David Frum: Grassroots Revolt Goes Beyond Trump; Will Have Lasting Impact

In The Atlantic, David Frum explains that dissatisfaction on the right didn’t begin with Donald Trump, and is likely to outlast him.

Rank-and-file Republicans have signaled their disaffection from their party in spectacular fashion, from the Tea Party to the summer of Trump. The reason of the Republican revolt is not hard to explain: disappointment and frustration.

Whatever happens to the Trump candidacy—almost certainly nothing good—the insurrectionary mood inside the Republican Party will not easily be quieted. More than 40 percent of Republicans want illegal immigrants deported. The party’s best-funded candidates are committed to some kind of pathway to citizenship. More than a fifth of Republicans believe the wealthy wield too much political power.

The forces that have worked to render the GOP a minority party remain at work:

The Radicalization of the Baby-Boom Generation as It Enters Its Sixties

Through most of their life cycle, the people born between 1945 and 1960 expressed more liberal views than people born between 1930 and 1945. That abruptly changed in 2007-2008, as the boomers aged, the economy crashed, and Barack Obama was elected president. The boomers, a cohort more than 70 percent white, face retirement at a time when there don’t seem sufficient public resources for everyone—and under an administration that seems to regard non-poor retirees as a group to be redistributed from, not to.

The Assertiveness of the GOP’s Wealthy Donor Class

Limits on political giving have vanished as potential givers have amassed unprecedented wealth. Those givers differ on almost every imaginable issue from non-givers in their party. Unsurprisingly, the givers tend to get their way most of the time. Unsurprisingly, the non-givers resent it.

The Emergence of a Conservative Entertainment Complex

The entertainment complex appeals to a very small slice of the country—but it can make or break political careers within a larger Republican party. The onlycounterweight against it is the power of huge money from a narrow class of mega-donors.

Read the whole thing.


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