Will They be Able to Take on Donald Trump? The Four Factions of the Republican Party

The Republican Party is gearing up for another primary election that will pit the different political groups within the movement against each other. Can the establishment beat Donald Trump?.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Podrán contra Donald Trump? Las 4 facciones dentro del Partido Republicano

Last week, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made official his candidacy as a Republican for the presidency. Pence's arrival in the 2024 presidential race demonstrates how one of the most important factions within the Republican Party is planning to dispute the candidacy with the all-powerful Donald Trump.

In several countries worldwide, each political vision (or the majority) is usually represented by a political party. However, in the United States, the two-party model prevents parties independent of the two traditional parties from succeeding. This is why within the Democratic and Republican parties, some wings or factions fight for power. Currently, three major groups can be identified within the conservative party, and whoever wins the primaries will redefine or continue to define the path of the right wing within the most significant power in the world and the rival of the candidate and current president, Joe Biden.

In 2021, Carl Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News identified three groups within Republicans: never Trumpist, sometimes Trumpist, and always Trumpist. However, he can also identify four wings that unite several other subgroups that will contest the Republican primaries.


The current most potent faction that has led the party for several years is the one headed by Donald Trump. The former president reached a large mass of conservatives who identify with him. His postures are traditionally considered extreme right-wing, populist, anti-immigrant, anti-globalist, and nationalist, and he criticizes and attacks democratic institutions.

In Trumpism, they also share pro-business and pro-private property stances. Still, at the same time, there is a sense of resentment towards large conglomerates (especially those they feel are proliferators). Traditionally, they are anti-establishment stances and, in some cases, proponents of conspiracy theories such as Q'Anon, terraplanism, anti-vaccine, etc.

In addition to Donald Trump, its leading exponents are Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert.


Another traditional group within the Republican party is the libertarians. Those politicians believe in the market and that it should regulate all aspects of daily life. They are even staunch defenders of individual liberties, even if these go against conservative values.

You can also read: The Path to Winning the White House in 2024 Beyond Joe Biden and Donald Trump

Despite their historical significance within the Republican Party, they never managed to be the majority wing. In the last 2016 elections, Rand Paul was among the first to exit the race due to the lack of support in the primaries.

In the end, many of their voters lean towards whoever wins the primaries in the Republican party or the Libertarian Party itself, one of the political movements that remain in the shadow of the U.S. two-party system.

The Republican Establishment

It is the Republican party closest to the establishment. They were Donald Trump's main adversaries in 2016 but then accompanied him during his administration and the next elections in 2020. Today they are divided into several wings within the Republican establishment: traditional conservatives and evangelicals.

Today, Trump's two primary opponents are part of this group: the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and Trump's former vice president, Mike Pence. Pence was critical for Trump to gain the support of the most religious groups today comprise a large part of his political base. The former governor of Indiana made a big difference.

The Republican establishment shares many of the ideas of Trumpism. However, they see the figure of Donald Trump as a threat to the institutions, so defended by conservatives. One of the great ruptures between the former president and the pro-institution Republicans came after the taking of the Capitol on January 6, 2020, when Mike Pence made Joe Biden's victory official. Since then, the former president and his vice president have drifted apart; today, they are rivals.

The Anti-Trumps

Today, it is the third force within the Republican Party, which lost the most ground and representation. Here are the politicians who used to be considered right-wing and the moderates (or center-right). That group of politicians with a less radical ideology, which previously dominated much of the right, now seem pariahs. According to Gallup, in 2022, moderates were still the most potent force within the country, although conservatives were close behind. This may suggest that most of these are in the Democratic party.

Today different types of politicians and wings come in, such as liberal Republicans (those who share liberal ideas), anti-Trump establishment (like Mitt Romney), neoconservatives (close to interventionist policies like those of George Bush), and moderates (like Susan Collins or Collin Powell himself).

Currently, several anti-Trump people are also close to the Democratic party. They are usually those in Congress who represent Democratic-majority states and often support Biden administration policies (as well as President Obama at one time).

In the past, the likes of George Bush, John Kasich, Mitt Ronney, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others, could not be aligned. Today, they are not even part of the party. Their voters seem acephalous, and unless they find some strong figure within the party, many may migrate to the Democratic party.

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