Where Else Do Establishment Republicans Have to Go?

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 November 29, 2017|
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In a recent column, I advised conservatives and populists not to alienate less doctrinaire conservatives because they need their votes in general elections. A number of readers pointed out they have reason to be angry with “the establishment,” especially on matters like immigration and government spending. They have a great point.

Just as conservatives and populists need to avoid permanently alienating those to their left, establishment conservatives need to keep their friends to their right happy too. Like it or not, we are co-dependent in this relationship.

The Trump-Republican coalition is a tricky one to manage. It includes those derided “establishment” conservatives, fiscal or liberty conservatives, social conservatives, and non-conservative populists. Take one part of that quartet away and Democrats (often progressive Democrats) come out on top. Each group, therefore, has an interest in keeping the union intact.

Establishment conservatives, though, often seem to forget this. They think they can anger social or liberty conservatives without consequence because, as they often say, “where else do they have to go?” They might be right when it comes to the general election, as for most conservatives fear and hatred of the Left drives them to support even a very flawed nominee. But that is not true when it comes to party unity, as the last seven years demonstrates.

Alienation on the Right

This failure goes back for decades. The first President Bush angered liberty conservatives when he raised taxes despite saying that he would never do so (“read my lips”). His first pick for the Supreme Court, David Souter, quickly became an ally of the progressive wing, thereby infuriating social conservatives. His son learned from these lessons and made sure that he was solidly conservative on taxes and Court appointments, discounting the Harriet Miers misstep. But otherwise the liberty conservatives were treated much as they had been treated under Bush’s father.

In its effort to court the center, the Bush Administration often failed to offer much to the liberty-focused right beyond tax cuts. It focused on increasing spending in areas like education and Medicare. Rarely if ever was offsetting those increases with cuts elsewhere in the budget on the table. Thus, spending grew even with complete Republican control of the federal government from 2002-2006.

Bush’s desire to court the burgeoning Hispanic population also led to the failed efforts to reform immigration. Conservatives fearful of another Simpson-Mazzoli Act, the 1986 bill that was supposed to end illegal immigration via a compromise of amnesty and employer sanctions, rose up in opposition. That was enough to derail the Bush effort, but establishment Republicans since have done little to tailor their subsequent plans to address the conservative objections. As a result, immigration has exploded into a defining issue that separates the two parties, divides Republicans against themselves in race after race, and arguably is responsible for the Trump presidency.

Social conservatives fared better under Bush, but establishment conservatives elsewhere often flee their side when the going gets tough. The battle over the Indiana religious liberty law is a case in point. Despite the fact that social conservatives view such protections as essential in this day and age, as soon as pressure was brought to bear on Indiana businesses establishment Republicans caved, forcing the passage of a much-watered down version of the act to the dismay of social conservatives nationwide. Many large establishment GOP donors, like investor Paul Singer, also supported same-sex marriage in the days before the Obergefell decision. There’s a reason social conservatives have been the only party faction to oppose most Republican nominees during the primary process since the early 1990s.

Dissecting “the Autopsy”

The disdain and condescension establishment conservatives often feel for their more ideological cousins was on full display in the RNC analysis of the 2012 election debacle. Commonly known as “the autopsy,” the authors argued that many voters perceived the GOP was uncaring.

Rather than conclude, however, that maybe establishment GOP positions and priorities might have something to do with that perception, the authors cast sole blame on key priorities of both wings of the conservative movement. The party, the autopsy argued, needed to be open to immigration reform and same-sex marriage in order to attract Millennials and Hispanics. What movement conservatives would get from such an arrangement was strangely, but predictably, overlooked.

The manifest poverty of the autopsy’s argument was on full display in that painful debacle known as the Jeb Bush candidacy. Despite $100 million and the tacit support of much of the party’s elite operatives, donors, and officials, Bush flopped miserably in the primaries. Movement conservatives hated him, as poll after poll showed, but what was telling was that the voting constituency for establishment Republicans—the “somewhat conservative” voter—abandoned him too. Indeed, they preferred Mr. “Build the Wall,” Donald J. Trump.

Jeb Bush had once said he was willing to lose the primary to win the general, which was interpreted to mean that he would not veer right as that would cost him the presidency. Instead, he was humiliated, shown to be the head of a tribe of chiefs with no indians, and the man who trounced him did so by rejecting,  ostentatiously, the autopsy’s path. Trump’s victory was due in no small part to precisely that rejection, as only such a rejection could have procured the overwhelming support he obtained among the voters he needed to win, the blue-collar populist white voters who dominate the Midwest.

Where Will the Establishment Go?

Have establishment conservatives learned anything? If they want to remain important players in a Republican party that governs, they have to find ways to end the civil war that divides all types of conservatives and weakens them, often fatally, before they can even face the Democrats. That means they need to think of movement conservatives and populists as potential coalition partners rather than as what many movement voters perceive as marks in a big con game. And ending that perception means thinking about what deals they can strike that would make these people satisfied that they are not being taken for a ride.

