Conservatism IS the Problem
Conservative turned neoliberal, Josh Barro, discusses today’s conservatism and the reasons he believes it is doomed.
What if the problem with your political party is that the policies it advocates are bad?
You can’t fix that problem by “rebranding” the same platform or finding younger, less-white candidates to promote it. You definitely can’t fix it by leaning into your failed policies and becoming more extreme.
The solution is to change your ideology. And that’s exactly what Republicans need to do.
Conservatives have two options here. One is that they can admit that they don’t care about uplifting the middle class; that their first principles are not utilitarian and not aimed at benefiting the broad public. That would be principled, but I don’t think it would be good, and most voters would agree with me.
The other is that they can come up with a new agenda that aims at today’s middle class economic concerns. This agenda would have to accept greater fiscal progressivity in response to economic changes that have raised pre-tax income inequality. It would have to accept that we have not defeated the business cycle, and deep recessions like the one in 2009 make a stronger safety net morally necessary. It would have to address the question of how the government should best interfere in markets like health care and banking, rather than repeating mindlessly that it must get out of the way.
Republicans lack the principled fortitude required to ever admit that they’ve been wrong on so many issues (mostly economic), so the first option won’t be happening
anytime soon ever. As for the second, Republicans will eventually have to come up with a new agenda, but it won’t come naturally. It’ll be forced upon them after they lose the next few presidential elections (beginning with Hillary in 2016). Then and only then will it register that the problem has never been the messenger. It’s always been the damn message.