10 Most Influential Voices in the Republican Party Today

Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh speaks at 'An Evenining With Rush Limbaugh' event May 3, 2007 in Novi, Michigan. The event was sponsored by WJR radio station as part of their 85th birthday celebration festivities. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh speaks at ‘An Evening With Rush Limbaugh’ event May 3, 2007 in Novi, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

As the presidential election becomes more and more a topic of conversation, it is abundantly clear that while Democrats are banking on Hillary Clinton to run, Republicans are somewhat more split on the matter. However, that doesn’t mean that the party lacks strong or influential leadership. Let’s take a look at some of the most vital, vocal, and well-known voices of the Republican party.

1. Rush Limbaugh

The conservative talk show host is known as a major voice for the Republican party, one that is known for strong rhetoric and far-right political views. He has been hailed as a passionate speaker who cares about America. He has also been criticized as racist, sexist, and even called a “brainwashed Nazi” by one caller, himself a Republican. Even with all the criticism, there can be no doubt that he influences and drives much of the fiery conversation on major topics, including gun control, unemployment, Liberal’s benefit programs, Obamacare, and much more.

Conservative pundit, television personality and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin waves as she leaves the stage during the 41st annual Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord International Hotel and Conference Center on March 8, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. The conference, a project of the American Conservative Union, brings together conservative polticians, pundits and voters for three days of speeches and workshops. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

Conservative pundit, television personality and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin waves as she leaves the stage during the 41st annual Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord International Hotel and Conference Center on March 8, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

2. Sarah Palin

Some have compared to her to the Republican Hillary Clinton, a few even suggesting that she run against her or in some way get involved in the presidential race of 2016 — a move that looks unlikely, but a sentiment that illustrates the great degree of respect many Republicans have for Palin. As one of the few women with a strong place in the far-right of the political hemisphere, and one of the few women in politics to have the public eye as much as she has, Palin is a major name in the GOP.

She’s been everywhere; in politics — national and Alaskan — books, even TV, with Palin’s new TLC show Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Just recently, she’s been back in the news and public eye after a blazing speech at the NRA’s Stand and Fight rally last month, which incited a fair amount of discussion regarding her position on torture and waterboarding. If nothing else, she knows how to grab people’s attention.

 Karl Rove, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush, speaks during a panel discussion at the 2008 Mortgage Bankers Association Conference and Expo October 21, 2008 in San Francisco, California. The annual Mortgage Bankers conference runs through October 22. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Karl Rove, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush, speaks during a panel discussion at the 2008 Mortgage Bankers Association Conference and Expo October 21, 2008 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

3. Karl Rove

Karl Rove is one of the nation’s most respected Republican political advisors and consultants, with his time in politics dating back to his time as Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to George W. Bush. Eventually, he resigned to later become a political analyst for Fox, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal – for which he wrote an article this week that discussed President Barack Obama’s poor polling numbers.

Republicans will help Mr. Obama if they react to his bad polling numbers by picking the safe path — that of keeping their fire focused on the president’s shortcomings, instead of also offering a popular governing agenda equal to the economic and other challenges faced by millions of Americans, especially those in the middle class,” wrote Rove. Ultimately, he went from advising the President to advising Republicans and Americans more broadly. He also played a strong role in the creation of American Crossroads, a PAC that has been a part of such political fights as Romney’s in the 2012 election.

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) pauses during a press briefing July 31, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Boehner held his weekly news briefing to discuss Republican agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) pauses during a press briefing July 31, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Boehner held his weekly news briefing to discuss Republican agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

4. John Boehner

As Speaker of the House, John Boehner’s role in Republican politics is fairly obvious. That said, he has had a particularly interesting career as Speaker, and a particularly divisive one at times for the GOP, especially when it came to far-right Tea Party criticism just after the shutdown. He’s taken a strong stance on immigration reform and a number of other major issues, even if it meant conflicting with his own party. Ultimately, his place at the head of the majority in the House gives him about as much influence as one can have, save with another election.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is followed by Elena Kagan on her way to take the Judicial Oath to become the 112th US Supreme Court justice, and only the 4th woman to take the job, at the West Conference room of the Supreme Court in Washington on August 7, 2010. Senators voted 63-37 on August 5 to confirm Kagan as one of the nine justices who act as final arbiters of the US Constitution, set precedent for lower courts, and decide the nation's toughest moral and legal dilemmas. Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is followed by Elena Kagan on her way to take the Judicial Oath to become the 112th US Supreme Court justice, and only the 4th woman to take the job, at the West Conference room of the Supreme Court in Washington on August 7, 2010. Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

5. John Roberts

Much like Boehner, John Roberts’ position is by definition one of incredible influence as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. From Roberts have come such statements as “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” as well as the selection of every FISA judge presently working in review of the NSA and FBI. While on many issues, including that of race, Roberts has been to the right, in one key area he set off a storm of Republican backlash still being felt to this day — in finding Obamacare constitutional.