The alternative for establishment GOP voters is not bright. While many might feel more culturally comfortable in a Clinton-led Democratic coalition, it is hard to see what they might get out of such an arrangement. The Democrats are going through their own Tea Party moment, with progressives who have been angry at Clinton triangulation and moderation for over twenty years bent on “resistance” and a move to the left. Joining that party might give establishment Republicans the trade and immigration deals they prefer, but in exchange for sharply higher taxes on the well-to-do and greater regulation of business and private activity. That’s a pretty high price to pay just so you can enjoy your company at party social gatherings.

The better course for the establishment is to stop the unnecessary bloodshed. The Trump presidency offers a unique opportunity for all sides in this debilitating battle to come to grips with their situations and work together. Trump’s very ideological amorphousness is a plus in this cause, as it allows him (and those in his administration who share this goal) to play the honest broker. It would place him in the role he plays best, dealmaker, and it would allow him to create something that none of his rivals have come close to building, a dominant party of the center-right that holds sway for a decade or more. But such an endeavor can work only if the potential partners all accept the invitation in good faith, and that decision must come from them and them alone.

For that to happen, all party factions must recognize that each is a minority of the country, and that they gain strength by uniting together rather than by pretending that they represent something greater on their own. Whether they realize this in time is perhaps the great challenge of this presidency.

 

About the Author:

Henry Olsen
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank in Washington D.C. He is also an editor at UnHerd.com where he writes about populism and politics around the world. He is the co-author, with Dante Scala, of The Four Faces of the Republican Party (Palgrave, 2015) and is the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism (HarperCollins, 2017).
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85 Comments

  1. Derek Pandamonium November 29, 2017 at 3:57 am

    “Like it or not, we are co-dependent in this relationship.” Totally incorrect. The GOPe are globalists. They side with the dems, administrative state, the intelligence agencies, and their media poodles. They’re all opposed to Trump and his America first agenda. They hate Trump more than they love our Country and they have more in common with the dems than they do with their constituents. The unibrow party has been bought and paid for by the global plutocracy. Our only hope is to primary the lot of them,and Remove Ryan and McConnell from leadership positions.

    • Robert Cocco November 29, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Your comment perfectly illustrates the problem described in the piece. As I read your comment, with each sentence I muttered aloud, “yeah,” “that’s right,” “I agree totally.” Then I got to the last sentence, and I slammed on the brakes. In my mind, primary-ing these guys is only going to lead to Dem control. Not sure two people like us, who may actually agree on many issues, will ever agree on a solution here.

      • Derek Pandamonium November 29, 2017 at 9:08 pm

        What was the title of the article? ”

        Where Else Do Establishment Republicans Have to Go?”
        And yet the establishment republicans opposed Trump in the primaries. OK, that’s their right. But they also opposed Trump in the general and continue to oppose him and his America first agenda today.
        Why do you think Trump supporters are going to accept the GOPe pissing down our collars and telling us it’s raining? Why would you think we will fall into line after they betrayed us in 2010, 2014, 2016 and continue to do so? You drink the koolaid, fall for the click-bait, believe in the Easter bunny, and Tooth fairy.
        The GOPe were repudiated in the primaries, or didn’t you notice? Instead of getting behind our candidate, they supported a lying, murdering criminal and her serial rapist husband. The GOPe have done nothing but Delay, Obstruct, and Sabotage Trump and his agenda. The anti-Trumpians already control the Congress.
        Our only chance to save America is to vote the GOPe bums out. You think the GOPe wants to keep their majorities but nothing is further from the truth. Why did the GOPe support hillary? Because they could continue to rake u=in the money with their “repeal and replace” scam. Her loss put them on the spot and it revealed what lowlifes they were.
        Judge Moore is a good example of the perfidy of the GOPe. They didn’t get McConnell’s hand puppet so they want to give the seat to a dem. If they don’t mind that why should we?

        • ConradCA December 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm

          I wonder why the GOPe helped Tyrant Obama the Liar ram his “Help Iran Obtain Nuclear Tipped ICBMs” “agreement when they could have easily killed it. All McConnell had to do was declare that it was a treaty requiring ratification and hold the vote.

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  2. kentramsay November 29, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Who are these “establishment conservatives”?? Inquiring minds want names. I think the names will reveal that these “conservatives” are anything but conservative.

    • guestwho2 November 29, 2017 at 8:09 am

      I think the term implies a little or a lot of false advertising on the part of NR, Weekly Standard, et al. They love their abstract discussions about how to build a house but don’t want to be involved in razing the old one.

      • Anne Miller November 29, 2017 at 8:17 am

        Is the guy who wants a tax cut that raises taxes on the people who pay the most a conservative? Is the guy who wants an Obamacare repeal that keeps the government mandate for pre- existing conditions a conservative? Does a conservative make intelligent arguments to win people to his side or does a conservative communicate almost entirely by tweeting insults? Should a conservative President achieve conservative legislation? Reagan did. Haven’t seen any effort at conservative legislative leadership from Trump.

