Donald Trump

Donald Trump Has Wrecked the Republican Party. Here's What a Better GOP Could Look Like.

Three senators offer models for the future.

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Foter / Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump has broken the Republican party.

At a presidential townhall last night hosted by CNN, Trump refused to say that he would support the GOP nominee, whoever he is, insisting that he had been "treated very unfairly." Ted Cruz and John Kasich, the other two GOP candidates still in the race, also declined to make the promise.

The joint refusal signaled the death of the pledge to support the nominee, which was pushed on the candidates by the Republican National Committee, and something more than that as well. It's a sign that the Republican party is no longer functioning as a coherent unit—that the party, which is supposed to be a vehicle for unifying and channeling political energy, is no longer capable of doing so. It has become a force for disorganization and disunity. The party, which has long struggled with dysfunction, has totally fallen apart. So now the question is: What's next?

One possibility is that nothing much will change, that GOP leadership will continue as planned, treating Trump as a storm to be weathered rather than a structural problem to be addressed. But as New York Times columnist Ross Douthat writes in a retort to an unsigned piece by The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, that is not so much a strategy as a willful blindness to reality, a refusal not only to reckon with the party's problems but to admit that they exist. The leave-it-be approach would continue the party on the path of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and endless income tax cuts and hawkish maximalism.   

But if things are to change, then the question is how. Trump does not offer much in the way of specific guidance. His campaign is not animated by specific policy proposals, but by an inchoate anger and frustration, a brooding sense of economic anxiety and cultural dislocation that he absorbs and channels into support for him, and whatever it is he does and says on any given day. What Trump's success suggests, however, is that candidates need not stick strictly to the GOP playbook in order to be successful. He has ripped up the rulebook, but he has not provided a new one.

What the GOP needs, then, are new political models—candidates who embody what the Republican party could be, and whose attitudes and emphases suggest possible paths forward. For that, there are worse places to start than a trio of GOP senators: Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, each of whom embodies a distinct kind of Republicanism, and a possible response to the problems facing the party.

The Republican party of today faces three main pressures, broadly speaking: an external demographic and cultural pressure to be more open and inclusive, a (mostly) internal economic pressure to be more sensitive to the needs and interests of the working class, and an ideological pressure, driven by parts of the party's base, to be more rigorous in its adherence to limited government principle.

The careers of Flake, Lee, and Paul each offer possible responses to at least one of these challenges. Flake is a former conservative think tank chief and one of the GOP's leading voices in favor of trade and immigration, a sun-belt fiscal conservative who has fought party orthodoxy on U.S. relations with Cuba. Lee is arguably the Senate GOP's most effective policy entrepreneur, the backer of a tax reform plan the merits of which are debatable but which is at least intended to prioritize easing the tax burden on middle class families as well as one of the Republican party's most prominent voices on sentencing and criminal justice reform. And, setting aside the mistakes and compromises of his presidential campaign, Paul is perhaps the party's most effective internal critic, a spokesperson for a more humble foreign policy and an advocate for personal privacy, as well as one of the few GOP leaders who has at least attempted, however awkwardly, to expand the GOP's demographic base.

None of these candidates fully and perfectly addresses all of the GOP's current pressure points, of course. And all of them certainly frustrate both conservatives and libertarians in any number of ways, both for their deviations from the party line, and for the ways they continue to adhere to it.

Ideally, the party would combine attributes of all three, becoming both more libertarian and more populist, more focused on its working class base and more inclusive and open to outsiders at home and abroad, more ideologically consistent and more friendly to policy experimentation.

That would require compromise, of course. The party would certainly be more socially conservative than most libertarians would like, and would probably be more open on immigration than many of the conservative rank-and-file would prefer. But it could also offer something to both, and, with some effort, channel some of the rage and alienation that is currently fueling Trump's campaign into something more productive and more unifying.

What these candidates share, broadly speaking, is an openness to bipartisan cooperation that is not conventionally centrist, a staunch and serious conservatism that is not entirely rigid when it comes to policy, and a focus on openness and inclusion, on expanding the party's appeal beyond its base—or, the very least, on opening up the lines of communication with people the party tends to ignore. And while all of them favor tax cuts of some form or another (they are, in the end, still Republicans), they do no see tax policy—and in particular cuts to marginal income tax rates—as the be-all, end-all of domestic policy. And yet they are all also staunch fiscal hawks, at least relative to the typical GOP Senator.

All of them, in other words, are at least partially untethered from the Republican party's past. And as a result, all of them offer at least a glimpse at what a revived GOP could look like—models for a post-Trump party, and, critically, a post-Bush and post-Reagan party as well, one that might even challenge Democrats (who have their own issues) in new and interesting ways too.

If there is a single saving grace to Donald Trump's ugly, embarassing, wrecking ball run through the GOP, this may be it. He's wrecked the party, but he's also provided an opportunity—maybe—to save it from itself.

NEXT: The Demise of the Republican Party, and Duverger's Law

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  1. Donald Trump has broken the Republican party.

    Bullshit.

    The republican party has three branches: the chamber of commerce; sexually-obsessed conservative christians; and warmongering empire builders.

    On occasion, a republican (like Reagan in the 80s and trump now) attracts blue-collar workers who are simultaneously pissed at both their economically uncertain position and social changes that make them uncomfortable.

    Trump is a snake-oil salesman who has figured out how to attract at least three of these four groups by spouting gibberish loudly and with great gusto.

    Trump has not broken the party, he is just recreating the Reagan colalition without using any of Reagan’s charm.

    1. As a former Republican, I would distill your categories into just two; external hate, and internal hate.

      One is a powerful motivator, the other is a pressure release for the powerless. Republican gov’t fucked up the VA? It’s the persona non grata’s fault. The culture of Republicanism I learned in the midwest is that of the sneering imperialist who would rather die in a knife fight over pride than concede.

      Essentially, in my view, Republicans claim honor and rarely have it, like much of medieval history.

      But given all this, I know that hate is an honest emotion. I know that most of the time, people don’t aimlessly hate. And I much prefer to know that someone hates me rather than not know and be lied to directly.

      1. insufferable smug alert

        1. I think you mean “insufferable smugness alert,” because otherwise you are saying the alert itself is smug, which would mean you are calling your own comment smug, which would mean….oh, nevermind.

        2. WORLDSTAR!!!!!!!!!

      2. There is much truth in what you’re saying. You’re loosely describing what some political scientists call Jacksonianism.

        But it’s also true that “progressives” are equally defined by external hate. The modern Harvard professor or national jounralist is just as much of a prideful, anger-filled sneerer as the typical Appalachian backwoods Christian hillbilly.

        Of course, the Harvard professor is far more reluctant to engage in personal violence to defend his conception of morality than the Jacksonian; (he prefers that have others below him in the social hierarchy do that sort of dirty work for him), and the targets of the progressives’ scorn and vitriol are those who continue to resist their self-perceived natural right to rule, and their lofty notions that countries and cultures no longer matter all that much.

    2. It’s pretty ridiculous considering that the Republicans basically control election laws in most places. They are designed to perpetuate not just a two party system, but the two parties in power.

    3. Hillary is the embodiment of 2 of those three branches. Guess which two? Hint: the two whose basic tenets are crony capitalism and war mongering.

      1. Yes, Hillary is a Republican.

        1. She’ll certainly have the support of the GOP establishment and the Foxnews crew. She should pick John McCain as her running mate.

          1. unity ticket

            1. Their slogan should be:

              We’ll work together to fuck you, grab the soap!

    4. I would say that the Republican Party has wrecked itself. Its apparatchiks and nomenklatura became disconnected from its members, pursuing their own agendas in opposition to the expressed desires of its members.

      This is on their heads, not Trump’s.

      1. The leave-it-be approach would continue the party on the path of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and endless income tax cuts and hawkish maximalism.

        Seems like the endless income tax cuts ended a while ago.

    5. The entrenched looter oligopoly cares only about government jobs for its members. All federal position planks are lifted from smaller parties or taken off the chessboard by Supreme Court decisions like Roe v. Wade or Obergefell v. Hodges to keep the LP from levering it for advantage. Some are nullified through gentle erosion by states. But there is not a Republican or Democrat in office who would hesitate to subsiduze abortion, decriminalize LSD, machine guns, or abolish the personal income tax, repeal inheritance taxes, bring back separate but equal drinking fountains or make mohammedan prayer rugs mandatory in government schools if that were what it took to get reelected.

      All you have to do is vote against both venal parties by voting for an ideological platform and you’ll get ten times the change for your vote. That’s one millionth of a percentage point, as opposed to one ten-millionth of a percentage point for wasting your vote on entrenchment. This difference is huge to the looter who needs a dozen votes to snatch boodle and paychecks from the jaws of some competing looter.

