Trump's silent majority wins in Boehner's resignation
© Francis Rivera

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE has made the phrase "a silent majority" a popular one. He uses it to reinforce the fact that many Americans feel disenfranchised and lied to by their elected officials. This feeling is especially pervasive when some Americans think of Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director MORE (R-Ohio), the highest-level elected Republican official in the country. He is also the face people see when the media discuss the dysfunction of Congress. Many believe that America needs a new school Speaker of the House: One who recognizes where our country is headed during this pivotal time, one who has the courage to say "no" and one is who is willing to work with both sides of the aisle for the common good — as the pope mentioned in his address to Congress. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) managed a new school Congress with an old-school strategy. Boehner, who is known to be reasonable and have a willingness to compromise, took his lead from the traditions of Congress. This willingness has created contention within the congressional GOP ranks. Why? Because Democrats are generally not seen as willing to compromise on their principles; case in point, ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood funding. In addition, Boehner was known to pass legislation with the help of Democratic votes on major issues when he couldn't find consensus within his party. The most conservative members of the House were often at odds with the Speaker's way of governing; this led to those members giving Boehner an ultimatum, that the Speaker should either focus on the issues the conservative members believed their constituents cared about or battle the conservative members in a race for the Speakership.

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This push to remove Boehner from his role provided the momentum for Boehner to resign due to what many consider to be an unreasonable conservative caucus. His attempt to do what former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) did in 1994 with the GOP's "Contract with America" — by working in a bipartisan fashion to bring about some tangible changes like welfare reform, which proved to be effective in pulling people out of poverty — backfired. Boehner also wanted to ensure that the legislation pushed by Republicans wouldn't be viewed as so draconian to the mainstream that his caucus couldn't be reelected and maintain the majority. What the Speaker seemingly hadn't realized is the reason he was empowered five years ago was to change the tread of America. The Tea Party rose for the same reason Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson are rising today: The general public is tired of the go-along-to-get-along old-school politics and they want drastic reforms. The landscape of America has changed dramatically since Obama's inauguration: ObamaCare, gay marriage, climate change policy, immigration and tax reform have made some who elected a Republican majority feel alienated. Furthermore, many Americans feel that their free speech and religious liberties are under attack. The balance was tough for the Speaker. Does the Republican majority — which gets unfairly blamed for everything that's wrong with Congress — make the tough decision to shut down the government until there is movement on the priorities of what Donald Trump calls the silent majority, or should the strategy be politics over principles?

The Democratic majority has demonstrated its willingness to put their principles above any and everything and not compromise with the GOP. We know this from President Obama's refusal to negotiate with Republicans on the Affordable Care Act during the last government shutdown. It wasn't the most auspicious moment for the president to take a stand, but he did. Republicans must be willing to do the same. So what's next? The conference will likely elect a Speaker who won't compromise on issues of principle. I believe Democrats will have no choice but to come to the table and compromise because they see the Tea Party's willingness to oust a leader who is perceived as too accommodating to the Democrats, which jeopardizes movement on any of their agenda items. The next leader must have the courage to stand up to any and every one, including the president. This individual must also be cogent when speaking to the American people about the congressional GOP agenda. The hyperpartisan environment that Congress has become will continue as many seek the role of Speaker of the House. Republicans have been winning elections but Democrats have been winning the congressional fight and public relations war; it's time for Republicans to win both.

Caldwell is a federal lobbyist and Republican strategist with Caldwell Strategic Consulting. Follow him on Twitter @GiannoCaldwell.