        • Everett Brunson November 29, 2017 at 8:49 am

          Anne, you raised 4 questions–all important, but can we look at just one for the moment: tax cuts.
          To me it is the difference between the do-able and the not do-able. Reagan was able to build a consensus on both sides of the aisle. He had a strong partner in Tip O’ Neill. But it was a different time in politics. Today’s hyper-partisan politics there is no Democrat willing to take O’Neill’s place. Further, Trump hatred by the MSM, the Democrats, the progressives, Hollywood, and the GOPe makes it extremely difficult to get any major legislation passed.

          Blame Trump if you will, but he is the current dealer in this card game and we have to play the cards we have. Threading the needle in tax reform is made more difficult because of infighting within the GOP. In this, I do not blame Trump. Instead, I blame the establishment GOP as they have proved time and time again they were all show and no action when it came to keeping their campaign promises in regard to Repealing O’ Care, immigration reform, the budget, and now tax reform.

          It seems we live in a time where taxing ALL Americans fairly is another political third rail. More than half of all Americans pay zero taxes. Many receive refunds+ due to tax credits. The actual middle class only pays about 18% of total income tax revenue. The rest comes from the top 20% of wage earners–with the bulk coming from the top 1%.

          So who indeed will end up paying lower taxes? That same upper 20% as that is where the money is coming from in the first place.

          The combined retirement income of my wife and I is just under $100 K. Under the proposed plan our taxes will go down about $1,300. That isn’t very much. I mean what will I ever do with that extra hundred bucks a month? Perhaps go out to dinner an extra time each month?

          BUT, I will take what I can get. It sure beats the hell out of paying more.

          So using the “Who is the conservative?” label doesn’t travel very far with me. I find so few real Conservatives in the House and Senate I just don’t fret about it that much any more. Other than my vote in Congressional elections there is little I can do about it anyway.

          • Christopher Lamkin November 29, 2017 at 10:28 am

            Everett,

            I have a question for you. Is it conservative policy to cut taxes for economic growth, because we already have enough tax revenue, or is it a backdoor “starve the beast” attempt to limit government (this fails every time)? I am serious. I have conservative family members that pretty much say tax cuts is “always the answer”. What? Why is that? They don’t even try to justify it now by saying we are on the left side of the Laffer curve. We were once on the left side and Reagan’s tax cuts did broaden the base, but there is a point where tax cuts isn’t cutting fat anymore and is just cutting muscle (adding to the debt).

            Just wanted to know your thoughts.

          • Everett Brunson November 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm

            Hey Chris. Good to “see” you.

            I’ve gone back and looked at the changes in revenue and the effects on GDP for the Kennedy tax cuts, the Reagan tax cuts, and the Bush tax cut. The results appear pretty consistent but they can be hard to totally ferret out–mainly due to calculating the adjustment for inflation, other events (war or catastrophe that come about around the same time, and increases in spending that play hob with calculating what the net revenue was in comparison to spending. But here is my take:

            On each of the tax cuts there was a rise in GDP for the two years following the cuts. So it appears, on the face of it that a tax cut spurs growth. Also, with each of the tax cuts total revenue increased. There was usually a one year lag on revenue increases. The increases do not appear to hold steady however. Usually by the third year the increases level out as spending increased during the same time–this affects both GDP and the deficit. (If you want to look at this in another way, there appears to be a link between increased gov’t spending and a decrease in jobs. You can say “huh?” here if you want. I wouldn’t blame you. But the numbers do bend that way.)

            The most egregious spending increases occurred during the Reagan years. That is why the left (my opinion) claims that tax cuts lead to higher deficits due to lower revenue. My study of the subject shows that isn’t true but is the result of increased spending outpacing the amount of increased revenue. However, the truth of the matter is that the rise in the deficit is what forced Bush 38 to raise taxes despite his pledge. I think if you look, even with that tax increase there was no corresponding decrease in spending.

            My opinion is that both the Repubs and the Dems are more than happy to spend our money in trade for votes despite what either side claims.

            Anyway–to really look at comparisons I suggest you do the following–if you have the time and want to spend it in a frustrating manner):
            1. Look up the chart on GDP from 1960 – 2015
            This isn’t too bad a site to go to–though there are others:
            http://www.multpl.com/us-gdp-growth-rate/table/by-year
            2. Then compare GDP contribution to revenue
            This is where it gets really tricky–because you have to balance the years of the tax cuts with the
            lag in revenue increase and then look to see if it resulted in a rise in GDP.
            http://www.marottaonmoney.com/federal-revenue-and-spending-as-percentage-of-gdp/
            3. Fluctuation in employment rate following tax cuts (Do tax cuts increase jobs?)
            This site only shows the rate from 1960 – 2000 done by a professor at Berkeley. One can really
            see a marked decrease in unemployment in years soon after tax decreases and an uptick in
            employment in years following years of tax increases. (Look at the Carter years and the Bush 38
            years. Inflation for Carter, Tax increases for Bush)
            http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/multimedia/Unempl.html

            There is a lot more that can be looked at, but at this point look at what you wish and if you wish to delve into it further we can trade websites.

