In an article in the Business Insider called “Mark Sanford said GOP leaders went along with Trump ‘hijacking’ the party because it ‘had come to stand for surprisingly little‘” by John Dorman, former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford offers direct criticism of what his party has become.
While I am not a huge fan of Sanford’s, disagreeing with him more than I agree, I do agree with him on his assertion in this article. Here are a few salient paragraphs, with a link to the entire article below.
“Mark Sanford, a longtime conservative lawmaker from South Carolina, viewed the Republican Party through a critical lens long before former President Donald Trump took office in 2017, as he detailed in his newly released book, ‘Two Roads Diverged.‘
‘Before Donald Trump’s arrival in Washington, the conservative movement as represented by the Republican Party had devolved into a lukewarm mess,’ he writes. ‘Reality was the Republican Party didn’t really represent conservatism any longer.‘
‘There was no strong objection within Republican circles to what Trump began to change in the Grand Old Party because to many of them, the GOP had come to stand for surprisingly little,’ he writes. ‘The people who truly believed in conservative ideals were disillusioned and tired of the Republican Party’s abysmal efforts to advance their ideas.‘
While in office, Trump was able to muscle through the 2017 tax-reform bill, which lowered the top corporate-tax rate from 35% to 21%, and installed a raft of conservative judges to the federal bench, but Sanford was less than impressed with the president.
After Sanford publicly clashed with Trump, who called the then-congressman ‘nothing but trouble,’ he lost the GOP primary for his House seat in 2018 to the state legislator Katie Arrington, who went on to lose the general election to the Democrat Joe Cunningham, in what was considered a major upset.
In his book, Sanford says that if someone is asked what the GOP represents, they might say ‘it stands for freedom.’ But he says: ‘Trump’s style was far too autocratic to allow that answer to stick, and his flirtations with leaders like Vladimir Putin undercut the GOP’s moral high ground on freedom.'”
There is truly not much more to add to Sanford’s comments as I want his concerns to be highlighted as a Republican.