights restrictions on abortion deregulation and restrictions on labor unions 19 In the 21st century the demographic base skews toward men people living in rural areas members of the Silent Generation and white Americans particularly white evangelical Christians 20 Its most recent presidential nominee was Donald Trump who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021 There have been 19 Republican presidents the most from any one political party As of early 2021 the GOP controls 27 state governorships 30 state legislatures and 23 state government trifectas governorship and both legislative chambers Six of the nine sitting U S Supreme Court justices were nominated by Republican presidents Contents 1 History 1 1 19th century 1 1 1 Reconstruction the gold standard and the Gilded Age 1 2 20th century 1 2 1 New Deal era the Moral Majority and the Republican Revolution 1 3 21st century 1 3 1 The Trump era 2 Name and symbols 3 Political positions 3 1 Economic policies 3 2 Environmental policies 3 3 Immigration 3 4 Foreign policy and national defense 3 5 Social policies 3 5 1 Abortion and embryonic stem cell research 3 5 2 Affirmative action 3 5 3 Gun ownership 3 5 4 Drugs 3 5 5 LGBT issues 3 5 6 Voting requirements 4 Composition 4 1 Ideology and factions 4 2 Talk radio 4 3 Business community 4 4 Demographics 4 4 1 Gender 4 4 2 Education 4 4 3 Ethnicity 4 4 4 Religious beliefs 5 Republican presidents 6 Current Supreme Court Justices appointed by Republican presidents 7 Recent electoral history 7 1 In congressional elections 1950 present 7 2 In presidential elections 1856 present 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External linksHistoryMain article History of the Republican Party United States 19th century Further information Third Party System and National Union Party United States Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1861 1865 and the first Republican to hold the office The Republican Party was founded in the northern states in 1854 by forces opposed to the expansion of slavery ex Whigs and ex Free Soilers The Republican Party quickly became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the briefly popular Know Nothing Party The party grew out of opposition to the Kansas Nebraska Act which repealed the Missouri Compromise and opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to chattel slavery and future admission as slave states 21 22 The Republicans called for economic and social modernization They denounced the expansion of chattel slavery as a great evil but did not call for ending it in the southern states The first public meeting of the general anti Nebraska movement at which the name Republican was proposed was held on March 20 1854 at the Little White Schoolhouse in Ripon Wisconsin 23 The name was partly chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson s Democratic Republican Party 24 The first official party convention was held on July 6 1854 in Jackson Michigan 25 Charles R Jennison an anti slavery militia leader associated with the Jayhawkers from Kansas and an early Republican politician in the region The party emerged from the great political realignment of the mid 1850s Historian William Gienapp argues that the great realignment of the 1850s began before the Whigs collapse and was caused not by politicians but by voters at the local level The central forces were ethno cultural involving tensions between pietistic Protestants versus liturgical Catholics Lutherans and Episcopalians regarding Catholicism prohibition and nativism Abolition did play a role but it was less important at first The Know Nothing Party embodied the social forces at work but its weak leadership was unable to solidify its organization and the Republicans picked it apart Nativism was so powerful that the Republicans could not avoid it but they did minimize it and turn voter wrath against the threat that slave owners would buy up the good farm lands wherever chattel slavery was allowed The realignment was powerful because it forced voters to switch parties as typified by the rise and fall of the Know Nothings the rise of the Republican Party and the splits in the Democratic Party 26 27 At the 1856 Republican National Convention the party adopted a national platform emphasizing opposition to the expansion of chattel slavery into U S territories 28 While Republican nominee John C Fremont lost the 1856 United States presidential election to Democrat doughface James Buchanan Buchanan only managed to win four of the fourteen northern states winning his home state of Pennsylvania narrowly 29 30 Republicans fared better in Congressional and local elections but Know Nothing candidates took a significant number of seats creating an awkward three party arrangement Despite the loss of the presidency and the lack of a majority in Congress Republicans were able to orchestrate a Republican Speaker of the House which went to Nathaniel P Banks Historian James M McPherson writes regarding Banks speakership that if any one moment marked the birth of the Republican party this was it 31 The Republicans were eager for the elections of 1860 32 Former Illinois Representative Abraham Lincoln spent several years building support within the party campaigning heavily for Fremont in 1856 and making a bid for the Senate in 1858 losing to Democrat Stephen A Douglas but gaining national attention for the Lincoln Douglas debates it produced 30 33 At the 1860 Republican National Convention Lincoln consolidated support among opponents of New York Senator William H Seward a fierce abolitionist who some Republicans feared would be too radical for crucial states such as Pennsylvania and Indiana as well as those who disapproved of his support for Irish immigrants 32 Lincoln won on the third ballot and was ultimately elected president in the general election in a rematch against Douglas Lincoln had not been on the ballot in a single southern state and even if the vote for Democrats had not been split between Douglas John C Breckinridge and John Bell the Republicans would ve still won but without the popular vote 32 This election result helped kickstart the American Civil War which lasted from 1861 until 1865 34 The election of 1864 united War Democrats with the GOP and saw Lincoln and Tennessee Democratic Senator Andrew Johnson get nominated on the National Union Party ticket 29 Lincoln was re elected 35 Under Republican congressional leadership the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which banned chattel slavery in the United States passed the Senate in 1864 and the House in 1865 it was ratified in December 1865 36 Reconstruction the gold standard and the Gilded Age Main articles Radical Republicans Half Breeds politics Stalwarts politics and Mugwumps Further information Reconstruction era Coinage Act of 1873 and Gilded Age Ulysses S Grant 18th President of the United States 1869 1877 Radical Republicans during Lincoln s presidency felt he wasn t going far enough in his eradication of slavery and opposed his ten percent plan Radical Republicans passed the Wade Davis Bill in 1864 which sought to enforce the taking of the Ironclad Oath for all former Confederates Lincoln vetoed the bill believing it would jeopardize the peaceful reintegration of the Confederate states into the United States 37 Following the assassination of Lincoln Johnson ascended to the presidency and was deplored by Radical Republicans Johnson was vitriolic in his criticisms of the Radical Republicans during a national tour ahead of the 1866 midterm elections 38 In his view Johnson saw Radical Republicanism as the same as secessionism both being two extremist sides of the political spectrum 38 Anti Johnson Republicans won a two thirds majority in both chambers of Congress following the elections which helped lead the way toward his impeachment and near ouster from office in 1868 38 That same year former Union Army General Ulysses S Grant was elected as the next Republican president Grant was a Radical Republican which created some division within the party some such as Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner and Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull opposed most of his Reconstructionist policies 39 Others found contempt with the large scale corruption present in Grant s administration with the emerging Stalwart faction defending Grant and the spoils system whereas the Half Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service 40 Republicans who opposed Grant branched off to form the Liberal Republican Party nominating Horace Greeley in 1872 The Democratic Party attempted to capitalize on this divide in the GOP by co nominating Greeley under their party banner Greeley s positions proved inconsistent with the Liberal Republican Party that nominated him with Greeley supporting high tariffs despite the party s opposition 41 Grant was easily re elected The 1876 general election saw a contentious conclusion as both parties claimed victory despite three southern states still not officially declaring a winner at the end of election day Voter suppression had occurred in the south to depress the black and white Republican vote which gave Republican controlled returning officers enough of a reason to declare fraud intimidation and violence soiled the states results They proceeded to throw out enough Democratic votes for Republican Rutherford B Hayes to be declared the winner 42 Still Democrats refused to accept the results and an Electoral Commission made up of members of Congress was established to decide who would be awarded the states electors After the Commission voted along party lines in Hayes favor Democrats threatened to delay the counting of electoral votes indefinitely so no president would be inaugurated on March 4 This resulted in the Compromise of 1877 and Hayes finally became president 43 James G Blaine 28th amp 31st Secretary of State 1881 1889 1892 Hayes doubled down on the gold standard which had been signed into law by Grant with the Coinage Act of 1873 as a solution to the depressed American economy in the aftermath of the Panic of 1873 He also believed greenbacks posed a threat greenbacks being money printed during the Civil War that was not backed by specie which Hayes objected to as a proponent of hard money Hayes sought to restock the country s gold supply which by January 1879 succeeded as gold was more frequently exchanged for greenbacks compared to greenbacks being exchanged for gold 44 Ahead of the 1880 general election Republican James G Blaine ran for the party nomination supporting Hayes gold standard push and supporting his civil reforms Both falling short of the nomination Blaine and opponent John Sherman backed Republican James A Garfield who agreed with Hayes move in favor of the gold standard but opposed his civil