Clearly, the notion of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President, with all that he brings and doesn’t bring to the table, has sent the Republican party into a frenzy of soul-searching. We are truly in uncharted territory here and there is simply not yet an identified pathway. The only thing reasonably certain from my perspective is that the Reagan Revolution, which began with “the speech” in the 1964 Goldwater campaign, is over.
Some have commented that this necessary soul-searching will be broader than the future of the Republican Party, and I don’t disagree that the current disarray is not limited to the conservative movement. Bernie Sanders has produced almost as much frenzy for the left as Trump has for the right, and Hillary Clinton doesn’t have an answer there either.
Where I disagree with the commentary, primarily from the center-right so far, is with David Brooks and his comment that “we’ll probably need a new national story” because “that story isn’t working for people anymore, especially for people who think the system is rigged”. No, the national story is still valid, it’s the failed policies that have been advanced and the failure of our intellectual and political leadership in properly communicating the national story that has failed us.
As I have written before in connection with the birth of the Tea Party, as painful as it is to admit, conservatism has forfeited its reputation as a reform movement that was earned in the Reagan and Gingrich years and must regain its reformist heritage, a branding that was severely damaged by the profligacy of “compassionate conservatism” and led to the disaster of Obama’s “hope and change”. The result has been an undermining of the spirit of American exceptionalism, the basis on which Trump masterfully demagogued his way to the nomination for President.
Regardless of the outcome in November, severe damage has been done and the repair work will be painful.
Bruce Harper says
Jim…I share your concerns.
I believe the odds for an acceptable outcome are less than 50%.
Hopefully, wisdom will lead us through this; and the odds will improve.
Vern Wuensche says
In general I agree with your perspective and although the Reagan Revolution may be over I offer something hopeful. Of the one thing I am certain is that those who have strong conservative beliefs still have them. An optimistic outcome would be for
Trump to win shake up the system to accommodate reform measures with conservatives through Congress seeing that they them are implemented.
Chris deMilliano says
Trump is driven by ego. I think there is little Kennedyian “what (Trump) can do for your country”; but perhaps his pompousness will lead him to want to be better than the rest and turn out to be a decent leader.
This, of course, can only happen once the indictment’s fall on Bill’s wife. And speaking of Bill. You know he is out enjoying campaign season. I can only imagine how he is “poleing” the electorate.
Bob Hux says
I think the biggest thing to come out of this election so far is the failure of the critics in congress to realize that it is they who have created this mess. Give us a republican house/senate and watch us straighten things out!! They accomplished nothing except to cry for “give us the presidency” and see what we can do! And for those who say the republican party as they see it is dead plus they are not going to vote sounds like democrats talking to me. It is time for the public to push term limits at all levels of government and the tax reform has been laid out before for many years in the fair tax system. Obviously Republicans are tired of the same ol’ same ol’ — Although Trump was not “my guy” he can’t do any worse than those before him (at least back to Reagan).