On the theory that the GOP is undergoing a transformation from a globalist into an anti-globalist party, or from an elitist party into a populist working-class party, we should see legions of GOP candidates campaigning on these transformational themes.
We're approaching the first midterms after the purported foundational event of the transformation -- Trump's winning the nomination and then the general election in 2016. And primary season is coming up, so that would be the best time for internal differences to be emphasized.
Populist candidates should be using that phrase, or at least key policies associated with it -- tariffs meant to bring high-paying manufacturing plants back to America, "I don't want people dying in the streets" just because they're too poor to afford the hospital bill (which the government will pay instead), and so on and so forth.
Anti-globalist candidates should be talking about unwinding our failed empire that spans much of the globe, beginning with the Middle East and Afghanistan -- "I stand with President Trump when he says we should pull out of Syria right now," etc.
And yet, the ads that are saturating cable news right now are the same old cuckservative crap that the voters decisively rejected two years ago. If we wanted a "Constitutional conservative," we would have voted for anyone but Trump -- that's their slogan, not his.
While they are shamelessly trying to appropriate his name -- "Trump conservative" -- it means nothing without saying which parts of Trump's platform back then, or policies right now, you're latching onto. Tax cuts, deregulation, and conservatives on the courts? BORRRINNNG. Been there, done that -- that's what got us into the mess that we elected Trump to start digging us out of.
They don't mean "Trump conservative" in the sense of seeking massive cuts to the empire-support side of the budget. Or that, even if you did want to preserve the imperial project, at the least you would ruthlessly negotiate down the prices paid to the weapons manufacturers and defense contractors -- get more for less! Shrink the deficit and debt! Balance the budget!
Nope. Not one sign of wanting to reform the gravy train going to the elites within the GOP sectors of the economy, who will continue to get massive bailouts and bubbles inflated on their behalf by these ridiculous dinosaur candidates.
Hilariously, none are running on "repealing and replacing Obamacare" -- wouldn't want to remind the voters of how pathetically little you accomplish if they cast their lot with you! And again, in the supposed re-alignment of Trump's time, there should be a whole new crop of GOP-ers saying, "Send me to Congress, and I'll work with President Trump to undo the Medicare D law that says they have to pay whatever gouging prices the drug monopolies demand. We're going to negotiate down those prices so fast, it'll make ya head spin!"
With zero Republicans anywhere running on the combination of issues that delivered Trump his upset victory, it's the same ol' slap fights between the closeted homosexuals appealing to the country club yuppies, and the crazy-eyed ideologues appealing to the Tea Party dead-enders.
And remember, this is at a time when there are record retirements from the Congressional GOP -- entirely among the mainstream "governing" wing of the party, symbolized by the Speaker of the House himself. If the Trump "movement" were going to seize power, rather than remain isolated on the fringes, this is the only window they're going to get. If instead a bunch of country clubbers and Tea Partiers fill these record number of uncontested slots, the Trump candidates would have to wait years for another such ripe opportunity.
Translation: there is no Trump movement. There may be a good amount of popular support for it, but there is absolutely nobody running to meet that demand. Why? Because the GOP is an ossified party at the very end of its dominance, which began nearly 40 years ago under Reagan. They didn't even give the voters Trump -- he staged a hostile takeover, which they fought bitterly every step of the way.
A terminal-stage party does not respond to its voters, who it takes for granted, and it cannot adapt to new problems. If you thought the GOP would learn the lessons of 2016, you thought wrong. They're just going to ride it out until the Bernie revolution takes over the government, and whine impotently about socialized medicine.
Just as the dethroned Democrats did after Carter's failed attempt to transform it away from the New Deal / Great Society paradigm, the Republicans in the Bernie era will continue running legacy candidates because they will see the Bernie take-over as just a fluke or a brief nightmare that they'll soon wake up from.
The Democrats ran New Deal style candidates in '84 and '88 -- and got crushed. They had to submit to the Reagan revolution and run a semi-liberal variation on the Reaganite themes if they wanted to win, and they finally got that with Bill Clinton -- took them long enough, though.
The Republicans in the Bernie era will not run a populist or isolationist at first. They will not accept that their formerly dominant paradigm has been superseded, and they will continue running Reaganites like Nikki Haley in 2024, and Marco Rubio in 2028, both of whom will get obliterated. Maybe by 2032, they'll get with the program and run a Tucker Carlson / Ann Coulter ticket.
The populist-nationalist Trump supporters must be realistic about when their issues will actually take over the party -- it will only happen when the party elites are forced to do so in order to win elections. So far, since 1980 they've been doing OK on the Reaganite paradigm. They're going to have to see the Bernie revolution take over the Democrat party, and then win with a general electorate for several cycles, in order to accept that as the new reality, where Trump's old platform will be the right-wing variant on what the people now want.
For that matter, how many Bernie-style candidates are running on the Democrat side? A whole bunch. They even have them all listed in one convenient page so you can check who to vote for in your elections. That is the sign of a re-aligning and reviving party, rather than a backward moribund party.
In the meantime, before the GOP finally gets a clue, your only choices for populists are on the Democrat side, albeit so far only among primary candidates. But that just means you should vote in the Democrat primaries, to advance populists into the general election, since there are no populists to advance out of the GOP primaries, where your vote would be wasted.
And some Democrat primary candidates will be guilt-free choices, since they may have supported Trump over Hillary! Dennis Kucinich, running for Ohio Governor, was on Fox Business an awful lot in 2016 saying he wanted Bernie, but that Trump was hitting the right notes on trade and re-industrialization, foreign policy, preserving the social safety net, etc., which Hillary was not interested in, and how shameful it is for Democrats that Trump is so easily stealing all these old New Deal issues away from the party.
To reiterate, the GOP will never give you populist candidates unless they see that as a winning strategy on the other side, forcing them to compete on the same winning issues on their own side. Right now, the other side in their minds is still Hillary Clinton and neoliberalism, so they only need to offer the right-wing version of that -- Reaganism.
The Democrats have already seen populism win on the other side -- Trump's nomination and then winning the general. They now have to compete on those populist issues if they want to stay relevant, and that will drive the Bernie take-over of the party.
The GOP does not react this way to Trump's success because he is not the other side to them, so they don't feel the pressure to fight populism with populism. Trump is, in their minds, a fluke internal to their party -- not the thing they need to beat Democrats.
Likewise, the Democrats did not see Carter, the skeptic of the New Deal, as necessary to defeat Republicans -- they assumed he was an internal fluke, and kept running old-style New Deal candidates well into the Reagan revolution. But the Republicans saw Carter's success on the other side and realized that in 1980, they needed to run Reagan rather than New Deal-friendly Republicans, if they wanted a solid answer to Carter's program of deregulation.
So, as strange as it may seem, if you want Tucker Carlson in 2032, you have to vote for Bernie first in 2020.