    6. Anti-charm works just as well as charm?

  2. I thought the party was already broken. Trump is just the symptom, not the disease.

    1. Trump is America’s anaphylactic shock. Assaulted by the virus of dangerously divisive left-wing identity politics and by the elitest Republican crony establishment, the country tried to fight back but has gotten too aggressive. Unfortunately, I am unaware of an epipen large enough to counteract this overreaction. Perhaps Gary.

      1. At the risk of being really overly redundant, I’ll say it one more time. When people get really mad and form a mob, they do tend more towards smashing windows and lighting stuff on fire than they do thinking about logical and non-destructive ways to put things right.

        1. I’ll bite. What would you offer to the Trumpians that would put things right?

          1. You should have supported Rand Paul?

            1. If antichoice fanatics bluff the GOP into more gratuitous coercion of women, blacks, mexicanos and hippies AND cheat Trump out of the nomination he is winning fair and square, The Don could easily get even–and help America.

              Trump could REMIND everyone that he “likes libertarians” and offer his supporters more progress by voting the straight Libertarian Party ticket. Reason should apologize for insulting The Don instead of simply comparing him to other candidates. This would mollify a large boatload–nay, fleet–of weird, pissed-off voters who probably like weed, coke, guns, sci-fi and prostitutes, and hate blue laws, fines, imprisonment, taxes, tax audits, suicide vests, bank bailouts, bureaucrats, lobbyists and the beltway soft machine. The LP could walk away with 30% of the vote and REALLY change some laws.

              1. I’m not seeing it. Most of the Trumpets I know would sooner kick themselves in the nuts than vote Libertarian.

            2. But the mob almost always wants free shit, and Rand Paul is usually opposed to giving out free shit. They never would’ve voted for Rand Paul.

          2. Same observations of a tilted playing field that both Trump and Sanders have (correctly) identified – Wall St/FIRE cronyism, ‘free trade agreements’ that don’t have anything to do with trade, immigration designed for the benefit of the elites at the top of the ladder.

            Seems to me that the solution is just to get rid of the pervasive cronyism and corruption that created those three. But for libertarians to do that they have to recognize that all three of those have either coopted/corrupted libertarian ‘policy’ ideas to justify their corruption/cronyism. And libertarians don’t seem to have any interest in taking those ideas back from the cronies – so libertarians end up looking like tools and on the wrong side to actually offer anything constructive

          3. I think it would still be tolerable even to the open-borders crowd at Reason to remove the labor restrictions that make black or grey market immigrant labor artificially more appealing than native labor.

            For example, eliminating provisions that tie H1B workers to companies, so that if they are allowed into the US, they’re competing on the same terms as anyone else, rather than as indentured servants.

    2. Or the populist immuno-response to concessions, perceived or actual.

    3. Choose the form of the destructor.

  3. Suderman, I see you’re challenging Root for last place on the alt text leaderboard. I thought you were better than that.

    1. It’s getting to where, whenever i see a picture of Trump, the word ZUUL flashes in front of my eyes. Is that not the alt text?

      1. Your thoughts aren’t alt text, guy. Dealmaker Alpha’s alt text possibilities are limitless.

        EVERYTHING WORKS.

      2. Who is the Keymaster? Sanders?

  4. Bout time. I was wondering WARE ALL MY TRUMP ARTIKLES GONE

  5. “Donald Trump has broken the Republican party.”

    Thank you, Donald!

    “He’s wrecked the party, but he’s also provided an opportunity?maybe?to save it from itself.”

    Damnit, Donald!

    “That would require compromise, of course. The party would certainly be more socially conservative than most libertarians would like, and would probably be more open on immigration than many of the conservative rank-and-file would prefer.”

    Why? It looks like being less open on immigration is the more popular position.

    1. Because pants shitting hysteria, that’s why!

      OPEN BORDERZ UBER ALLES!

  6. I kinda like the guy from Nebraska.

    Further study might unveil a host of flaws, but…

  7. It’s really a shame that Trump is dominating the “party break up” news because a better “party breakup” story in my opinion is the Fascist vs. Socialist story currently dominating the Democratic party.

    I think it’s the more dangerous story too. Trump is tabloid garbage, Fascism vs Socialism is a serious policy dispute that will have for worse reaching consequences.

    1. Shut the fuck up, Tman. Jump on board the Trumpocalypse Express. its a hell of a lot easier than thoughtful debate or equal coverage on the crony fascist and her commie alternative on the other “side”, but apparently we didn’t donate enough last year to get anything more substantive.

    2. Fascist v. Socialist was the whole chessboard in 1928 and 1932, until a third party was added. The difference was the American Liberal Party forming to crush prohibition and the blue laws underfoot, reduce tariff schedules, no radical change in immigration, but stern resistance to “Mercenary religion” which was “throttling the nation’s life. Paid preachers, quartered in magnificent offices, and working for large salaries, are stifling the life of the people. Some of them are laughing in derision when the poor and the weak are convicted and sent to prison. Some of them are advocating the poisoning of alcohol, so that those who are tempted may die.” That manly 1931 platform roused the Dems from stupor induced by the opiate for the masses, and offered a way to end the Great Depression.

  8. “Treated very unfairly”

    I’m in the ‘public apologies are stupid’ camp but I am consistent. Public whining is just as bad. This election season is just whining all the way down. Sigh

    1. whining all the way down.

      Another euphemism for masturbation? You are sick.

      1. You’re welcome

      2. She just got a new toy. Baby shower present.

  9. Ideally, the party would combine attributes of all three, becoming both more libertarian and more populist,…That would require compromise, of course.

    Isn’t The Amazing Randy offering $1million for that already?

  10. It seems Reason has a TOP MAN fetish.The R’s have more governors,state legislatures and both the hose and the senate.Having the’ top fucking dog ‘ seems to be all that counts.The R’s suck ,but,the dems have lost so much in the last 20 years.

    1. That’s the big story – the DNC is a disaster. Who would Hillary, Bernie, or Biden even pick as a VP? The Democrats have gone from a major party to SJWs desperately in search of victims to rescue. When they start with their social justice talk, middle-class people don’t even recognize what language they are speaking – it’s just crazy jibberish.

      1. They’ll win the election anyways this year; but it’s true that they have no bench and their voters are too dumb to understand their team could rule the country indefinitely if they just showed up at the polls for midterms and state elections like the Republican core demo does.

        1. They’ll win “the election” this year? There’s only one?

          1. There’s only one emperor.

      2. Who would Hillary, Bernie, or Biden even pick as a VP?

        Cuomo and Deblasio seem to be angling for higher office…. You may have a point.

    2. yes while reason’s fetish attacks on the R’s the D’s are taking over the countries top seat.

    3. It seems Reason has a TOP MAN fetish.

      The Leviathan has a TOP MAN fetish.

      The Supreme Court, Federal Apparatchiks, and the President rule. All else is democracy theater.

  11. Because the Republican Party is being inundated with white, blue collar, middle class people–who are abandoning their traditional support for the Democratic Party–that means the Republican Party is doomed?

    If things keep going the way they’re going, the Republicans are going to end up with a super majority in Congress, the White House, and the control of so many state legislatures, that they’ll be able to amend the Constitution with very little support from any Democrats.

    If and when that happens, are we still going to be talking about the demise of the Republican Party?

    P.S. 50% of establishment appointed delegates to the Republican convention can vote however they want after the first round. 80% can vote however they please after the second round. Cruz wins a brokered convention.

    1. It could happen, except that the democrats have an ace up their sleeve. They will continue to get the support of the have-nots, and if things continue unabated on the current course of the nation, the have-nots will permanently outnumber the haves, meaning the working middle class. When that happens, we’re fucked.

      1. Takers make more Takers than Makers make Makers

        1. Societal diodes. Derp sinks.

      2. They will continue to get the support of the have-nots, …

        That’s why the Democrats like immigration, especially those from third world countries. But for some strange reason libertarians think that will lead to a more libertarian society.

    2. I saw a great article about a year ago that discussed the ongoing schism in the Democratic party between the “solidarity” movement and the “entitlement” movement.

      The party has been pissing off blue-color union types for some time now. It will be interesting to see if Democratic party actually comes apart over the Clinton/Sanders split in the months leading up to the convention.

      The various factions in the Republican party may be beating each other about the head and shoulders right now, but none of them will find comfort with any part of the Democratic party.

    3. Because the Republican Party is being inundated with white, blue collar, middle class people–who are abandoning their traditional support for the Democratic Party–that means the Republican Party is doomed?

      You keep on saying this, Ken, yet there is zero evidence that the voters Trump is “attracting” are not voters who in large part already regularly vote Republican. These people haven’t been “traditional” Democratic voters in many years, if not decades. Yes, their registrations may still say “Democrat” but that doesn’t mean anything.

      Also, the demographic you’re describing is shrinking. Even assuming Trump is actually attracting a non-negligible number of white middle and working class voters that have not already deserted the Democrats, they are most likely outnumbered by the minorities, including those who are being driving to register to vote by Trump’s rhetoric.

