Regardless of how this election finally turns out—and we’re still weeks away from knowing the answer with certainty—it should be noted what President Trump was able to do in the last four years regarding the conservative narrative of the past several decades.
From what really was nothing more than an appendage of corporatism and vulture capitalists, Trump took the Republican Party and helped shape it into a broad coalition of workers and patriots that really does transcend race and ethnicities; call it America First Republican Populism.
He rejected the corporatism and globalism that had overtaken the GOP and returned the party and the conservative movement to its Goldwater and Reagan roots. This approach (to some degree the vision of Russell Kirk) focused on the importance of the republic, individual liberty, personal and national security, and the primacy of America’s interests on the global stage.
It’s a commonsense approach prioritizing the sovereignty of We the People and keeping America free from enemies both foreign and domestic. It’s a fundamentally different approach from the recent past for the party, and one I would hope any Republican or conservative going forward who seeks the mantle of leadership will have to accept.
But it’s more than substance: it’s also style. Trump also has instilled a steel spine into many Republicans. Rolling over for the Democrats and their propagandists in the mainstream media doesn’t work. Although some Republicans like Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) and others will be more than happy to return to the Paul Ryan approach of “losing with dignity,” many will have no part in going back to the nauseatingly meek and humble ways that failed us.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of how the presidential election ends, the 2020 elections as a whole proved that Trump’s ideas win. We will probably hold the Senate and we picked up a minimum of 12 seats in the House in a supposed “blue wave” year. Take it a step further and look at the state level: Democrats spent hundreds of millions to flip the state houses blue and they ended up with nothing. In fact, for all of George Soros’ money wasted on Eric Holder, Republicans actually turned multiple state legislatures red and increased their margins in several others.
Republicans would do well to remember that: the corporatists might write big fat checks to advance their hyper self-interested economic priorities, but the GOP’s future electoral success lies with the America First coalition. President Trump began to lead the Republican Party away from corporate interests and into the hands of the people so that it would no longer be beholden to the demands of the few but working in response to the needs of the American people.
But these obvious lessons appear to be in question: the GOP, especially the Republican National Committee, without Trump in the White House to give the party a real backbone, is extremely susceptible to the corporatists and vulture capitalists who have been waiting in the wings to take back control of the party.
The Democratic Party faces a similar struggle because the corporatists are on the move there, too. The battle for the Republican Party is between the Corporatists versus America First, while in the Democratic Party it is Corporatists versus the Socialists. Corporatists cloud the real struggle among the people for the future of the country between a patriotic America First agenda and a socialist one.
Will the soulless corporatists win out on both sides of the aisle? It remains to be seen. But the Republican Party would do well to remember that Trump has shown it a new way, a way that can be extremely successful electorally. He has fought tooth and nail to build the broad workers’ movement that transcends party lines. We would be fools to abandon it.