reform efforts 45 46 Garfield was elected but assassinated early into his term however his death helped create support for the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act which was passed in 1883 47 the bill was signed into law by Republican President Chester A Arthur who succeeded Garfield William McKinley 25th President of the United States 1897 1901 Blaine once again ran for the presidency winning the nomination but losing to Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884 the first Democrat to be elected president since Buchanan Dissident Republicans known as Mugwumps had defected Blaine due to corruption which had plagued his political career 48 49 Cleveland stuck to the gold standard policy which eased most Republicans 50 but he came into conflict with the party regarding budding American imperialism 51 Republican Benjamin Harrison was able to reclaim the presidency from Cleveland in 1888 During his presidency Harrison signed the Dependent and Disability Pension Act which established pensions for all veterans of the Union who had served for more than 90 days and were unable to perform manual labor 52 A majority of Republicans supported the annexation of Hawaii under the new governance of Republican Sanford B Dole and Harrison following his loss in 1892 to Cleveland attempted to pass a treaty annexing Hawaii before Cleveland was to be inaugurated again 53 Cleveland opposed annexation though Democrats were split geographically on the issue with most northeastern Democrats proving to be the strongest voices of opposition 54 In 1896 Republican William McKinley s platform supported the gold standard and high tariffs having been the creator and namesake for the McKinley Tariff of 1890 Though having been divided on the issue prior to the 1896 Republican National Convention McKinley decided to heavily favor the gold standard over free silver in his campaign messaging but promised to continue bimetallism to ward off continued skepticism over the gold standard which had lingered since the Panic of 1893 55 56 Democrat William Jennings Bryan proved to be a devoted adherent to the free silver movement which cost Bryan the support of Democrat institutions such as Tammany Hall the New York World and a large majority of the Democratic Party s upper and middle class support 57 McKinley defeated Bryan and returned the White House to Republican control until 1912 20th century Further information Fourth Party System Progressive Era and Standpatter Republican Theodore Roosevelt 26th President of the United States 1901 1909 Herbert Hoover 31st President of the United States 1929 1933 The 1896 realignment cemented the Republicans as the party of big businesses while Theodore Roosevelt added more small business support by his embrace of trust busting He handpicked his successor William Howard Taft in 1908 but they became enemies as the party split down the middle Taft defeated Roosevelt for the 1912 nomination and Roosevelt ran on the ticket of his new Progressive Bull Moose Party He called for social reforms many of which were later championed by New Deal Democrats in the 1930s He lost and when most of his supporters returned to the GOP they found they did not agree with the new conservative economic thinking leading to an ideological shift to the right in the Republican Party 58 The Republicans returned to the White House throughout the 1920s running on platforms of normalcy business oriented efficiency and high tariffs The national party platform avoided mention of prohibition instead issuing a vague commitment to law and order 59 Warren G Harding Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover were resoundingly elected in 1920 1924 and 1928 respectively The Teapot Dome scandal threatened to hurt the party but Harding died and the opposition splintered in 1924 The pro business policies of the decade seemed to produce an unprecedented prosperity until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded the Great Depression 60 New Deal era the Moral Majority and the Republican Revolution Main articles Old Right United States Fifth Party System History of the United States Republican Party Fighting the New Deal Coalition 1932 1980 Moral Majority and Republican Revolution Dwight D Eisenhower Richard NixonDwight D Eisenhower and Richard Nixon 34th and 37th Presidents of the United States 1953 1961 1969 1974 The New Deal coalition of Democrat Franklin D Roosevelt controlled American politics for most of the next three decades excluding the two term presidency of Republican Dwight D Eisenhower After Roosevelt took office in 1933 New Deal legislation sailed through Congress and the economy moved sharply upward from its nadir in early 1933 However long term unemployment remained a drag until 1940 In the 1934 midterm elections 10 Republican senators went down to defeat leaving the GOP with only 25 senators against 71 Democrats The House of Representatives likewise had overwhelming Democratic majorities 61 The Republican Party factionalized into a majority Old Right based in the midwest and a liberal wing based in the northeast that supported much of the New Deal The Old Right sharply attacked the Second New Deal and said it represented class warfare and socialism Roosevelt was re elected in a landslide in 1936 however as his second term began the economy declined strikes soared and he failed to take control of the Supreme Court and purge the southern conservatives from the Democratic Party Republicans made a major comeback in the 1938 elections and had new rising stars such as Robert A Taft of Ohio on the right and Thomas E Dewey of New York on the left 62 Southern conservatives joined with most Republicans to form the conservative coalition which dominated domestic issues in Congress until 1964 Both parties split on foreign policy issues with the anti war isolationists dominant in the Republican Party and the interventionists who wanted to stop Adolf Hitler dominant in the Democratic Party Roosevelt won a third and fourth term in 1940 and 1944 respectively Conservatives abolished most of the New Deal during the war but they did not attempt to do away with Social Security or the agencies that regulated business 63 Historian George H Nash argues Unlike the moderate internationalist largely eastern bloc of Republicans who accepted or at least acquiesced in some of the Roosevelt Revolution and the essential premises of President Harry S Truman s foreign policy the Republican Right at heart was counterrevolutionary Anti collectivist anti Communist anti New Deal passionately committed to limited government free market economics and congressional as opposed to executive prerogatives the G O P conservatives were obliged from the start to wage a constant two front war against liberal Democrats from without and me too Republicans from within 64 After 1945 the internationalist wing of the GOP cooperated with Truman s Cold War foreign policy funded the Marshall Plan and supported NATO despite the continued isolationism of the Old Right 65 The second half of the 20th century saw the election or succession of Republican presidents Dwight D Eisenhower Richard Nixon Gerald Ford Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush Eisenhower had defeated conservative leader Senator Robert A Taft for the 1952 nomination but conservatives dominated the domestic policies of the Eisenhower administration Voters liked Eisenhower much more than they liked the GOP and he proved unable to shift the party to a more moderate position Since 1976 liberalism has virtually faded out of the Republican Party apart from a few northeastern holdouts 66 Historians cite the 1964 United States presidential election and its respective 1964 Republican National Convention as a significant shift which saw the conservative wing helmed by Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona battle the liberal New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and his eponymous Rockefeller Republican faction for the party presidential nomination With Goldwater poised to win Rockefeller urged to mobilize his liberal faction relented You re looking at it buddy I m all that s left 67 68 Though Goldwater lost in a landslide Reagan would make himself known as a prominent supporter of his throughout the campaign delivering the A Time for Choosing speech for him He d go on to become governor of California two years later and in 1980 win the presidency 69 Ronald Reagan 40th President of the United States 1981 1989 The presidency of Reagan lasting from 1981 to 1989 constituted what is known as the Reagan Revolution 70 It was seen as a fundamental shift from the stagflation of the 1970s preceding it with the introduction of Reaganomics intended to cut taxes prioritize government deregulation and shift funding from the domestic sphere into the military to check the Soviet Union by utilizing deterrence theory A defining moment in Reagan s term of office was his speech in then West Berlin where he demanded Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down this wall referring to the Berlin Wall constructed to separate West and East Berlin 71 72 After he left office in 1989 Reagan became an iconic conservative Republican Republican presidential candidates would frequently claim to share his views and aim to establish themselves and their policies as the more appropriate heir to his legacy 73 Vice President Bush scored a landslide in the 1988 general election However his term would see a divide form within the Republican Party Bush s vision of economic liberalization and international cooperation with foreign nations saw the negotiation and signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA and the conceptual beginnings of the World Trade Organization 74 Independent politician and businessman Ross Perot decried NAFTA and prophesied it would lead to outsourcing American jobs to Mexico while Democrat Bill Clinton found agreement in Bush s policies 75 Bush lost reelection in 1992 with 37 percent of the popular vote with Clinton garnering a plurality of 43 percent and Perot in third with 19 percent While debatable if Perot s candidacy cost Bush reelection Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report attests Perot s messaging held more weight with Republican and conservative voters at large 76 Perot formed the Reform Party and those who had been or would become prominent Republicans saw brief membership such as former White House Communications Director Pat Buchanan and later President Donald Trump 77 In the Republican Revolution of 1994 the party led by House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich who campaigned on the Contract with America won majorities in both chambers of Congress gained 12 governorships and regained control of 20 state legislatures It was the