      1. That is incorrect.

        You have come to imagine the white, blue collar, middle class as already Republican for some reason–but it’s been mostly Democrat since before the New Deal.

        Saying that the white, blue collar, middle class is Democrat used to be like saying that that blacks tend to vote for Democrats.

        Really.

        We’ve been hearing for so long how much progressives hate their own base, we’ve started to believe ourselves that the white, blue collar, middle class is and always has been Republican. If it is now, that’s new! It’s so new, the Democrats aren’t even aware of it yet.

        And there is plenty of other evidence. Trump does better in states with open primaries–where Democrats can vote for Trump.

    4. Isn’t Cruz Canadian-born, of communist ancestry?

      1. I heard he was Lucifer.

  12. I agree with Trump, I won’t be supporting the Republican nominee either.

  13. Sorry, but the GOP was already fucking wrecked before there was a Donald Trump candidacy. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are the face of that wreckage and the one good thing Trump has done if he never does another good thing in politics is getting rid of those two assholes.

    It’s a shame that Reason feels the need to make 90% of their articles about Trump, but instead of discussing Trump with REASON, they have to join the leftist pants shitters and offer little of substance.

    And, fuck the GOP, who the fuck cares if they get wrecked? Wrecking them along with the Democratic party is one hell of a good start.

  14. Well, ok, the Stupid Party is in trouble, but mostly on the national level. Isn’t there something larger looming here?

    The Democrats have slid way left with an avowed socialist pulling the entitled neocon with him, having already lost the silent majority to Trump. If they lose to Trump, they’ve lost the working-class and control of the national government plus some two-thirds of the state governments. So, the democrats are not in good shape, themselves.

    Perhaps there’s something bigger going on here than just the disintegration of the RNC. I’d like to see Reason look at the two parties together as one phenomenon instead of continuing to hyperfocus on Trump and the national Republicans.

    1. To busy penning ‘The Libertarian Case for Bernie Sanders’ takes.

      1. How about the libertarian case for Hillary? She, unlike Trump, is the Real TOP (WO)MAN in the race.

    2. The Democratic party is drifting back to how left they were 60 years ago. Bernie is not “an avowed socialist.” He is a New Deal Democrat.

      The Democrats drifted right economically in the 90s under Clinton, and Bernie is taking the party back to Roosevelt. He just thinks the term “socialist” sounds edgy and makes him seem more radical than he really is.

      1. Bernie is not “an avowed socialist.” He is a New Deal Democrat.

        The Democrats drifted right economically in the 90s under Clinton, and Bernie is taking the party back to Roosevelt.

        Maybe so. But I would argue that FDR was fascist–which is just a socialist that allows private enterprise but that is heavily regulated by government.

        So I guess I would agree with you that Sanders is just another Progressive Democrat, just that I see little difference between progressives and socialists. Bill Clinton definitely took the party in a more business-friendly crony direction but Obama had already pulled the democrats back toward Progressivism/Socialism before Sanders hit the national stage.

        1. True enough-I just don’t think the Democrats are drifting farther left, just back left. Bernie wants a command economy in the hands of favored private businesses, like FDR. Like you say, more on the fascist side than genuinely socialist.

          1. Well, you’re not alone in questioning Sanders’ Socialist bonafides. George Will also says that he’s no Socialist. But there’s another angle on this.

            Too many people think that Socialism just means liking social programs. For example: some say that public schools, even roads, and other government social programs are indeed socialism. These are just programs and say little about the center of power–which in socialism lies with an elite or an oligarchy. Maybe this is where Sanders gets his claim of Democratic Socialist. Perhaps Sanders is just a progressive democrat who wants a plethora of social programs. It could certainly follow from his campaign statements.

            1. “Too many people think that Socialism just means liking social programs.”

              I think you’re right about this.

              My former office mate was a self-described “socialist.” When I would question him on it, it turned out that what he really meant was that people sometimes have to work together to make things, and that it’s OK for government to take tax money and use it for roads and things that we, as a “society,” use.

              I think its born from the misperception that fiscal conservatives are essentially anarchists. The whole “Republicans hate the government” narrative has gone so far that people on the left *actually think* that Republicans are *against having a government*.

              So I would get these triumphant screeds from him along the lines of “well, if you think we should have roads, then your a socialist who agrees that fiscal conservatives are evil.”

              When I pointed out to him that socialists go all the way to “government owning all means of production” he acted like I had just said “socialists fully accept the Book of Mormon in its literal interpretation.”

              Which gives me hope that actual Socialism is basically dead and the word is now acquiring new meanings.

        2. Roosevelt promised to legalize beer in Anheuser-Busch-dominated St Louis a month before the 1932 election. Back then, everyone understood clearly that prohibitionist asset forfeiture had destroyed the economy.

      2. The Democratic party is drifting back to how left they were 60 years ago. Bernie is not “an avowed socialist.” He is a New Deal Democrat.

        Oh, is that all? Thank goodness. I was worried he might a totalitarian asshole, but if he’s only as bad as Roosevelt…

        Btw, avowed merely means “asserted”. Bernie has, in point of fact, asserted in the past that he is a socialist – like, for instance, when he ran as a candidate and accepted the endorsement of self-described socialist political parties.

      3. Bernie is not “an avowed socialist.” He is a New Deal Democrat.

        You don’t know Sanders.

        Bernie is a communist. Straight up.

        He runs as an ‘independent’ in Vermont spouting shit that’d curl Stalin’s hair.

        No one ever hears about it because he runs with no real opposition. Just like all the Progressive Coalition folks.

    3. If the Dems lose this Presidential race, they will be in an historically bad position nationwide – essentially, a regional party based in large urban areas and parts of the coasts, without any national power base at all.

      I haven’t heard of any resurgence that would allow the Dems to take back many of the state positions they have lost.

      I hear nobody credibly predicting that they will retake the House.

      I hear they may retake the Senate, but maybe not.

      At some point, they don’t hold enough actual elected positions to really matter much any more. I think the Dems are every bit as vulnerable to a collapse as the Repubs.

      1. Yet we got Obamacare… 😛

  15. The only way a Trump supporter gets laid is if there’s an open bar at the family reunion.

    Discuss.

    1. The age of consent in Pennsyltuckey is 16. Unless you are related then it is 14.

    2. Pfft, they’d black out after their first white wine spritzer.

      1. That’s the idea.

    3. I disagree.

      First, there is prostitution, and some prostitutes will have sex with Trump supporters.
      Second, there are female Trump supporters, and I assume they will bang a male Trump supporter (and vice versa).
      Third, a Trump supporter could befriend a lady inmate, become her pen pal, and then schtupp her as soon as she gets out.
      Fourth, a Trump supporter could just go to an Arby’s and pick up the women who eat there, because if they are in an Arby’s they obviously do not have any self-respect, and having no self-respect means you would shag a fella proudly wearing a red hat.

      1. First, there is prostitution, and some prostitutes will have sex with Trump supporters.

        Well, the Donald brought Melania Trump to the U.S. on an H1B visa. I guess that shows that there are, in fact, some jobs Americans just won’t do for any amount of money.

      2. Arby’s red sauce is a sin against the gods themselves. What kind of monster does that to beef?

          1. One of my housemates in college worked at Arby’s and used to swipe leftovers from the walk-in on his way off shift. One night he brought home some of the “beef”: an undifferentiated sickly gray cube that weighed about 12 pounds. I haven’t been able to touch the stuff since.

            It was pretty awesome when he snagged a couple grocery bags’ worth of curly fries, though.

          2. It’s beef in the sense that plywood is lumber.

          3. It’s actually road-killed possum. I had some of it DNA-tested once…

      3. @NihilistArbys is the greatest thing going on Twitter.

  16. “Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, each of whom embodies a distinct kind of Republicanism, and a possible response to the problems facing the party.”

    I feel like the problem with Reason’s political analysis is that enormous amounts of it is based on wishful thinking. Like how the way forward for the Republican Party is always to become more libertarian, even though libertarianism isn’t even popular among the Republican Party’s own base, much less among the Democrats.

    1. libertarian moment. nuff said.

    2. “Ideally, the party would combine attributes of all three, becoming both more libertarian and more populist, more focused on its working class base and more inclusive and open to outsiders at home and abroad, more ideologically consistent and more friendly to policy experimentation.”

      So you want the Republican Party to be filled with internal contradictions that make no sense. Well, at least Republicans are used to that, I guess.

      You can’t have a more libertarian and a more populist party simultaneously because tons of aspects of libertarianism are innately elitist. Creative destruction is incredibly important to capitalism and populism is mostly about trying to mitigate the effects of creative destruction by telling people they’ll totally be able to get their manufacturing jobs back from the Chinese, even though that’s never going to happen.

      And it’s very hard to appeal more strongly to the working class while also becoming more open to outsiders, since working classes everywhere tend to be pretty insular and not very friendly to outsiders. This is true in every country you can name and is also why the working class always supports NATIONAL socialism over Marx’s international socialism – because the working class is virtually never willing to align itself with foreign working classes.

