When the election results came in, I assumed things would go back to normal. Conservatives would fight against liberals and push back against the GOP when they veered too close the middle. I figured I could put aside Trump’s buffoonery from the campaign trail because he’d be acting very differently as President-elect and then as President. I conjectured that the left would try to unite behind the rallying call of stopping their bleeding and grow up as a party the way the GOP started to grow up (a little) after 2008.
On every count, I was wrong.
Reverse the order of my assumptions and we can understand why they didn’t work. First, the left isn’t showing a single sign of growing up. They’ve apparently decided to double-down in every possible way. Party leadership is revolting against itself. Democratic activists are flailing around, taking shots at everyone else within their own party while throwing bombs at anyone with a MAGA hat. Social justice warriors in colleges are building safe spaces within their safe spaces and smothering free speech with the violence of a mafia assassin and his garrote. The media is acting like it never left campaign mode, still trying to dig up dirt on Trump, still addressing everything he said with a magnifying glass and vile condemnations as if he were Fidel Castro (whom they apparently adored, ironically).
Trump hasn’t helped. He seems to still be in campaign mode as well. His recent Tweets about voter fraud only give fuel to the media trolls. Making the claims will not make him win the election more. Does he really believe there are millions of illegal votes or does he want his supporters to think he won the popular vote as well? Either way, what’s the point? When is he going to realize the election is over, he won, so it’s time to put Twitter down and never pick it up again until 2020.
All of this takes away from the simplicity of being a conservative in a post-election world. I find myself wanting to get Trump focused on repealing and replacing Obamacare rather than the “revising” actions he offered almost immediately after the election. Instead, I am too busy attacking the left for their hypocrisy or the GOP for their tomfoolery in how they’re handling pretty much everything post-election. I know it’s only been three weeks, but it’s not slowing down. It’s getting worse. As a result, it’s time to put a stop to it.
We may not be able to halt the left or Trump from doing what they’re going to do, but we don’t have to pay attention to it all. Instead, we should focus on what’s important.
Just the Issues
We have a tremendous opportunity as conservatives. There seems to be a willingness on the GOP’s part to look into some of the government-shrinking items that the country has desperately needed for decades. I’m not just talking about the regulations that Trump has already promised to reduce. The small government fundamentals of Reagan’s new Federalism have their best opportunity to shine since shortly after the start of Reagan’s second term.
There are two major roadblocks. The first is focus. If we allow the distractions of Trump’s Tweets or the left’s tantrums to take up our time or attention, we won’t succeed at pushing a conservative agenda. It will take everything we’ve got to make it work under Donald “Time to Borrow” Trump, so any distractions hurt tremendously.
The second roadblock is in getting enough people to understand the three components of small government. Many will think that Trump is a small government guy and the GOP-controlled chambers of Congress are small government conservatives if they’re able to start wiping away the massive accumulation of regulations, overreaching laws, and executive orders that have plagued DC. The problem is that reducing bits and pieces of bureaucracy and token sums of power will not get the job done.
The Federalist mentality of balance between the state and federal governments hinges on the 10th Amendment. As such, it’s imperative that all three components of big government – budget, bureaucracy, and power – are dramatically reduced simultaneously. Knocking out some regulations won’t have an impact. We need to kill every unrighteous regulation quickly and with a systematic approach the reduces the sputtering effect it can have during transition. We need to eliminate entire government departments and agencies. This cannot be done quickly as the transition must not enable problems to arise, but the ball needs to get rolling and sunset dates should be set for agencies like the EPA, the Department of Education, and all other agencies that essentially disregard the 10th Amendment. As for budget, this only becomes possible in conjunction with the other two.
It’s so easy to get lost in the day-to-day mess that will be ongoing between the left, the media, and the administration, but we must fight the urge. This is going to be the most publicly scrutinized administration in history. We have to keep our focus on the things that matter and push the right agenda. If it works now, great. If we must push the new party to challenge the status quo, so be it. Thankfully, both paths at this early stage are parallel.