first time the Republican Party had achieved a majority in the House since 1952 78 Gingrich was made Speaker of the House and within the first 100 days of the Republican majority every proposition featured in the Contract with America was passed with the exception of term limits for members of Congress 79 80 One key to Gingrich s success in 1994 was nationalizing the election 78 in turn Gingrich became a national figure during the 1996 House elections with many Democratic leaders proclaiming Gingrich was a zealous radical 81 82 The Republicans maintained their majority for the first time since 1928 despite the presidential ticket of Bob Dole Jack Kemp losing handily to President Clinton in the general election However Gingrich s national profile proved a detriment to the Republican Congress which enjoyed majority approval among voters in spite of Gingrich s relative unpopularity 81 After Gingrich and the Republicans struck a deal with Clinton on the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 with added tax cuts included the Republican House majority had difficulty convening on a new agenda ahead of the 1998 midterm elections 83 During the ongoing impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 Gingrich decided to make Clinton s misconduct the party message heading into the midterms believing it would add to their majority The strategy proved mistaken and the Republicans lost five seats though whether it was due to poor messaging or Clinton s popularity providing a coattail effect is debated 84 Gingrich was ousted from party power due to the performance ultimately deciding to resign from Congress altogether For a short time afterward it appeared Louisiana Representative Bob Livingston would become his successor Livingston however stepped down from consideration and resigned from Congress after damaging reports of affairs threatened the Republican House s legislative agenda if he were to serve as Speaker 85 Illinois Representative Dennis Hastert was promoted to Speaker in Livingston s place and served in that position until 2007 86 21st century See also Sixth Party System A Republican ticket of George W Bush and Dick Cheney won the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections 87 Bush campaigned as a compassionate conservative in 2000 wanting to better appeal to immigrants and minority voters 88 The goal was to prioritize drug rehabilitation programs and aide for prisoner reentry into society a move intended to capitalize on President Bill Clinton s tougher crime initiatives such as the 1994 crime bill passed under his administration The platform failed to gain much traction among members of the party during his presidency 89 With the inauguration of Bush as president the Republican Party remained fairly cohesive for much of the 2000s as both strong economic libertarians and social conservatives opposed the Democrats whom they saw as the party of bloated secular and liberal government 90 This period saw the rise of pro government conservatives a core part of the Bush s base a considerable group of the Republicans who advocated for increased government spending and greater regulations covering both the economy and people s personal lives as well as for an activist interventionist foreign policy 91 Survey groups such as the Pew Research Center found that social conservatives and free market advocates remained the other two main groups within the party s coalition of support with all three being roughly equal in number 92 93 However libertarians and libertarian leaning conservatives increasingly found fault with what they saw as Republicans restricting of vital civil liberties while corporate welfare and the national debt hiked considerably under Bush s tenure 94 In contrast some social conservatives expressed dissatisfaction with the party s support for economic policies that conflicted with their moral values 95 The Republican Party lost its Senate majority in 2001 when the Senate became split evenly nevertheless the Republicans maintained control of the Senate due to the tie breaking vote of Republican Vice President Dick Cheney Democrats gained control of the Senate on June 6 2001 when Republican Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont switched his party affiliation to Democrat The Republicans regained the Senate majority in the 2002 elections Republican majorities in the House and Senate were held until the Democrats regained control of both chambers in the mid term elections of 2006 96 97 George H W Bush 41st President of the United States 1989 1993 George W Bush 43rd President of the United States 2001 2009 Former president George H W Bush was the father of former president George W Bush Only one other son of a president has been elected president to wit John Quincy Adams In 2008 Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska were defeated by Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden of Illinois and Delaware respectively 98 The Republicans experienced electoral success in the wave election of 2010 which coincided with the ascendancy of the Tea Party movement 99 100 101 102 an anti Obama protest movement of fiscal conservatives 103 Members of the movement called for lower taxes and for a reduction of the national debt of the United States and federal budget deficit through decreased government spending 104 105 It was also described as a popular constitutional movement 106 composed of a mixture of libertarian right wing populist and conservative activism That success began with the upset win of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special Senate election for a seat that had been held for decades by the Democratic Kennedy brothers 107 In the November elections Republicans recaptured control of the House increased their number of seats in the Senate and gained a majority of governorships 108 The Tea Party would go on to strongly influence the Republican Party in part due to the replacement of establishment Republicans with Tea Party style Republicans 103 When Obama and Biden won re election in 2012 defeating a Mitt Romney Paul Ryan ticket 109 the Republicans lost seven seats in the House in the November congressional elections but still retained control of that chamber 110 However Republicans were not able to gain control of the Senate continuing their minority status with a net loss of two seats 111 In the aftermath of the loss some prominent Republicans spoke out against their own party 112 113 114 A 2012 election post mortem by the Republican Party concluded that the party needed to do more on the national level to attract votes from minorities and young voters 115 In March 2013 National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gave a stinging report on the party s electoral failures in 2012 calling on Republicans to reinvent themselves and officially endorse immigration reform He said There s no one reason we lost Our message was weak our ground game was insufficient we weren t inclusive we were behind in both data and digital and our primary and debate process needed improvement He proposed 219 reforms that included a 10 million marketing campaign to reach women minorities and gays as well as setting a shorter more controlled primary season and creating better data collection facilities 116 Following the 2014 midterm elections the Republican Party took control of the Senate by gaining nine seats 117 With a final total of 247 seats 57 in the House and 54 seats in the Senate the Republicans ultimately achieved their largest majority in the Congress since the 71st Congress in 1929 118 The Trump era Main article Trumpism Donald Trump 45th President of the United States 2017 2021 The election of Republican Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016 marked a populist shift in the Republican Party 119 Trump s defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was unexpected as polls had shown Clinton leading the race 120 Trump s victory was fueled by narrow victories in three states Michigan Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that had traditionally been part of the Democratic blue wall for decades According to NBC News Trump s power famously came from his silent majority working class white voters who felt mocked and ignored by an establishment loosely defined by special interests in Washington news outlets in New York and tastemakers in Hollywood He built trust within that base by abandoning Republican establishment orthodoxy on issues like trade and government spending in favor of a broader nationalist message 121 122 After the 2016 elections Republicans maintained a majority in the Senate House and state governorships wielding newly acquired executive power with Trump s election as president The Republican Party controlled 69 of 99 state legislative chambers in 2017 the most it had held in history 123 and at least 33 governorships the most it had held since 1922 124 The party had total control of government legislative chambers and governorship in 25 states 125 126 the most since 1952 127 the opposing Democratic Party had full control in only five states 128 Following the results of the 2018 midterm elections the Republicans lost control of the House yet maintained hold of the Senate 129 Over the course of his term Trump appointed three justices to the Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch replacing Antonin Scalia Brett Kavanaugh replacing Anthony Kennedy and Amy Coney Barrett replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg the most appointments of any president in a single term since fellow Republican Richard Nixon Trump was seen as solidifying a 6 3 conservative majority 130 131 He appointed 260 judges in total creating overall Republican appointed majorities on every branch of the federal judiciary except for the Court of International Trade by the time he left office shifting the judiciary to the right Other notable achievements during his presidency included passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 moving the U S embassy in Israel to Jerusalem creating the United States Space Force the first new independent military service since 1947 and brokering the Abraham Accords a series of normalization agreements between Israel and various Arab states 132 133 134 135 The 2020 Republican Party Platform simply endorsed the President s America first agenda prompting comparisons to contemporary leader focused party platforms in Russia and China 136 Trump was impeached on December 18 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress 137 138 He was acquitted by the Senate on February 5 2020 139 195 of the 197 Republicans within the House voted against the charges with none voting in favor the two abstaining Republicans were due to external reasons unrelated to the impeachment itself 140 52 