      1. The nationalistic aspects of the working class is also why socialists are constantly scurrying to blame bourgeois propaganda for any xenophobic or tribal tendencies found among working classes.

        “When it suits them, the bourgeois have no problem stoking our sense of tribalism to get what they want. It was easier before the age of Internet, and before the ages successively of fast travel, TV, telephone, etc. They want us to feel that arbitrary divisions are absolute.”

        See, tribalism exists because the bourgeois brainwashing! *shakes fist angrily*

      2. f creative destruction by telling people they’ll totally be able to get their manufacturing jobs back from the Chinese, even though that’s never going to happen.

        Especially because the Chinese are tying to get those manufacturing jobs back from Vietnam and Cambodia.

        1. Having spent my entire career in manufacturing, I dread the idea of a trade war with asia so we can refurb a few tens of injection molding plants to make Pez dispensers.

          Turning our manufacturing and design prowess towards space and the future has one of the higher potential payoffs for everyone, I’m just not sure that can be done in a nationalistic context anymore.

    3. Look, the welfare state is totally libertarian as long as it’s a cash benefit.

    4. the problem with the the libertarian party is its open borders policy a no go ever on that and everyone knows that so why keep it. Drop that policy then people will listen.

      1. The current LP straddle plank on migration reads: 3.4 Free Trade and Migration: We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.
        It does not say “open borders” and it pretty specifically offers to bar anyone wearing a guncotton headdress and a suicide vest. It’s a cowardly straddle. Everything between “trade.” and “however” ought to be deleted just so lying prohibitionist warmongers will have one less item to misquote.

        1. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.

          So if foreign nationals are statistically less libertarian than US citizens, and allowing them to become US citizens and vote would be a credible threat to freedom of existing US citizens, we bar them from immigrating?

          Works for me.

          Anybody at Reason want to take up that argument, or will the hysterical pants shitting for OPEN BORDERZ and associated chants of Racist Racist Racist continue unabated?

  17. even though libertarianism isn’t even popular among the Republican Party’s own base, much less among the Democrats

    Just keep repeating “libertarian moment” and that weed, Mexicans and ass-sex are the sole litmus tests of libertarianism and we are good.

    1. What is your point with this?

      1. Their definition of “social liberalism” seems to be little more than “weed, Mexicans and ass-sex” and abortion too and combine that with distrust of government and viola libertarian moment!

        1. Libertarian turning point. All it takes is votes.

          1. As a gay Mehixican pot-smoking, ass-sex-loving Libertardian, I must say, you forgot the part about the deep-dish pizza with anchovies and aborted-fetus-parts toppings! If we can ***ALL*** agree that THESE are our talking points, THEN the Libertariac fempto-second will FINALLY arrive! TRUST me now!!!

      2. THEMS VOATED 4 BLOCK INSANE YOMAMMA

        1. More Ulysses quotes. No thanks, I don’t Joyce.

  18. Let the GOP fail. It helps the Libertarians. So long as the hard core conservatives don’t come over.

    1. Hardcore conservatives hate libertarians about as much as the progs hate libertarians. They think we’re all druggies and pacifists.

      1. Let’s you and me sneak off into the woods and get stoned, while all those other crazy mother-fuckers go and shoot and kill each other in all their stupid wars! Problems fixed!

  19. Who is more deluded: Reason’s belief in the Libertarian Moment, Ernst Thalmann in 1932 or the homeless guy with a sandwich board proclaiming that “The End of the World is Nigh!”

    1. 2 glasses of whine before lunch?

      1. And a poor vintage whine it is.

    2. Do you ever feel like the homeless guy with a sandwich board when you comment here?

  20. the way forward for the Republican Party is always to become more libertarian

    “Libertarianism would be a lot more popular if you toned down all that ‘freedom’ and ‘self-ownership’ (whatever THAT is) and ‘small government’ stuff.”

  21. The Republican Party has had a massive crack in it since TR went Progressive. Taft, Harding, Coolidge, Goldwater, and Reagan were nominated when the conservatives were in ascendance. Roosevelt, Hoover, Nixon, HW Bush, Dole, and Romney are some of the Progressive / Moderates.

    The base was pissed because they kept voting for conservatives and getting progressives. Then Trump showed up with a load of blue-collar former Democrats and turned the whole cart over. I’m not sure how you put it back together.

    Maybe the GOP fractures into two parties – a Conservative Party and a Moderately Progressive Party. Cruz, Lee, and Paul go with the conservatives. Trump, Kasich, and Romney go with the moderates. As the DNC completely collapses, these become the 2 main American parties.

    1. But the true progs (hard-core Dems) are not going with either of those parties.

      1. I think the “true progs” are going to find they are a much smaller minority than they think they are.

        1. They’re a large group, but they all hate one-another and are only united as long as they can oppose a GOP painted as racist and sexist.

          1. Predictions, prophecy, forecasts all blow like leaves before cash betting. Politicians are job applicants at election time. They will lie to protect their looting.

        2. The True Progs rule.

          Their various identity politics dancing monkies are how they divide and conquer the peasants.

    2. “The Republican Party has had a massive crack in it since TR went Progressive.”

      I think you’re projecting some things back that don’t belong there.

      McKinley ran against Cleveland as an anti-business crusader who had been very critical of Cleveland’s laissez faire economic policies. McKinley was a disciple of John Sherman and saw himself as an economic protectionist and someone who could save the country from Wall Street and unfettered free markets. Roosevelt was a hot-headed anti-corruption guy who was chosen to balance the ticket and neutralize him politically so he would never be president.

      Then comes along Bryant, challenging McKinley from the left and painting McKinley as the pro-Wall Street guy who favored the eastern establishment, etc., etc.

      At the same time, Taft was getting interested in laissez faire economics, even though that wasn’t really his party’s thing and it ultimately led to a falling out with Roosevelt.

      In short, the parties don’t have consistent platforms over the centuries – not even liberal vs. conservative – they are just against each other. It really is as simple as that.

  22. I blame Straffinrun for the Trump article. He tricked me.

    Florida Hipster|3.30.16 @ 1:15PM|#

    What lever do I slap to get more articles like these?

    reply to this
    straffinrun|3.30.16 @ 1:23PM|#

    The one that says TRUMP, duh.

    reply to this
    Florida Hipster|3.30.16 @ 1:31PM|#

    *slaps trump lever*

    Gah! 300 trump articles! NO!

    1. And with that I go to bed. Enjoy. You know why left handers die earlier? “No, Not THAT lever!”.

  23. For a while, the GOP stood for limited government and the Dems stood for progressive government. Their positions gradually polarized until Dems stood only for expanding government, regardless of progress, and the GOP stood only for standing still, regardless of problems.

    The GOP problem is that there are far more opportunities for Progressives, while trying to stop Progressives is a reactionary game, never forward looking, and always lagging behind because it has to wait for the action to stand against.

    So eventually the GOP just became the party of NO unless it could find some way to say YES in a field before the Dems. The GOP is associated now with “GET OFF MY LAWN” and the Dems with “DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING”.

    All Trump has done is walk into the vacuum and fill it with noise about how incompetent government is.

    1. Well put.

  24. Ideally, the party would combine attributes of all three, becoming both more libertarian and more populist, more focused on its working class base and more inclusive and open to outsiders at home and abroad, more ideologically consistent and more friendly to policy experimentation.

    Trump has driven you people batshit crazy.

  25. The only Reason writer who should be allowed to write about Trump is Scott Shackford, because he’s shown well more than a modicum of thought on the subject. Suderman ranks last in that department.

    1. I love your posting handle. But I’m disappointed that your Kochtopus link does not work.

  26. more ideologically consistent and more friendly to policy experimentation.

    Um what?

    1. Bend-over, this is just a test.

    2. What we need is a Republican party that is super libertarian without turning off any non-libertarians, which can appeal to members of every class, and which can get tons of support from both nationalists and liberal cosmopolitans.

      So long as you deny that opportunity costs exist, this all makes sense.

      1. Knowing Suderman he probably just writes crap that appeals to Gillespie and Welch while eagerly awaiting for that Vox position…

        1. just writes crap that appeals to Gillespie and Welch

          You mean his bosses? The nerve of that guy.

          1. So you agree that he is a non-libertarian who writes nonsense?

            1. Only if you agree that pickles are an underutilized aphrodisiac.

              1. What, you think Winston doesn’t have at least three pickles up him right now?

                1. He has something up his ass, that’s for sure.

                2. +1 plastic model u-boat

      2. The commies and mohammedans needed perhaps 2% of the vote to saddle us with the 16th and 18th Amendments.

  27. If you think about it, the current form of the GOP really has no path forward, while the Democrats have the winning formula.

    The GOP are drug warriors (not popular), war mongers (not popular), pro militarized police state (not popular), while the Democrats are pro more free shit (wildly popular).

