The mainstream GOP, and to some extent Ted Cruz, are living in the past. They want the second coming of Reagan, but the world Reagan lived in–one with communism as the chief foreign policy threat, one where our demographics were more stable, one where higher education and the media had not become toxically anti-white and anti-male, and one where America dominated the world economy–is long gone. It’s not 1985 any more. Indeed, it’s not 2005 anymore either. Our people are different. Our threats are different. Our culture is different. And we’ve learned from the recent past. We don’t want W and his Invade-the-World-Invite-the-World approach to foreign policy, immigration, and trade. Those of us who remember Reagan long for him, but we also long for the world in which he could get elected. It’s gone.
Ace has a great article on why something must be done for the working class, whose taxes are cut to the bone, but who are having trouble making it in a world of mass immigration and global competition. This must be done, if for nothing else, to win elections.
An excerpt is below:
With the working class, and in fact the middle class, taking a world-class beating for this decade, and frankly for several decades, what actual tangible, gee-that-might-actually-work proposals is the GOP offering people?
As Frum says, Trump’s answer might not be a very good answer, but it is in fact an answer. What it shows, and I think this is very, very important, is that Trump, in his ill-considered way, “understands your pain.”
Cruz made this same point, cleverly, in his famous lawyers-and-journalists crossing the Rio Grande ad.
And that’s a big thing. When people express bafflement at how these dullards could possibly support Trump or Cruz, all I can say is: “Hey, he’s the guy who’s saying ‘I’ll do something to help you.'” Even if that something is, arguably, counterproductive or simply stupid, he seems to be the one talking about the problem.
Ted Cruz talked about that. So he won Iowa, and he’s in second place nationally.
And people continue expressing bafflement that some might favor a candidate who is urging policies that might materially help them.
Who knows? Maybe middle class voters would be more willing to vote GOP if the GOP wasn’t promising the business community that they’d bring more foreign replacements in on H1-B visas every five minutes.
Maybe working people would start to think the GOP “cares about people like me” if the GOPactually did care about them.
Now, Rubio has embraced parts of the Reformicon agenda. How much, I don’t know. I didn’t look into it all that much. But he’s not talking about it much — that much, I know. And he probably can’t talk about it much, because many people would cry “heresy” if he were to talk about subsidizing worker’s paychecks with government tax revenues.
Heck, I might be one of those crying heresy myself.
But I do think this is a critical part of Trump’s apparently unfathomable-to-many appeal, and I think it’s a do-or-die part of any conservative (or otherwise) challenge to liberalism: You have to give people some reason to vote for you.
I thought Romney and Ryan were good candidates — I don’t think I’ve liked a ticket as much as I liked those two, at the end — but I did notice, when critics pointed out, after the loss, that Romney and Ryan seemed to be promising voters a very good deal indeed if they were entrepreneurs and business owners.
If they were not, they were offering relatively little, except a sort of vague rising-tide-lifts-all-boats thing.
Which has worked — Reagan made that work, and when Reagan said it, it turned out to be true — but it hasn’t been working for a while.
Most people are not entrepreneurs and business owners. Most people work for wages.
Incidentally, the GOP is out of touch in other important ways. Their talk of starting businesses and being entrepreneurial, while perfectly ok, is really falling on deaf ears among the young. Granted, that group prefers the Democrats, but they’re also facing an uphill economic battle due to debt, robots, and massive Third World immigration. What better way to get them on board with the GOP than to have a candidate who is transgressive and hated by all the schoolmarm snitches in academia, the media, and on social media and who is offering some concrete ideas–more restrictive trade and immigration restriction–to shore up their economic lot. Opposition to political correctness is, if not an expression of the silent majority, then at least now the counter-culture era of our time, where the old vanguard hippies of the 1960s are old and decrepid and annoying such as Hillary and Bernie Sanders.
We might very well lose with Trump as nominee, and he may very well not get the nomination. But the stale alternative is no real alternative, and it’s soon to be completely overwhelmed by the demographic deluge the short-sighted GOP elites have allowed to occur. Like I said, it ain’t 1985 anymore, the world is different, and the GOP needs to offer something to voters to address this. I’ve written about this before here and here, where I concluded (and sorta predicted Trump’s approach as a viable alternative):
[A] revamped Republican party should trend nationalistic, abandoning its ideology of free trade, militarism, and uncritical support of big business, in favor of a genuine concern for the working, productive classes who face predations from a motley crew of the super poor, the super rich, idiotic campaigns of nation building abroad, and hostile newcomers at home. If not the GOP, then a new party might fill this space. The GOP appears finished if it follows the idiotic counsel coming from the RNC’s pathologists.
That said, I’m pretty pessimistic on the whole. Conservatism is mostly dead, and the GOP may be accelerating this trend, but it is also a reflection of it. Maybe 30-40% of the country is genuinely conservative, and the media and schools and social pressures are doing much to turn this rump group into a pariah class. And, even if that is not successful, their immigration and welfare policies are doing everything possible to turn the GOP’s core constituents into a numerical minority, as they already have become in places like California.