Conservatives and Libertarians should begin to prepare themselves to be marginalized at the federal government level. This may sound like a strange remark with a Republican in the White House and Republicans controlling both houses of Congress…but let’s take a breath and think this through.
I think everyone can agree that Donald Trump is not a conservative or libertarian by any commonly recognizable definition of those words. And, Donald Trump destroyed every conservative and libertarian that represented us in the Republican primary, not merely because they were in his way, but because of their beliefs.
In Congress, conservatives and libertarians remain minorities and Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell still have nothing but disrespect for what they consider to be their right flank. With no significant leadership roles to play in the executive or legislative branches of government, our only hope is that Trump nominates a conservative, constitutionalist, or libertarian to the Supreme Court. But even this is unlikely.
We haven’t failed to gain power through a lack of effort. We’ve simply butted up against realities beyond our control: a populace that doesn’t care about the Constitution if the Constitution doesn’t improve their bottom line; a populace growing more socially liberal by the minute; a populace that conflates corporatism and capitalism, and which—unable to tell the difference—rejects the latter and tolerates the former.
Many Americans are speaking about the common characteristics between Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan. This might actually be a decent comparison, because for all of Ronald Reagan’s conservative rhetoric, very little of that populist conservatism ever made it into actual policy. There was a great deal of bipartisan cooperation and deal making, there was amnesty, and there were scandals. At the end of the day the country was far better off under Reagan than it would have been under four more years of Jimmy Carter. The Christian Majority got Reagan elected and gained little in the way of tangible victories for their many causes.
What did we get, though? What Reagan gave us was equally as important as “conservatism” as such; he changed the American culture. He ended the malaise. He rebuilt the United States military and won the Cold War. He secured many executive victories around the margins and unleashed the American economy. American life improved, and it improved without many conservative or libertarian victories. The government continued to grow. Debt and deficits remained a problem. Cans were kicked down the road. Abortions increased. Illegal immigrants continued to pour across the border.
Neither Rand Paul nor Ted Cruz were the next Ronald Reagan. They would have been better than Reagan. Trump really might be the next Reagan and the future Trump administration is just as likely to disappoint conservative, constitutionalist, and libertarian activists as the Reagan administration. However, if the country is improving under Trump, all the fist shaking and Facebook memes in the world will have even less of an effect than they did during the Bush and Obama administrations.
I’m 37 years old. In my lifetime there has never been a better time to turn 99% of our attention toward state and local government. Let us recognize that as long as Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell are controlling the agenda in Washington D.C., that conservatives simply do not have a seat at the table. We are too few. Our representatives are too few. Let us exercise our voices, influence, and activism where they will have the most impact—right here in the Commonwealth, in our cities, counties, and towns.
I recognize that for many of you, who have been so focused on the federal government for so long, that this will be a difficult transition. After all, FOX News, CNN, and MSNBC couldn’t care less about local or statewide issues, so you won’t hear about them on the news. Most of the social media chatter will be centered around Trump’s Tweets, Congressional battles, and Supreme Court cases. There just won’t be many positive stories to react to, but why should we always be reacting? Let us be proactive. Let us flex our muscles where and when we can.
For conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians, let 2017 and 2018 be all about our State and Local governments. Let’s get back to activism from the ground up. If you don’t know your school board and board of supervisors personally, if you aren’t talking to them on a regular basis, then we have a problem. If you can’t get your delegate or their legislative aide on the phone, then we have a problem. If your State Senator doesn’t know who you are, then we have a problem.
Let’s focus on local issues for a few years and see what happens. In the meantime, let’s set rational expectations regarding “our agenda” in Washington D.C.
It seems astounding to me that you believe Trump might be the next Reagan, and in the same breath you lament how disappointing Reagan was. And now, when we finally have all three branches of government again, plus the most conservative cabinet we have seen in our lifetimes, you conclude that conservatives have no seat at the table, so we should just accept our fate and turn our attention to local government. What a bizarre world you live in!