    To continue to be a viable choice, the GOP has to become more socially liberal and less war like, while being more free market advocate. IOW, they have to become more libertarian.

    Once the democrats, with the current GOP’s help create a situation where the free shit crowd are the majority, it’s all over. The working middle class will have no in their corner and will be totally abandoned. We’ll just be the 3rd world banana republic with the biggest military.

    1. “GOP are drug warriors (not popular)”

      Super popular so long as you pretend you’re ‘pro-treatment’ and just force drug addicts to go to treatment against their will (which isn’t like prison because reasons).

      “war mongers (not popular)”

      We’re one ISIS related dirty bomb away from nuking Raqqa to raucous applause and 85% approval ratings.

      “pro militarized police state (not popular)”

      Militarized police are unpopular in the day or two after a high profile police shooting and wildly popular in the day or two after said high profile police shooting leads to riots. How popular cops are depends on what day of the week it is.

      1. This is an interesting topic, the drug treatment thing. My wife and I were laughing about this. In Brazil, the government came up with the genius plan to decriminalize drugs, but to force everyone they caught taking drugs, into treatment. They were showing films on TV where the authorities were going to the places where drug users would gather, to get them and take them for treatment. What you saw is people just scattering and running in every direction. Obviously, they didn’t want any treatment. Of course here in the USA, those people would have been beaten down or shot and killed by the cops. But I doubt the program would be anymore popular here. If people wanted treatment, they’d go get it.

        1. If people don’t volunteer for it, it isn’t treatment, it’s programming.

          1. I would like to get my wallet treated to somehow resist Government Almighty’s addiction to raiding my wallet!

    2. So the Democrats are against the drug war and militarized police? The sure seem to have a lot of them in Democratic cities. Hillary and Obama aren’t war mongers? Did I misremember Libya and forget the end of the Afghan War?

      1. I’m talking about their rhetoric, what they say to actually get people to vote for them, not what they actually do.

        1. I suppose a lot of voters are that dumb because some Democrat was once against the war in Vietnam.

          1. A lot? Try most. They keep electing the same assholes over and over again, even after they never do what they say or even do the exact opposite.

            1. Well, that is kind of how the GOP ended up where it is now. If Bush, McConnell, etc… had governed as conservatives and reduced the size and scope of government, Trump wouldn’t be winning the nomination unless maybe he was running as a Democrat.

  28. You know, I keep hearing about the demise of the GOP. Yet, they seem to make electoral advances outside the presidency. It’s almost like the people pushing these narratives are using too few data points.

    1. The Repubs have electoral “victories” but little power.

      Power is in the Center. Feds, Supremes, President. Congress matters little, and State governments even less.

  29. Call me crazy, but “a better GOP” is not something I spend a lot of time pining for.

    1. I recall that classical liberals and Reason beloved H.L. Mencken (when he wasn’t gushing over the Kaiser) weren’t big fans of the old 19th Century Republican party that won elections and was progressive in many ways.

    2. I can’t wait until the GOP transforms itself and makes it’s main focus out free shitting the free shitters. That’s when we know it’s almost over and a reset will eventually happen. Because there is little no hope the current system can be fixed.

      1. Neither party is going to do that. I think both parties are going to break up and there will be two new parties one defending the interests of the rich and the politically established and their welfare dependent clients the other representing the rest of the country who are stuck paying for it.

        1. I’d prefer no political parties. Because in the end, they all wind up representing themselves and their donors. Things can only be fixed when politics as a career is no longer a thing.

          1. I like the idea of not party. Not sure how they’d narrow down to under 10 people or so on the presidential ballot. I think not having the letter after the name would be a start.

        2. No one receives more subsidies than the middle class. The ‘rich’ are the only net payers.

          1. That is not true. And even if it were, the middle class are the ones who bear the brunt of the regulatory state. So they are most definitely net payers.

            1. the middle class are the ones who bear the brunt of the regulatory state

              You are the last person I would expect to say this, but I guess it’s the same sort of shortsightedness I talked about above.

              The middle class does not “bear the brunt” of the regulatory state. Unless you think Eric Garner was middle class. The people who bear the brunt of the regulatory state, as in those who can’t even get “honest” jobs and are thrown in jail for just trying to conduct business, are most often not middle class.

              1. I think we are talking about two different forms of the regulatory state. If you include the police state, then yes, you are right. I was thinking about the business regulatory state that cuts our wages and makes everything more expensive.

                1. They’re one and the same, really.

                  The “soft” regulatory state that thrives on the deterrent effect would be powerless without the “hard” regulatory state cracking skulls. What good is an EPA mandate if nobody risks any penalty for failing to follow it?

          2. The middle class is absolutely the most reliable tax base. The poor don’t have any money, and the rich can leave if they want to.

            1. Both you and Skippy are right. The middle class pays a lot of taxes but is large enough to command a lot of the political capital. Thus they are reliable taxpayers who get lots of tax-funded benefits.

              1. The middle class doesn’t even pay for itself once you factor in transfer payments. And it harvests the vast majority of goodies thru health care tax deductions, subsidized student loans, the entitlement state, etc.

                1. Well, let me know when my checks are about to start rolling in – I want to make sure my mailbox is cleared out.

                  1. Right about the time you start paying taxes on your health insurance. Reality’s a bitch.

                2. health care tax deductions

                  This is a very poor example.

                  First, it’s actually a tax exemption, not a deduction. It is almost impossible for a tax exemption alone to eliminate someone’s tax burden. You’d basically have to be making less than minimum wage or else working only part time at minimum wage in order for your health care tax exemption to reduce your income below the standard deduction.

                  Not a lot of people at that level fall into any definition of “middle class”.

                  And that tax-exempt contribution goes (indirectly) to service providers who a) themselves pay taxes and b) provide a service which reduces the burden on government-funded services.

                  the middle class doesn’t even pay for itself

                  In the aggregate, maybe. I would say that the middle class generally pays “for itself” but that’s not enough to pay for everything the government does.

                  1. An exemption is equivalent to a 100% deduction of the cost at your marginal rate. That is the perfect example, not a poor one. I never said that the middle class doesn’t pay taxes. I said that they don’t pay for themselves once you factor in transfer payments. If you give me $5 and I turn right around and give you $10, did you really pay me or did I pay you?

                    Is there a reason you omitted the rest of my sentence? It’s kinda important…

                    health care tax deductions, subsidized student loans, the entitlement state, etc.

                    “In the aggregate, maybe.”

                    Um, yes, that is the whole point. The middle class, by definition, is an aggregate, or would you care to explain otherwise? At best the middle class pays for its share of government transfers, but that means that it gets all of the other government services for free, i.e. everything that is classically referenced as government.

                    1. An exemption is equivalent to a 100% deduction of the cost at your marginal rate. That is the perfect example, not a poor one.

                      Yes, technically correct and all that. But deductions are poor examples compared with the others, which is why I omitted them: I was only commenting on the poor quality of that example. I think it’s worth noting that, while not part of the definition of tax exemption, in practice there is a distinction in character between most tax exemptions and plain deductions.

                      At best the middle class pays for its share of government transfers, but that means that it gets all of the other government services for free, i.e. everything that is classically referenced as government.

                      No. The “classically referenced as government” services are paid for primarily with property taxes, sales taxes, and tariffs*. The reason why people only look at transfer payments when discussing income taxes is because those two are closely aligned.

                      * = In the modern “military-industrial complex” age, tariffs and other customs fees probably don’t cover defense spending, but there’s a lot of fat that could be trimmed there.

                      The middle class, by definition, is an aggregate, or would you care to explain otherwise?

                      What I’m saying is that insinuating someone who is a net taxpayer is not paying his weight because he’s in the “middle class” is painting with too broad a brush.

          3. I think you’re making the same mistake that politicians make. The middle-class and the working-class are not the same. The working-class may receive a lot of subsidies but the middle-class does not. The middle-class is the traditional Bourgeoisie made up of professionals, entrepreneurs and managers, etc. The working-class is the Proletariat which includes the working poor.

            1. I look at it like this:

              You are middle class if you have assets (bank account, car, house) but your primary source of income is wage/salary. That overlaps substantially with your “working class” definition. I would say upper and lower within middle class are defined by the ratio of assets to income, roughly. So “working class” = lower middle class while professional/managerial/entrepreneurial = upper middle class, although that is a very broad generalization (many working people are great savers, many managers live paycheck-to-paycheck).

              It naturally follows that people whose primary source of income is investment returns are “above” middle class while people who have no real assets are “below” middle class. This is still a simplistic analysis (college students, trust-fund brats, etc.) but at least has more predictive power than the stupid income quantile definitions.

              Back to the point, across the gamut of middle class, people do generally receive a lot of tax-funded benefits. Schools, roads, etc. Whether they end up as net taxpayers depends on a lot of variables, but the general analysis holds. By the very nature of the income/asset definition, the “middle class” in a fairly liberal society will generally command enough political influence to direct a lot of tax dollars back to themselves.

