It ruined my weekend. Saturday’s New York Times article expressing grave concern about the future of the Republican Party nearly gave me the vapors.
“The Republican Party is facing a historic split over its fundamental principles and identity, as its once powerful establishment grapples with an eruption of class tensions, ethnic resentments and mistrust among working-class conservatives who are demanding a presidential nominee who represents their interests.”
Imagine that. Republican voters are “demanding a presidential nominee who represents their interests.” I wonder if Democrats ever do that?
From a meeting in South Carolina, the Times reported:
“The divide was evident at a … gathering of bankers and lawyers, reliable Republicans who shared tea and pastries and their growing anxieties about where their party is going … the group of mostly older white men expressed concern that their party was fracturing over free trade, immigration and Wall Street. And they worried that their candidates — mainstream conservatives like Jeb Bush — were losing.”
“It’s all really hard to believe that decades of Republican ideas are at risk,” said Barry Wynn, a prominent [George W.] Bush donor at the meeting.
I was a Republican office-holder for 32 years. If there is a Republican idea at risk in this campaign I am unaware of it. Indeed, if the Republican establishment has an idea, I am unaware of it.
Republicans typically support free trade, but one can favor free trade and oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership for a variety of reasons.
All trade agreements allow for legal challenges between nations that are settled in international courts. The TTP allows for a vast expansion of legal activity against American companies by private lawyers.
“This is really troubling. It seems to indicate that savvy, deep-pocketed foreign conglomerates could challenge a broad range of laws we pass at every level of government … I think people on both sides of the aisle will have trouble with this.”
Republicans typically resist expanding opportunities for lawsuits. The TTP is not a good agreement.
It is no secret that the Chamber of Commerce wants open borders. They have threatened Republicans with the loss of their support in 2016 unless they get their way.
Every nation with a functioning government has immigration laws. Every nation except ours enforces those laws.
Donald Trump has put enforcement of immigration laws front and center in this campaign and the rest of the Republicans have been forced to get on board. This may inconvenience those whose only interest is cheap labor, but it is what nations must do to remain sovereign.
As for Republicans and Wall Street, there has never been a relationship to fracture. Wall Street is a Democrat haven. For the Republicans who toil there – both of them – I am sorry.
In the 32 years that I served in office I always cared more about what was happening on Main Street than on Wall Street.
The guy down the street who came to see me was almost always begging for less government. Wall Street, on the other hand, wants more government.
It was government decisions on mortgages, from the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 through the easing of credit under President Bill Clinton that Wall Street greedily abused causing the financial collapse of 2008. They can take care of themselves.
It seems to me I’ve heard this song before. Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan generated fear and loathing in the Republican establishment. They lost, but many of their followers stayed involved and now are part of the establishment. How soon we forget.
Nineteen years ago Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was a ringleader of a group of disgruntled Republicans who attempted a coup to depose Newt Gingrich from his speakership. Gingrich wasn’t consistently conservative enough for them.
Graham, now an establishment arbiter of appropriate Republican behavior, has decided that Republicans are in a “demographic death spiral” and will not survive unless they start appealing to Hispanics and young people.
It was feared that Ronald Reagan would put the party into a death spiral too. What did he know about foreign policy? How could he stand up to the Soviets? He was just a “B” actor for God’s sake.
The night we celebrated Reagan’s victory in the Georgia Republican primary in 1976 I was stunned at how many new faces were in the crowd.
I asked one young couple why they came. The wife told me that both of their families were life-long Democrats. They had never been involved in politics before, but they had young children and were concerned about the future.
And then she said, ”When Governor Reagan speaks I feel like he is talking to me.”
Ronald Reagan didn’t try to fashion his campaign to appeal to young people or Hispanics or even Lindsey Graham. He spoke to the common meaning of the common voice and they responded. Four years later those new faces elected the 40th President of the United States.
The bankers and lawyers in the meeting in South Carolina need to take a deep breath. A growing number of people today are, as the New York Times puts it, “demanding a presidential nominee who represents their interests.”
Why is that so hard to understand?
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