America, specifically the Republican Party, is going through a political shift, and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt is a part of it. This change in the Republican Party will mirror the tea party movement of 2010, a movement that harmed the political discord.
The tea party movement over the Republican Party officially started in 2009. The tea party is a further-right political group that focuses on small government, advocating for little direct involvement in the economy. This is called laissez-faire economics. The tea party movement started to pick up speed after the passing of the Affordable Care Act. The tea party was an aggressive and obstructive group that blocked anything on former President Barack Obama’s objectives, according to Harvard Scholar.
Blunt will have served a total of 26 years in Congress when he finishes his term in 2022 and is one of a few members of Congress to serve in high-ranking positions in both the House and Senate. He has voted nearly 12,000 times, according to the New York Times. Despite all of his experience, he said he feels his time in national politics is over, and his reasoning is due to the new tea party movement.
Blunt is not the only member of the Senate who will not defend their seat in 2022. Four other Republican members of the Senate have publicly stated they will not seek reelection, and two others have not commented on if they will run or not.
Blunt is one of the members of the Senate that did put some blame on former President Donald Trump for the Capitol riots that occurred Jan. 6.
“When you start inviting people to Washington to march on the Capitol, you better know that there are potential consequences of that that you would never be for,” Blunt said, according to The Hill.
This puts him in a bad position with part of his base and others in the party as they have been vocal in their support for Trump to this day, no matter what reality is or what he says.
Blunt and the other senators' decision not to defend their seats opens the door for a more right-wing Republican Party to take the reigns. Instead of focusing on laissez-faire economics like the tea party movement did, however, it will focus on the culture war. Specifically anything that involves “cancel culture.”
Cancel war takes different forms. For example, over the past couple of weeks “cancel culture” has dominated the public discourse. Just to name a couple, the Dr. Seuss Enterprise decided it will no longer print books that have racist pictures. Warner Brothers has decided not to put the controversial character Pepe Le Pew in “Space Jam: A New Legacy.”
Even though Blunt agrees with the Republican Party on policy, this shift toward a culture-war-focused agenda rather than policy is not what Blunt signed up for. His solution, as well as the others, is to throw in the towel and let the new wave of the party take over, the party of the culture war. This will have a negative impact as political conversations will drive further away from policy-driven discussion to conversations about cartoons and Hollywood movies.