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  • Edexcel Component 3, Section 5.2: The key ideas and principles of the Democratic and Republican Parties

  • AQA Component 3.2, Section Political parties: the ideological changes in both the Democratic and Republican parties making them more distinct and polarised

Background: what you need to know

The article reviews the state of the US Republican Party after a rightwing faction within the party removed Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives. These members of Congress were angry that McCarthy, a relative moderate, had reached a compromise with House Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.

His successor — whoever this turns out to be — faces a challenge in seeking to hold the fractious party together. In the background is the figure of Donald Trump, still the frontrunner for the party’s 2024 presidential election nomination, who is using the legal cases against him to define himself as a victim of the liberal establishment.

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

The ungovernable Republicans: ‘Their goal is chaos’

Republicans initially voted for the House majority leader, Steve Scalise, to succeed McCarthy on 11 October, though he withdrew shortly afterwards as he did not expect to command enough support to secure the position: see Steve Scalise withdraws from US House Speaker race

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three ways in which the ideas and values of the Republican Party have changed in recent years. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3A

  • Evaluate the view that the Republican Party has abandoned its traditional ideas and values in recent years.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30]

    TIP: Establish what the Republican Party traditionally stood for in the pre-Trump era before moving on to show where it is today. One major difference is the shift from an internationally engaged foreign policy to a more isolationist stance, for example the opposition of many Republicans to aid for Ukraine. This is a reversion to an older, pre-1940s Republican approach.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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