          • Christopher Lamkin November 30, 2017 at 6:49 am

            Yeah…I am not sure. I think it is tricky. Reagan’s tax cuts, to me, resulted in economic growth where W’s tax cuts really just added to the debt.

            https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/the-legacy-of-the-2001-and-2003-bush-tax-cuts

            My original question was what it seems to be this permanent policy that tax cuts ALWAYS spurs growth coming from the average conservative voter. You nailed it with “both the Repubs and the Dems are more than happy to spend our money in trade for votes despite what either side claims.” The left seems like they have a never ending policy of raising taxes to grow government, so they are being dishonest also.

            From what I am hearing is that the Republicans are overreaching with their tax plan. A simplified version that just lowered the corporate tax rate and a modest middle class tax cuts would pass with flying colors. They are allowing the Democrats to paint them with the dreaded “trickle down” and getting data to support that this impacts the wealthy far more than the average American. I don’t really know for sure though.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 8:21 am

            I went to your website and found the data interesting. I don’t find that it varies much from my position or that of your in-laws–especially, this blurb:

            “In the 1980’s, the top marginal rate was cut to 28 percent from 70 percent. Critics charge that this caused higher federal budget deficits, but they misread the evidence. Although the Reagan tax cut was approved in 1981, it was phased in slowly (much as the Bush tax cut is scheduled to be). Once the cuts were in place, the economy grew and tax revenues soared. Revenues from personal income taxes increased 28 percent (adjusted for inflation) by 1989. And yes, the rich wound up paying more. The share paid by the top 10 percent jumped to 57.2 percent from 48 percent of total income tax revenues. The share for the top 1 percent rose to 27.5 percent in 1988 from 17.6 percent in 1981.”

            What income levels do you consider to be the Middle Class Chris? You can stay with the family of four model, but give me an idea of the top and bottom of the Middle Income Bracket in your thinking.

            I ask this because it is my understanding, which is confirmed by the numbers I’ve studied, that the top 20% of wage earners pay 70% of the tax load.

            On the Bush tax cut–that goes back to my “it’s tricky” statement. Most of the deficit was was due to the cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. His annual deficits ran in the $400 Billion range from 2002 – 2006.
            To determine whether his cuts added to the deficit you have to look at revenue increases. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ce0d41f7763bf5a2a13caa9a581035eb6eda8cd8704d92aad24076f6ffb52cae.png

            I chose this chart because it is from a website that sets out to PROVE that tax decreases result in revenue decreases.

            Also look at GDP. I sent you this site earlier but am sending it again. Except for 2001–a truly horrible year and 2008 (-.92% when the housing bubble burst)–the average rise in GDP during the Bush years (2000-2008) = 4.91%
            Average rise in GDP during the Carter years (1976 – 1980) = 11.53%
            Average rise in GDP during the Reagan years (1980 – 1988) = 8.91%
            Average rise in GDP during the Clinton years (1992 – 1999) = 5.89%
            Average rise in GDP during the Obama years (2008 – 2016) = 2.67%

            In the chart, revenue had a huge drop of $300 Billion (14%) in 2001-2002, which I’ve pointed out as normal the first year of a tax cut. After that there is a steady rise every year. There are two little blips in the summer of 2003 and another in the late summer of 2005. But since revenue is ANNUAL the blips hardly matter–as the chart shows–revenue increased for the year.

            Spending, for the same years, on the other hand keep rising in a virtual straight-line curve.

            BUT WHAT ELSE HAPPENED IN 2001? Remember the economic devastation following 9/11? That revenue only dropped 14% is amazing.

            WHAT HAPPENED IN 2003? That was when we invaded Iraq. I don’t know if that causes a summer of uncertainty enough to cause a revenue drop. Like I pointed out, the curve returned to normal in the fall.

            http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/pricebasket.html https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8e2da175455e42bdf5e23933149538928e848b071d3bb4dfbacd62d59e7e1ebb.png

          • Christopher Lamkin November 30, 2017 at 10:43 am

            Put me in the camp that supports a tax raise whenever America decides to go to war so we can pay for it. I am also a little iffy on tax cuts when we know we are running a deficit, but a lower corporate rate is long due. Like I said, we aren’t on the left side of the Laffer curve. Boosts in economic growth has offset some of this, but like you said it is tricky when it comes to wartime spending and clear cut evidence of what works and what doesn’t.

            I am also in the camp that doesn’t want to solely point to the GDP when it comes to the best measurement for the economic status of all Americans. A rising GDP doesn’t lift all boats. Inequality/worker’s wages is a metric that I always look at.

            Finally, I want to comment on the top 20% takes on 70% of the workload. There is a definite argument that it isn’t fair, however, labor’s percentage of the income is at its lowest point. Should we be asking them to pay for more when the wealthy takes the vast majority of the profits?

            http://www.businessinsider.com/corporate-profits-finally-top-out-2012-8

            I hope the corporate tax cuts results in higher wages/investment instead of corporate profits. I guess we will see.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 12:51 pm

            Because we were talking about so many things I wasn’t able to include one important point that supports your position. Inflation is up (Consumer Price Index figures) about 32% since 2000 versus wages– up 12.2% during the same time. Most is/was attributed to rise in housing prices (adjusted for the housing crunch) and increased fuel costs.

            To me, that disconnect supports your argument the most. Which is why I am putting so much hope in the drop of the corporate tax rate. The http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/2003.html website is very handy in determining just how far a dollar goes in any given year.

