Columns, Opinion

The Intersection: The Fiscal Republican is Gone

The current political parties in the United States have taken many forms over time and did not assume their current shape until the 1960s. Republicans and Democrats switched back and forth on their ideologies for over a century before becoming what we knew them to be in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Such changes are a completely expected trend. 

However, the Republican party in 2022 is no longer your grandparents’ GOP. Beginning in 2016, the Republican party of the late 20th century began to disappear rapidly. Former President Donald Trump established control over the party’s entire ideology and used his influence to push out the 20th century Republicans and what they stood for in favor of his brand, the “MAGA Republican.” 

The former fundamental small government Republican principles, which included decreasing taxes and not interfering in business, was quickly overtaken by a focus on social conservatism, including opposition to abortion and LGBTQ+ rights. 

Although religious conservatives in the United States have had increasing influence over the Republican party since the 1970s, their influence in the past six years has grown exponentially. Their power is seen in recent events such as the conservative majority of the Supreme Court overturning Roe. v. Wade. Additionally, the majority of Republicans in the United States House of Representatives refused to vote for the Respect for Marriage Act, and some MAGA Republicans now threaten to dissolve the fundamental concept of separation of church and state, embracing the idea of Christian nationalism. 

Such extreme actions and words demonstrate a drastic shift from the 20th century Republican platform. Even though many pre-MAGA Republicans stated they were pro-life, there appeared to be no credible threat to Roe. In fact, all current Supreme Court Justices stated in their confirmation hearings that they believed Roe to be the established law of the land. Further, SCOTUS ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015, and now, considering the overturning of Roe v. Wade, that ruling could be threatened. 

Three Trump appointees joining the Supreme Court as associate justices have tilted the scales to favor the conservatives. The new conservative majority will most likely continue to establish MAGA Republican ideology into our body of law through cases such as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overruled Roe. v. Wade.

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | DFP Staff

Many other aspiring Republican leaders have jumped on the MAGA bandwagon in an attempt to increase their power easily. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, an avid Trump supporter, has been in a battle with Disney, a major corporation with a significant presence in his state, where he has taken away their self-governing power and increased their taxes due to their opposition to the Florida law that restricts teaching on LGBTQ+ issues. Such an retaliation is the antithesis of the pre-MAGA fiscal Republican ideology. 

Further, Florida Senator Rick Scott recently raised a proposal to increase income taxes on low-income Americans. Although Scott ultimately retracted that portion of the proposal, his initial stance on taxation regardless of income indicates how much the Republican party has changed in the MAGA years, and how the traditional fiscal conservatives are being pushed out.

While some of the fiscal Republicans remain in office and continue to work hard in defense of the pre-MAGA Republican agenda by supporting bipartisan legislation, they are largely outshined by election deniers and Trump-endorsed candidates.

Representative Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, just lost her primary to the Trump backed candidate in Wyoming, known as Cheney territory, after taking a stand against former President Trump and fighting to preserve our democracy.

It’s a notable example of just how great the influence of MAGA Republicans in fact is. GOP establishment figures like the Cheneys are being pushed out by MAGA candidates. The traditional Republicans still in the spotlight are few and far between, and when they are, their tenure is threatened. 

Although there have historically been drastic changes in this country’s political parties, never has one man commanded such a degree of influence over a party. Who knows if we will see a return to the age of fiscal conservatism, or if MAGA is here to stay, but regardless, this new Republican party is transforming our history with each passing day.


  1. Good grief! Where do I start as a Make America Great Again Republican and strong supporter of Donald Trump? Let’s not forget that Maga Republicans represent the grassroot-wing of the party instead of its corporate wing. So Maga Republicans represent the values of middle-class, working Americans.

    Take the issue of abortion. It’s an issue that rightly belongs closer to the people, the states, not the nation. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg saw national abortion laws as unconstitutional.

    I can well imagine why ‘tax & spend’ Democrats lament the loss of fiscal Republicans. These Cheney Republicans weren’t fiscal Republicans. They strapped their constituents with increasing debt just as readily as Democrats to stay in office rather than working to reduce the increasing burden on middle-class, working Americans by increasing the national debt.

    Lastly, Maga Republicans aren’t the only ‘election deniers;’ they weren’t even the first. The time has long passed where federal elections need independent verification statutes passed by Congress.

  2. For one, Governor DeSantis removing Disney’s special status is in line with fiscal conservatism. Disney getting the authority of a county government is a perfect example of governments interfering with the market (and vice versa)– how many small entertainment companies enjoyed the same privileges that Disney did in Florida?

    Two, the argument that Roe’s overturning represents a shift from fiscal to social (“MAGA”, apparently) conservatism cannot be made unless you demonstrate, 1. that the current conservative Supreme Court justices have been “swayed” by MAGA ideology enough to change their pre-Trump opinions on Roe; 2. that the current conservative justices have been less fiscally conservative in their judgements than they used to be. Either way, you could make a similar argument about Kagan and Sotomayor being influenced by Obama’s ideology in order to federally legalize same-sex marriage (which is far more progressive than Democrats have historically been).

    While it seems anachronistic and odd to focus on “MAGA” Republicans when Trump has been out of office for two years… regardless, I just don’t understand the argument that Republicans have uniquely pivoted from economic to social issues. Bernie Sanders, the most prominent economically-left candidate in recent history, was snubbed by Democrats twice. The Democratic party neglecting their working class base is a common complaint. If anything, both parties have turned towards “culture wars”, and I’m not sure the Republicans initiated it.

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