The Corner

Leftward, Ho!

For Politico today, I write about Sanders and Trump are pulling their parties, and the nation’s political debates, to the left:

If the grass-roots movement that Sanders has built will pressure Democrats all the way to the Philadelphia convention and beyond, Trump has arguably done more to pull the country’s politics leftward. He has, for now, managed to do what the Democrats and the media have been attempting for most of the Obama era: to kill off the tea party as a national force.

By dividing it, eclipsing it and making its animating concerns of limited government and constitutionalism into after-thoughts, Trump has neutered a heretofore potent vehicle against Big Government. With or without Sanders, the Democrats were going to drift in a more progressive direction. It was far from inevitable, though, that the Republican Party would de-emphasize its opposition to growth in the size of government. That is entirely the doing of Trump.

The irony is that an era of Republican politics characterized by insistence on doctrinal purity and anger at Beltway deal making is ending with Trump at the helm of the GOP. It’s a little like the agitation of the French Revolution, all aimed at achieving more liberté, égalité, fraternité, concluding in the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte.

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