“The 2016 election laid bare profound but long-hidden ideological divisions among America’s conservative intellectuals.
Some of us heartily supported the Trumpian insurgency. Others reluctantly pulled the lever for Trump. Still others opposed his candidacy, adopted the label “Never Trump,” or even endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Yet more than two years later, we speak with one voice: There is no returning to the pre-Trump conservative consensus that collapsed in 2016. Any attempt to revive the failed conservative consensus that preceded Trump would be misguided and harmful to the right.
We give credit where it is due: Consensus conservatism played a heroic role in defeating Communism in the last century, by promoting prosperity at home and the expansion of a rules-based international order. At its best, the old consensus defended the natural rights of Americans and the “transcendent dignity of the human person, as the visible image of the invisible God” (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus) against the depredations of totalitarian regimes …”
“Many in the Republican establishment regard Donald Trump’s presidency as something merely to be endured, a temporary disruption that too shall pass, after which the party’s long-standing orthodoxy can reign once more. Such thinking is misguided, both positively and normatively. While President Trump may himself be an aberration, his victory improbable and overdetermined, the economic challenges and political fractures that he helped expose were already features of the American landscape and are going nowhere. The GOP (and the Democratic party) must adapt to and address them.
Options for the future shape of American conservatism are not confined to what came before Trump and what Trump himself represents. His role is not that of builder, constructing some compelling new vision to compete with the old one, but of earthquake, toppling everything built with flawed principles on shaky foundations and leaving open space in which to build anew. “More earthquake” is not a rebuilding plan. The question is where old structures should be resurrected and what new ones should be preferred. …”
This is what the inevitable realignment of the American Right is going to look like after Blompf is gone in a populist-conservative coalition:
This is what should have happened after Trump won in 2016.
Alternatively, Door #2 is the populist-progressive coalition of the future. For now, I believe this is the immediate future because Conservatism, Inc. has managed to cling to power:
Populists are now the center of the American electorate.
If you think populism is surging now, just wait until the 2020s when artificial intelligence, automation and robotics are chewing through the working class and middle class and displacing humans of all races from the workforce. Did you know something like 35% of all jobs in the United States are expected to be automated over the next 15 years? What is going to happen to all those people?
The choice facing the political establishment will be simple: it can appeal to populist voters on the basis of social issues (the GOP) or economics (the Democrats). While it took us decades for the mounting social and economic stress in the electorate to reach this point (we’re not even close to being done yet), we’re about to reach the point where we have a clear choice in our elections again.
The good news for conservatives is that in the near future our economic problems are going to be solved in a post-modern economy after we all agree to dispense with free-market capitalism. In the future, the only issues left to solve will be the social issues. Just imagine how virtual reality technology will give human beings the ability to indulge in every vice and sin imaginable or what genetic engineering will unleash with designer babies or how humans will cope with being incapacitated by machines in the world of Wall-E. Look at where we are already at now with transgenderism and mass shootings and imagine how much worse the godlessness will get before it is arrested.
History comes at us in waves. If you look back through American history, you can see the wave of Populism and Progressivism rising in the 1890s and 1900s and crashing on the world of Eastern conservatism in the 1910s. I’m pretty sure it is about to happen again on an even larger scale. Real conservatives will ride the tiger and see it as a blessing and opportunity to finally be rid of the ideology that harnessed social conservatism as a booster rocket to advance its own economic ends.