of the 53 Republicans within the Senate voted against the charges as well successfully acquitting Trump as a result with only Senator Mitt Romney of Utah dissenting and voting in favor of one of the charges abuse of power 141 142 Following his refusal to concede his loss in the 2020 elections which led to the U S Capitol being stormed by his supporters on January 6 2021 the House impeached Trump for a second time on charges of incitement of insurrection making him the only federal officeholder in the history of the United States to be impeached twice 143 144 He left office on January 20 2021 but the impeachment trial continued into the early weeks of the Biden administration with Trump being ultimately acquitted a second time by the Senate on February 13 2021 145 Seven Republican Senators voted to convict including Romney once again Richard Burr Bill Cassidy Susan Collins Lisa Murkowski Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey Their states respective Republican parties condemned them for doing so Additionally Republican U S Representative Liz Cheney was censured by her state GOP for her impeachment vote in the House 146 147 In response to Trump s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections and the subsequent storming of the U S Capitol dozens of Republican former members of the Bush administration made their abandonment of the party public calling it the cult of Trump 148 In 2021 the party used Trump s false assertions of a stolen election as justification to impose new voting restrictions and to remove Cheney from her House Republican Conference leadership position 149 150 151 In 2021 Republican controlled state legislatures advanced their most conservative agenda in years and were more aggressive in doing so than previous years according to The Atlantic 152 Name and symbols 1874 Nast cartoon featuring the first notable appearance of the Republican elephant 153 The red white and blue Republican elephant still a primary logo for many state GOP committees The circa 2013 GOP logo The party s founding members chose the name Republican Party in the mid 1850s as homage to the values of republicanism promoted by Thomas Jefferson s Democratic Republican Party 154 The idea for the name came from an editorial by the party s leading publicist Horace Greeley who called for some simple name like Republican that would more fitly designate those who had united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery 155 The name reflects the 1776 republican values of civic virtue and opposition to aristocracy and corruption 156 It is important to note that republican has a variety of meanings around the world and the Republican Party has evolved such that the meanings no longer always align 157 158 The term Grand Old Party is a traditional nickname for the Republican Party and the abbreviation GOP is a commonly used designation The term originated in 1875 in the Congressional Record referring to the party associated with the successful military defense of the Union as this gallant old party The following year in an article in the Cincinnati Commercial the term was modified to grand old party The first use of the abbreviation is dated 1884 159 The traditional mascot of the party is the elephant A political cartoon by Thomas Nast published in Harper s Weekly on November 7 1874 is considered the first important use of the symbol 160 An alternate symbol of the Republican Party in states such as Indiana New York and Ohio is the bald eagle as opposed to the Democratic rooster or the Democratic five pointed star 161 162 In Kentucky the log cabin is a symbol of the Republican Party not related to the gay Log Cabin Republicans organization 163 Traditionally the party had no consistent color identity 164 165 166 After the 2000 election the color red became associated with Republicans During and after the election the major broadcast networks used the same color scheme for the electoral map states won by Republican nominee George W Bush were colored red and states won by Democratic nominee Al Gore were colored blue Due to the weeks long dispute over the election results these color associations became firmly ingrained persisting in subsequent years Although the assignment of colors to political parties is unofficial and informal the media has come to represent the respective political parties using these colors The party and its candidates have also come to embrace the color red 167 Political positionsMain article Political positions of the Republican Party Economic policies Calvin Coolidge 30th President of the United States 1923 1929 Republicans believe that free markets and individual achievement are the primary factors behind economic prosperity Republicans frequently advocate in favor of fiscal conservatism during Democratic administrations however they have shown themselves willing to increase federal debt when they are in charge of the government the implementation of the Bush tax cuts Medicare Part D and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 are examples of this willingness 168 169 170 Despite pledges to roll back government spending Republican administrations have since the late 1960s sustained or increased previous levels of government spending 171 172 Modern Republicans advocate the theory of supply side economics which holds that lower tax rates increase economic growth 173 Many Republicans oppose higher tax rates for higher earners which they believe are unfairly targeted at those who create jobs and wealth They believe private spending is more efficient than government spending Republican lawmakers have also sought to limit funding for tax enforcement and tax collection 174 Republicans believe individuals should take responsibility for their own circumstances They also believe the private sector is more effective in helping the poor through charity than the government is through welfare programs and that social assistance programs often cause government dependency citation needed Republicans believe corporations should be able to establish their own employment practices including benefits and wages with the free market deciding the price of work Since the 1920s Republicans have generally been opposed by labor union organizations and members At the national level Republicans supported the Taft Hartley Act of 1947 which gives workers the right not to participate in unions Modern Republicans at the state level generally support various right to work laws which prohibit union security agreements requiring all workers in a unionized workplace to pay dues or a fair share fee regardless of whether they are members of the union or not 175 Most Republicans oppose increases in the minimum wage believing that such increases hurt businesses by forcing them to cut and outsource jobs while passing on costs to consumers 176 The party opposes a single payer health care system describing it as socialized medicine The Republican Party has a mixed record of supporting the historically popular Social Security Medicare and Medicaid programs 177 whereas it has sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act since its introduction in 2010 178 and opposed expansions of Medicaid 179 Environmental policies Main article Political positions of the Republican Party Environmental policies In the United States Democrats blue and Republicans red have long differed in views of the importance of addressing climate change with the gap widening in the late 2010s mainly through Democrats share increasing by more than 30 points 180 The sharp divide over the existence of and responsibility for global warming and climate change falls largely along political lines 181 Overall 60 of Americans surveyed said oil and gas companies were completely or mostly responsible for climate change 181 Historically progressive leaders in the Republican Party supported environmental protection Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was a prominent conservationist whose policies eventually led to the creation of the National Park Service 182 While Republican President Richard Nixon was not an environmentalist he signed legislation to create the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and had a comprehensive environmental program 183 However this position has changed since the 1980s and the administration of President Ronald Reagan who labeled environmental regulations a burden on the economy 184 Since then Republicans have increasingly taken positions against environmental regulation with some Republicans rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change 184 185 186 187 Arnold Schwarzenegger 38th Governor of California 2003 2011 In 2006 then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger broke from Republican orthodoxy to sign several bills imposing caps on carbon emissions in California Then President George W Bush opposed mandatory caps at a national level Bush s decision not to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant was challenged in the Supreme Court by 12 states 188 with the court ruling against the Bush administration in 2007 189 Bush also publicly opposed ratification of the Kyoto Protocols 184 190 which sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions and thereby combat climate change his position was heavily criticized by climate scientists 191 John McCain United States senator from Arizona 1987 2018 The Republican Party rejects cap and trade policy to limit carbon emissions 192 In the 2000s Senator John McCain proposed bills such as the McCain Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act that would have regulated carbon emissions but his position on climate change was unusual among high ranking party members 184 Some Republican candidates have supported the development of alternative fuels in order to achieve energy independence for the United States Some Republicans support increased oil drilling in protected areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a position that has drawn criticism from activists 193 Many Republicans during the presidency of Barack Obama opposed his administration s new environmental regulations such as those on carbon emissions from coal In particular many Republicans supported building the Keystone Pipeline this position was supported by businesses but opposed by indigenous peoples groups and environmental activists 194 195 196 According to the Center for American Progress a non profit liberal advocacy group more than 55 of congressional Republicans were climate change deniers in 2014 197 198 PolitiFact in May 2014 found relatively few Republican members of Congress accept the prevailing scientific conclusion that global warming is both real and man made The group found eight members who acknowledged it although the group acknowledged there could