The Republican Party has been going through a lot of changes ever since the 2016 Trump win. The election of President Trump will go down as perhaps the biggest surprise win in US election history.
Since that time, the party has had trouble coming together under one banner, going without a platform in 2020 and spending much of last November’s midterms arguing about whether Trump won the 2020 election.
Is there a message the GOP can unite around? Does it require Trump to win the 2024 election or is there another path forward as some conservatives say?
Let’s take a look.
The Republican Party’s Road Ahead
Commentators, such as Stephen Goldsmith and Ryan Streeter, recently wrote in Politico, argue that Trumpism’s day is over. They claim there is “growing impatience” with the kind of national conservatism and populism that Trump and MAGA stand for.
They say the path forward for the GOP is to avoid going full populist and America First and also to avoid going back to a small government Tea Party platform that’s more libertarian.
According to Goldsmith and Streeter, the GOP needs to stop thinking in black and white about many issues, including woke extremism, Biden’s corruption, and how to manage the economy.
Instead, these opinion writers say the best path ahead for the GOP is represented by a kind of “compassionate conservatism” that cares about ordinary Americans, but stays a bit more in the middle on controversial issues and full populism.
They cite figures like George W. Bush and Paul Ryan as examples of where this kind of pro-worker plus pro-free-market conservatism was promoted. They call it “aspirational conservatism.”
Dear journalists who keep insisting that the Republican Party has rejected Trumpism, do please consider the official Republican response to the State of the Union.
— Dan Froomkin/PressWatchers.org (@froomkin) February 8, 2023
Here’s the Thing
According to Streeter and Goldsmith, going back to a more low-key, compassionate approach to conservatism will avoid a “hyperactive” focus on cultural issues, but also avoid just going back to full establishment Republicanism that voters rejected in 2016.
They say better schools, better jobs, and safe communities will get votes for the GOP. It doesn’t need to be so ideological or strongly against the left and wading into culture wars and controversies.
It’s no wonder that Politico published this. It’s nothing but wishful thinking from the establishment.
First of all, George W. Bush only won the election because he pretended to be an America First populist on the campaign trail.
Paul Ryan was a stuffed suit who took so much donor money he could barely keep track of what lines he was supposed to deliver for what special interest. The “aspirational conservatism” idea of Streeter and Goldsmith is idiotic mush.
When people are selling you “Trumpism without Trump”, you should ask: “Why do you want to get rid of Trump so badly?”
— Leskov Brandonovic (@fjb4587) February 10, 2023
The Truth is Simple
The truth is even if Trump doesn’t win 2024, anyone who does is likely going to get there by adopting most of his policies, including Ron DeSantis.This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.