The Corner

Politics & Policy

Is Trump a Uniter, Not a Divider, of Republicans?

Please read this astute article by Damon Linker.

Well, Damon is wrong that if Clinton had picked Bernie as her running mate Bloomberg would have jumped in. There was no constituency for Mike, really. And Trump won those key Rust Belt states because members of union families who voted for Obama were flipped. They were fine with voting for the African-American president who had their backs, protecting them from that Romney and his oligarchic, union-busting party. But this time, Clinton seemed to be the more oligarchic candidate, the tool of the bosses and the suits. Trump, meanwhile, promised to protect what they have and even recover what they’ve lost.

Damon astutely suggests a version of “the new boss, same as the old boss” theory. Hardly anybody in really big business was for Trump, but those guys can make their peace with him. His view that you can have a pro-growth tax policy, combined with trimming lots of regulations, while sustaining entitlements and doing better to protect what’s left of American “skilled labor” is something they can believe in well enough. The stock market, after all, seems to be fine with the coming of President Trump.

The losers remain Silicon Valley and all of the diversity/globalism side of our elitism, which has both admirable and nanny-state features. Maybe the most astute and maybe soon most influential man in America will be the rogue, gay, crypto-Straussian, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. He can make Trump’s big tent a little bigger on the diversity front without sacrificing what’s legitimate about the populist concern for good government that makes effective deals for the American people. Well, I doubt that will really happen, but it was fun to write.

The Democrats can hope to return to power in reaction to the Trump administration’s disastrous incompetence. But it’s possible they won’t be so lucky.

The conservative Republicans, after all, hoped to shed themselves of Trumpian populism through his humiliating electoral defeat. Didn’t happen.

Maybe the future belongs to the party that appeals to legitimate populism without sacrificing its core principles. In both cases, that will require a kind of leadership we don’t see right now.

Peter Augustine LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...

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