Republicans used to recognize the value of the incremental win. They'll have to rediscover it if they want to rebuild going forward.
Barring some kind of delegate miracle, the Republican party will nominate Donald Trump as its nominee for president next week. In a year when they could have chosen any number of true conservatives — Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, and Ted Cruz, among others — primary voters instead chose Trump, a candidate attempting to lure left-wing Bernie Sanders voters by tweeting about his opposition to free trade and blaming Wall Street for our economic problems.
Such a scenario would have been inconceivable even a decade ago. But that was before President George W. Bush bailed out AIG, worked with Democrats in Congress to pass the $700 billion TARP, and provided emergency bailout cash to the auto industry. Combined with the election of Barack Obama and the passage of his own stimulus package, these choices helped to launch the Tea Party in 2009.
At the same time, something was changing within the conservative movement. Up to then, the majority of pundits, writers, talk-radio hosts, and politicians had been interested in practical change; afterward, they began a constant quest to seek out and amplify grievances. Angered by what they saw as Bush’s capitulation to Democrats — and by the nomination of John McCain to run against Obama — a faction of conservatives began to treat any concessions to the other side, no matter how small, as ideologically treasonous.
Just over 20 years ago, a Republican-controlled Congress prepared to send then-president Clinton a welfare-reform bill that would bring sweeping changes to America’s entitlement apparatus. Welfare reform was one of ten pieces of legislation promised in the House GOP’s “Contract with America.” That document, drafted in part by Newt Gingrich in the summer of 1994, was credited with helping Republicans retake the House months later. Not all of the promises it contained became law, even after the GOP took over. But several did, welfare reform being one of them. It was an incremental win for the GOP and conservatives were rightly impressed.Read the rest of Jay Caruso's op-ed HERE.
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