              1. If they retire and live to life expectancy and draw SS and Medicare, then it’s unlikely they are net payers.

                1. SS and Medicare are difficult to analyze because a) an honest accounting is almost impossible to do and b) on an individualized basis (and excluding survivors and disability benefits) they reflect an age-shifted transfer from and to oneself.

                  If you pay in consistently for 40 years and live for less than 10 years after retirement without incurring a lot of medical expenses, then you are not a net beneficiary of Social Security and Medicare. However, the share of the population that falls into that category is diminishing.

                  1. They aren’t difficult to analyze. If you get more than you paid into the system it is not an age-shifted transfer to yourself. The myth that you’re “just getting what you paid in” is bullshit. The Ponzi scheme that is SS is actually paying a negative rate of return for median dual earners and above and that will continue to deteriorate as the ratio of payers to payees continues to drop. Medicare pays back far, far more than you pay in unless you’re in the top 1-2% (possibly even higher than that).

                    If you pay in consistently for 40 years and live for less than 10 years after retirement without incurring a lot of medical expenses, then you are not a net beneficiary of Social Security and Medicare. However, the share of the population that falls into that category is diminishing.

                    The share of the population that ever fell into that category never made a damn bit of difference on an actuarial basis. Or are you arguing that the middle class is one individual?

                    1. The share of the population that ever fell into that category never made a damn bit of difference on an actuarial basis.

                      Of course it does. If everybody fits the “ideal” mold, then SS isn’t a Ponzi scheme. In that case, it’s just a poorly managed, poorly accounted, mandatory savings plan with a negative rate of return. Of course, that’s not and never has been the case. But to say that it doesn’t make a difference is absurd.

                      Or are you arguing that the middle class is one individual?

                      I’m arguing about the demographics of the middle class. It seems like there’s two narratives here; either the middle class are the noble beasts of burden who single-handedly support our system (false) or they’re just politically defensible welfare recipients without whose participation the system would continue chugging along just fine (also false).

                      I’m going to refer to my definition of the middle class above. People with some sizable assets but whose primary source of income is wages. I think two things fall out of that decision: first, that both narratives are wrong, and second, that the majority of Americans are not middle class.

                    2. definition, not decision

                    3. Another consequence/possible weakness of my definition occurs to me, which may help to illustrate the point I’m making.

                      The elderly and the disabled (as in, unable to work) are not “middle class”, for the most part. They generally have assets but their primary source of income is not wages.

            2. No, you’re making the mistake in that you think the majority of the welfare state is traditional welfare. It isn’t. The majority is SS and Medicare. And who gets most of that? The middle class. Who benefits most from subsidized student loans? The middle class. Who benefits most from employer provided tax exempt health insurance? The middle class.

      2. That just means we follow europe with a socialist party and a center-left party and that sweet, sweet managed decline.

    3. I’d settle for a better anything at this point.

  30. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.net-jobs25.com

  31. The GOP needs to ask itself just what the hell it offers to anyone. And more importantly, just what the hell do they stand for. Here is a great example of why I have come to loath movement conservatives and the GOP. Libertarians annoy me but I really loath these people. Conservative radio host Mark Levin recently had a rant about how he “wants a constitutional conservative” nominee.

    Oh really? Weill I would like a date with Eva Green, but I don’t think that is happening either. And Levin didn’t seem to interested in such a thing back when he was shilling for Paul Ryan to be speaker and Mitt Romney to be President before that. Nice of him to suddenly discover his principles.

    1. And beyond that, Levin doesn’t mean a word of what he says. You want a constitutional conservative president Levin? Okay, I do to. Lets start by having a President who only enforces federal laws to the extent permissible under a proper reading of the commerce clause. That means the feds no longer prosecute drug cases that don’t involve sales over state lines or salves involving the importation of drugs into the country. And since commerce means sale and not possession, no more federal prosecutions of child porn cases unless it is for the sale of such stuff over interstate lines. That is what a constitutional conservative President would look like. And Levin and his ilk would have a fucking stroke.

      He doesn’t want a constitutional conservative. He wants his fucking pony and more than anything a President who thinks people like Mark Levin are important. Everyone should ask themselves, do your political principles require you to support any policies that are against your own personal preferences or interests? If the answer is no, I would suggest that you don’t have a set of principles but instead have a set of rationalizations for getting whatever it is that you want. And that is all “conservatism” and by extension the GOP is anymore, a set of rationalizations for giving shitheads like Levin and the rest of them what they want.

      1. “And beyond that, Levin doesn’t mean a word of what he says. You want a constitutional conservative president Levin? Okay, I do to. Lets start by having a President who only enforces federal laws to the extent permissible under a proper reading of the commerce clause. That means the feds no longer prosecute drug cases that don’t involve sales over state lines or salves involving the importation of drugs into the country. And since commerce means sale and not possession, no more federal prosecutions of child porn cases unless it is for the sale of such stuff over interstate lines. That is what a constitutional conservative President would look like. And Levin and his ilk would have a fucking stroke.”

        Nailed it. Conservative Republicans love their lip service to liberty and the Constitution, but the only time they even pretend to care about that stuff is when someone like Obama has the levers of power and they’re appealing to the Constitution to protect their preferred policies. If Levin had people he liked running every office in government, we’d be redoubling the drug war and going to some pretty insane lengths regarding illegal immigration.

        1. Conservatives are not Libertarians. And that is okay. No ideology is perfect and there needs to be a voice on the right that takes into account other values beyond individualism. Libertarians and conservatives are never going to agree on a lot of things and nor should they.

          The problem is conservatives want to be libertarian when it is convenient for them and then reject it when it is not and give no though to any underlying principles. For example, Conservatives are all about libertarian freedom when it comes to free trade. What matters is the bottom line and people’s freedom to get cheap shit. If that results in all kinds of other harms and disruptions to society well that is too bad for those welfare queens who object, because freedom man. Of course all of those same arguments apply to immigration. There suddenly conservatives get their conservative on and are really sensitive to other values beyond the bottom line.

          You can’t reconcile those two positions. You should either buy into free trade and open borders and be a libertarian or you should understand that while trade and commerce are a good thing they are not the only good thing and be willing to at least entertain restrictions on both. Conservatives support whichever side benefits them and then pretend they are being consistent. Conservative journalists and activists and politicians benefit from cheap shit, so free trade at any cost it is. They don’t benefit from open borders, so closed borders it is.

          1. The word you are looking for is Federalism. That is where Libertarians and Conservatives can meet and agree.

            You can be a federalist and still conservative – but few conservatives have been federalists for a very long time.

            1. The powers that be will never let those on the ‘left’ and those on the ‘right’ work together. That is the single most terrifying thought for any establishment politician. Most of their time is spent on assuring that there are plenty of reasons for each side to hate the other. And both sides hate libertarians more than they hate each other.

          2. Conservatives = I will defend your rights… as long as it’s the rights I care about.

            Liberals = I will defend your rights… as long as it’s the rights I care about.

            Libertarians = I will defend your rights.

          3. You’d have a point when a camry can vote.

            1. Bullshit. I am well aware of the idea that purchasing products from overseas at artificially low prices increases overall GNP. The question that is never asked is since when is overall wealth the only value in society. If small gains in overall wealth come at the cost of creating enormous structural unemployment, that gain probably isn’t worth it.

              Moreover, pure open markets with countries that have similar standards of living raises the standard of living for both sides. Pure open markets with countries that have a much lower standard of living than the US, raise the overall standard of living but do so mostly by raising the standard of living in the poorer country. The US standard of living falls and the poor country rises until the two eventually even out. That is great if you are in the poor country or part of the cheap shit class in the rich country. Not so good if you are an average person in the rich country.

              The political and media classes love “free trade” by any means because they benefit from the access to cheap consumer goods. Their appeals to the wonders of “free trade” are nothing but phony rationalizations for getting what they want.

              1. Everybody benefits from “cheap consumer goods”. Who benefits from having their wage increases canceled out by lower buying power?

                I would say that you have a blind spot, too. There are people whom neither you nor the “media and political class” cares about. The sort of people for whom a bottom-dollar job working odd hours with no benefits is the best they can get. Yeah, if you impose high tariffs, you might drive up a certain sort of employment, and you might drive up a certain sort of wages. And you’ll get to pat yourself on the back for helping the “American worker” or some such.

                But you’re just pitting the interests of one group against those of another, the same as politics has done since time immemorial. For every group you help by government action, there must necessarily be at least one you hurt. You have quite rightly stated that a lot of politics is the upper middle class waging war on the upper class; in its place, you propose the middle class waging war on the upper middle class. But neither conflict does much for people who aren’t even middle class.

                1. Kcolino,

                  There are two sides to it. You are right. I would never want a completely closed economy. And I have long been a believer in free trade even if we were getting fucked by our trading partners. I totally understand the appeal of the cheap shit at all costs theory of trade.