Trump surprised everyone by winning, but the biggest surprise for me was his cabinet selection which is fantastic from a conservative’s point of view. These are strong, capable, no-nonsense people that will get things done, and they have expressed strongly conservative goals in Education, in Energy, in Defense, and in Justice, all the way down the line. None of that ‘compassionate conservatism’ gobbledygook from this president. This is a great cabinet, and they will be led by a president who is determined to make real change. The American people just delivered an earthquake to the federal government. This is not the time to divert your attention.
I’ll say again, I was a Cruz guy until the bitter end. The difference between you and me, is that I admitted I was wrong. I quickly supported Trump when he became our last best hope. Cruz is more naturally conservative of course, but Trump was the right guy for this election. You may be right about one thing… Trump could be even better than Reagan.
I am hoping Trump can get some more originalists on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. Otherwise any local gains can be overturned by liberals running to the courts for their political wins.
Very astute. Last paragraph is profound.
“Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz weren’t the next Ronald Reagan. They would have been better than.”
Still can’t accept the fact that Trump whooped The Canadian, huh?
Whooped — Reference the Urban Dictionary.
The act of getting beaten up badly. Also used in competition when one opponent gets a decisive victory over another.
Example: Ted got his ass whooped by Trump.
That wasn’t exactly true.
Those doing the whooping were Constitutionalist voters marginalizing ‘libertarian’ readers of the country’s charter.
Rand Paul lost because he got off message, joining the establishment march to political oblivion.
Speaking of which. After Jan. 20th, if Ryan and the Turtle don’t get on board with Trump, well yes, there may be a reckoning with ‘establishment conservatives’ as well. They are still as much in denial as the Dems.
I wasn’t directing this to populists 😉
“Conservatives and Libertarians should begin to prepare themselves to be marginalized in the federal government.”
Even if true, we have had plenty of practice at being marginalized during the Obama administration.
Yes. And under Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter……
Yes, we all need to rally behind bills like HB 1444, and Sam Rasoul, and raise the minimum wage in Virginia.
We need to look at the economic boom that places like Seattle are now experiencing due to government raising their minimum wage. We can see in Seattle what happens when the employer pays the salary of its employees, rather than the taxpayer.
Raising minimum wage gets other people’s hands out of the taxpayers pockets by ensuring that people who work for minimum wage, can no longer qualify for food stamps, welfare, or Medicaid.
Call your $awmaker, tell them you support HB 1444.
Also, it does little good for commenters to mention a bill, and not provide the bill number or at least who the Chief Patron of a bill that they show interest in is.
Your snark is somewhat less vicious this morning. D’you have a merry Christmas?
Kind of a boring Christmas for me. Since you wrote so many articles, I would assume that this Christmas was kind of boring for you also?
You could call it boring, I thought of it as extremely relaxing. But yes, I had lots of time to just sit and write.
What did the Koch brothers give you for Christmas?
A penthouse at Sandals.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian
Spa & Beach Resort https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/30c8cd8feba801c04e99c0d13e3ede42c77e991b9c075503a34d6f8ce2b151e5.png
You can’t see it in the picture, but I’m standing on the boat in the background counting my ill-gotten gains.
Have heard that the Koch boys pay well. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d4a5f5221d7280d67e62cad75682456ee5e93c1e73155117a54b3cad6931d53.jpg
All jokes and disagreements aside, may God bless you, and I honestly hope that you have a very, very, very, very, happy New Year!
RR3, you are 101% spot on. I am sick and tired of employers – both of big and small businesses – who hire adult workers, many of them immigrants from rural Mexico and Central America, and pay them $8 an hour, while the taxpayers have to subsidize these slave labor wages. I am of the mindset and opinion that if you cannot afford to pay your ADULT workers a living wage, then you should not be in business.
And I am also sick and tired of middle class and upper-middle class “conservatives” who prattle on about “the free market” while getting screwed by the rich who are the ones who benefit the most by this arrangement.
We are in total agreement about minimum wage, and the billionaires slave, unfree market!
Anyone who thinks that healthcare will ever be free market based in this country is just plain stupid. There’s no other explanation.