From GOP to Grand New Party: Starting A New Party With An Old Name

Dennis Sanders

Dennis is the pastor of a small Protestant congregation outside St. Paul, MN and also a part-time communications consultant. A native of Michigan, you can check out his writings over on Medium and subscribe to his Substack newsletter on religion and politics called Polite Company.  Dennis lives in Minneapolis with his husband Daniel.

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85 Responses

  1. Jaybird
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    One thing I kept waiting for in the essay was discussion of the culture war.

    Like, you’re talking about populist things but talking about economics. A new and improved Republican Party, it seems, would be one that addresses “an actual working-class agenda” without wandering off toward a second (failed) “libertarian moment”.

    But what would the culture war part of that look like?

    I fear that it is covered by this part of your essay:

    In their minds, it wasn’t up to government to pick winners and losers. But of course, not making a decision, was in effect picking a winner and a loser.

    Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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      But of course, not making a decision, was in effect picking a winner and a loser.

      I disagree with that.

      Also manufacturing jobs haven’t gone down so much as not kept up as a percentage of the workforce (this graph doesn’t adjust for increasing pop size): https://legacy.npr.org/news/graphics/2013/12/serv_h.gifReport

      • Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter
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        To the extent that much of the problem is a problem with positional goods, “not keeping up as a percentage of the workforce” is losing ground.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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          It’s important to not confuse “good jobs aren’t being created” with “better than manufactoring jobs are being created”.

          The gov stepping in to “help” manufactoring jobs is like horse-buggy manufactorers being helped when they’re being crushed by cars.

          Yes, manufactoring jobs are going down both as a percentage of the population and as a positional good (i.e. there are lots of jobs being created further up the totem pole), but these are good problems to have.Report

          • North in reply to Dark Matter
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            I think it may be locational. The manufacturing jobs are vanishing out of large “one plant” towns and semi rural areas. The new, better, jobs are being created in suburbia or urbia and primarily in dense blue coastal regions and Colorado.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to North
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              Let me talk again about creating a public relocation benefit for towns that lose major employers.Report

              • North in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Every liberal would hear you out with grave interest and every right winger would be livid at your condescension or disgusted big gummint giveaways trying to destroy their community.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to North
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                Yeah, wasn’t government that destroyed the community, but in my book, relocation assistance is probably cheaper in the long run than putting the bulk of a workforce on welfare long term.Report

              • North in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Hey I’m on board but those voters don’t want relocation; they want the plant opened again.Report

              • J_A in reply to North
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                It very much sounds like the “open the mines again” discussion we had 4-plus years ago.

                But the mines won’t open again.

                Options available for politicians/political parties are:

                1- Propose a mechanism to mitigate the impact of the [mines/factories] closure on the population, via relocation. subsidies, welfare, etc. We can discuss the proper mix of all these tools.

                2- Reduce corporate taxes and environmental/health and safety regulations, and hope that equity owners will feel obliged to share part of the benefits with labor (who will, of course carry the burden of the pared down regulations). This is old style Reaganism/Ryanism.

                3- Promise that the mines/factories will reopen once the evil people that are responsible for the closure (environmentalists, liberal elites, country betraying globalists, the Chinese, etc.) are vanquished.

                There’s one party already doing (1), and is not the GOP. It seems to me that’s there another party hell bent doing (3), and shows absolutely no interest in (1). I don’t see anyone pushing for (2)

                The question to Dennis and his ilk (similar to Jaybird’s above) is as follows:

                Why doesn’t anyone in the GOP want to enter the (1) space? And, if (1) is unacceptable to Republicans (why????) and (2) is going the way of the dodo, what would (4) look like?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to J_A
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                Losing your job sucks and is scary. Triply so when it’s an industry thing and your backup plans probably include making less money.

                RE: Why doesn’t anyone in the GOP want to enter the (1) space?

                Because that would admit these jobs can’t be saved.

                RE: Reduce corporate taxes and environmental/health and safety regulations

                Trump did regulatory reform. He got no media exposure for this but I’ve seen back of the envelope claims that said it was a really good thing.

                No media exposure is close to ‘no political benefit’.

                RE: what would (4) look like?

                Remote/Virtual jobs. I started my new job June 1st. I’m still in a different state in my basement hiding from Covid.

                In theory some politician could claim credit for this and encourage it.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                We have a ton of jobs programs and “compensate for damaged by free trade” programs. I would be shocked if we didn’t already have a gov relocation program.

                Worse, private industry does this no matter what the gov does.