be more and that not all members of Congress have taken a stance on the issue 199 200 From 2008 to 2017 the Republican Party went from debating how to combat human caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist according to The New York Times 201 In January 2015 the Republican led U S Senate voted 98 1 to pass a resolution acknowledging that climate change is real and is not a hoax however an amendment stating that human activity significantly contributes to climate change was supported by only five Republican senators 202 Immigration See also Immigration to the United States and Illegal immigration to the United States In the period 1850 1870 the Republican Party was more opposed to immigration than Democrats in part because the Republican Party relied on the support of anti Catholic and anti immigrant parties such as the Know Nothings at the time In the decades following the Civil War the Republican Party grew more supportive of immigration as it represented manufacturers in the northeast who wanted additional labor whereas the Democratic Party came to be seen as the party of labor which wanted fewer laborers to compete with Starting in the 1970s the parties switched places again as the Democrats grew more supportive of immigration than Republicans 203 Republicans are divided on how to confront illegal immigration between a platform that allows for migrant workers and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants supported more by the Republican establishment versus a position focused on securing the border and deporting illegal immigrants supported by populists In 2006 the White House supported and Republican led Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform that would eventually allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens but the House also led by Republicans did not advance the bill 204 After the defeat in the 2012 presidential election particularly among Latinos several Republicans advocated a friendlier approach to immigrants However in 2016 the field of candidates took a sharp position against illegal immigration with leading candidate Donald Trump proposing building a wall along the southern border Proposals calling for immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants have attracted broad Republican support in some which polls In a 2013 poll 60 of Republicans supported the pathway concept 205 Foreign policy and national defense See also History of foreign policy and national defense in the Republican Party Donald Rumsfeld 21st United States Secretary of Defense 2001 2006 Some including neoconservatives who in the Republican Party support unilateralism on issues of national security believing in the ability and right of the United States to act without external support in matters of its national defense In general Republican thinking on defense and international relations is heavily influenced by the theories of neorealism and realism characterizing conflicts between nations as struggles between faceless forces of an international structure as opposed to being the result of the ideas and actions of individual leaders The realist school s influence shows in Reagan s Evil Empire stance on the Soviet Union and George W Bush s Axis of evil stance citation needed Some including paleoconservatives and right wing populists 206 207 208 call for non interventionism and an America First foreign policy This faction gained strength starting in 2016 with the rise of Donald Trump Since the September 11 2001 attacks many who in the party have supported neoconservative policies with regard to the War on Terror including the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq The George W Bush administration took the position that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to unlawful combatants while other which prominent Republicans strongly oppose the use of enhanced interrogation techniques which they view as torture 209 Republicans have frequently advocated for restricting foreign aid as a means of asserting the national security and immigration interests of the United States 210 211 212 The Republican Party generally supports a strong alliance with Israel and efforts to secure peace in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab neighbors 213 214 In recent years Republicans have begun to move away from the two state solution approach to resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflict 215 216 In a 2014 poll 59 of Republicans favored doing less abroad and focusing on the country s own problems instead 217 According to the 2016 platform 218 the party s stance on the status of Taiwan is We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island s future must be resolved peacefully through dialogue and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan In addition if China were to violate those principles the United States in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act will help Taiwan defend itself Social policies The Republican Party is generally associated with social conservative policies although it does have dissenting centrist and libertarian factions The social conservatives support laws that uphold their traditional values such as opposition to same sex marriage abortion and marijuana 219 Most conservative Republicans also oppose gun control affirmative action and illegal immigration 219 220 Abortion and embryonic stem cell research A majority of the party s national and state candidates are anti abortion and oppose elective abortion on religious or moral grounds While many advocate exceptions in the case of incest rape or the mother s life being at risk in 2012 the party approved a platform advocating banning abortions without exception 221 There were not highly polarized differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party prior to the Roe v Wade 1973 Supreme Court ruling which made prohibitions on abortion rights unconstitutional but after the Supreme Court ruling opposition to abortion became an increasingly key national platform for the Republican Party 15 222 223 As a result Evangelicals gravitated towards the Republican Party 15 222 Most Republicans oppose government funding for abortion providers notably Planned Parenthood 224 This includes support for the Hyde Amendment Until its dissolution in 2018 Republican Majority for Choice an abortion rights PAC advocated for amending the GOP platform to include pro abortion rights members 225 Although Republicans have voted for increases in government funding of scientific research members of the Republican Party actively oppose the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research beyond the original lines because it involves the destruction of human embryos 226 227 228 229 Affirmative action Republicans are generally against affirmative action for women and some minorities often describing it as a quota system and believing that it is not meritocratic and is counter productive socially by only further promoting discrimination 230 The GOP s official stance supports race neutral admissions policies in universities but supports taking into account the socioeconomic status of the student The 2012 Republican National Committee platform stated We support efforts to help low income individuals get a fair chance based on their potential and individual merit but we reject preferences quotas and set asides as the best or sole methods through which fairness can be achieved whether in government education or corporate boardrooms Merit ability aptitude and results should be the factors that determine advancement in our society 231 232 233 Gun ownership Republicans generally support gun ownership rights and oppose laws regulating guns Party members and Republican leaning independents are twice more likely to own a gun than Democrats and Democratic leaning independents 234 Newt Gingrich 50th Speaker of the House of Representatives 1995 1999 The National Rifle Association a special interest group in support of gun ownership has consistently aligned itself with the Republican Party Following gun control measures under the Clinton administration such as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 the Republicans allied with the NRA during the Republican Revolution in 1994 235 Since then the NRA has consistently backed Republican candidates and contributed financial support such as in the 2013 Colorado recall election which resulted in the ousting of two pro gun control Democrats for two anti gun control Republicans 236 In contrast George H W Bush formerly a lifelong NRA member was highly critical of the organization following their response to the Oklahoma City bombing authored by CEO Wayne LaPierre and publicly resigned in protest 237 Drugs See also Illegal drug trade in the United States Republicans have historically supported the War on Drugs as well as oppose legalization or decriminalization of drugs including marijuana 238 239 The opposition to the legalization of marijuana has softened over time 240 241 LGBT issues Republicans have historically opposed same sex marriage while being divided on civil unions and domestic partnerships During the 2004 election George W Bush campaigned prominently on a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage many believe it helped George W Bush win re election in 2004 242 243 In both 2004 244 and 2006 245 President Bush Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Majority Leader John Boehner promoted the Federal Marriage Amendment a proposed constitutional amendment which would legally restrict the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples 246 247 248 In both attempts the amendment failed to secure enough votes to invoke cloture and thus ultimately was never passed As more states legalized same sex marriage in the 2010s Republicans increasingly supported allowing each state to decide its own marriage policy 249 As of 2014 most state GOP platforms expressed opposition to same sex marriage 250 The 2016 GOP Platform defined marriage as natural marriage the union of one man and one woman and condemned the Supreme Court s ruling legalizing same sex marriages 251 252 The 2020 platform retained the 2016 language against same sex marriage 253 254 255 However public opinion on this issue within the party has been changing 256 243 Following his election as president in 2016 Donald Trump stated that he had no objection to same sex marriage or to the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges but at the same time promised to appoint a Supreme Court justice to roll back the constitutional right 243 257 In office Trump was the first sitting Republican president to recognize LGBT Pride Month 258 Conversely the Trump administration banned transgender individuals from service in the United States military and