Salena Zito has an article out in the Washington Examiner that’s worth your time. The whole notion that “The Republicans have lost the suburbs” is way overstated. If that were true, the Dems blue wave would have materialized as they expected, rather than being a historically ho-hum midterm performance for the party out of power. But that’s not to say I think the Republicans are playing all the right moves. The Dems are doing a far better job of selling to wealthy suburbanites than the GOP is doing of selling to working class voters. What you’re seeing now is wealthy suburbs shifting hard for Democrats, while working class suburbs that have been traditionally democratic are shifting more slowly.
The GOP will find its home not necessarily just with blue collar workers: there’s whole classes of educated, middle-class voters out there who are working professional jobs, but aren’t rich enough to afford the wild redistributionist schemes of the progressive left. We aren’t going to pay for universal health care and free college by taxes on the wealthy. You and I will pay for those things, and if you think they’re expensive now, wait until they’re free. If I were running the GOP, here’s what I’d tell them:
- Forget the Chambers of Commerce. Let the Dems have them. A lot of the small business people are in that “not quite rich enough” category, so you’re not going to lose them by telling the chambers to piss off.
- Forget free trade. Smacks of globalism, and whether you like it or not, Trump has positioned the GOP as a nationalist party that believes in borders and trade agreements that benefit the American worker.
- You’ve lost the rich to the Dems, so why promote corporate friendly policies and tax structures that benefit them? They are begging to pay more in taxes. So have it!
- Use the immigration issue to crack into the black working-class vote. You might also find that latinos who are already here aren’t keen on wage competition with new arrivals either. You want to break tech workers away from their oligarchical overlords? Run on ending the H1B program. Sure, your donors will squeal, but you need votes more than donors.
- Front candidates who are talented at retail politics, and who get what that means in the 21st century. You can win elections on the cheap if you know what you’re doing. The great conceit of all the consultants is that they can take the most Quasimodo of political candidates and make them winners. That is an exhausted model that takes a lot of money, which needs a lot of donors. You can get donors by kissing ass to wealthy elites, but at the cost of votes from your base. Trump defeated Hillary on a shoestring budget. Sure, Hillary had more money to showcase the country how awful she was, but that’s not to say Trump didn’t do a lot of things right.
- Religious, but not too much. The wear your religion on your sleeve model of politicking is as dead as a doornail. This will vary from region to region, but if you want the rust belt states, you’ll scare them with too much overt religiosity. Trump should have shred to pieces the notion that you can’t win the Jesus vote without praising Jesus publicly and loudly.
I’d note that a lot of these aren’t my preferred position: if you’ll notice, economic libertarianism is the loser in this realignment. But it’s not like it really had a home before. This is where I see all this going. The overall realignment, and not just here but globally, is between nationalists and globalists. Globalism will probably win in the end, but the fight is going to be over whether globalism happens democratically, with nation-states in voluntary cooperation, or whether we continue creating international institutions controlled by the wealthy for their own benefit.
Where do guns end up in all of this? The ruling classes have never been in favor of the peasants being able to shoot back. Unfortunately, I do not see the Democratic Party coming back to gun rights any time soon. Our home will be with the Republicans for the foreseeable future. What we have to hope for is that even when the Dems take control, they can never take enough control to really push the worst. We’re also playing the court game very well, and that could provide a firewall against the Dems’ worst excesses.
What will the Dem coalition look like? A party of wealthy elites is a losing party. The Dem coalition will be between the wealthy and urban and suburban poor. You see this in California. The wealthy will provide the money, from both themselves, but also from their political opponents in the working class, to provide benefits for their poor coalition members.