                My job was “destroyed” this year. I’ve found a new job in a different state (technically with the same company but that didn’t help with the interview process).

                The company is relocating me (next week… although with moving time ranges it will be more like next 2-3 weeks).

                Similarly, my oldest daughter just graduated college and got her first real job. Her company is relocating her this week. Her move package is a lot less than mine but I have stuff.

                Virtual working and covid have made this more complex and introduced drama but whatever.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                If we have a gov relocation program, I’ve never heard of it, which means it effectively doesn’t exist.

                Private industry does this, sometimes. When I started at Boeing, I got a relocation package. But I was starting as an engineer. If you were starting on the manufacturing floor, or as a low level administrative worker, there would be no relocation assistance. When Boeing was moving a bunch of manufacturing and engineering to SC, relocation packages were only offered to about 10% of the employees who could potentially follow the work (i.e. the employees Boeing REALLY wanted to keep).

                Relo packages also wax and wane considerably with the economy. Company having a good couple of years, or having trouble filling positions, relocation gets offered more. Times are tight, or it’s a buyers market, and relo is reserved for upper management.

                Ergo, you can’t assume any given employer will offer any given employee a relo package.

                As for virtual work, that’s great for guys like us, but for the coal miner or factory worker?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                but for the coal miner or factory worker?

                Brutal truth is they should learn to code or something else. Society’s need for coal miners has gone down and will continue to go down.

                RE: Gov reloc packages

                When I think about it, highly likely we’d have problems with the reloc package being higher than the value of the job and we’d also create xenophobia.

                RE: Private reloc packages

                Point taken… but I could move myself even without my package.

                My boss(es) still have like 8 SW jobs open. Two are horribly specific but the others are more open.

                We’re not at full employment but we’re pretty full and if the problem is what to do about coal mines then the answer is “nothing”.

                If the question is what to do about coal miners, then we have like 40 gov job training programs and society really does need people doing all sorts of things… just not coal mining.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                Again, programs no one seems to know about are programs that effectively don’t exist.

                Yes, there could be jobs that are not worth the cost of relocating, which is exactly why private industry is not offering a relocation package for those. One could scale such things, as we do with other benefits.

                As for coal miners, etc., Yes, I totally agree with you. Dying career field and all that. I’m betting your average coal miner could be more easily trained as a wind turbine tech or solar tech then a software developer (not everyone can learn to code, at least not a level where you can be professionally paid to do it), but that still requires relocation, unless you happen to have a wind turbine installation near the coal mine.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                programs no one seems to know about are programs that effectively don’t exist.

                The 47 programs we have suggest the gov is really bad at jobs training programs.

                That kind of makes sense, if they’re not creating the job then they’re just guessing at what industry wants and needs. The training program presumably has no feedback, was created because of a political promise, and dances to a political master. https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/labor/employment-training-programs

                not everyone can learn to code

                Yeah, I assume it’s one out of five at the max. Presumably less if you’re an adult switching jobs.

                The big advantage of “coding” is it’s more easily made into a remote job so you don’t need to leave your current town. The other big advantage is it often comes with a reloc package.

                Big picture the solution is for everyone to move on with their lives and find jobs that work for them and/or retraining. There are social programs to help, welfare, unemployment, even job training.

                That the gov’s job training sucks doesn’t suggest we need a 48th program, it just suggests you’re better off with industry’s or diy.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                That’s the kicker, there aren’t a lot of Industry training programs anymore, so it’s down to DIY, which gets us to “public funding of adult education” territory, which kinds requires that there is a campus close to the people who need training (and as we’ve discussed before, not all training can be online).

                I mean, honestly, I’d be all for offering incentives to industry or trade unions* to step up OJT / apprenticeships.

                But regardless, it doesn’t make sense to put a campus in every county, more cost effective to relocate displaced workers to the campus (if they need retraining) or to the new job (if we ignore the concerns Marchmaine raised about housing, climate, and water).

                *This is something trade unions are supposed to do, right?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                it’s down to DIY, which gets us to “public funding of adult education” territory, which kinds requires that there is a campus close to the people who need training

                Training, even DIY, doesn’t require college for many/most skills.

                There are exceptions, if you’re trying to be a nurse then you’re going to need certification.

                However me needing to retool and relearn my supposed “degree” skills is an every few years thing. For that matter some of my co-workers have degrees that are basically worthless for what they do now.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                I said nothing about ‘college’, I said ‘a campus’, as in the training has to happen somewhere. Maybe it is at a University or a college, or maybe it’s in a strip mall.

