It has been well documented how the Republican Party transformed itself over the last several decades. In an effort to expand its base, the GOP turned to values-based voters who care about family values, are pro-life and anti-immigrant and generally pro-business.This movement succeeded, and culminated in the GOP holding the House, the Senate and the White House from 2000 to 2006. But Republicans, while in power, have moved away from small government and fiscal responsibility, though the president has tried to reclaim that mantle with his recent veto of
Six in 10 Republicans in the poll agreed with a statement that free trade has been bad for the U.S. and said they would agree with a Republican candidate who favored tougher regulations to limit foreign imports. That represents a challenge for Republican candidates who generally echo Mr. Bush's calls for continued trade expansion, and reflects a substantial shift in sentiment from eight years ago.The same poll taken in 1999 showed that 31% of Republicans thought free trade was a bad idea. Why the big change? Some of the change can be found in GOP campaign strategy. The GOP has often chosen to run on issues that evoke emotion, rather than running on any particular policy change. One example of this would be immigration. The president attempted to pass bipartisan legislation that would have created an eventual path to citizenship for many of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Republican foes of the bill blasted it as "amnesty." In reality, the bill offered nothing resembling a free pass. The path to citizenship required a fine, security checks, a return to the immigrant's home country, and a long wait of up to 13 years or more to be legal.