The most effective attack that the Democrats are currently running against Republicans is that they don’t have an agenda suited for the times that goes beyond supporting Trump and owning the libs.
“ORLANDO, Fla. — For decades, the same ritual took place in the aftermath of Republican electoral defeats.
Moderate, establishment-aligned party officials would argue that candidates had veered too far right on issues like immigration, as well as in their language, and would counsel a return to the political center. And conservatives would contend that Republicans had abandoned the true faith and must return to first principles to distinguish themselves from Democrats and claim victory.
One could be forgiven for missing this debate in the aftermath of 2020, because it is scarcely taking place. Republicans have entered a sort of post-policy moment in which the most animating forces in the party are emotions, not issues. …”
Greg Sargent is pushing the same narrative.
The Democrats are going to use budget reconciliation to do what we have actually encouraged them to do on some of our previous podcasts which is to pass the stimulus checks and a big infrastructure bill in order to expose the fake economic populism of people like Bannon and Trump. We don’t want the Biden years to be a total waste and would rather see cooperation than lockstep opposition.
“In a revealing moment at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida — a Republican who is a leading inheritor of the mantle of Trumpism — unintentionally displayed one of that inchoate ideology’s most serious weaknesses.
“We can sit around and have academic debates about conservative policy,” DeSantis said. “But the question is, when the klieg lights get hot, when the left comes after you: Will you stay strong, or will you fold?”
This suggestion — that feverish anti-leftist delirium is becoming the central organizing principle for much of the GOP as it remains captive to former president Donald Trump — provides Democrats with a big opening.
The coming debate over a major infrastructure package will show how. If President Biden and the Democratic Congress can pass such a package, it could deal a big blow to Trumpism, aided by the faction’s own continuing descent into hallucinatory anti-leftism. …
First, such rebuilding is exactly what Trumpism was supposed to do. Just after Trump’s 2016 victory, his adviser Stephen K. Bannon famously vowed a “trillion-dollar infrastructure plan” that would realign the working class behind populist nationalism, launching an “entirely new political movement.”
That never happened, largely because Trump mostly adopted conventional GOP plutocratic economics. …”
Ezra Klein too.
“If you watched this past weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, you heard a lot of debunked election conspiracies, dire warnings about “cancel culture” and unwavering fealty to Donald Trump. What you didn’t hear was much in the way of policy ideas to raise wages, improve health care or support families. This is the modern G.O.P.: a post-policy party obsessed with symbolic fights and curiously uninterested in the actual work of governing. But does it have to be that way? …”
What exactly was Trumpism in practice?
Among other things, it was pro-life, “drill baby drill” and pro-Second Amendment, which are aspects of traditional conservatism that I support. It was also large supply side tax cuts, corporate deregulation, bloated military budgets, Wall Street cheerleading and appointing libertarian judges which President Jeb Bush would have supported. It was supporting Israel even more stridently than before and embracing homosexuality. It was maintaining the old taboo on White identity and condemning “identity politics” while making cringe identity based appeals to Jews and non-Whites which failed to resonate.
What was “nationalism” and “populism” for four years in practice at the policy level as championed by Donald Trump? It was supporting Paul Ryan’s unpopular health care bill. It was an infrastructure bill which went nowhere because of the opposition of the True Cons wing of the party in Congress. It was refurbishing the George W. Bush era border fence and calling that “the wall.” It was deporting fewer illegal aliens than Barack Obama. It was banning “terrorists” from places such as Iran, North Korea, Chad and Venezuela. It was condemning NAFTA as the worst trade deal in history and replacing it with USMCA. It was imposing tariffs only on China that shifted supply chains toward Vietnam and other low wage countries before cutting a deal to sell them more soybeans. It was rearranging troop deployments in the Middle East while ratcheting up tensions with Iran on behalf of Israel and Saudi Arabia. It was decrying Big Tech censorship while doing nothing about it. It was railing against Antifa while the Department of Justice prosecuted Alt-Right groups. It was impotently tweeting LAW & ORDER through six months of rioting and screaming FRAUD after losing an election because the Democrats simply changed voting laws.
The disconnect between the vision that we were sold in the 2016 campaign and concrete actions, leadership and policy became comical in the final months of the Trump era. Trump’s final act as president was to condemn his own most delusional supporters, leave them holding the bag for the Capitol Siege and alone to deal with Merrick Garland while pardoning Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.
The people who were in charge at the top levels of the Trump campaign had no clue about what they were doing. Aside from the tax cut, Donald Trump’s other great legislative accomplishment was criminal justice reform. He was running on the Platinum Plan for blacks when he lost the 2020 election. The Republican Congress was even less in touch with their own voters throughout the whole ordeal.
The people who were in Trump’s orbit also wanted to get rid of the Alt-Right which was ideologically committed to nationalism and populism and was a truly organic expression of young people who are both more populist and “racist” than older conservatives due to their opposition to other Millennials (one cohort became woke and the other cohort defined themselves as anti-woke). They replaced it with QAnon Boomers who had faith in Trump and were content to “trust the plan.”
The Republican policy agenda reflects conservative institutional inertia and the demographics of a suburban party in the 1980s. It reflects the gerontocracy in power in Congress. It reflects the whims of donors like criminal justice reform or hyping the Iranian threat. It is suited to the needs of corporations which are hostile to populists and social conservatives who are now the overwhelming majority of Republican voters. It is out of alignment with the working class and the views of the wider electorate. The Republican establishment now represents something like 10% of Republican voters. Many of them voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election and yet their views somehow prevail within the party.
Republican voters want their politicians to fight back against the Democrats. Their idea of fighting back though is passing a massive tax cut for Wall Street or taking down the Mississippi state flag because Wal-Mart objects to it or providing Silicon Valley with more cheap labor from India or passing a $600 stimulus checks opposed by 80% of Americans on Christmas Eve. 64% of Trump voters say their racial identity is important to them. 87% are concerned about rising anti-White discrimination. Anyone who actually has the audacity and integrity to openly defend Whites from all of these malicious attacks is shouted down and condemned as a “racist” and purged from the party by cowards in order to impress “journalists” who call them “white supremacists” anyway who are hated by something like 92% of Trump voters.
How does this make any sense at any level? Trump nearly won the 2020 election on a record and policy agenda unsuited to the needs of his own voters. If Trump’s policies had catered to his own voters and his priorities had actually matched the priorities of his voters, the outcome of the 2018 and 2020 elections would have been very different. The things that populist voters want are far more in touch with the mainstream and also resonate with people who either didn’t vote or voted for Joe Biden.
If the “racists” were in charge of the Republican Party, we would have an easier time winning over working class Democratic and Independent voters because our interests and values are more aligned. All working class voters are more ethnocentric including Whites who are no different than anyone else. Populists actually support ending these stupid wars, raising the minimum wage, the $2,000 stimulus check, raising taxes on the wealthy, more affordable health care, Universal Basic Income and lots of other issues that are opposed by Free Marketeers. Woke professionals who are addicted to virtue signaling about how much more antiracist and cosmopolitan they are than other White people aren’t really doing anything for working class voters at the end of the day. They can put Harriet Tubman on the neoliberal $20 bill as a token gesture, but can’t raise the minimum wage or reform the health care system.
If the Republicans are unwilling to change their antiquated agenda to match their own ambitions of becoming the “working class party,” their own political needs and to energize their own populist voters with something more than culture war rhetoric, they will only have themselves to blame for losing.
Note: Trump is already back to endorsing Republican establishment politicians who reject “Trumpism” as he himself defined it at CPAC this weekend.