Over at the Atlantic, David Frum has penned a thought-provoking piece on “The Great Republican Revolt.” It’s basically about the Trump phenomenon, and he does an amazing job of assessing the trends and describing the current zeitgeist—which is probably why this piece has generated some buzz. (Seriously, he nails it.)
Where we part company, however, is when he gets around to describing his preferred option for addressing the situation.
Frum’s recipe for “True Reform” includes this:
Make peace with universal health-insurance coverage: Mend Obamacare rather than end it. Cut taxes less at the top, and use the money to deliver more benefits to working families in the middle. Devise immigration policy to support wages, not undercut them.
Embracing Obamacare and delivering more “benefits” strikes me as an interesting way to head off what many think of as a Right-wing movement. In fairness, though, Frum is absolutely correct when he acknowledges that Trump supporters “aren’t necessarily superconservative. They often don’t think in ideological terms at all. But they do strongly feel that life in this country used to be better for people like them—and they want that older country back.”
Yes, people are pissed. But this doesn’t mean conservatives should abandon their principles in favor of adopting liberal stances masquerading as populism.
My forthcoming book Too Dumb to Fail really picks fights with two enemies: Lunatics and heretics. Both are dangerous. And, in this case, Frum is essentially marrying the two of them. This is the worst of both worlds. The key for conservatives is to modernize, not to moderate. (If you’re interested in more on that, pre-order it today.)
* * *
Lastly, a note: Thank you for reading me this year.