          • ConradCA December 1, 2017 at 7:34 pm

            What they should do is cut non-discretionary spending by the 24% waste Tyrant Obama the Liar added in is first budget. Across the board cuts for everyone, even those who pay the vast majority of all taxes.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 5:41 am

            I think the tax cuts should be simple and across the board. They should not be given to people who don’t pay taxes. The tax cuts should not be paid for with other tax increases. Spending cuts should be a separate and massive project. But where is the President selling the merits of the details of the plan. He isnt doing it. Because he doesn’t care about the details. Or even the principles. He just wants a win for him.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 6:55 am

            Why should you care about the president’s motivations? Under Trump’s plan are your taxes going down? If they are, quit complaining, if they aren’t, I’m sorry you are in that teensy, tiny category. But be thankful the corporate rate is dropping to 20% because it will translate into more jobs and more revenue.

            Would the $20 Trillion debt be addressed under Hillary? I don’t think so.

            If much of your wealth, your retirement nest-egg is in stocks and bonds, be thankful. The cut in capital gains will be helpful.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 7:21 am

            I care about a conservative plan. I dont judge it on “what happens to me”. It is a terrible plan. It is not fair in that it piles more taxes on those who already pay the most. This is called class warfare economics. It is what Democrats do. Of course, you are just looking for spoils form the system.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 8:26 am

            Kent, I go back to what is possible over what do I want. I “want” taxes to go down for ALL who pay taxes. But in this climate that is impossible. Don’t blame Trump for this. Put the blame squarely where is belongs–a feckless Congress.

            Again, I ask–under Hillary would we be looking at a tax decrease or a tax increase? Remember, she campaigned for higher taxes on the top 10%.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 8:31 am

            Reagan won across the board tax cuts with a Democrat House. Reagan lead. He went over the heads of Congress to the people and sold his plan. Which was a conservative plan.

            Trump has no plan. He did say at the outset that “people like me should pay more”, which signaled he wanted a soak the rich plan. Trump has done nothing to sell the idea of across the board cuts. He has done nothing to drive a conservative plan. He just sits around and waits for whatever comes out of Congress. He is the opposite of a leader.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 8:35 am

            Kent–I am going to be rude here–your tears are getting my keyboard wet. Live with the reality that Trump is president. He and Reagan are TWO different men. We now live in a hyper-partisan age. I don’t think even Reagan would have been as successful if he was president now.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 8:37 am

            Everett – I am going to be direct with you now. Shut up.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 8:38 am

            MMMMMMMMMMMM = the sound of my lips being sealed when it comes to you. You live in a fantasy world. I live in the real one.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 9:18 am

            Yes, you live in a real world with no Wall, with DREAMERS still having amnesty, with spending at Obama era levels, with Obamacare the law of the land, and with a tax increase being sold as a tax cut. All under the leadership of Donald Trump.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 9:22 am

            MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 5:38 am

            Reagan was able to build a consensus because he was a principled conservative and a leader. Trump is neither.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 6:48 am

            True and not germane. Trump and Reagan are two different men in two different times. Why compare the two?

            Look, I get it that Trump rubs people the wrong way, but you want to know the absolute best quality about Trump? HE ISN’T HILLARY CLINTON. Got it?

          • Christopher Lamkin November 30, 2017 at 6:55 am

            I don’t think criticism of the President always has to resort to “he is better than Hillary”.

            Clinton is irrelevant now. Trump is our President and that position comes with criticism. Trump is different. He doesn’t seem too interested in policy details and that ultimately hurts Republicans trying to push through legislation. They needed to adjust to that and I think they have. If this tax policy goes through, then I credit Ryan/McConnell more than the guy that just put his signature at the bottom.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 7:19 am

            The proposed tax bill increases taxes on the people who pay the most now and who would put more money into the economy if given a cut. It also makes the code more progressive, which Democrats like and does stuff like “First In First Out” which tells individuals which shares of stock they are allowed to sell at a given time. First time in history for federally mandated timing of stock sales. And brought to you by a Republican President.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 7:16 am

            Yes, Reagan was a principled conservative leader dealing with a Democrat House and he proposed specific conservative legislation and he dragged a reluctant Congress to votes to make these laws.

            Trump is a unprincipled loudmouth with a fully Republican Congress and he has no legislative wins at the end of his first year and he is now trying to get a tax bill that a Democrat could have written passed, just so he can brag about it.

          • Everett Brunson November 30, 2017 at 8:28 am

            TDS is strong with you Kent. My Mantra is that Trump isn’t Hillary. That is win enough.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 8:33 am

            Bernie Sanders isn’t Hillary either. Trump has done some good things, like Supreme Court and federal court picks. On the big legislative issues of Obamacare and taxes, Trump has done zero leading. I am simply pointing out that fact. Reagan produced far better results with a Democrat House.

        • carl Jung November 29, 2017 at 11:08 am

          blah blah blah

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 5:42 am

            I see you summed up your thoughts very accurately.

          • carl Jung December 2, 2017 at 7:44 am

            zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          • kentramsay December 2, 2017 at 7:57 am

            Your written emanations are verbal flatulence.

