Can Republicans Maintain a Conservative-Populist Alliance?

Henry Olsen thinks a conservative-populist alliance is durable.

AEI:

“The top takeaway I have from the survey is that the conservative-populist alliance is real. It requires mutual forbearance and understanding, but building out from it — rather than trying to ignore the fact of it — is the only way forward for the Republican Party. You cannot add by subtracting. That means populists can’t throw out conservatives or establishmentarians, and conservatives can’t throw out populists. That’s the way to division and defeat.

A conservative-populist alliance is workable. It’s already there. The way to go forward is to build from it and not to form an intra-party circular firing squad.”

Here is what I would say in response:

  • I would distinguish between social conservatives and business conservatives. The True Cons crowd which lives in the wealthy suburbs voted for Joe Biden and Republicans down ballot in 2020. They are going to continue to peel away in future elections because ultimately they care more about virtue signaling and their modernist and cosmopolitan values than any policy preference. After Trump catered to them for four years and gave them massive tax cuts, deregulation, military spending and their libertarian judges, they still voted for Joe Biden.
  • Both party coalitions are currently in flux as Democrats and Independents continue to become Republicans and Republicans continue to become Democrats.
  • As these former Republican establishment voters shift to the Democrats, Trump and the Republicans will inevitably be forced to compensate by winning over a greater share of working class voters toward the Center on the other side of the Republican coalition. The party will have to become more populist than it is today to stay viable.
  • White racial attitudes are significantly harder in 2021 than in 2017 after everything that has happened since the George Floyd riots and the political, corporate and cultural establishment embracing the new definition of antiracism.
  • The policy agenda cannot remain the same in light of the resorting of the electorate.

In four years, I think we will look back on the 2016-2024 period as a transition period. The Democrats are being gentrified like Washington, DC and are becoming the party of woke professionals.

About Hunter Wallace 11384 Articles
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7 Comments

  1. “Henry Olsen thinks a conservative-populist alliance is durable.”

    LOLOLOLOLOL.

    As durable as a chameleon adapts to the background of whatever the environment currently is? Sure.

  2. The business conservatives do love Trump, they got rich under him and they’re either indifferent to social issues or are socially conservative

  3. The conservatives are poison but they always need a host for their grifting. They are trying to latch on to the populist bandwagon now. Their slogan will be the same one diversity uses after their black/brown pets fuck up everything they touch and need White people to bail out their incompetent asses: “We’re all in this together!”

    The conservatives should just sign on to the Democrats’ platform, if the Democrats will have them that is.

  4. There can’t really be any alliance between the two in the first place. Conservatism is an ideology focused on reducing labor costs and funnelling money to plutocrats while perpetuating constant social revolution. There is zero common ground between the two.

    But it’s clear they are really asking whether conservatives can successfully use populists for their own ends.

  5. Hunter could you do a deep dive on the Tuskegee Study? It’s supposed to be why blacks won’t vaccinate and die 10 years earlier than white people.

    Every black worldwide, thinks the US deliberately injected black men with syphilis. What really happened is that cagey black nurse running the public interface of the programme from 1932-1970 failed to verbally inform the patients that they could, from around 1946 onwards, just take a course of penicillin for their malady. It’s primarily a case of black medical professionals doing a malpractice.

  6. The COVID relief bill is, no doubt, full of bad stuff. But if it makes it through the Senate it will the most populist thing to happen since double unemployment, because it’s going to give enormous amounts of free money to White families with children.

    Life changing amounts of money, check it out. Nothing the GOP has ever done is as important as lots and lots of money in your pocket to pay for kid-related expenses. (Of course, while this will improve the absolute well being of many White families, it may improve the relative position of non-whites more; more fertile groups benefit more)

    What the Republicans have to offer, in contrast, is fake culture war grievance politics that their donors won’t let them do anything about.

    The Republicans are a party that serves rich people and Israel but tailors their rhetoric to non-rich rubes in order to win votes. Their version of populism doesn’t involve wealth redistribution. It’s “populism” for people who IDENTIFY as financially well off, even though they aren’t. It has always contained this kind of pseudo-populism, see right wing talk radio, what happened recently is just an adjustment to keep the pseudo-populist rhetoric up to date.

    The Democrats are a party that serves rich people, the diaspora and non-whites, but occasionally offers economic benefits to financially struggling Whites, even if it’s only as a side effect of helping non-whites. However, their rhetoric alienates many non-rich White people and fuels the GOP’s fake culture war grievance politics, so they struggle to maintain power.

    It’s not just the anti-White rhetoric from the Democrats that alienates Whites. Many American Whites who would benefit from wealth redistribution have been conditioned to oppose it, either because they don’t trust the government or because they see welfare as degrading or a threat to their self image.

    It’s true that there is a mismatch between the rhetoric and policies of the two parties but there is no reason to believe that the GOP will be forced to become authentically populist.

    Pseudo-populism, based on fake culture war grievance politics and capitalist austerity is likely a winning or at least competitive combination for the GOP in 2022 and 2024, as long as they can pass rules that restrict voting (and they are.)

    Authentic populism would be bad for the elites and the donor class, so it won’t be allowed. Challenging the elites in society is never going to be the path of least resistance. And there is in no way a grass roots anti-establishment populist surge. People are now quite content with pseudo-populism based on fake culture war grievance politics.

    Right wing populists will be given “lib owning” instead of tangible financial resources… and they will be OK with that.

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