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The 2012 election made it abundantly clear that the Republican Party must reject fiscal conservatism if they want to win any more national elections. Small government fiscal conservatism is simply an archaic notion that a majority of the population now rejects. If the future is demographics – as many here and in the MSM claim – then the demographics we need to win are turned off by appeals to limited government and fiscal conservatism.
The Millennials (or whatever we call the young vote these days) clearly rejected the fiscal conservative message in 2012. Their rejection is not surprising. They have grown up in an era of big government. They have been taught the praises of big government at big universities financed by big government on increasingly bigger loans provided by big government to cover big tuitions. Those student loans keep them from having to work while attending college and allows them to study non-productive majors like art appreciation, feminist studies, peace studies, theater, etc. They also like the idea that mom and dad can now keep them on their insurance until their mid-life crisis and thus postpone the consequences of studying a major that will not pay for itself.
African-Americans also clearly rejected fiscal conservatism in 2012. They voted overwhelmingly for Obama and turned out in large numbers because many felt that a Republican victory would cut off the supply of government goodies. They do not care that government welfare destroyed the African American family and thus condemned and still condemns many of their youth to perpetual unemployment and prison. They are addicted to government largesse and view the government as their lord, provider, and saviour. Clearly, continuing the government largesse is more important to black Christians than supporting the Biblical concepts of marriage, the family, and opposing infanticide and abortion – even when the abortion of black babies has reached the level of genocide.
Hispanic voters stand at a crossroads and are more evenly split than the African American or the youth vote. Nonetheless, many of them are drawn to the welfare state, lower university tuition underwritten by a big government, and the promise of amnesty. If amnesty is a bridge too far, then why not give them a little more government largesse to ease the pain and remove the stigma of being illegal.
If the Republican Party wants to make significant inroads into these three demographics, then it must embrace fiscal liberalism and, at the very least, offer the same goodies the Democrats do to win their votes. As Rush famously aid, “You can’t beat Santa.” So if you can’t beat them, then you join them. The fiscal war at the national level is clearly lost.
The proper venue for fiscal issues is the state and local level. State and local policies and tax codes have a direct impact on job creation, which is why Texas and North Dakota continue to create jobs even in the midst of the Obamanation. The best thing fiscal conservatives can do is to take their fight to state and local government. Federalism is their only hope because they are done at the national level.
In rejecting fiscal conservatism, the Republican Party will open inroads into these traditional liberal constituencies. African Americans and Hispanics are more in line with the Republican Party on social issues and will naturally gravitate toward the GOP if the barrier of fiscal conservatism is removed. Since fiscal conservatives will still be connected with the GOP at the state and local level, Republicans can still count on their votes at the national level. Thus no votes are lost and many more are actually gained by rejecting fiscal conservatism.
At the national level and in the guise of the Reagan coalition (fiscal, social, and strong defense), fiscal conservatives have continually undermined the coalition and have not even pulled their own weight in recent years. Fiscal Conservatives may make good governors but they perform horribly at the national level. Where were the fiscal conservative leaders in the last election cycle? Who was the great champion of fiscal conservatism in the Republican primaries? Most of the fiscal leaders – Mitch Daniels, etc – sat out the election and/or refused to work with other conservatives. In their insane demand that fiscal conservative be the sole issue of the campaign, they alienated other conservatives, alienated the base, insured Romney the nomination, and burned any bridges that social issues might have built to the demographics the GOP claims that it needs.
It is time for the fiscal conservatives to go. If they will not go quietly and for the good of the party, then they must be purged.
Let me close by saying that much of what I just wrote is bunk and utter nonsense. While fiscal conservatives often do a disservice to fiscal conservatism, fiscal conservatism is vital to the survival of our country. For the United States of American to survive into the 21st century as a free and vibrant republic, all branches of conservatism must pull together (fiscal, social, and national defense). Shortly after Romney failed, many fiscal conservatives and the establishment oligarchy (not necessarily the same) strode onto the public stage, blamed social conservatives, and demanded they be hounded from the party. Erick Erickson mentioned in one of his first post-election blogs that a greater case could be made that abandoning fiscal conservatism would benefit the party electorally. I wanted to follow up on that and make that case. If the GOP embraced fiscal liberalism, we might win more elections, but the country would spiral out of control and we would end in despotism. The answer to the GOP and the country’s problem is not simply winning elections. More on that to come.
[The depiction of Millennials, African-Americans, and Hispanics in this post is not an accurate portrayal. It is one dimension and in some cases very racist and age-ist. However, it is the depiction that many pundits in the MSM and political consultants have advanced following the election. I used it for that purpose. In a future post I hope to examine more carefully the elements of the Democratic coalition and how that coalition can be disassembled.]