    • Not Chicken Little November 29, 2017 at 8:15 am

      They are actually “Uniparty conservatives” which is the same thing as “pigs at the trough” ordinary corrupt politicians bereft of any conservative principles they will actually stand up for. They talk a good game, but take a knee on the field.

      • Anne Miller November 29, 2017 at 8:20 am

        Then by definition they are not conservatives. Still haven’t read any names.

        • Steven Giles November 29, 2017 at 8:59 am

          Ted Cruz

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 5:37 am

            So, you name the only real conservative, who actually tried to truly end Obamacare when it should have been done, and was trashed by the entire establishment, including Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Karl Rove. You are an idiot.

          • Steven Giles November 30, 2017 at 5:46 am

            Sorry, you “real conservatives” from Conservative Inc.just doesn’t play anymore. Ted is an Open Border Globalist like all the other “real conservatives” taking money from Mitch’s Super PAC.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 6:07 am

            Sorry, but you New York Fake conservatives who brag about ending Obamacare but never lift a finger to make it happen, even as President, and talk about walls but never lift a finger to get it appropriated, or talk about ending the DREAMER amnesty but never end it simply on Day 1 like promised. You are a fool. And a big government fool.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 6:17 am

            You undoubtedly believed Donald Trump when he said Ted Cruz father helped kill JFK. You love your Donald and like he said his followers are so stupid they will cheer him on if he murders in public. You are no doubt mad at Cruz for having a father who killed JFK. Speaking of globalists, why has Trump never managed to find an American willing to be his wife?

          • Steven Giles November 30, 2017 at 6:23 am

            Really? The only people concerned about Rafael Cruz are you and your trans alter ego. BTW, I’m a constituent from Texas and supported the liar until he was exposed. I hope your better at diagnosing medical problems than you are at reading people.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 6:25 am

            Donald Trump was concerned enough to broadcast this massive lie on national TV the day before the Indiana primary. And he repeated it on national TV many times. You are a moral degenerate and a fool.

          • Steven Giles November 30, 2017 at 6:39 am

            I’m sorry Lyin Ted couldn’t pull together enough stolen Delegates to win the nomination, but he is a loser. Like all the other failed stars in the Conservative Inc. stable.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 7:12 am

            You love your Liar.

          • Steven Giles November 30, 2017 at 8:17 am

            No I don’t, I want Ted deported to Canada.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 8:19 am

            Because you are a globalist and like Trump the one thing you can’t stand is a real conservative.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 7:37 am

            Globalist? I think Rex Tillerson is a globalist. And Gary Cohn is a globalist. And Jerome Powell, Trump’s new Fed Chair nominee is a globalist. And General Kelly is a globalist. And Jared Kushner is a globalist. And Ivanka is a globalist. Therefore, Donald Trump is the biggest globalist on the world stage today.

          • Steven Giles November 30, 2017 at 8:16 am

            Hello McFly……anyone in the established order is a Globalist, The question is whither they’re honest about it, or do they slither their way around the base like BusTed. The whole red/blue Kabuki show depends on the wilful suspension of reality by the audience. Except for the true believers, like yourself.

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 8:18 am

            Well, Trump just nominated a Hillary Clinton hack to be Ambassador to Columbia. The guy took part in the Benghazi cover up. And Trump nominated him. More globalism from Lyin’ Donnie.

          • Steven Giles November 30, 2017 at 8:29 am

            But is he down on the Border handing out Teddy Bears and Soccer balls? Ted loves human trafficking.

          • kentramsay December 2, 2017 at 7:54 am

            Don’t knock human traficking. It’s how Donald Trump finds his wives.

          • Steven Giles December 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

            LOL, good to see you back.

          • kentramsay December 2, 2017 at 8:03 am

            Now, I think Trump should be deported to Eastern Europe, so he can find wives easier.

            That said, all the Mueller stuff is pure BS.

          • Steven Giles December 2, 2017 at 8:07 am

            Unfortunately the US needs President Trump at this time, if Melania is the penalty, I’ll take the deportation for him. ( You know, one for the team)

          • kentramsay December 2, 2017 at 7:35 pm

            I hate to agree with you. But we do need him for now. If someone could just give him an occasional anti-jackass pill it would be good. Plus a few conservative books from Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 7:35 am

            No, Luther Strange is an establishment Republican. Mitch McConnell’s boy. Donald Trump’s chosen replacement for Sessions.

          • Steven Giles November 30, 2017 at 8:21 am

            Mitch’s boy Ted jumped at the chance to stab Roy Moore in the back. Your point is…..?

          • kentramsay November 30, 2017 at 8:23 am

            Trump endorsed Luther Strange. Trump had his head up Mitch’s rear end while he told the world Roy Moore would lose big in the general election. Trump said that. While he and Mitch were tag teaming Roy Moore.

  3. TruckinMack November 29, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Politicians can join the Trump Bannon Express and enjoy being part of a Conservative winning team. Or, they can join a far Left Democrat environment bent on destroying our borders, our voting booth, our economy, our energy production, science, religion, the police, the national anthem, football, marriage, gender, you name it.

