Internal conflicts within Utah's Republican Party are expanding as a far-right faction threatens to takes over the GOP.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the developments over the last several months signal a problem within the political party. Republicans in the state who have pushed back against former President Donald Trump's damaging rhetoric are the ones being ousted, while those who embrace it are being praised.
Mike Madrid, a former Republican National Committee (RNC) strategist, weighed in with his growing concerns about the irrational behavior and cancel culture he is seeing among members of the political party.
"The Republican base is behaving so irrationally," said Madrid. "Getting beat is a time for self-reflection and a movement toward building a broader tent trying to attract more voters. The Republican Party is doing the exact opposite, purging some of its most well-known and influential leadership."
Madrid went on to highlight the distinct shift in the party's belief systems. "Utah is going to grow more Trumpy," Madrid said. "It will become a bit more like Idaho until it's not. Then it will turn into Colorado or Arizona. It's just math."
According to Madrid, such behavior could lead to long-term problems for the party. "That's not a recipe for winning more races," he said. "It's a recipe for becoming more extreme."
He also noted that Utah is not the only state where Republicans are embracing extreme, far-right ideologies. According to Madrid, moderate Republicans are beginning to feel "left behind."
"They don't like the grievance politics. They don't like the defense of the Confederacy," he said. "The party base just keeps moving in that direction, and they felt left behind."
With a nationwide shift to the far-right, Madrid also noted that it "means a more intense, radicalized base which you're starting to see in Utah."
Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, shared his perspective of the backlash Gov. and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) are facing for their pushback against Trump. Now viewed as "mainstream" Republicans, the base no longer views them as leaders who are a "reflection of the temperament" the party currently possesses.
"Some of these elected officials, including Romney and Cox, have become viewed by many inside the party as mainstream. They were looking for someone else," Perry said. "That was a reflection of the temperament of this group."
Despite the Utah Republican base's disapproval of Romney, he recently issued a stern warning to his constituents about the future of the party.
"If we divide our party," he said, "we will lose our party."