                But t a facility has to exist,Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                Speaking of programs that effectively don’t exist because no one knows about them, there is also the issue of programs that are so difficult to apply for, even if people know about them, no one bothers.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Really good article. It skips the problem that Europe’s programs are set up to help mono-cultural people and we’re multi-cultural.

                That means different sub-cultures respond differently to these programs. It wasn’t “racism” that led us to pay women to not get married to the fathers of their children, it was just assumed cultural pressure would prevent that.

                Having said that, I’m all in favor of reducing paperwork.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Sure, but many Companies are attached to their location already… how will we get them to relocate beyond financial incentives? They are irrationally attached to certain places for status, social networks and other non-financial reasons.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
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                companies, or employees?Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Companies of course… were you thinking *people* would just up and move?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
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                natchReport

              • Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Won’t that just drive worsening housing and infrastructure problems? Why wouldn’t we take a 21st century approach and leverage technology to put people and companies where the potable water *is* and the angry rising water *isn’t*

                If relocation is in the cards, I’m not seeing why we aren’t actively relocating lots of things with, say, an Infrastructure Bill.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
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                Fair point. I suppose we could raise taxes on businesses that relocate to places suffering housing &/or water crisis, or some other kind of dis/incentive.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
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                Why wouldn’t we take a 21st century approach and leverage technology to put people and companies where the potable water *is* and the angry rising water *isn’t*

                First, you have to answer the question, “Why didn’t people and companies move to those places already?” The example I was given once was Cincinnati. 50 years ago, metro Cincinnati (not just the city proper) was much bigger than any of metro Denver or metro Seattle or metro Austin. Over this 50 years, metro Cincinnati grew at a very slow rate and all of Denver and Seattle and Austin exploded. Today all of them are noticeably bigger than Cincinnati. Why?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain
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                They all don’t have turkeys falling from the sky?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                I think there’s a strong argument to “chance” having a big impact (area depends on an industry which isn’t expanding).

                Having said that, the gov’s policies can also have a huge impact.

                Take Detroit. American car makers were shrinking, Japanese car makers were going to set up shop in the US, you’d think the later would want to set up next to the former for access to a trained workforce and supply networks.

                Instead they decided no way they wanted to deal with a hostile union backed up by the law so there was no way they would locate in Michigan.

                Similarly New York would have tens or hundreds of thousands more programming jobs if AOC and various other members of team blue hadn’t told Amazon they shouldn’t come.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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      Which part of the culture war?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        Any part of it!

        If I said “Let’s get back to basics and just, you know, put forward an actual working-class agenda.” then is there a culture part of that?

        I think that there is.Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird
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          I think Dennis was correct to leave the culture war out and that is because the culture war is not, really, a central Republican problem at this point (any more); it’s a Democratic problem if it’s a problem at all.

          Bear with me. In the aughts and, really, any period prior to Trumps ascendance the culture war was a problem for the right and for the GOP. I would summarize that problem as:

          “We are losing ground (in the early aughts it was this, in the late aughts and teens change it to simply losing) on virtually all fronts of the culture war and the culture wars salience in distracting the voting masses from the void between their interests and our Reagan Party positions is waning. How can we gin up the culture war/and-or find something to replace it with to preserve the Reagan Party positions in the GOP that our paymasters pay us sweet sweet lucre to preserve?”

          Post Trump, I agree with Dennis, the Reagan Party has perished. It can’t be revived in its old form. So, the above problem has become moot. Pre-Trump the Party of Reagan was suffering congenital heart problems and creeping dementia. Post-Trump the Party of Reagan is on life support and its brain is entirely dissolved into pudding. The old questions of preserving it have become moot; the new question is about disposing of the carcass and replacing it with a new viable thing.

          It is absolutely true that the GOP/Right is making bank and is achieving its electoral successes on the back of culture war issues. But these successes are Cleek’s law achievements: they are simply rejections of what the Democratic Party and the greater left is perceived as pushing. This puts control of this matter largely out of the hands of actors on the right. They can use their media organs to exaggerate or highlight left wing culture war excesses and brand the Democratic Party with those themes to gin up rejection but at its foundation the agency is on the left. If the Dems tack strongly left on culture war themes they gin up opposition on the right but if they stand pat or tack moderate then opposition will cool. The right can massage the numbers but they don’t control the ultimate position the Democratic Party or the left take.

          So that issue is out of the rights control and is incidental to Dennis’ point and article.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to North
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            So what will the positive message of the Republicans be?

