Capitol Hill Blue
During my morning reading I was struck by a thought: "conservatism" seems to no longer have home. It was inspired by a pair of specific pieces: Is Capitalism Killing Conservatism? by Ross Douthat in the New York Times (Subscription); and How to talk to insurrectionists and conspiracy theorists on CNN. This in the midst of the devolution of the GOP, McConnell's pledge to obstruct everything Biden proposes, the "canceling" of Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney, the recall of Gavin Newsom, and the continued existence of QAnon post Trump.

This may seem like disparate inspirations for the question, but it follows a statement by Douthat in his piece (as usual, thoughtful but wrong), "This is a specific version of a longstanding argument about the tensions between traditionalism and capitalism, which seems especially relevant now that the right doesn’t know what it’s conserving anymore." This is really my premise. The current GOP is no longer conservative, in any normal sense of the word.

Trumpism is a peculiar amalgam of self-contradictory impulses, but it is not conservatism, yet it now controls the GOP - or more accurately Grand QAnon Nazi Party. But its viability as a movement is based upon the separation of its adherents from the community, hence the relevance of the second piece 2, "How to talk..." The problem, as I see it, is that Republicans no longer have an organizing principle. It doesn't connect with traditional values, or even reality, anymore, and has no credibility. Without that, I think, it has created a void where conservative thought (such that it ever was) used to reside. Can, and should, it be resurrected?
Posted By: jgw Re: Does "Conservatism" have viability anymore? - 05/09/21 05:53 PM
There have been a number of conservatives which have joined the Democratic party and they all say that they remain conservatives. Historically this is not possible because the Democrats are against almost everything conservative. I don't think that those folks will do too well as Democrats unless they can be converted. How they blend in with the left wing of the Democratic party is even more doubtful. All that being said I suspect there will be a bit of infighting until it all works out.

The Trump thing is a brand new thing. If Trump goes away those remaining Republicans have no real home and the Democratic conservatives can return home.
Ironically, I think Biden actuality represents more traditional conservative "values" than any of the current leaders of the movement or the party. What would those be? Support for the community and local government; respect for religion; deference to the Constitution, laws and fairness; national security and a robust international presence; encouraging the dignity of work; and building national infrastructure.
I wonder if conservative values will ever relate in any way to conserving anything of value...
Republicans have left conservatism behind in favor of authoritarian single party rule.

Far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy

Does that sound like where they're going?

It's the definition of fascism.

But not to worry! The Democratic Party is plenty conservative if you can't stomach the Trumpies.
Posted By: jgw Re: Does "Conservatism" have viability anymore? - 05/10/21 05:10 PM
The only values the Republicans seem to have these days have everything to do with the values of Trump and that one is a very hard thing to pin down. Their own seem to be more defined. That is, basically, dedication to their dear leader. That's it! Nothing more, nothing less! Its really gotta be difficult as the Trump values are, basically, Trump worship - even by Trump! Amazing!!
It was easy to tell the GOP had been destroyed as a viable Party at their last convention: They said their platform was "Anything Trump Wants", recognizing that what Trump wants could change on a dime. At this point, I think he could mix up the cyanide KoolAid, and most of them would get in line. I doubt you can come back politically from sedition, insurrection, supporting Putin, pardoning criminals for cash, looting the treasury, etc.
According to Gallup, Americans who view themselves as conservative 36%. Pretty steady since 1992 only going up and down a point or two. Moderates, 35% down from 43% in 1992, Liberal 25%, up from 17% in 1992.

Now there are many conservatives who don't view Trump as a conservative, just a man without a political ideology. One that went with the ideology of whatever party Trump belonged to at the time which has been many as he has switched parties 7 times and counting. This is especially true with traditional conservatives who are the ones leaving the Trump lead Republican Party. But they're not joining the democratic party, they have moved into the independent column. Now your neo, social, religious, fiscal conservatives and some more different types of conservatives have remained loyal to Trump and his led GOP.

This also shows up in party affiliation/identification numbers. 30% of the electorate identified with the GOP in Nov 2020, today down to 26%. 31% were democrats, the same percentage, 31% who are democrats today. Independents have risen from 36% in Nov 2020 up to 40% today.

Those numbers are dynamic and change month to month, but the trend is away from the GOP into the independent column, not into the democratic column. I would think these never Trumpers or traditional conservatives who fled the Republican Party, their voting habits haven't changed, just who they identify as.

Nov 2020 probably shows this, many never Trumpers voted for Biden and he won by 7 plus million votes. But the never Trumpers then voted Republican down ballot which enabled the GOP to pick up 14 house seats, 2 state legislatures and a governorship.
I would love to have Romney leave the GOP!
Posted By: jgw Re: Does "Conservatism" have viability anymore? - 05/11/21 06:14 PM
This morning I watched a guy, who marched on 1/6 and got himself charged, say that Trump had somehow replaced Jesus (really!) and he was just doing what Trump told him to do. His attorney had him plead not guilty due to "foxitis" (its impossible to make this stuff up!)
Read the Wall Street Journal lately? I would say Wall Street is not going along with Trump down the rabbit hole.
Posted By: jgw Re: Does "Conservatism" have viability anymore? - 05/12/21 06:18 PM
I think that the Republicans in congress, regardless of whether they stick with Trump or go off on their own are going to continue to behave, exactly, like they have insofar as how they vote and behave. I don't see that changing no matter what happens. The only difference is that the Trumpites will continue lying and hating with vigor whilst the rest will, pretty much just keep on going.

The real problem is that most sitting Republicans need the 'base' to get elected and the base is ruled by Trump. As far as I can tell, all sitting Republicans are willing to do just about anything to keep their jobs. That being the case they are unlikely to upset Trump and all the talk of a new party just ain't gonna happen and it won't make any difference anyway.

Its kinda like the Bernie supporters and the Democratic party. Pretty much the same environment without the utter meanness.
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