A constructive future for the GOP

When Donald Trump was campaigning in 2016, the most powerful thing he said was, ‘We don’t make things in this country anymore.’

He campaigned in the Rustbelt and promised to rebuild American manufacturing.  He said the leaders of China, Mexico and other countries are laughing at us for allowing our industrial base to decline.

He promised to repeal and reject pro-corporate trade treaties.  He promised to stop illegal immigration.  He promised a trillion-dollar infrastructure program. He promise to ‘drain the swamp’ of special interests.

He promised to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better.  He promised to wind down the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East and improve relations with Russia.

Nobody else was talking about these issues except Bernie Sanders.  Npbody, including Sanders, talked about them in this year’s election campaign.

Trump did do some things to carry out his promises.  He rejected the pro-corporate Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.  He canceled NAFTA and replaced it with a new agreement that was less bad.

He imposed new tariffs on Chinese imports in a willy-nilly way.  He did not propose a systematic industrial policy to rebuild American industry.

On the other hand, he worsened Obamacare instead of improving it.  He did not end the wars.  His administration stepped up the Cold War with Russia.  He did not clean house of special interests; just the reverse.  But it is not as if his Democratic opposition was proposing something better.

Trump benefited from the economic recovery that began under the Obama administration.  If not for the COVID-19 pandemic and his failed response, he would have an excellent chance of winning a fair election.

If I were a Republican strategist, I would be content to see the Democrats win the 2020 election, have them take the blame for the impending economic crash and pick up the pieces in 2024.

There is an emerging school of thought in the Republican Party called National Conservatism.  It consists of an industrial policy to rebuild industry and infrastructure, cancellation of free trade agreements, a non-interventionist foreign policy and social conservatism.

With such a policy, and with a candidate who did not make a fool of himself on a daily basis, like Trump., the GOP could win and deserve to win.

I don’t think a hypothetical national conservative administration would do everything I think needful.  I can’t imagine Republicans supporting a Green New Deal or strong labor unions.  But if such an administration was serious about ending the wars and reversing de-industrialization, it would be an improvement over what we’ve got now.

A certain amount of economic nationalism is needed because all international economic institutions are controlled by global corporations and banks.  At this point in history, the nation-state is the highest level subject to democratic control.

I am not predicting the Republicans will actually choose this path.  I am speculating on the best path open to them.

LINKS

The New Populist Right Imagines a Post-Pandemic America on BIG by Matt Stoller [Added 8/28/2020]

National Conservatism Conference Draws Big Names by Emma Green for The Atlantic.

National Conservatism Conference: ‘Intellectual Trumpist’ Movement Takes Shape by Jimmy Quinn for National Review.

Getting Behind Enlightened Nationalism by Patrick J. Buchanan from his new book.

Joe Biden is already planning a failed presidency by Ryan Cooper for The Week.

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2 Responses to “A constructive future for the GOP”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    Not a fan of Pat Buchanan. Not a fan of isolationists, nor of social conservatives in general.

    I do agree we need to keep an industrial base. If we need to pass laws requiring certain government contracts to only be given to US companies employing US workers, so be it. I consider it to be a matter of national security but it has the additional benefit of reducing the cost to government. Much of that money spent will come back in income tax from well paid workers.

    China wants to undercut US industry by selling below cost goods here. The only reason to do that is to drive US suppliers out of business to make us dependent on them and vulnerable to the loss of product. Most consumer goods can be sourced from other countries, even if it might be more expensive. I would as a matter of policy encourage US companies to have independent sources for all mission critical supplies. As long as domestic strategic industries are sustained, China would lack strong leverage.

    Reindustrialization to our former standard is a non starter. Short of national mobilization for war, the rust bucket will never belch and hum like it once did. Rather than ignoring those voters like Hillary or pandering to them with impossible promises like Trump. we need to offer an alternative road to economic security and productivity. It was Trump’s empty promises that got him their votes and Hillary’s elitist attitude that lost them for her.

    I don’t think Biden is the horror he is made out to be. There are many roads out of this mess and Progressivism and National Conservativism are but two.

    Besides… NC sounds too much like National Socialism. That’s scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. con Says:

    Your comment (from a strictly self interested political point of view) that the best thing Republicans could do is let the Democrats win so they have to pick up the mess, I get and has my sympathy but – how did the mess come about in the first place?
    The Establishment was kicked in the face by the populist vote for Trump rejecting the Establishment’s candidate = more of the same. Then Covid appears, a vicious flu which spreads as easily as a cold, hyped in the MSM as if it was the Black Death which the political establishment responds to with draconian over-reaction, putting people under virtual house arrest. Note. Only a tiny percentage of the population are at risk of death from Covid, but most people outside the gilded elite are suffering huge life harming financial damage – it looks like the political response to Covid will reduce most people to pauper dom. They will then have no choice but to vote for the party that promises to feed them.
    Govts know that when you reach forty percent youth unemployment riots happen. The govt gave near one hundred percent, then added to the aggravation by driving youth stir crazy and police harassment when people tried to leave their cage for a sanity saving walk.
    Any spark – which would inevitably come – would start riots.
    So what are the next treats from our lovely political class?
    On their record so far nothing good. The politicians caused the problems demonstrating that they are not only criminally irresponsible but treacherous and immoral. A responsible political class would start to extinguish the fires they started by dropping their ridiculous Covid hysteria, encourage common sense health behaviour like Sweden, get the youth back to school and uni under normal conditions, not Soviet style cult, everyone back to work and cut everyone a bit of slack to return to normal.
    But those who deliberately destabilise a country do not care what damage is sustained by the country’s citizens.

    Like

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