            “We need to create more manufacturing jobs in the US”?
            “Make the rich pay their fair share, after decades of massaging the rules to benefit themselves”?
            “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”?

            While I suppose I would be willing to give any of those planks somewhere between a C+ and a B on messaging, I think that the new and improved and definitely not Trumpy party is going to need something else…

            Lest it last about a tenth as long as the RLC.Report

            • North in reply to Jaybird
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              Dude, no one KNOWS what the correct new economic platform of the right is! If I KNEW what the correct new economic platform of the Republican Party is I would be fishin’ rich as Croesus.

              Hmmm… or at least I would have the ability to become as rich as Croesus… but helping the right discover that plank would not only make me wealthy but would devastate the left which would be really bad for my interests as a gay man so long as the right remains the home of the revanchist cultural right. Then again it’d be likely quite good for the country and, perhaps, good for the left in the long run since being beaten like a stubborn mule would certainly be the fastest way for the idiot parts of wokism to go yelping off into the political night.

              Suffice to say, I’d be conflicted.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North
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                And so here we are.

                We need to decouple The Republican Party as it exists from Trump, and form a new The Republican Party that can move forward in the current year.

                But we don’t know what the economic message will be.
                And we don’t want them to talk about the culture war.

                Mitt Romney 2024!Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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                Messaging:

                1/6 was patriotism at its finest! (Or maybe an FBI/Antifa false flag operation.)

                Simone Biles is overrated because she’s, you know. And her not competing made us settle for silver.

                Real men don’t cry, they just whine.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird
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                Personally I don’t give a fish if the GOP just wallows in post Trumpism and fails to adopt an economic message. If they do so and the Dems continue to sort out their troubles with the illiberal lefts then the GOP will be thumped in elections until they reform.

                As for Romneybot, he will never win a national primary in the Republican Party. Set aside his Trump apostacies and you still have a wealthy vulture capitalist chop shopper who bought and cleaned out companies, looted their pensions, loaded them up with debt, then transferred their assets to himself through dividends, and sent them staggering off into the market to die. He’s the personification of everything that the rights average voters loathe.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North
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                I tend to agree.

                As such, I think that the Republican Realignment is coming and, yes, there will be a post-Trump Republican Party.

                But the Romneys won’t have a whole lot to do with it beyond the “where else are you going to go?” place.

                But I don’t think that it’ll be a NeverTrump party. I think it’ll merely be post-Trump.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird
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                We’re in full agreement there. I am deeply dubious that anyone who’s NeverTrump will be a major mover and shaker in the GOP’s internal politics again. No one is hated more than an apostate.

                And I am deeply dubious that the Never Trumpers will be the ones who define whatever the post Trump GOP becomes. I suspect they’re too beholden to what came before.Report

      • CJColucci in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        The part that gets votes?Report

    • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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      ‘Once upon a time, there was a one-legged stool. It stood for economic conservatism, and everyone sat on it and the world was great. Then, during the financial crisis, that leg broke. We need to sit on the rest now.’Report

  2. Chip Daniels
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    One major inflection point was the autopsy of the 2012 election, when the GOP acknowledged that in order to gain popularity with the American people, needed to reach out to minority groups.

    Their resounding decision was reflected in Trump’s rise to power as the leader of the party of white male grievance.

    There is, in fact, a constituency for some form of small c conservative party, one that embraces market solutions instead of government solutions.
    But this constituency is firmly within the Democratic Party at the moment.

    We can see this constituency in the criticisms that we see right here at OT of the Democrats; That the Democrats, for all their woke rhetoric, are the party of corporate interests, NIMBY restrictive laws and elite privilege.

    What never gets asked, is why for example, a wealthy corporate lawyer or CEO of a tech company who wants a life of privilege would share a political party with AOC and Elizabeth Warren instead of Mitt Romney.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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      Far as I can tell, Trump did better with Hispanic voters than usual.Report

      • North in reply to Dark Matter
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        He did better with Hispanic and African American men generally, and Venezuelan and Cuban voters in FL especially. Let’s also not forget, iirc, that he got his percentage up to wane imitations of George W Bush’s historical levels of support. Good by Republican standards but far from impressive on any objective measure.Report

        • InMD in reply to North
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          To me the lesson for team red is, or should be, that their situation is not nearly as hopeless outside of deep red, white ruralia as the media apparatus that runs the GOP, or the MSM for that matter, suggests. If they’re smart they’ll act accordingly.