                  The problem is that I can no longer deny the evidence that it doesn’t work the way I thought it did. There was a great article in the NYT of all places about a carrier plant closing in Indiana and moving to Mexico. The article included multiple quotes from trade economists admitting that the system isn’t working like they thought it would. These people should be reabsorbed into the economy at lower wages and end up better off because of the cheaper consumer goods. That is not happening. The people losing their jobs are not getting new ones. We have an enormous structural unemployment problem in this country. Sure some of that is due to regulation and taxes and all of that. But not all of it is. A good part of it is because jobs are moving overseas and are not being replaced and the people losing them are not getting new ones.

                  it pains me to admit that I was wrong. But i was. i can’t deny reality. Cheap shit uber alles is not working. I honestly thought it would. But i was wrong.

                  1. Cheap shit uber alles is not working.

                    But cheap shit “uber alles” is not what we have. We have cheap shit + free shit + regulation + taxes. You say “regulation and taxes” aren’t “all of it” and you are right. The other part is welfare.

                    But the trifecta is exactly why we have a “structural employment problem”. It is hard to get into the economy “honestly”, if you go your own way you get beaten up/imprisoned/killed, if you do manage to kiss all the right asses you still get taxed heavily, and then to top it all off is that you can sit at home and collect a check without doing enough to earn all of it and without getting into any trouble (unless you want to).

                    1. Exactly. We have a slow growth economy because we choke off innovation with regulation and we pay nearly half of the population to not work. It isn’t because you can buy cheap chinese towels and soap dishes in walmart.

                  2. Yes, John, you like welfare. We get it. You prefer to hide it through mercantilism, but it’s welfare nonetheless. Smash the tractors, John. Destroy the computers. Someone somewhere lost their job because of that and that just isn’t right(tm)!!

                    Oh, and don’t you dare buy anything on sale ever. Don’t you dare use a coupon anywhere, because every time you do you are robbing someone of a job! And you better support a loving wage because otherwise you are screwing over your fellow americans.

                    Shit, John, you are an early 90’s Democrat which perfectly explains your love of trump.

            2. Camry’s are people too! You carrist!

            3. Camry’s are people too! You carrist!

              1. I mean it twice as much.

      2. That’s… what a political party is.

        1. His point is that Levin pretends he wants liberty but doesn’t give a fuck when a Republican is in office. He also supports tons of unconstitutional policies while proclaiming himself a ‘constitutional conservative.’

          1. Much like the vaunted libertarian fiscal conservatism applied beyond fighter jetz. No rational person would deny the needy…

          2. I thought his point is that this is something new. “A set of rationalizations for giving” members what they want is what any notable political party is, going back to the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans.

      3. For me, here are the things that the terms liberal and conservative mean today:

        Conservative: Go to jail you pot smoking hippy! What, my wine? Well, that’s different, you can’t smoke drugs just for the taste! Why, every night I drink 3 bottles of my wine, just for the taste!

        Liberal: I want the same stuff you have, why should I have to work for it? It’s not fair!, just give me your stuff you greedy capitalist!

        Really, fuck all these assholes.

        1. Pretty much. Both of them buy into the idea that it is the government’s job to save people from themselves. They just disagree about what things people need to be saved from.

          I am not a libertarian. I agree with libertarians about a good number of things but I am not a libertarian. I used to think I was a conservative. But i am clearly not as least as these ass clowns define it. I think the government has a legitimate role in adjudicating disputes between people and governing the areas of life where people interact with one another in the common spaces and I think there is a role for government to help people who really can’t help themselves. And I do believe in the nation state. So I am not a libertarian. But I do not believe and never will believe the government has a duty to save people from themselves or dictate what people can and cannot do in the privacy of their own homes as long as only people who consent are directly affected by it. So I sure as hell am not a conservative.

          1. Both think it okay for the Federal government to make either happen – they just agree over which one.

            1. Meant to say “argue” but agree probably closer to the truth.

            2. What do conservatives offer people? The Progs at least offer free shit. The Libertarians at least offer a principled commitment to freedom. What do conservatives offer?

              Low taxes and less regulation? Even assuming they actually delivered on that, which they never do, what good does that do you if you don’t have a job? Hell at least the Progs offer free shit. The conservatives offer a giant fuck you and a warning that you better stay away from drugs or the wrong porn or you are going to jail.

              And then they wonder why the entire country has had it with them.

              1. Conservatives offer people the opportunity to feel morally superior to those ‘others’, because those others are icky pot smokers or gay, or both.

                Liberals offer people the opportunity to feel morally superior to those ‘others’ because those people are from fly over country, they’re dumb rednecks and they don’t believe in things like ‘social justice’.

                That’s about it. You join a tribe to feel morally superior to member of the other tribe.

                Libertarian as a tribe is a bit different, since almost no libertarians agree with other libertarians on a lot of issues and often will agree with any of the other tribes on a number of issues. Libertarians don’t feel a need to feel morally superior.

                1. The other thing that bugs me is how conservatives have bought into the personality cult around politicians. It is really ironic to listen to them rant and rave about how Trump is a cult of personality and then turn right around and talk about how Trump is unfit because he doesn’t fit their taste of the ideal politician. They don’t object to cults of personality. If they did, they wouldn’t idolize politicians and think they should meet some perfect standard. They would treat politicians like the hired help they are. Their problem with Trump is that he is not their cult of personality, which they desperately want.

                  They seem to have totally renounced the idea of the citizen legislator. Worse, they have bought into the cult of the technocrat that says government is this special hard job that only the anointed are competent to do. Bullshit. Government is not that hard. Our problem is the people we are electing to run the government are morons.

                  1. Says the trump supporter.

          2. I am not a libertarian

            Don’t worry, John, there’s still hope for you.

            1. LOL. Nah, I will never be a transnationalist. I am too aware of the number of people in the world I don’t want to meet much less want living next door to me.

              1. You don’t have to be to be a libertarian. The cosmos are not representative of libertarians. The commentariat are, and we agree to disagree on a whole shitload of stuff.

                1. I don’t know that we all agree to disagree. The fashionable tactic around here lately is to bury the other side with insults and to label them as Trump supporters whenever they don’t explicitly say that they hate Trump. At least one very smart group of H&Rs; does that.

                  NO IMPURE ALLIES

                  1. I refuse to join the Trump pants shitting brigade.

                  2. I refuse to join the Trump pants shitting brigade.

                    1. He is a real estate hustler and reality TV star. If such a person can destroy the Republic, it is already destroyed.

                      Meanwhile, there is a no shit national socialist closing in on Hillary in the Democratic Primary and no one seems to care. They are all worrying about the dark night of fascism closing in on American because some hot girl got pulled by the arm.

      4. I stopped listening to “conservative” radio long ago. They are all full of shit. Levin is the smartest of them, which probably makes him the biggest liar.

        1. I never listened to it except for Limbaugh. And Limbaugh is an entertainer. He is funny as hell and knows it. It doesn’t matter if you agree with him or not, he is a very good entertainer. The rest of them are just self important assholes.

          1. I used to watch Limbaugh’s TV show when I lived in LA. Loved it just for the anti-PC rebelliousness. I think it was only a half-hour which is the correct dosage. Can’t imagine listening to him all morning between the 15-minute commercial breaks.

            1. It is pretty hard for anyone to be good that long.

              1. It is pretty hard for anyone to be good that long.
                .
                Ruling? Mastubation euphemism or…?

            2. I listened to his radio show way, WAY back when he made the cover of Time as the “most dangerous man in America”. Back then, he had a pretty good libertarian streak and was fun to listen to merely on the fact that he drove Democrats in-fucking-sane.

              I’m a fickle listener so I stopped, plus there was no way I was going to listen to a pro-administration hack when GWB was in office.

              1. He was a lot more fun when he was slagging on the Clintons.

          2. I think our junior senator from Minnesota got it just about right with his book entitled: “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot”.

      5. Lets start by having a President who only enforces federal laws to the extent permissible under a proper reading of the commerce clause.

        The EPA, OSHA, many of the other regulatory agencies were created under the Commerce Clause. A President like this would be shuttering agencies right and left.

    2. I like Mark Levin just because he says Re-pube-lican.

  32. suderman
    Your piece demonstrates exactly what is wrong in America today on several fronts. I’ll address just two.
    The media (including you and Reason) have no clue what the average American is thinking or feeling. You all live together in your little enclaves in and around NY and DC and only hear the echoes of your selves. You are no more in touch with America than CNN or FOX.
    Trump did not wreck the GOP. It was already comatose and on life support. Same for the Dems. The average American has sensed for some time that the game is rigged and the elite are running the game for their and only their benefit. Trump merely gave voice to the frustration and anger at the establishment which includes the media, pols, tech and banking upper management.
    The average American has had enough, maybe. We’ll see. I’m hoping the GOP steal the nomination from Trump and Hillary goes down in a ball of legal flames leaving the US political elite naked when the tide goes out, to quote one of the elite.
    It is entertaining though.