Billionaire David Koch, chairman of the board of the conservative Americans for Prosperity (AFP) advocacy group, attends a 'Cut Spending Now' rally at AFP's 'Defending the American Dream Summit' in Washington on November 5, 2011. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Billionaire David Koch, chairman of the board of the conservative Americans for Prosperity (AFP) advocacy group, attends a ‘Cut Spending Now’ rally at AFP’s ‘Defending the American Dream Summit’ in Washington on November 5, 2011. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

6. Koch Brothers

With number six you get two for the price of one — but it’s one hell of an expensive price when it comes to the oil billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch. The two are praised by Republicans for acting in support of vital conservative interests via support of political elections. They are major business players as well, lauded for creating many jobs for the American economy. In turn, they are criticized by Democrats for buying politicians and elections with major donations, many for negative ad campaigns in key states and for benefiting from business legislation as a result of their involvement in politics.

In response to these accusations, Charles Koch wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, defending his family’s involvement in politics. “Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies, and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them,” he wrote. “If we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaks at the 2013 Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council, on October 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The summit, which goes for three days, is attended by a number of Republican senators and high profile conservative voices in American politics. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaks at the 2013 Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council, on October 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

7. Ted Cruz

Popular? Not always. But Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) nevertheless remains an important figure for the GOP, as controversial figures often are. Stubbornly anti-Obamacare and highly aggressive in going after Republican interests, he’s a proud Tea Partyist, and is still being criticized for his filibuster that had Republicans and Democrats alike fuming earlier this year. That anger, plus the suggestions from some that he run for President, clearly elevates him to a strange mixed popularity that is certainly notable.

US Senator John McCain looks on during a meeting with Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah at the Sapedar Palace in Kabul on December 25, 2014. Mccain met with Afghanistan's CEO Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on December 25, less than a week before the December 31 end of NATO's combat mission in the country. NATO-led US troops are wrapping up their mission in Afghanistan after 13 years, but about 12,500 NATO troops -- most of them from the US -- will stay in Afghanistan into next year on a follow-up mission to support the national security forces. Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

US Senator John McCain looks on during a meeting with Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah at the Sapedar Palace in Kabul on December 25, 2014. Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

8. John McCain

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) may have lost the 2008 presidential election, but he still remains a notable Senator in Washington, not hesitant to offend with his positions, and at times doing just that. He most recently criticized Obama for events with Russia, saying that harsher and more specific sanctions are needed, and claiming in an opinion piece with The New York Times that, “Mr. Putin also saw a lack of resolve in President Obama’s actions beyond Europe,” and that Obama is making the U.S. appear weak. With his own personal military record, McCain is known for having a more aggressive foreign policy preference with perhaps the exception of Lebanon.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks in front of U.S. District Court to announce the filing of a class action lawsuit against the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander and FBI Director James Comey. Paul said he filed the lawsuit to stop NSA surveillance of U.S. phone records because Obama has "publicly refused to stop a clear and continuing violation of the 4th amendment." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

12 Feb 2014 – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks in front of U.S. District Court to announce the filing of a class action lawsuit against the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander and FBI Director James Comey. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

9. Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is just one of many names being tossed around for 2016 presidential elections, but still, his name is out there. He, like Cruz, is a member of the Tea Party, but has dodged some of the political animosity that Cruz has stored up, though still setting off members of both parties at times. He has encouraged the Republican party to seek out a better relationship with Hispanic and African American demographics in the U.S., while also holding an anti-amnesty view with a careful but conservative stance on immigration.

Mitch McConnell speaks during the Congressional dedication of the bust of Winston Churchill on October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell speaks during the Congressional dedication of the bust of Winston Churchill on October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

10. Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky) is a Republican struggling to make headway, or prevent headway, among enemies. As such, he demands an intense level of loyalty from within the GOP, and tends to be a voice for unity and stubbornness in the face of diversity.

He also veers away from the bipartisan, discouraging across the aisle cooperation at times. “It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out,” he said of health legislation in the past, according to The New York Times.

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