          The lesson for team blue is that demographics are not destiny and that canard needs to be retired as soon as possible. I am very curious to see how Eric Adams does in NY, and could see it pointing to a path to that works nationally.Report

          • North in reply to InMD
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            For sure. A GOP that adopts some new kind of coherent post Reagan economic policy and keeps drumming the culture war will be electorally formidable.

            And minorities are less likely than wealthy whites to like/support the more wacky iterations of woke-ism. Demographics ain’t destiny at all.

            To play left wing Pollyanna, though, I feel like I can hear a hint of awareness in woke discourse on the matter. Kendi and Diangelo both have started defending themselves in interviews and articles more and those defenses include forswearing, denying and walking back some of their more risible themes. I think the odds of woke-ism being some kind of successor ideology like the substack set keeps fretting is declining, especially because, as Adams victory demonstrates, the actual breathing voter masses aren’t necessarily buying wokism at all.Report

            • InMD in reply to North
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              I strongly suspect that the best thing that ever happened for woke-ism was Trump, and the longer he is gone the harder time it will have sustaining itself. Obviously I don’t like it, and at times worry about its influence in certain institutions, but it is starting to look to me like a dying fad.Report

              • North in reply to InMD
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                You and me both. Hopefully liberalism can keep the good elements of it and toss the useless and derivative crap out.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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                What does non-wokism look like?
                How does a non-woke policy approach the Voting Rights Act, or immigration, or police reform?

                What would a non-woke President Biden do differently than a woke President Biden?

                This touches on Jaybird’s comment on the other thread about a constituency for police reform, which is not-woke and not-Democratic and not-progressive but somehow also not-racist and not-authoritarian and not-Republican.

                Isn’t this really just trying to find a place that is essentially the same as BLM and the woke crowd, but has a different aesthetic and includes a different cast of characters?
                Like, agreeing with the woke people about the harmful effects of racism, but not being so…abrasive about it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                There are ways to be Liberal but not Woke.

                They involve being Populist rather than Technocratic, though. They involve pandering to people with Some College and even less than that instead of pandering to people with Bachelor’s Degrees and up.

                Here’s a thread about what Eric Adams is running on in NYC:

                Ignore the loaded language (“fascist”, “copaganda”) and behold what a Liberal non-woke politician can look like.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Yeesh, that’s not that hard.
                Non-Woke immigration policy: anything that isn’t open borders.
                Non-woke VRA: Try and pass a narrow bill focused on actual voting rights and dump all the liberal wish pap about blocking cash and speech from entities liberals don’t like.
                Non-woke Police Reform: “People, police are governed at the municipal level. You need to get your mayor to have a spine at the next police contract negotiation, not have the national party say nice things about intersectionality.

                President Biden is not currently woke so, uh, the current President Biden?

                It’s mostly just taking the criticisms that BLM and CRT has and considering them seriously while screening out all the other nonsense like post capitalism and free Palestine etc etc… that the greater far left is trying to pack in under the skirts of those popular themes while flat out chucking the illiberal and racist stuff.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North
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                It seems weird to namecheck Biden as a Democrat who sits in opposition to wokism, since he enjoys the deep support of people like AOC and the Squad, and the support of almost all Democrats with the possible exclusion of the Extremely Online and Extremely Irrelevant Rose Twitter crowd.

                If Biden can win elections while not being woke, and enjoy the support of the woke, then why would anyone assume that wokism is somehow a problem for the Democrats?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Wokism is Blue vs Blue virtue signalling. I am Bluer than thou.

                Where it becomes a problem is when the most rabid Blue wins the nomination and then has to face the general election.

                There is also the normal problems of coalition management where everyone insists that their issue is the most important and needs addressing now.

                It’s probably not a problem for Biden currently, but it might have kept him from getting the nomination (he’s an old white guy).

                This time Team Blue prioritized “electability”, that doesn’t always happen.Report

              • North in reply to Dark Matter
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                Yeah in 2020 Trump focused the lefts mind just as Bush W and Bush HW did before him. But when Biden leaves, either in one term or two, my political almanac says the Dragon of Purity Politics is due to arise from its cavern in Suffolk County.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Bzzt! Incorrect. Biden is not a Democrat who sits -in opposition to- wokism. He is not opposed to wokism, he’s simply not affirmatively, personally woke. That is a very big distinction. When the primaries were under way in 2019-20 Biden was pretty much dead last on the Woke wishlist. He was too old, too male, too white and inadequately (read almost nonexistently) woke.

