Moderate Republicans Missed the Convention

The Story:

Many important figures in the Republican Party, including many with ‘moderate’ reputations and who are up for re-election on the November ballot, were notable by their absence from the party’s mostly-virtual nominating convention last week.


Among those who played no part at the convention, one might start with the most recent Republican President of the pre-Trump era: George W. Bush. His brother Jeb, former Governor of Florida (1998 – 2006), who was a rival of Donald Trump in the 2016 primary season, was likewise missing. As were Senators Cory Gardner (Co), Susan Collins (Me), Thom Tillis (NC) and Martha McSally (Az.)

Republican lawmakers such as those are often characterized, by those more fully committed to Trump and his brand of conservatism, as RINOs (“Republicans in Name Only,”) because they sometimes vote with the Democrats. A marked example: Susan Collins delivered a critical vote against the repeal of Obamacare in July 2017.

The bad blood between the Bush and Trump families may be more personal than philosophical.

The Thing to Know:

Despite the pejorative use of the term, the ‘RINOs’ vote with the President and the party leadership often enough so that their loss to Democratic foes in the fall would be a blow. So President Trump and that leadership are alike inclined to allow them the leeway they need to return in January.

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