The Republican Establishment and Trump, Hubris and Nemesis

There is a chasm that separates right-leaning voters (a group that is larger than the conservative “base”) and the Republican Party's establishment. A grotesque figure who had supported single-payer health care and a recent supporter of Planned Parenthood is leading the polls for the Republican nomination. A famed surgeon who has no experience of elective office is running second, while the Republican senator most hated by the Republican senatorial conference is running third. These polls are a terrible predictor of the next Republican presidential nominee, but they still tell us something important. Continue Reading »

Don't Sweat the Donald

Eleven percent of New Hampshire's conservatives favor crony capitalist, eminent domain abuser, supporter of single-payer health care, and all-around-buffoon, Donald Trump for president. But they don't really. A fraction of the Republican electorate is having some weird fun with the conventions and . . . . Continue Reading »

Conservatives and Low-Skilled Workers

People in the Republican establishment have been suggesting that conservatives can either try to appeal to working-class whites by supporting limits to future immigration levels, or they can try to appeal to Hispanics by seeking to increase future immigration levels. The truth is that conservatives have never had to make this choice. In 2012, Republicans chose to alienate both working-class whites and Hispanics. In the future, conservatives should try to appeal to both groups by focusing on the economic priorities of those groups rather than ethnic gamesmanship.In the 2012 campaign, Romney's combination of economic priorities and immigration messaging proved especially toxic. On immigration, Romney advocated no amnesty and hoped that current unauthorized immigrants would self-deport. For Hispanics (and possibly even for Asians—among whom Romney did even worse than among Hispanics), the message was that Romney’s love for business owners was exceeded only by contempt for immigrants (legal and illegal). Continue Reading »

It's Getting Harder to Listen

One of the first modes of critical thinking is knowing what others think and say. If we’re to be conscientious citizens in a free republic, we must follow the other side’s arguments and evidence, admitting those points that identify weaknesses in our own position. Continue Reading »

Conservative Populism and the Cory Gardner Problem

A funny thing happened when Cory Gardner, the senator-elect from Colorado, went on Fox News Sunday: He reminded us of the extent to which he is an establishment Republican. He was hand-picked by establishment Washington Republicans, but that’s easy to forget because of the way that his campaign united Colorado’s right-of-center voters and won over much of the persuadable electorate. Gardner’s success, however, reveals problems in the establishment conservative platform and shows what it would take for a populist conservative with better policy ideas to get elected. Continue Reading »