                Biden is currently President and he’s a party animal so he’s done quite a good job of keeping all the assorted cats of the political coalition together in the herd. Pelosi, also, is a very good manager of her caucus and, to give AOC her due, the congresswoman seems to know that her interests are in having the over all party succeed. She’s not trying to torpedo the Democratic Party overall just to advance her personal fortunes. In this, as in many ways, the Democratic Party has better fringers than the GOP does. It also bears noting that the woke left doesn’t actually command many votes and the political actors know it. The woke brigade has maybe a 1 in 3 shot of getting a woke politician nominated in a safe seat and can’t do a damn thing in any non-safe blue districts which badly weakens their influence in the party.

                I actually quite agree with you that the woke are a marginal power within the ranks of the Democratic Party in of itself. That does not, however, make wokism a non-problem for Democrats specifically or the left in general. The woke are quite powerful in the academy, the entertainment industry, the non-profit industry and the media (which is rapidly becoming a weird decaying kind of form of non-profit themselves). They may not control the party itself but they are enormously over represented in the noisy and most visible parts of the lefts overall social structure in a weird parallel to how the libertarians (electorally picayune but powerfully popular with and strongly financed by plutocrats) are perched in a lot of the traditionally noisy parts of the right (and are now being supplanted by the rights out of control media apparatus). Frankly it’s a tribute to how incoherent and self-destructive wokism is that with all these advantages they can’t gain a greater purchase on the minds and passions of the voting masses.

                They’re still a problem though, because elites can and do shape the contours of what is politically possible and while wokism makes cogent criticisms of the existing order it currently has a whole lot of absolutely dumb and toxic crap freighted in with it. The right can make hay campaigning against wokism on the left even though wokism doesn’t (currently) dominate the political apparatus of the left for two reasons:

                -It is really easy to campaign against and it may eventually come to dominate the lefts political apparatus and
                -On the right the media is hand in glove with the rights party. That isn’t the case on the left but the right can pretend they don’t know that or (disturbingly) a growing portion of them honestly don’t seem to realize that the mainstream media is separate from, and in many cases harmful to, the left and the Democratic Party.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Several years ago there was a NYC cop that was giving a talk about how most rapes aren’t how they are depicted in the media with strangers in the bushes jumping out at night but done by people the victim knows, etc. A very feminist talking point. His problem was tht he spoke in NYC cop language rather than feminist academic language and got hammered for that. He said the right thing in the wrong way.

                To me Internet wokeism can often descend into a demand for absolute correct language and something of an enforced orthodoxy. It seems alliances that aren’t necesarily there and doesn’t like any off color jokes. There is a harsh austere nature in a lot of it.

                ETA: Wokeism as cultural code works kind of well in very online communities but it doesn’t work when dealing with real people in large numbers. They tend to get shocked when their alleged allies who aren’t online say some non-woke things or off color jokes.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to North
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              says:

              The problem is most “coherent economic policies” are also un-populist.Report

              • North in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Maybe less populists that populist red meat, sure but squaring that circle is a political parties job. If you go too populist then the economics start breaking down and you go broke. If you go too libertarian then eventually the immiserated masses hang all your wealthy plutocrats and the politicians too, from the lam posts in extremis or, at the very least, chuck libertarianism in the trash bin and leap into the arms of a populist like Trump.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to North
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          says:

          I feel like “did better” is doing a lot of heavy lifting. He still did not do well but it is only a bunch of pathologies that has people talking about it.Report

          • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
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            says:

            Sure the gains are relative but keep in mind they don’t have to go out and win the black or hispanic vote. Just getting to a point where they can consistently pull in 45% of hispanic voters and do in the upper teens to 20% among black voters would have real electoral significance. It wouldn’t take a change to doing well among minorities, just not getting their asses kicked.

            But this is where the the cultural grievance and media driven show politics hurt them. If I was a GOP strategist I’d be very ambivalent about the party’s approach to the voting issue. I think it’s no coincidence that 2020 turnout was both huge and that Biden had no coattails. My bet is the conventional wisdom about who turnout helps is no longer correct. Republicans are just too busy angling for their appearance on Fox and Friends or whatever media scam to notice.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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              says:

              RE: the voting issue

              My impression is it’s a nothing-burger (i.e. won’t affect turnout) and the media and both teams are ginning up drama for drama’s sake. The Supremes found the effect so tiny to be not worth doing anything about.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                I think you’re probably right in that I don’t see any of what has actually passed (as opposed to maybe some of the things proposed) as likely to materially change election outcomes. My point was a bit different.

