Donald Trump finally made an announcement on Tuesday that he’d been hinting at for a long time; he will, once again, be running for president. Naturally, the internet and airwaves were flooded with people providing their perspectives on who the future of the Republican Party would or should be.
A considerable amount of the rhetoric surrounding Trump and his candidacy, however, remains incredibly cynical and appears to be guiding Republican voters away from the political framework that unleashed America’s latent economic prowess and led to cultural wins previously thought impossible, such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Republican voters need to be extremely skeptical of whose advice they take during this upcoming presidential election cycle. Instead of blindly advancing one candidate over another ahead of what is shaping up to be a bloody primary, Republican voters should remember the voices that led them astray during the 2016 presidential election cycle and remember what policies have improved the country’s economic health and which contributed to its steady decline.
It should come as no surprise that many of the people currently calling for the Republican Party to move on from Trump and the unique brand of MAGA populism are proponents of the economic and cultural liberalism that gutted American industry and turned the culture into a dystopian hellscape.
Generally speaking, when there is bipartisan collaboration on something, the American people are going to get screwed. Just look at the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is little more than wasteful government spending on projects that will likely never materialize. So it should be incredibly alarming that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to meet with his counterpart, Mitch McConnell, to discuss removing the MAGA influence from the Republican Party.
Why should Schumer — a Democrat — have any influence over the ideological composition of the opposite party? He shouldn’t, but McConnell doesn’t like the MAGA influence either because it challenges his grip on power and his interests, so maybe he’ll hear Chuck out and sabotage future Republican candidates who make him uncomfortable by restricting funding, as he did to candidate Blake Masters in Arizona.
Furthermore, without the populist influence of MAGA Republicans, it is unlikely that the 115th or 116th Congress would have taken any steps toward implementing the economic and cultural reforms that unleashed American prosperity during Trump’s first term. Pieces of legislation like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017; the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act; SUPPORT for Patients and Communities (which expanded opioid treatment options while cracking down on the proliferation of illicit drugs); and the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that replaced NAFTA would not have materialized without a heavy populist influence in Congress.
Schumer seeking to remove this influence from the national legislature makes sense. After all, he’s a Democrat; he wants to win. McConnell’s collaboration with Schumer to remove the influence of conservative populism from Congress is inexcusable and should make his supporters question his intentions.
And, of course, there are members of the pundit class like The Dispatch’s own David French, who insisted this past summer that “Donald Trump presents an existential threat to the continued existence of the United States as an intact republic. Our nation may not survive a second Trump term.” French, one of the last of the original Never Trumpers, has a noted distaste for those on the “gutter right,” celebrated the reported loss of Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, and has argued a “Christian case” for a student loan bailout.
French’s input on 2024 should be taken with a massive grain of salt. Granted, he’s a bit of an outlier, seeing as how he is a self-identifying conservative who celebrates his own side’s failures while justifying leftist abuses of power, but people like him — anti-populists, if you will — are surprisingly common among the punditry class.
What unites these people — the anti-populist pundit class, the elitist politicians, and their acolytes — isn’t just their opposition to Trump as a political candidate. They are utterly repulsed by the people Trump represents, and they are nothing short of disdainful of the American people who told them to shove it.
Take Trump out of the equation, even. If, for the sake of the hypothetical, Hulk Hogan won the presidency in 2016 on the basis of re-establishing the U.S. as the global manufacturing hegemon while promising to restore national sovereignty at the southern border and reverse the cultural malaise that ate away at people across the heartland, the McConnells and Frenches of the world would be anti-Hogan.
They hate Trump, but they really hate you. You, your family, and your community are supposed to finance their special interests with your tax dollars until the end of time. They couldn’t stand having their interests put on the back burner for four brief years while Trump advanced the interests of the American people. Trump’s willingness to actually deliver for the people, effectively giving them a semblance of control over the government, wasn’t supposed to happen.
The elite’s attempts to pivot the base of the Republican Party away from its ongoing fascination with populism is how they plan on driving a wedge back between the American people and control of the government.