Sasse said that although he had collaborated with Trump on various nominations and policies over the past four years, he had serious concerns that the president’s values were “deficient” from a conservative standpoint. The senator said he was concerned about the Republican Party tying itself to Trump’s brand and voiced fears that Trump’s presidency was “ultimately driving the country further to the left.”
As a solution to the division and crisis of identity, Sasse has called for a greater emphasis on the Constitution and a return to “basic civics” - the foundational principles underlying the country’s very framework.
Sasse’s constitutional focus and conservative voting record, which often favor non-governmental solutions to social problems, have also included a strong focus on pro-life efforts. He has championed numerous pro-life bills in the Senate, including one to protect babies born alive after failed abortions.
Pro-life advocates would likely find a Sasse-led Republican Party to be reliable in its legislative priorities, judicial appointments, and regulatory efforts. Many pro-lifers may see this path forward as a continuation of the political pro-life victories of the Trump presidency, albeit without much of the inflammatory rhetoric and controversy of the past four years.
Another way forward for the Republican Party is that offered by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. A Washington Post article last week suggested that Hogan, a Catholic, has his eye on a 2024 presidential run and wants to reshape the Republican Party on his way to the White House.
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Hogan has stated not only a desire to “purge the party of those radical extremists [QAnon adherents],” but also to shift to a more centrist stance on key social issues in the hopes of courting moderate voters and growing the voter base.
Among these issues is abortion. Hogan told the Washington Post he believes Republicans focus too much on the issue. Hogan says he personally opposes abortion, but believes it should remain legal and is not interested in challenging Maryland’s permissive abortion laws. In 2019, he was criticized by local Right to Life groups when he declined to veto a law that was intended to counter federal prohibitions on some funding to abortion clinics.
If Hogan’s record is any indication of what he envisions for the future of the Republican Party, it could spell bad news for pro-life advocates, particularly those who have bet heavily on the GOP as a political ally. A Hogan-esque Republican Party may not push to advance legal abortion like the Democrats have pledged to do, but it also might do little to advance pro-life legislation and other policies.