rolled back other protections for transgender people which had been enacted during the previous Democratic presidency 259 The Republican Party platform previously opposed the inclusion of gay people in the military and opposed adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes since 1992 260 261 262 The Republican Party opposed the inclusion of sexual preference in anti discrimination statutes from 1992 to 2004 263 The 2008 and 2012 Republican Party platform supported anti discrimination statutes based on sex race age religion creed disability or national origin but both platforms were silent on sexual orientation and gender identity 264 265 The 2016 platform was opposed to sex discrimination statutes that included the phrase sexual orientation 266 267 The Log Cabin Republicans is a group within the Republican Party that represents LGBT conservatives and allies and advocates for LGBT rights and equality 268 Voting requirements See also Voter identification laws in the United States Virtually all restrictions on voting have in recent years been implemented by Republicans Republicans mainly at the state level argue that the restrictions such as purging voter rolls limiting voting locations and limiting early and mail voting are vital to prevent voter fraud claiming that voter fraud is an underestimated issue in elections Polling has found majority support for early voting automatic voter registration and voter ID laws among the general population 269 270 271 Research has indicated that voter fraud is very uncommon and civil and voting rights organizations often accuse Republicans of enacting restrictions to influence elections in the party s favor Many laws or regulations restricting voting enacted by Republicans have been successfully challenged in court with court rulings striking down such regulations and accusing Republicans of establishing them with partisan purpose 272 273 After the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v Holder rolled back aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 Republicans introduced cuts to early voting purges of voter rolls and imposition of strict voter ID laws 274 In defending their restrictions to voting rights Republicans have made false and exaggerated claims about the extent of voter fraud in the United States all existing research indicates that it is extremely rare 275 276 After Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and Donald Trump refused to concede while he and his Republican allies made false claims of fraud Republicans launched a nationwide effort to restrict voting rights at the state level 277 278 279 The 2016 Republican platform advocated proof of citizenship as a prerequisite for registering to vote and photo ID as a prerequisite when voting 280 Composition This map shows the vote in the 2004 presidential election by county A This map shows the vote in the 2020 presidential election by county B In the Party s early decades its base consisted of northern white Protestants and African Americans nationwide Its first presidential candidate John C Fremont received almost no votes in the South This trend continued into the 20th century Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 the southern states became more reliably Republican in presidential politics while northeastern states became more reliably Democratic 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 Studies show that southern whites shifted to the Republican Party due to racial conservatism 287 289 290 While scholars agree that a racial backlash played a central role in the racial realignment of the two parties there is a dispute as to the extent in which the racial realignment was a top driven elite process or a bottom up process 291 The Southern Strategy refers primarily to top down narratives of the political realignment of the South which suggest that Republican leaders consciously appealed to many white southerners racial grievances in order to gain their support This top down narrative of the Southern Strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed Southern politics following the civil rights era Scholar Matthew Lassiter argues that demographic change played a more important role than racial demagoguery in the emergence of a two party system in the American South 292 293 Historians such as Matthew Lassiter Kevin M Kruse and Joseph Crespino have presented an alternative bottom up narrative which Lassiter has called the suburban strategy This narrative recognizes the centrality of racial backlash to the political realignment of the South 291 but suggests that this backlash took the form of a defense of de facto segregation in the suburbs rather than overt resistance to racial integration and that the story of this backlash is a national rather than a strictly southern one 294 295 296 297 The Party s 21st century base consists of groups such as older white men white married Protestants rural residents and non union workers without college degrees with urban residents ethnic minorities the unmarried and union workers having shifted to the Democratic Party The suburbs have become a major battleground 298 According to a 2015 Gallup poll 25 of Americans identify as Republican and 16 identify as leaning Republican In comparison 30 identify as Democratic and 16 identify as leaning Democratic The Democratic Party has typically held an overall edge in party identification since Gallup began polling on the issue in 1991 299 In 2016 The New York Times noted that the Republican Party was strong in the South the Great Plains and the Mountain States 300 The 21st century Republican Party also draws strength from rural areas of the United States 301 Towards the end of the 1990s and in the early 21st century the Republican Party increasingly resorted to constitutional hardball practices 302 303 304 A number of scholars have asserted that the House speakership of Republican Newt Gingrich played a key role in undermining democratic norms in the United States hastening political polarization and increasing partisan prejudice 305 306 307 308 309 According to Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky Gingrich s speakership had a profound and lasting impact on American politics and the health of American democracy They argue that Gingrich instilled a combative approach in the Republican Party where hateful language and hyper partisanship became commonplace and where democratic norms were abandoned Gingrich frequently questioned the patriotism of Democrats called them corrupt compared them to fascists and accused them of wanting to destroy the United States Gingrich was also involved in several major government shutdowns 309 310 311 312 Scholars have also characterized Mitch McConnell s tenure as Senate Minority Leader and Senate Majority Leader during the Obama presidency as one where obstructionism reached all time highs 313 Political scientists have referred to McConnell s use of the filibuster as constitutional hardball referring to the misuse of procedural tools in a way that undermines democracy 302 309 314 315 McConnell delayed and obstructed health care reform and banking reform which were two landmark pieces of legislation that Democrats sought to pass and in fact did pass 316 early in Obama s tenure 317 318 By delaying Democratic priority legislation McConnell stymied the output of Congress Political scientists Eric Schickler and Gregory J Wawro write by slowing action even on measures supported by many Republicans McConnell capitalized on the scarcity of floor time forcing Democratic leaders into difficult trade offs concerning which measures were worth pursuing That is given that Democrats had just two years with sizeable majorities to enact as much of their agenda as possible slowing the Senate s ability to process even routine measures limited the sheer volume of liberal bills that could be adopted 318 McConnell s refusal to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland during the final year of Obama s presidency was described by political scientists and legal scholars as unprecedented 319 320 a culmination of this confrontational style 321 a blatant abuse of constitutional norms 322 and a classic example of constitutional hardball 315 After the 2020 United States presidential election was declared for Biden President Donald Trump s refusal to concede and demands of Republican state legislatures and officials to ignore the popular vote of the states was described as unparalleled in American history 323 and profoundly antidemocratic 324 Some journalists and foreign officials have also referred to Trump as a fascist in the aftermath of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol 325 326 327 Following the storming of the Capitol a survey conducted by the American Enterprise Institute found that 56 of Republicans agreed with the statement The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it compared to 36 of respondents overall Sixty percent of white evangelical Republicans agreed with the statement 328 329 330 Ideology and factions Main article Factions in the Republican Party United States In 2018 Gallup polling found that 69 of Republicans described themselves as conservative while 25 opted for the term moderate and another 5 self identified as liberal 331 When ideology is separated into social and economic issues a 2020 Gallup poll found that 61 of Republicans and Republican leaning independents called themselves socially conservative 28 chose the label socially moderate and 10 called themselves socially liberal 332 On economic issues the same 2020 poll revealed that 65 of Republicans and Republican leaners chose the label economic conservative to describe their views on fiscal policy while 26 selected the label economic moderate and 7 opted for the economic liberal label 332 The modern Republican Party includes conservatives 3 centrists 4 fiscal conservatives libertarians 5 neoconservatives 5 paleoconservatives 333 right wing populists 8 9 and social conservatives 334 335 336 In addition to splits over ideology the 21st century Republican Party can be broadly divided into establishment and anti establishment wings 337 338 Nationwide polls of Republican voters in 2014 by the Pew Center identified a growing split in the Republican coalition between business conservatives or establishment conservatives on one side and steadfast conservatives or populist conservatives on the other 339 Talk radio In the 21st century conservatives on talk radio and Fox News as well as online media outlets such as the Daily Caller and Breitbart News became a powerful influence on shaping the information received and judgments made by rank and file Republicans 340 341 They include Rush Limbaugh Sean Hannity Larry Elder Glenn Beck Mark Levin Dana Loesch Hugh Hewitt Mike Gallagher Neal