The presidential election is up in the air, and while I hope for the best, we need to prepare for the worst. The 2012 post-mortem did not work out exactly how the Republican establishment had hoped. The base was done with traditional Republican politics. This is clear when you look at who is no longer in office and others who make their livings as MSNBC contributors. It is time for a reckoning because the base will not revert back to electing uni-party candidates like Mitt Romney.
When I grew up, the Republican Party was the party of wealthier Americans and corporate America. The last four years have taught us this is no longer the case. Corporate America, the tech billionaires, and wealthy Americans are now supporting the Democrat Party. Together with universities, the federal bureaucracy, and the corporate media, they endeavor to crush the Republican Party to effect single-party control.
Why is a mystery when we look at New York, Illinois, and California. It seems these billionaires and millionaires operate out of some sense of guilt for their level of success or benevolence toward the less fortunate. Yet, the policies they support do nothing but hurt those groups. The three deep-blue states mentioned have almost no middle class. Their populations are made up of the very wealthy and the very poor.
Wealthy residents from these states are fleeing to states like Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona, eroding the tax bases in deep-blue states, crippling their ability to support those who can’t leave. Majorities under the age of 35 are actively considering leaving these states, impacting the size of the productive workforce in the future. And their green policies raise energy costs, which is detrimental to working families.
Republicans like to mock these blue states, yet refuse to develop a comprehensive strategy nationwide to appeal to the very voters the Democrats are abandoning. The GOP supposedly believes a hand up is better than a handout, but their donors do not put their money into programs that provide that opportunity. They put money into elections rather than expanding the base to help win elections through participation and affinity. We all know politics follows culture, but the establishment provides almost no support to those trying to influence the culture through activism or creative products.
So, you got Trump. He shifted the Republican message just enough. It has started to attract working and middle-class America and an astounding percentage of minority voters despite the corporate media narrative. The president is in his biggest fight yet, and I do not see any of the establishment GOP, many of whom Trump voters just returned to office, at his side. Instead, I heard several of them talking about “unity” with the same people who have just savaged the country with bogus investigations, a ridiculous impeachment, and horrific accusations of racism and bigotry for the last four years. Unbelievable.
The coalition that brilliant conservative leaders, such as William F. Buckley, put together is no longer. The post-war foreign policy consensus is also long overdue for a significant overhaul. President Trump has started these conversations and brought many traditional Republicans and classical liberals along with him. Even some Bernie Bros and libertarians have positive views about his foreign policy. And the Bernie Bros are persuadable on his trade policies.
A new coalition is begging to be built. And if Republican leaders were smart, they would look at the conversations happening among an emerging coalition on the alternative media channels. Glenn Beck, Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Adam Corolla, and Tim Pool are all examples of commentators who reach across the traditionally defined aisle to have interesting and productive conversations.
If you want to see something amazing, watch Shapiro or Beck interview Vox co-founder Mattew Yglesias about his new book. There is absolutely a bargain to be made and a new coalition to build. Work in a little Tucker Carlson, and you truly have a big-tent party that includes the parts of America the urban elites are terrified of.
Then, figure out Zoomers, and the party has staying power. They came of age under an assault from a Chinese virus that has stolen their early career economic opportunity. Figure out how to give it back by keeping American workers and their prosperity the GOP platform’s focus. As one told me recently, “My employer raised the starting wage three times after the tax cuts. If they go away, there is no telling what will happen.” That came from a twenty-something. They are smarter than you think and one of the largest audiences for alternative media.
Finally, learn how to embrace your provocateurs. Smart commentators, like Candace Owens, can speak to voters that you cannot, even if you do not like her tactics. Promote the meme-makers and let talented, creative people build us up as the real counterculture. The right is the only group that can save comedy and entertainment by slamming open the Overton window. Make room in the tent.
Another four years of Trump would have consolidated a new, younger, and more diverse Republican coalition. Now that path to a new coalition may be cut short. If Republican leaders can’t pick up the mantle with a clear-eyed vision and message discipline about how their policies make all Americans’ lives better by giving everyone access to the American Dream, the party will not endure.