The Just-Say-Stuff Party
GOP voters are telling you what they want. Plus: Self-examination in the aftermath of COVID.
1. Grand New Party
If you had surveyed Republican voters in 2004, or 2008, or 2012, and asked them what they wanted from their party’s presidential nominee, I suspect you would have gotten answers that went something like this:
Reduces the size of government
Strong foreign policy
Those are ideas that can be furthered via government action. You cut taxes by passing a law. You reduce the size of the government by cutting spending and consolidating both agencies and programs. You enact a strong foreign policy by marshaling international consensus and then taking hard lines—via negotiations, sanctions, or military actions—against nations or non-state actors that are working against America’s interests.
In other words, what Republican voters used to want was something that resembled a form of governance.
You can debate the wisdom of this vision for governance, or the degree to which Republican voters were truly committed to the ideas behind it. But whatever. At least it’s an ethos.
Fast forward to today and what do Republican voters want from their next presidential nominee?