Boortz Laura Ingraham Dennis Prager Michael Reagan Howie Carr and Michael Savage as well as many local commentators who support Republican causes while vocally opposing the left 342 343 344 345 Vice President Mike Pence also had an early career in conservative talk radio hosting The Mike Pence Show in the late 1990s before successfully running for Congress in 2000 346 In recent years pundits through podcasting and radio shows like Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder have also gained fame with a consistently younger audience through outlets such as The Daily Wire and Blaze Media citation needed Business community The Republican Party has traditionally been a pro business party It garners major support from a wide variety of industries from the financial sector to small businesses Republicans are about 50 percent more likely to be self employed and are more likely to work in management 347 better source needed A survey cited by The Washington Post in 2012 stated that 61 percent of small business owners planned to vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Small business became a major theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention 348 Demographics In 2006 Republicans won 38 of the voters aged 18 29 349 In a 2018 study members of the Silent and Baby Boomer generations were more likely to express approval of Trump s presidency than those of Generation X and Millennials 350 Low income voters are more likely to identify as Democrats while high income voters are more likely to identify as Republicans 351 In 2012 Obama won 60 of voters with income under 50 000 and 45 of those with incomes higher than that 352 Bush won 41 of the poorest 20 of voters in 2004 55 of the richest twenty percent and 53 of those in between In the 2006 House races the voters with incomes over 50 000 were 49 Republican while those with incomes under that amount were 38 Republican 349 Gender Since 1980 a gender gap has seen stronger support for the Republican Party among men than among women Unmarried and divorced women were far more likely to vote for Democrat John Kerry than for Republican George W Bush in the 2004 presidential election 353 In 2006 House races 43 of women voted Republican while 47 of men did so 349 In the 2010 midterms the gender gap was reduced with women supporting Republican and Democratic candidates equally 49 49 354 355 Exit polls from the 2012 elections revealed a continued weakness among unmarried women for the GOP a large and growing portion of the electorate 356 Although women supported Obama over Mitt Romney by a margin of 55 44 in 2012 Romney prevailed amongst married women 53 46 357 Obama won unmarried women 67 31 358 According to a December 2019 study white women are the only group of female voters who support Republican Party candidates for president They have done so by a majority in all but 2 of the last 18 elections 359 Education In 2012 the Pew Research Center conducted a study of registered voters with a 35 28 Democrat to Republican gap They found that self described Democrats had an eight point advantage over Republicans among college graduates and a fourteen point advantage among all post graduates polled Republicans had an eleven point advantage among white men with college degrees Democrats had a ten point advantage among women with degrees Democrats accounted for 36 of all respondents with an education of high school or less Republicans accounted for 28 When isolating just white registered voters polled Republicans had a six point advantage overall and a nine point advantage among those with a high school education or less 360 Following the 2016 presidential election exit polls indicated that Donald Trump attracted a large share of the vote from whites without a college degree receiving 72 percent of the white non college male vote and 62 percent of the white non college female vote Overall 52 of voters with college degrees voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 while 52 of voters without college degrees voted for Trump 361 Ethnicity Republicans have been winning under 15 of the black vote in recent national elections 1980 to 2016 The party abolished chattel slavery under Abraham Lincoln defeated the Slave Power and gave blacks the legal right to vote during Reconstruction in the late 1860s Until the New Deal of the 1930s blacks supported the Republican Party by large margins 362 Black delegates were a sizable share of southern delegates to the national Republican convention from Reconstruction until the start of the 20th century when their share began to decline 363 Black voters began shifting away from the Republican Party after the close of Reconstruction through the early 20th century with the rise of the southern Republican lily white movement 364 Blacks shifted in large margins to the Democratic Party in the 1930s when major Democratic figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt began to support civil rights and the New Deal offered them employment opportunities They became one of the core components of the New Deal coalition In the South after the Voting Rights Act to prohibit racial discrimination in elections was passed by a bipartisan coalition in 1965 blacks were able to vote again and ever since have formed a significant portion 20 50 of the Democratic vote in that region 365 In the 2010 elections two African American Republicans Tim Scott and Allen West were elected to the House of Representatives 366 In recent decades Republicans have been moderately successful in gaining support from Hispanic and Asian American voters George W Bush who campaigned energetically for Hispanic votes received 35 of their vote in 2000 and 39 in 2004 367 The party s strong anti communist stance has made it popular among some minority groups from current and former Communist states in particular Cuban Americans Korean Americans Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans The 2007 election of Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana was hailed as pathbreaking 368 Jindal became the first elected minority governor in Louisiana and the first state governor of Indian descent 369 According to John Avlon in 2013 the Republican party was more ethnically diverse at the statewide elected official level than the Democratic Party was GOP statewide elected officials included Latino Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and African American U S senator Tim Scott of South Carolina 370 In 2012 88 of Romney voters were white while 56 of Obama voters were white 371 In the 2008 presidential election John McCain won 55 of white votes 35 of Asian votes 31 of Hispanic votes and 4 of African American votes 372 In the 2010 House election Republicans won 60 of the white votes 38 of Hispanic votes and 9 of the African American vote 373 As of 2020 Republican candidates had lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections 374 Since 1992 the only time they won the popular vote in a presidential election is the 2004 United States presidential election Demographers have pointed to the steady decline as a percentage of the eligible voters of its core base of older rural white men 375 376 377 378 However Donald Trump managed to increase nonwhite support to 26 of his total votes in the 2020 election the highest percentage for a GOP presidential candidate since 1960 379 380 Religious beliefs Religion has always played a major role for both parties but in the course of a century the parties religious compositions have changed Religion was a major dividing line between the parties before 1960 with Catholics Jews and southern Protestants heavily Democratic and northeastern Protestants heavily Republican Most of the old differences faded away after the realignment of the 1970s and 1980s that undercut the New Deal coalition 381 Voters who attended church weekly gave 61 of their votes to Bush in 2004 those who attended occasionally gave him only 47 and those who never attended gave him 36 Fifty nine percent of Protestants voted for Bush along with 52 of Catholics even though John Kerry was Catholic Since 1980 a large majority of evangelicals has voted Republican 70 80 voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 and 70 for Republican House candidates in 2006 Jews continue to vote 70 80 Democratic Democrats have close links with the African American churches especially the National Baptists while their historic dominance among Catholic voters has eroded to 54 46 in the 2010 midterms 382 The mainline traditional Protestants Methodists Lutherans Presbyterians Episcopalians and Disciples have dropped to about 55 Republican in contrast to 75 before 1968 Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Utah and neighboring states voted 75 or more for George W Bush in 2000 383 Members of the Mormon faith had a mixed relationship with Donald Trump during his tenure despite 67 of them voting for him in 2016 and 56 of them supporting his presidency in 2018 disapproving of his personal behavior such as that shown during the Access Hollywood controversy 384 Their opinion on Trump hadn t affected their party affiliation however as 76 of Mormons in 2018 expressed preference for generic Republican congressional candidates 385 While Catholic Republican leaders try to stay in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church on subjects such as abortion euthanasia embryonic stem cell research and same sex marriage they differ on the death penalty and contraception 386 Pope Francis 2015 encyclical Laudato si sparked a discussion on the positions of Catholic Republicans in relation to the positions of the Church The Pope s encyclical on behalf of the Catholic Church officially acknowledges a man made climate change caused by burning fossil fuels 387 The Pope says the warming of the planet is rooted in a throwaway culture and the developed world s indifference to the destruction of the planet in pursuit of short term economic gains According to The New York Times Laudato si put pressure on the Catholic candidates in the 2016 election Jeb Bush Bobby Jindal Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum 388 With leading Democrats praising the encyclical James Bretzke a professor of moral theology at Boston College has said that both sides were being disingenuous I think it shows that both the Republicans and the Democrats like to use religious authority and in this case the Pope to support positions they have arrived at independently There is a certain insincerity hypocrisy I think on both sides 389 While a Pew Research poll indicates Catholics are more likely to believe the Earth is warming than non Catholics 51 of Catholic Republicans believe in global warming less than the general population and only 24 of Catholic Republicans believe global warming is caused by