By David Beilstein
In essence, Republicans face two challenges—one being ideological, the other, communicative.
Both are cause for Republican electoral defeat and abiding cultural disconnectedness. In terms of ideology, Republicans need to become ideological again—a national and state-by-state orientated party.
Republicans, then, need to assume a robust classical liberalism, socially and philosophically.
When it comes to communication, the G.O.P. needs to exegete classical liberalism’s perennial application to life within a free society, as well as polity matters—horizontally and vertically considered. The Republican Party in our time is besieged electorally, because it is steeped in social, and political esoterica—removed from the everyday concerns of voters nationally and locally.
Political parties must be centered on ideas that are focused on improving society and government—issues at the foremost concern of voters—thereby gaining support from the common consensus of the electorate. In the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, Democrats could not run on economic empowerment, since much of DNC economic policies (headlined by the Obama administration) atrophied economic vitality.
But Democrats could use the miss-communicative drift of G.O.P. candidates, successfully arguing that if the Republican Party did not support positive liberty, it did not support liberty generally.
A Republican Party, sans ideological firepower, could not counter such polemical combinations.
The absence of any real defense of classical liberalism by Republicans creates a political platform unable to counter the surface level platitudes of the Democratic Party, and is easily caricatured.
Strange things occur.
To understand and exegete the constitutional guidelines of American life, ideology must be used. Without ideology—as 2008 and 2012 proved, the Republicans are no more than a party of nostalgia—sentimental, without polemical depth.
If classical liberalism does anything, it prepares men and women for the future—a free future, where the right to choose one’s own course is animated, not restricted. The idea of taking classical liberalism is communicating it as nothing more than stepping back to some golden age is without public sympathy—as people are universally geared toward what is future—the future encompassing large challenges and new issues needing political attention.
The presumptions of progressivism can only be countered with the presumptions of classical liberalism. Leaving classical liberalism’s particulars in the closet, only erects an ineffective refutation to the ideals and consequences of statist ideological convictions.
Once this winnowing down of classical liberalism takes place, what is left is precisely what the G.O.P. over the last 20 years has become: a party out-of-touch and losing elections regardless of the quality of candidates.
Republicans have often argued that their candidates are far more qualified than Democratic counter-parts. Certainly, there is truth in such thinking. Sen. Paul Ryan is far more qualified than Vice-President Joe Biden is—or was, and former Gov. of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, was far more qualified than Barack Obama.
But Gov. Romney and Sen. Ryan lost—so what difference does that really make?
Elections matter. And a party unable to win elections, nationally or locally, cannot make such arguments without being odd—mere gaseous, and moronic. Since low information voters choke the electorate, Republicans have to go back to the beginning—where success reigned and the actual dismantling of the federal beast took on concerted effort with reachable results.
When Republicans win elections, government must shrink—and the duties government performs must be reformed—quality of services and monetary restraint must be nurtured.
In other words, progress must be made.
Conservatives supportive of the G.O.P. also have work to do. The work is simply, but it will take time to bring into existence. Conservatives are going to have to realise that conservatism is about the conservation of the U.S. Constitution and the philosophy that gave that document’s birth—and likewise, they must comprehend that conservatism is far different than simply a conservation of the way things used to be.
That is a definition of conservatism—a simple one. But that is not political conservatism. Going back to fascist President Woodrow Wilson, the federal government has grown large and intrusive—far outside the boundaries enumerated in the Constitution.
Any notion of going back to a past age ante, then, would be counter-productive.
Conservatism is interested in future possibility—a purposeful and good future, seeking, always, to animate individual autonomy within the rubric of a free society.
The toughest thing facing Republicans is convincing voters that conservatism is expressly linked to the constitutional norms like a government enveloped within a separation of powers paradigmatic system.
Crede, ut intelligas has for almost eight months tried to drag conservative Republicans back to their philosophical roots—one where the proper parameters of government are respected; where politics is rightly understood, and used where it is most effective.
The business of government.
Too many conservatives desire government to do too much—to be all things to all people—whereas the goal of conservatism has always been to animate the notion the business of the state should use sparse acreage when it comes to national life.
Faction’s currently taking hold among Republicans and their voters seem untidy, but are needed in our time. The last time Republicans were so split, the rise of Ronald Reagan and the 1994 conservative agenda in the U.S. House of Representatives took root with surprising success. So powerful—policy-wise, and electorally, was the Republican juggernaut, President Bill Clinton echoed the progressive retreat,
“The era of big government is over.”
President Clinton’s remark was evidence of a new political dawn, whereby, the presumptions of progressivism where seriously denuded because of policy success welded by Republicans.
If one thing animates the House Republicans’ success birthed in 1994, it was a political party in touch with the electorate and the issues of the day.
Such circumstances need to be repeated, and future-orientated. And it should be seen, within the U.S. Senate, a cabal of fusionists exist—one where such a case to the nation can be made.
If Republicans desire electoral success—in the face of progressive opposition, the conservation of classical liberalism will have to become the purpose of the G.O.P. foundationally—and sentimentality should be flushed. Political movements rise and fall on the quality of communication and the ideological depth such communication encompasses.
It’s time to head back to the gym, Republicans.
American government requires reform.