The Week: GOP Establishment Doesn’t ‘Care About the Economic Problems’ of Working Class

Manufacturing, Fans, Factory
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Michael Brendan Dougherty declares: “The conservative movement has become the GOP establishment” in view of National Review’s “symposium” of authors “against Trump.”

From The Week:

There’s something faintly comical about everyone in the Republican party shouting, “I’m not the establishment. That guy is.” The conservative movement long ago defeated the East Coast establishment of the party. It was a total rout; the last semi-moderate New England Republicans were defeated a decade ago. And yet, conservatives still insist that they are fighting some powerful establishment within the Republican Party.

Conservative institutions — their publications, think-tanks, and policy shops — are firmly embedded within the larger political class. The victory has been so-well established for so long that the literal children of the previous establishment will not stick up for it. George W. Bush ran as a conservative. Jeb Bush has ideologically been more enthusiastic for conservatism than his brother.

But there is a class of voters to whom this movement doesn’t speak often enough. They are the ones that populist Pat Buchanan called “conservatives of the heart,” in his 1992 Republican Convention speech. After telling the story of men working at the James River Paper Mill in northern New Hampshire, pleading with him to save their jobs, Buchanan described them this way:

My friends even in tough times, these people are with us. They don’t read Adam Smith or Edmund Burke, but they came from the same schoolyards and playgrounds and towns as we did. They share our beliefs and convictions, our hopes and our dreams. They are the conservatives of the heart.

They are our people. And we need to reconnect with them. We need to let them know we know they’re hurting. They don’t expect miracles, but they need to know we care. [Voices of Democracy]

For a quarter century, the conservative movement has done everything to say they manifestly do not care about the economic problems of these people. The movement bombards them with direct mail pitches, celebrates the “creative destruction” of their livelihoods wrought by globalization, and then says, “Let them eat talk radio shows.”

Read the rest of the story here.