    1. And the political parties will do everything in their power to make sure their constituents focus their anger and wrath on each other instead of the political elite. That effort is now failing to some extent, thus Bernie and Donald, but not enough to make a difference, yet.

  33. The party was already broken thats why Trump is there. I’m sure the left would cheer the demise of the GOP but they should fear what replaces it. A balance party that has ideas that will draw from both the dems and the GOP

    1. It could have just as easily been Rand Paul and not Donald Trump, if Rand would have not tried so hard to act like an insider. Rand gave in to pandering to the establishment, thus made himself look like an insider. Despite how sketchy and crazy the things are that Trump says, he made it very, very clear that he’s an outsider. Whether he’s an outsider or not, doesn’t matter, he made people believe that and that’s what mattered. People are super pissed off at the establishment, as they should be. They are just clueless as to what to do about it, so they are lashing out in any way they can find.

  34. “Ideally, the party would combine attributes of all three, becoming both more libertarian and more populist, more focused on its working class base and more inclusive and open to outsiders at home and abroad, more ideologically consistent and more friendly to policy experimentation.”

    A floor wax *and* a dessert topping!

    Sorry, I meant to say that totally sounds realistic.

  35. Sunderman, Sunderman does whatever a sunderman does…

    In this case, saving the GOP from Trump.

  36. “Ideally, the party would combine attributes of all three, becoming both more libertarian and more populist, more focused on its working class base and more inclusive and open to outsiders at home and abroad, more ideologically consistent and more friendly to policy experimentation.”

    You want Spumoni or Neapolitan ice cream? I’m sorry that takes skill and imagination.

  37. I would love to hear how you can be “focused on the working class” while also supporting totally open borders. The working class are made worse off by open borders. Libertarians do themselves no favors by denying this. It doesn’t mean open borders are necessarily wrong. Who says the working class interests’ should always hold sway? But pretending it isn’t true is not going to do anyone any good.

    I think the Republican party would do well to be more populist and more libertarian in a lot of areas. But they are going to have to be areas that don’t clash. For example, the Republicans should start making a real principled stand about the regulatory state. That is both libertarian and populist if done correctly. It would however involve more than just going after the NSA. It would have to involve going after state and local government fines and regulations that totally screw people. A good place to start would be vehicle registrations and traffic fines. The state and local governments essentially wage war on poor and middle class people with these things. Can’t afford to pay your registration or your traffic fine? The state takes your car and you lose the ability to make a living. It is fucking horrible. That would be both populist and libertarian. i do not think such an effort is going to go over very well with the uptight middle class intellectual types in places like Heritage and National Review, however.

    1. I would love to hear how you can be “focused on the working class” while also supporting totally open borders. The working class are made worse off by open borders.

      I think that’s largely true because the government jacks up the price of native labor so much beyond its real value; immigrant labor is not normally above market value, and in general well the workers are easier to exploit since their legal position which drives costs down further. It’s the same reason that, even if cigarettes aren’t banned, there is a thriving black market once they’re heavily taxed. Native unskilled workers are cigarettes.

    2. OPEN BORDERZ UBER ALLES!

      Racist!
      Racist!
      Racist!

      The power of Christ compels you!
      The power of Christ compels you!
      The power of Christ compels you!

  38. Well it isn’t just Trump that is ruining the party, it is Cruz and his supporters too.

    The ironic thing is that the way to save the party, in the short term, is for the establishment to get some guts and take control at the convention. After the first vote failure to nominate either Trump or Cruz, the, so-called, establishment leaders should select a candidate that could actually beat Hillary. There is all this concern that Trump and Cruz supporters would revolt or riot. Who cares? The voters that want to win will stick with a winner or potential winner. The far right is what is pulling the party down anyway. So the irony is that the path to victory is for the voters screaming that the GOP establishment is the problem because they have too much power need to be proven correct that the establishment does have power.

    The key is to choose the right person that will appeal to moderate republicans, and almightily left moderates that don’t want liar Hillary as President. Rand Paul/Kasich; Romney/Haley; Kasich/Herman Cain. Promise Cruz a cabinet position and throw Trump to the curb.

    1. i fear that would lead to a GOP defeat, and them thinking they need to double down on the stupid. (i.e., they loose because trump supporters bail, so they try to bring them back)

  39. Worst case, Trump runs as a third party candidate and Hilary wins. Which turns Trump and his supporters into useless baggage and the party can regroup for 2020. The polls prove that Trump can’t beat Hillary so being nice to him and his supporters is pointless. They hate America anyway. Speaking as a former republican, I thought it nearly impossible to have a candidate as bad as Hillary Clinton and the Republicans have two. Every poll shows Kasich slaughtering Hillary in the general election, Trump getting beat in a landslide and Cruz losing too. Dang, we could use Bob Dole right about now.

  40. Hey Peter, what’s so bad about income tax cuts?

  41. i think both parties are due for collapse… it is just showing in the GOP first. Dems are looking better, just because they already knew who they were running in this election 4yrs ago. (and they still had a moment of panic when Bernie got started)

    both parties have spent so much time playing to pet issues with the base, that the overall platform for both has become complete rubbish. the party that wants to save every child in the womb wants to ship them back to a third world country if their parents were not born here. the party that is more open on immigration, also wants the biggest welfare programs (two concepts that don’t fit together in any reasonably thought through “plan”). religious freedom vs Muslim refugees, freedom to choose your bathroom versus freedom to not bake a cake, food stamps versus farm subsidies… etc., etc..

    they just don’t make sense anymore. and the intensifying partisan nature of things has really made all those contradictions more evident.

    1. But the contradictions only matter to people who demand ideological consistency from their parties, which is not most people.

  42. Trump didn’t wreck it, the GOP establishment wrecked it over the past 30 years. It’s giving Trump way too much credit to think that one man can come to a perfectly health political party and single-handedly tear it apart. No one can do that unless the beast is already dead or at death’s door.

    Trump just came upon the corpse and pronounced it dead, which the rest of us weren’t supposed to notice.

  43. The Republican party deserves nothing so much as to join the Whigs on the ash-heap of history.

  44. But if things are to change, then the question is how. Trump does not offer much in the way of specific guidance. His campaign is not animated by specific policy proposals, but by an inchoate anger and frustration

    Ah, the Progressitarian ability to see only what they want to see, and project their own feelz on others.

    Trump became Trump the leading Republican by opposition to Open Borders. Suck it, Progressitarians.

    Government of, by, and for the great mass of Americans, instead of corporate interests, ruling elites, and foreigners.
    Immigration policy to benefit Americans.
    Trade policy where American workers have a seat at the negotiating table, instead of just corporate interests.
    Health policy to benefit American consumers, instead of the medical mafia.
    War policy, to benefit Americans.

    Paleocon populism. Unless the Republicans want to go back to being the wholly irrelevant Rockefeller Republican opposition, they need more of a voting base than the Fortune 500. And unless they want to be outvoted by a permanent Progressive majority, made immortal by immigrant bloc voting, they need to stop mass immigration *now*, or even paleocon populism will have no future.

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  46. My 2010 political suspense novel, Progress, foresaw that a celebrity real estate developer with man no political experience would take down the media and challenge for the White House. Warning of an impending economic crisis, it correctly predicted that China and other nations would now be dumping US Treasuries. For those wondering what could happen if Trump goes all the way, Progress reveals an agenda that could rescue America and a masterstroke Trump could pull to get it passed. http://www.amazon.com/Progress…..B003XIIZUS

  47. Right now, Ted Cruz is the only hope the nation has of stopping the hateful, incompetent, and ignorant Trump, let alone the criminal Clinton and the socialist Sanders. There just isn’t anyone else available, and certainly not Kasich. Cruz’s close friendship with Mike Lee is encouraging, and could help modify Cruz’s rather extreme position on taxes. After the eastern primaries, all of which Kasich will lose, he drops out, and then it’s just Cruz and the bully.

    It is amazing that we have come to this point, and we have because the primary process is such a fertile field for demagogues. The purpose of any political party is not only to organize around a defined philosophy of governing, but also to put forward candidates for public office who are responsible, knowledgeable, moral, and articulate. The primary process, which is entirely a creation of the media, explodes that entire process, as Trump and Sanders have amply demonstrated. Going forward, the political parties need to vet candidates, and identify those who are legitimate and those who are not. The Republicans have failed miserably at this, and should have excluded Trump from the start. But because of their complete lack of leadership, we have the mess we have.

  48. RE: Donald Trump Has Wrecked the Republican Party. Here’s What a Better GOP Could Look Like.

    Here’s what the GOP would look like if they had an ounce of sense.
    They would be Libertarians.

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  50. Wrong.

    Trump didn’t wreck the republican party. The republican party wrecked itself. It betrayed the conservative values of its base, and it betrayed our national sovereignty through the attempts at amnesty.

    Trump is just the guy with the nads to say it and to stand up and do what’s needed.

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