                As long as the GOP base and media apparatus is running around chasing fraud that can’t be substantiated (because it doesn’t exist) they’re (a) wasting energy on something that won’t win them anything and (b) failing to adapt strategy to exploit weaknesses in the D coalition that actually could help them in the only thing that matters, winning elections. It strikes me as obvious that there is (maybe a lot) less racial solidarity when it comes to partisan politics than the conventional wisdom says. A smart GOP would put exploiting that over jerking off its base. But they aren’t that smart, and their priorities are screwed up by the need to feed the media machine that calls the shots.Report

  3. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    The Republican Party is the troll party now. It is the party of Boebert, MTG, Gossar, Jim Jordan, Banks, and other merchants of bad takes and bad faith. It is not a party interested in government and I think the few sincere small government types are getting a very rude awakening: https://thebulwark.com/should-lauren-boebert-visit-auschwitz/Report

  4. Michael Cain
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    says:

    Taking an old party and making it anew means organizing. It needs people who can recruit candidates to run for the statehouse and Congress. It needs volunteers to staff campaigns and tactitians that can run the ground game. It needs writers that can write essays and speeches that can inspire the public to vote for their new party with an old name.

    Whether a new party, or commandeering an old one, I would suggest you’ve got the cart before the horse in this paragraph (and the whole post, in general). New parties successfully emerged, or old parties were transformed, because there was a theme. You’ll get nowhere on any of the tactical stuff until you’ve got that over-arching theme. To be grossly simplistic, one of the existing parties’ themes is “preserve traditional privileges.” The other’s is “make full use of the powers of the federal government to get much more equal outcomes.” Economics, culture war, international relations,… the themes are applied to a wide range of policies. What’s your theme going to be? In one phrase, please, not a list of policies.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      Well, you could go with “make full use of the powers of the federal government to get much more equal opportunities.”, but that will really irk the whole, “preserve traditional privileges.” crowd…Report

  5. Jaybird
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    says:

    It looks like the Democrats are going to steal “Law and Order” right out of the hands of the Rethuglicans!

    Report

  6. Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    Good post. I feel like we’ve trod this ground since at least 2012… but the old consensus is dead, long live… well, that’s the problem that your post is pretty good at… there’s no new consensus. That’s the really interesting thing.

    I still think that 2016 was a failed re-alignment and 2020 will fail differently, but fail nonetheless (assuming Biden/Trump are still the prime movers)… but 2024? We’ll know we’re on the other side of the realignment when we’re talking about how 2016 and 2020 were obviously transitionary periods that we all should have seen were harbingers for what we have (future) now. Duh.

    So… my ‘Duh’ predictions:

    *Economic Consensus: Stakeholder Capitalism… consider this an anti-Galt and anti-Technocrat synthesis.
    *Social Consensus: Whole Life Policies… pro-natalist, pro-ethnic synthesis (anti-balkanization), pro-family, pro-multi-generational transition (which ties into Economic Transition)
    *Government Consensus: Govt will be ‘right-sized’ not too big, not too small… most importantly, circumscribed to things it does well vs. things it doesn’t.
    *Global Consensus Foreign Policy: US will maintain military pre-eminence, under a restrained policy that is designed to preserve trade and isolate conflict, not resolve it.
    *Global Consensus Economic: With Stakeholder Capitalism comes Labor Solidarity which disincentivizes Capital Flight/Arbitrage via Labor as Stakeholders and beneficiaries of Capital decisions.

    I think there will be Leftish and Rightish flavors of the above… so never fear, plenty of things to find fault with how the other guys are doing things… but realignment stalks both parties.Report

    • InMD in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      So we get to a point where enough people agree that the Rupert Murdochs and HR cultural imperialists of the world are two sides of the same hostis humani generis coin? I support the idea. But it sort of has the seeds for its own defeat built right in.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
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        says:

        Sure… that’s why realignment keeps failing. Money/Power/Influence are all on the other team(s).

        Worst case for me personally is the rhetoric is co-opted and the HR/Murdock Empire solidifies into, well, Mustapha Mond.Report

    • North in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      I think it’s as solid a prediction as any I have seen, well done.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to North
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        says:

        Mighty kind, I was going to comment on your fine steel-manning of the opposition views above… but wasn’t sure which one to single out… so consider this a blanket recognition.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      I could see that as a wish list, but as predictions? Only to the extent that a few of them are so broad that they’d include both parties as they exist today.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        [Ahem] I believe table stakes ’round these parts for criticizing predictions about the future are putting your predictions on the table first.

