Postmodern Conservative

There’s a Vacuum Here!

What if all is of this is true?

The symbols of the Reagan revolution, as Peter Spiliakos keeps pointing out, are played out. Too many people just don’t connect lower taxes, smaller government, and a confidently hawkish (but very prudent) foreign policy with their personal well-being.

Bernie Sanders is, strictly speaking, a reactionary. He’s selectively nostalgic for an America no longer possible given both the birth dearth and the rigors of the 21st-century global competitive marketplace. And that world, in any case, wasn’t nearly as great as he remembers. His natural constituency turns out to be middle-class professionals who are getting squeezed by the inconvenient truth described by Tyler Cowen: Average is over. Things are pretty tough for those in the exact middle, when it comes to wages, job and benefits security and a measure of autonomy or dignity in the workplace (given that work is ever more intrusively scripted and measured). But Bernie doesn’t have anything real to offer those who have become anxious enough to think socialism is somehow the ticket.  He has nothing real, for example, to offer the professorate that is getting proletarianized in the name of efficiency and productivity in higher education. And by talking up the high or “living” minimum wage as the ticket, he acknowledges implicitly the unions are toast.

Hillary Clinton is the candidate of Wall Street and Silicon Valley, pushing the ideology of most of our cognitive elite that combines greenish crony capitalism with autonomy/identity politics. She’s actually about diverting us from our real economic problems.

Donald Trump, as Peter S. says, is a kind of grotesque blowhard, if not exactly a fraud. His strength is dissatisfaction with the lack of realistic leadership from the alternatives.

Ben Carson is the candidate of religious conservatives who are disgusted by pandering and admire real American accomplishment and conviction. Supporting him, however, is a waste of time and treasure. He couldn’t possibly handle the demands of the presidency.

Just some quick thoughts for a Monday morning. Feel free to be as hard on them as possible.

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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