GOP

Texas Tribune

Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona is considered the father of the modern Conservative movement. He was a straight shooter who firmly believed in rugged individualism and small government. He opposed civil rights - because he was concerned about Federal Government overreach - which is why he supported abortion rights. 

Goldwater ran for president in 1964 and was beaten in a landslide by Lyndon Johnson. We didn't see another strong conservative rise like Goldwater until 1980 with Ronald Reagan, but Reagan won and changed the face of American politics. 

This year's campaign is headed toward an epic clash of Republicanism at the Cleveland convention this summer. But it's not the first time the party has been rocked by turbulence ahead of its convention. Again and again since 1912, splits between establishment GOP figures and the party's most ardent conservatives have hobbled the party's performance in November.

Here's a look at the drama that has come before:

Once upon a time, the Democratic National Committee had a plan for just four debates among the party's candidates for president. The general feeling among activists was that too many debates risked overexposing the candidates, their differences and the divisions within the party.

There had been too many debates, they felt, in 2008. It was just bad politics.

Republican Ben Carson confirmed during his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that he is ending his bid for the White House.

The famed neurosurgeon had implied he was dropping out on Wednesday after a disappointing Super Tuesday finish, and he skipped Thursday night's debate in his hometown of Detroit.

Something is happening in the Republican Party that has not happened in living memory.

The party of unity, tradition, order and hierarchy is breaking apart over one man who personifies the concept of disruption.

Donald Trump's so-far inexorable advance toward the Republican presidential nomination has divided the party. This divide is not like the garden variety primary fights of recent cycles. It goes beyond the familiar squabbles of the party's postwar era (center versus right, moderate versus conservative, eastern versus western).

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