human activity 390 In 2016 a slim majority of Orthodox Jews voted for the Republican Party following years of growing Orthodox Jewish support for the party due to its social conservatism and increasingly pro Israel foreign policy stance 391 An exit poll conducted by the Associated Press for 2020 found 35 of Muslims voted for Donald Trump 392 Republican presidentsAs of 2021 there have been a total of 19 Republican presidents President Portrait State Presidency start date Presidency end date Time in office16 Abraham Lincoln 1809 1865 Illinois March 4 1861 April 15 1865 b 4 years 42 days18 Ulysses S Grant 1822 1885 Illinois March 4 1869 March 4 1877 8 years 0 days19 Rutherford B Hayes 1822 1893 Ohio March 4 1877 March 4 1881 4 years 0 days20 James A Garfield 1831 1881 Ohio March 4 1881 September 19 1881 b 199 days21 Chester A Arthur 1829 1886 New York September 19 1881 March 4 1885 3 years 166 days23 Benjamin Harrison 1833 1901 Indiana March 4 1889 March 4 1893 4 years 0 days25 William McKinley 1843 1901 Ohio March 4 1897 September 14 1901 b 4 years 194 days26 Theodore Roosevelt 1858 1919 New York September 14 1901 March 4 1909 7 years 171 days27 William Howard Taft 1857 1930 Ohio March 4 1909 March 4 1913 4 years 0 days29 Warren G Harding 1865 1923 Ohio March 4 1921 August 2 1923 b 2 years 151 days30 Calvin Coolidge 1872 1933 Massachusetts August 2 1923 March 4 1929 5 years 214 days31 Herbert Hoover 1874 1964 California March 4 1929 March 4 1933 4 years 0 days34 Dwight D Eisenhower 1890 1969 Kansas January 20 1953 January 20 1961 8 years 0 days37 Richard Nixon 1913 1994 California January 20 1969 August 9 1974 c 5 years 201 days38 Gerald Ford 1913 2006 Michigan August 9 1974 January 20 1977 2 years 164 days40 Ronald Reagan 1911 2004 California January 20 1981 January 20 1989 8 years 0 days41 George H W Bush 1924 2018 Texas January 20 1989 January 20 1993 4 years 0 days43 George W Bush born 1946 Texas January 20 2001 January 20 2009 8 years 0 days45 Donald Trump born 1946 New York January 20 2017 January 20 2021 4 years 0 daysCurrent Supreme Court Justices appointed by Republican presidentsAs of January 2021 update six of the nine seats are filled by Justices appointed by Republican Presidents George H W Bush George W Bush and Donald Trump Portrait Justice Senate Vote Since President Clarence Thomas Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 52 48 October 3 1991 George H W Bush John Roberts Jr Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 78 22 September 29 2005 George W Bush Samuel Alito Jr Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 58 42 January 31 2006 Neil Gorsuch Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 54 45 April 10 2017 Donald Trump Brett Kavanaugh Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 50 48 October 6 2018 Amy Coney Barrett Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 52 48 October 27 2020Recent electoral historyIn congressional elections 1950 present See also Party divisions of United States Congresses United States Congressional Elections House Election year No of overall House seats won Presidency No of overall Senate seats won 393 Senate Election year1950 199 435 28 Harry S Truman 47 96 5 19501952 221 435 22 Dwight D Eisenhower 49 96 2 19521954 203 435 18 47 96 2 19541956 201 435 2 47 96 0 19561958 153 435 48 34 98 13 19581960 175 435 22 John F Kennedy 35 100 1 19601962 176 435 1 34 100 3 19621964 140 435 36 Lyndon B Johnson 32 100 2 19641966 187 435 47 38 100 3 19661968 192 435 5 Richard Nixon 42 100 5 19681970 180 435 12 44 100 2 19701972 192 435 12 41 100 2 19721974 144 435 48 Gerald Ford 38 100 3 19741976 143 435 1 Jimmy Carter 38 100 1 19761978 158 435 15 41 100 3 19781980 192 435 34 Ronald Reagan 53 100 12 19801982 166 435 26 54 100 0 19821984 182 435 16 53 100 2 19841986 177 435 5 45 100 8 19861988 175 435 2 George H W Bush 45 100 1 19881990 167 435 8 44 100 1 19901992 176 435 9 Bill Clinton 43 100 0 19921994 230 435 54 53 100 8 19941996 227 435 3 55 100 2 19961998 223 435 4 55 100 0 19982000 221 435 2 George W Bush 50 100 4 394 20002002 229 435 8 51 100 2 20022004 232 435 3 55 100 4 20042006 202 435 30 49 100 6 20062008 178 435 21 Barack Obama 41 100 8 20082010 242 435 63 47 100 6 20102012 234 435 8 45 100 2 20122014 247 435 13 54 100 9 20142016 241 435 6 Donald Trump 52 100 2 20162018 200 435 41 53 100 2 20182020 213 435 14 Joe Biden 50 100 3 2020In presidential elections 1856 present See also List of United States Republican Party presidential tickets Election Candidate Votes Vote Electoral votes Result1856 John C Fremont 1 342 345 33 1 114 296 114 Lost1860 Abraham Lincoln 1 865 908 39 8 180 303 66 Won1864 Abraham Lincoln 2 218 388 55 0 212 233 32 Won1868 Ulysses S Grant 3 013 421 52 7 214 294 2 Won1872 Ulysses S Grant 3 598 235 55 6 286 352 72 Won1876 Rutherford B Hayes 4 034 311 47 9 185 369 134 Won C 1880 James A Garfield 4 446 158 48 3 214 369 29 Won1884 James G Blaine 4 856 905 48 3 182 401 32 Lost1888 Benjamin Harrison 5 443 892 47 8 233 401 51 Won D 1892 Benjamin Harrison 5 176 108 43 0 145 444 88 Lost1896 William McKinley 7 111 607 51 0 271 447 126 Won1900 William McKinley 7 228 864 51 6 292 447 21 Won1904 Theodore Roosevelt 7 630 457 56 4 336 476 44 Won1908 William Howard Taft 7 678 395 51 6 321 483 15 Won1912 William Howard Taft 3 486 242 23 2 8 531 313 Lost E 1916 Charles E Hughes 8 548 728 46 1 254 531 246 Lost1920 Warren G Harding 16 144 093 60 3 404 531 150 Won1924 Calvin Coolidge 15 723 789 54 0 382 531 22 Won1928 Herbert Hoover 21 427 123 58 2 444 531 62 Won1932 Herbert Hoover 15 761 254 39 7 59 531 385 Lost1936 Alf Landon 16 679 543 36 5 8 531 51 Lost1940 Wendell Willkie 22 347 744 44 8 82 531 74 Lost1944 Thomas E Dewey 22 017 929 45 9 99 531 17 Lost1948 Thomas E Dewey 21 991 292 45 1 189 531 90 Lost1952 Dwight D Eisenhower 34 075 529 55 2 442 531 253 Won1956 Dwight D Eisenhower 35 579 180 57 4 457 531 15 Won1960 Richard Nixon 34 108 157 49 6 219 537 238 Lost1964 Barry Goldwater 27 175 754 38 5 52 538 167 Lost1968 Richard Nixon 31 783 783 43 4 301 538 249 Won1972 Richard Nixon 47 168 710 60 7 520 538 219 Won1976 Gerald Ford 38 148 634 48 0 240 538 280 Lost1980 Ronald Reagan 43 903 230 50 7 489 538 249 Won1984 Ronald Reagan 54 455 472 58 8 525 538 36 Won1988 George H W Bush 48 886 097 53 4 426 538 99 Won1992 George H W Bush 39 104 550 37 4 168 538 258 Lost1996 Bob Dole 39 197 469 40 7 159 538 9 Lost2000 George W Bush 50 456 002 47 9 271 538 112 Won F 2004 George W Bush 62 040 610 50 7 286 538 15 Won2008 John McCain 59 948 323 45 7 173 538 113 Lost2012 Mitt Romney 60 933 504 47 2 206 538 33 Lost2016 Donald Trump 62 984 828 46 1 304 538 98 Won G 2020 Donald Trump 74 216 154 46 9 232 538 72 LostSee also Politics portal Conservatism portal United States portal Factions in the Republican Party List of African American Republicans List of Hispanic and Latino Republicans List of state parties of the Republican Party United States List of United States Republican Party presidential tickets Political party strength in U S statesNotes The Republicans are the minority party in the Senate because of Vice President Kamala Harris s tie breaking vote as independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King caucus with the 48 Democrats effectively making the Senate 50 50 a b c d Died in office Resigned from office All major Republican geographic constituencies are visible red dominates the map showing Republican strength in the rural areas while the denser areas i e cities are blue Notable exceptions include the Pacific coast New England the Southern United States areas with high Native American populations and the heavily Hispanic parts of the southwest Similar to the 2004 map Republicans dominate in rural areas making improvements in the Appalachian states namely Kentucky where the party won all but two counties and West Virginia where every county in the state voted Republican The party also improved in many rural counties in Iowa Wisconsin and other midwestern states Contrarily the party suffered substantial losses in urbanized areas such Dallas Harris Fort Bend and Tarrant counties in Texas and Orange and San Diego counties in California all of which were won in 2004 but lost in 2020 Although Hayes won a majority of votes in the Electoral College Democrat Samuel J Tilden won a majority of the popular vote Although Harrison won a majority of votes in the Electoral College Democrat Grover Cleveland won a plurality of the popular vote Taft finished in third place in both the electoral and popular vote behind Progressive Theodore Roosevelt Although Bush won a majority of votes in the Electoral College Democrat Al Gore won a plurality of the popular vote Although Trump won a majority of votes in the Electoral College Democrat Hillary Clinton won a plurality of the popular vote References The Origin of the Republican Party by Prof A F Gilman Ripon College WI 1914 Winger Richard March 2021 Ballot Access News Print Edition Ballot Access News Retrieved April 1 2021 a b Paul Gottfried Conservatism in America Making Sense of the American Right p 9 Postwar conservatives set about creating their own synthesis of free market capitalism Christian morality and the global struggle against Communism 2009 Gottfried Theologies and moral concern 1995 p 12 a 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the Supreme Court Politico Retrieved November 17 2020 Mascaro Lisa October 26 2020 Barrett confirmed as Supreme Court justice in partisan vote Associated Press Retrieved November 17 2020 Trump signs tax cut bill first big legislative win NBC News Turner Ashley May 17 2018 After US embassy makes controversial move to Jerusalem more countries follow its lead CNBC December 2019 Leonard David 21 December 21 2019 Trump Officially Establishes US Space Force with 2020 Defense Bill Signing Space com Forgey Quint The dawn of a new Middle East Trump celebrates Abraham Accords with White House signing ceremony POLITICO The Republican Party turns its platform into a person Donald Trump Wilkie Christina December 19 2019 President Trump is impeached in a historic vote by the House will face trial in the Senate CNBC s President Donald Trump impeached History Breuninger Christina Wilkie Kevin February 5 2020 Trump acquitted of both charges in Senate impeachment trial CNBC Daly Matthew December 18 2019 3 Lawmakers Miss Historic Impeachment Votes US News amp World Report Associated Press Retrieved May 7 2020 Congressional Record Proceedings and Debates of the 116th Congress Second Session PDF Report 166 United States Government Publishing Office February 5 2020 pp S937 38 Fandos Nicholas February 5 2020 Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party Line Vote The New York Times span, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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