    The Democrat Leftists are on the wrong side of every issue that matters to America. ‘Conservatives’ who refuse to join President Trump are not Conservative. They are die hard, born and bred Liberals (or maybe just bought and paid for). I would be happy to see them out themselves so we can get them voted out of office.

  4. Doctor Bass Monkey November 29, 2017 at 8:50 am

    They can join in the fight to restore this nation, or they can go to hell.

  5. 57nomad November 29, 2017 at 9:10 am

    The thing is, we CAN afford to alienate them because there are 65 million of us and about 150 of them and they all live in NY or California.

  6. hamburgertoday2017 November 29, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I appreciate Mr. Olsen’s desire to find a way to create a coherent Republican Party perspective from the disparate ‘tribes’ within the Party. The problem is that ‘establishment’ Republicans have been so consistently wrong. Take, for instance, the ‘autopsy’ recommendations to cave on same-sex ‘marriage’ and to court a Hispanic vote. Simply checking the demographic information about the Hispanic population would have easily identified that Hispanics are a fairly religious group, many of whom hold strong negative views on homosexuality in general and same-sex ‘marriage’ in particular. The goals were somewhat mutually contradictory. Also, by courting Hispanics, the GOP came across as indifferent to Black Americans who are not entirely keen on the prospect of becoming a ‘second class’ minority. The subsequent electoral debacles from pursuing these two contradictory program elements would have been obvious to anyone who actually thought about the problem.

    There is no effective compromise between the Chamber of Commerce open-borders-tax-breaks-for-the-1% and the general populist attitudes that were on display in the 2016 election. No only are the CoC ‘establishment’ Republicans arrogant, but they are incompetent. They crafted a losing approach and, even though its clear that the approach is a losing one, continue to double-down.

    Mr. Olsen’s book ‘The Working Class Republican’ explains why the GOPe approach of creating a system that favors ‘the exceptional’ over ‘the common’ is at the root of the intellectual failure of much ‘conservative’ thought. There is not coherent vision with the GOP as to how to craft a form of capitalism that (a) does not prevent ‘the exceptional’ from making their unique contributions to the economy and society and benefiting therefrom while also (b) allowing ‘the common’ to thrive and allowing them, also, to keep more of the fruits of their contributions to the economy and society.

    • George Dixon November 29, 2017 at 11:22 am

      “Also, by courting Hispanics, the GOP came across as indifferent to Black Americans who are not entirely keen on the prospect of becoming a ‘second class’ minority.”

      Given that the Democratic Party simply told Black citizens to ‘Vote (D) and then go home and learn Spanish’ while the Congressional Black Caucus jumped on board for Obama’s open borders (with the competition for jobs that promises) I doubt anyone noted the ‘indifference’

      • hamburgertoday2017 November 29, 2017 at 2:03 pm

        I’m not so tapped into the Black media or ‘street’ to know whether your assertion is entirely true or false. What anyone can ascertain for themselves is that Black folks have a historical attachment to the Democratic Party going back to FDR and changing that attachment to the Republican Party — if it were ever to happen — is not going be encouraged by courting Hispanics. The Democratic Party has taken the Black Vote for granted for many decades as Blacks far more than as working class. This is the threat of center/right populism to the Democratic to the success of ‘identity politics’. The problem is that the Chamber of Commerce/establishment wing of the GOP is not interested in populism as it may cut into profits, which is short-term thinking because the Democrats are definitely not the friend of the Owning Class.

        What the GOPe/CoC wing needs to show is a bit of enlightened self-interest and embrace the populist positions of controlled and reduced immigration to avoid Democratic supremacy that will cost them much more in the long run than open borders can profit them.

  7. carl Jung November 29, 2017 at 11:07 am

    No thanks Olsen, you can keep all the establishment turds. They are paying your bills after all….

  8. George Dixon November 29, 2017 at 11:18 am

    While compromise is fine regarding dinner or what to do on Saturday, in politics compromise means losing.
    The left and the RINOs will happily compromise all the way to 100% liberalism… one compromise at a time.

    Remember the last time which compromise served conservatives?
    Me either.

  9. Joe Carreras November 29, 2017 at 11:23 am

    All the Republican party has to do is vote to pass the Agenda they’ve run on for the last 10+ years, regardless if it helps Trump.
    If the GOP doesn’t pass it’s own agenda, if it choses to disregard the promises they’ve given over the last 10+ years, the voters will remember, and they might not show up next Nov.
    PS: Why does McConnell put up with committee chairmen who vote against the GOP agenda?
    Why not do what the Democrats do? If you as a long sitting GOP senator vote against the GOP agenda, then that you will be removed from your chairmanship.

    • Derek Pandamonium December 1, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      McConnell is an anti-Trump globalist. He intent on destroying Trump and his America first agenda. The GOPe have had no intent of ever keeping their promises.

  10. Alice P Jones November 29, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    The GOPe is completely owned by the US Chamber of Commerce, motto- “We Want Cheap Foreign Labor.” The care nothing about us. Boycott your local CofC and we will actually see change.