        Sure they are broad… that’s the request… what can the party rally around. But honestly not sure which are so broad that either party is already proposing much less both.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          Just assume that I made really stupid predictions and mock me for them.

          Right now, I’m wrestling with the question of whether the old, or any, consensus is an illusion. We saw the dominance of neocon foreign policy up until we didn’t. We’ve seen the Democrats embrace gender things they seemingly never would have. Did both of those changes reflect actual changes / breakdowns in consensus? Or is the Overton window simply a matter of which questions the pollsters ask?

          Or is this all about strategy? That is to say, would Democrats nod along to any statement about genitals if they think it will help them? And on the subject of genitals, does strategy explain Trump’s support among evangelicals? If that’s the case, how much of all this is just rock-paper-scissors?

          I sense a category error.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          Let me give an example of a category error: “Never Trump Republicans”. I didn’t vote for Trump either time, albeit with slightly different thinking the second time around. I’m clearly not a “Never Trump Republican” though. Most Republicans who didn’t vote for Trump, either or both times, wouldn’t fall into the category that Dennis seems to be describing. “Never Trump” was itself a slogan, not a faction, and only a small portion of voters care about the slogan.

          Note that Dennis was dissatisfied with the Republicans long before Trump. I remember reading him. He’s dissatisfied with the Republicans now, in an era that might be considered post-Trump. Even he recognizes that Never Trumpers shouldn’t be focused on Trump; he recommends they focus on the things he didn’t like before, during, or after Trump. Well, I recommend that we focus on the things I didn’t like before, during, or after Trump too. So do you, and everyone else. That doesn’t identify any meaningful faction or movement though.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Pinky
            Ignored
            says:

            I guess I would say they are not category errors, and here’s why.

            In the first case you mention the Neo-Con Consensus as a category error… but it’s not a category error, it’s exactly what a Political Consensus looks like in a multi-faction alignment. That is, the Neo-Con policy as it was embraced in it’s anti-communist form was a more aggressive point-defense against communism… the SoCons and Libertarians had their own reasons to take a ‘back-seat’ to what this meant in practice. The Crack-up comes in the aftermath of ‘victory’ and the failure to pivot by the Neo-Cons such that the Existential Threat of Communism was replaced by the Existential Threat of Terrorism which began to expose aspects of the Neo-Con foreign Policy that, let’s say, exceeded the scope of the consensus. Especially once the trigger event of 9/11 had faded (decades) into the distance. That’s a pretty organic tale of a consensus drifting apart. Everyone in the consensus agreed with the Neo-Cons on the nature of our Existential threats, until we didn’t.

            Regarding the other example of a category error, Never Trump. I don’t think that’s mooted as an actual category/consensus rather than a brand. That is, all Democrats are Never Trump in one sense, but not obviously in the Brand sense. It’s also why in my future predictions there’s no consensus around who’s *not* part of the consensus. My objection to Never Trump is precisely this sort of non-sense… it doesn’t mean anything to be Never Trump and you don’t build consensus politics around a void. Or, well, you oughn’t.

            Looked at this way, some people who voted for Trump were Never Romney and Some were Never Obama and Some were Never Clinton and others Never (another) Bush. We don’t build coalitions around Nevers; or, well, we oughtn’t. But that’s also my consistent Meta-critique of Parties as lifestyle brands… they are bad parties and bad politics. If ‘your’ party is co-opted by people you’d ‘Never’ vote for, time for a new party. The fact that we have an ossified Duopoly is a problem for all of us, not just disaffected Never-/Anti-Trumpers. I’ve altered some of my political conversations to tactically deal with just the Duopoly first… RCV, Run-off systems, plurality systems, etc. Non-constitutional logistical reforms to elections to end the Lifestyle Party Brand system. It’s doable. Precisely because we need consensus politics where the consensus can break and re-form tactically a’la politics and not require existential Regime change.

            To make politics meaningful, we have to make them meaningless.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              The whole “you don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the other guy” thing works.

              Just be less unattractive!

              Sometimes this is as easy as just being quiet!Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                To be sure… every election someone wins no matter what.

                That’s the game structure I’m looking to alter… it’s not enough to not-lose, we should encourage a system that places hurdles to that minimalist behavior.

                Change the rules, change the outcomes. Not saying I’ll agree with the outcomes… but I already know the rules currently favor bad outcomes.Report

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