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The Republican Party Must Be Saved From the Conservative Movement

j brown's body

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Above all, Trump follows the American right's Manichaean approach to political conflict. Every new extension of government, however limited or necessary, is a secret plot to extend government control over every aspect of American life. Conservatives met both Clinton and Obama's agenda with absolute hysteria, whipping themselves into a terror that rendered them unable to negotiate. ...Conservatives ...treat every new proposed extension as the final stand for freedom against socialist tyranny. ...Totalitarian plots lie around every corner: the New Deal, the civil-rights movement, peaceniks, the Clintons, Obamacare, and Black Lives Matter. Every policy matter, from Bill Clinton's modest aim of reducing the deficit to Obama's goal of a national version of Romneycare, becomes a culture war. Since the right is unable to engage with any of these issues in a practical manner, conservative politics is forced to operate entirely on a symbolic level.

Because the stakes of even the most mundane policy disagreement are existential, and because the right keeps losing, there is no release for the tension that keeps building. All the accumulated terror is simply off-loaded from the last Armageddon to the next. Trump is not even pretending to have a positive second-term program. His only goal is to stop the next Democratic administration because the next liberal program is always the one that will usher in the final triumph of socialism. But for those who want a Republican government capable of appealing to a majority of the country and devising real solutions to social problems and not collapsing into corruption, there is an alternative. ...It would mean breaking free of conservative dogma that forbids any consideration of new taxes, spending, or regulation. That, in turn, means undoing the habits of thought rooted in conservative-movement control of the party and returning to a vision along the lines of Eisenhower's.

Republicans Must Be Saved From the Conservative Movement

I wouldn't call those in charge of the GOP today conservatives, and not just because they seem to have abandoned so many conservative policies: free trade, deficit reduction, and to some degree, the opposition of tyranny. A better term for them might be illiberals. They seem to be the opposite
of a liberal democracy which includes a regard for human dignity, a belief that the other side is an opponent to be debated, not an enemy to be destroyed. Along with this comes a respect for and support for the electoral process, including the succession of power and respect for the democratic traditions and institutions that allow government to function fairly.

The party has fallen so far out of favor that they must rely on the electoral college, extreme gerrymandering and voter suppression to get power, and seem willing, as in the case of McConnell's refusal to consider a Supreme court nominee because it was offered by a Democratic president, to violate long accepted democratic institutions and traditions in order to keep power.
 
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