  11. Frank Natoli November 29, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Just as conservatives and populists need to avoid permanently alienating those to their left
    Let’s see. David Brooks is the New York Times token conservative, but really is a Liberal.
    So Henry Olsen is AMG’s token moderate, but really is a Liberal?
    Never, not in a million years, do Liberals worry about “permanently alienating those to their…right”, yet Liberals have gotten everything they want since Reagan left office.
    Get real, and get rid of this guy Olsen.

  12. DMalcolmCarson November 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    If you look at these issues where the “establishment conservatives” have been making their stands, it all comes down to the “bigot” label wielded by the left. They think that if they just give the left gay marriage, and amnesty for illegal, or whatever inanity is next in line, they’ll be able to prove that they are not bigots. But they are mistaken, the left is into identity politics now, and identity politics means that there is no difference between political beliefs and demographics, and the political beliefs of every demographic except straight white men is progressive. So if you are a straight white male conservative, it’s because you are a bigot, and if you are a conservative from any other demographic, it’s because you hate yourself. Trump understands this, and does not play this game. He states his position, not caring one bit about whether it’s perceived of as bigoted or not. Then he moves on to the next topic, while the establishment conservatives are scurrying for cover. There’s no compromise on this point, you either stand up, or get rolled over.

  13. tz1 November 29, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Where do they have to go? I don’t think you can go anywhere from Hell.
    It was called “The AUTOPSY” for a reason. Establishment Conservatism is dead, perhaps only brain dead, but they are still able to donate some useful organs before they die. But I think the Democratic (literally) elders could use the heart, and their pundits the corneas which at least would no longer have rose colored cataracts. The kidneys can go to the pissy hat brigade.

  14. War-Lok November 29, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Just as conservatives and populists need to avoid permanently alienating those to their leftLet’s see. David Brooks is the New York Times token conservative, but really is a Liberal.So Henry Olsen is AMG’s token moderate, but really is a Liberal?Never, not in a million years, do Liberals worry about “permanently alienating those to their

  15. SmartProf November 30, 2017 at 5:13 am

    The only problem with Olsen’s piece is its lack of focus on enthusiasm.
    For most people, voting is a chore. It takes time out of people’s day. Offer them a pablum GOPe Republican and they may not be motivated to show up at the polls. Put another way, a Jeb! may have majority support, but if that support doesn’t bother to vote, that support doesn’t matter.

  16. Party of Lincoln November 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    An interesting essay. Mr. Olsen makes his case succinctly in this sentence:

    “…all party factions must recognize that each is a minority of the country, and that they gain strength by uniting together rather than by pretending that they represent something greater on their own.”

    “[U]niting together” to what end? Promises kept on the campaign trail were broken once office was secured. Now that we see the shape of the Trump tax cut taking shape should no longer be so deluded to believe that this Party of Trump actually works on behalf of the working classes of Ohio, Kentucky and Nebraska.

    There will be mass deportation, no great wall, no naming China as a currency manipulator and no elimination of wasteful spending in every department of the federal government. He hasn’t even renamed Mount Denali back to Mount McKinley.

    Instead of policies that actually benefit Main Street, he is about to deliver a massive Christmas gift to Wall Street in form of corporate tax cuts, part of which will be paid for by tax increases on low and middle income workers.

    The idea that “The Establishment” and Trump are at “war” is pure myth. They are one in the same, working toward the same goal of a massive transfer of wealth from the many to the few. Republicans, who long ago abandoned the principles that made our party truly great, have retreated into plutocracy and plunder. Read the tax bill for yourselves and ask yourselves whether anyone who makes $75,000 a year actually benefits from the repeal of the estate tax or the expiration of the rate reductions while the corporate rate reduction is permanent. Ask yourselves why Trump (admittedly, not congressional Republicans) direct your attention to kneeling football players, the wife of a fallen soldier and other idiotic Twitter wars. It’s not because stoking the culture war actually makes your lives better. He does this to keep the fire of resentment alive while he and fellow Wall Street barons steal your wealth.

  17. ConradCA December 1, 2017 at 9:33 am

    What your saying is true, but how are we to deal with the Republican traitors who have betrayed the country, the party and citizens by helping Tyrant Obama the Liar ram is “Help Iran Acquire Nuclear Weapons and ICBMs” agreement down their throats? McConnell could have easily killed this disastrous agreement by asserting that it was a treaty and holding a vote on ratification. His failure to do this is treason and unforgivable.

    • ron_goodman December 15, 2017 at 10:01 am

      The think Tiny Hands is superior for sucking up to the Saudis?

      • ConradCA December 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm

        At least The Saudis haven’t promised to destroy our country like Iran.

        • ron_goodman December 15, 2017 at 7:05 pm

          No, they’re only supporting the ideology of those who have actually attacked us, as opposed to sloganeering done by Iranians. 9/11 and all subsequent terror incidents here have been carried out by radical Sunnis, not Shiites.

          • ConradCA December 15, 2017 at 8:31 pm

            Iran invaded the USA, murdered our marines in Lebanon and murdered our men in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          • ConradCA December 15, 2017 at 9:18 pm

            Islam is identical in every significant aspect to Nazism, Communism, and Progressive Fascism. They all camouflage their evil with lies.

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