WASHINGTON, D.C. (KERO) — The overarching theme of President Joe Biden’s inaugural address was unity and that’s a theme that many leaders - Democrat and Republican alike - have been advocating for. 23ABC’s Austin Westfall spoke with local leaders and political experts about where the Republican Party is headed in the Biden era.
Although many are calling for unity right now, the left and right will still no doubt have their disagreements. But before red and blue can unite, 23ABC's political experts said that the red has some baggage to sort out.
“We don't just have division between Democrats and Republicans, there's division in the Republican Party too,” said Dr. Jeanine Kraybill, associate professor of political science at California State University Bakersfield.
In the last few months, Republicans lost control of the White House and the Senate with the leader of their party being impeached for a record second time. For those reasons, many political experts have been asking: “What’s the destiny of Trumpism without Donald Trump? Is this truly a movement that’s going to redefine the Republican Party,” asked Bakersfield High School and CSUB teacher Jeremy Adams.
The division of the Republican Party is on clear display in Kern County: 21st District Congressmen David Valdado supported the impeachment while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who represents the 23rd District, voted against it.
McCarthy also objected to certifying election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona.
A day after President Biden's inauguration McCarthy was asked about Trump’s future role within the GOP.
“Every former president still has a role within their party. For the time basis, this president brought a lot of great success within. He brought people to the people that haven’t been involved in it before. And he should continue to be engaged in that way.”
And while McCarthy has repeatedly condemned the Capitol Hill riot, publicly saying Trump bears responsibility, he seemed to change his tune Thursday.
“I don’t believe he provoked if you listen to what he said at the rally.”
But now that Trump’s term is over, 23ABC's political experts say many Republican voters may want the future of the GOP to be more aligned with what they had before him."
“They don’t want to be the party of Trump, they want to be those Reagan Republicans again or other Republicans,” said Dr. Kraybill.
“And simply trying to make sure that you win back a lot of those suburban moms and dads that the GOP lost during the Trump years,” added Adams.
McCarthy said that at the end of the day, the party will have to unify around their core beliefs, a sentiment which Valadao shared too.
“I think there’s questions that need to be answered. Style in which things were delivered,” said McCarthy.
“I think it’s important to take that opportunity and make sure that we continue policies that grow our economy, that protect individual liberties, and to protect our constituents' ability to live their lives as they want,” included Valadao.
Valadao said that since Democrats have control of Congress and the White House, Republicans should now focus on pushing back against inevitable Democrat policies that their constituents don't agree with. McCarthy has said that he believes Republicans will regain control of the House in 2022.