A recent National Review cover story (Blue Today, Bluer Tomorrow on NRO), by Joel Kotkin discusses the continued failure of progressive policies in big cities and states controlled by progressives. Of course you should read the whole thing. We agree with Joel that progressive failure should provide opportunities for conservatives, the GOP, and the right to help themselves and their new constituents. Joel sets the stage by telling us about progressive or “blue” policies:
Many core constituencies associated with blue politics may become aware that their interests, prominent on the progressive menu, will never in reality be served. Ultimately, results, not memes, matter most. Progressives have demonstrated monumental incompetence in addressing everything from social equity to education, culture, and energy policy. Even in postmodern America, failure cannot forever be sold as success.
You are going to read the whole thing so we will tell you briefly that Joel gives data about various minorities and about the various political groups. According to Joel’s sources we can break the electorate into three pieces:
As Teixeira argues, the woke agenda lacks a large electoral constituency. Conservative traditionalists are also a minority, representing barely 25 percent of Americans, according to the recent Hidden Tribes survey; woke progressives constitute only one-third that percentage, or just over 8 percent. The survey describes roughly two-thirds of Americans as “the exhausted majority.”
He recognizes that conservatives/the GOP/the right will have a hard time getting support from the exhausted majority. We agree with Joel on the challenge but we want to disagree with his odd bogeyman. Joel says that the GOP faces challenges and give us examples:
Some conservative market fundamentalists, like progressives, favor the eradication of single-family neighborhoods. Others recoil from trade policies that violate free-trade principles, even when hewing to those principles threatens the livelihoods of both middle-income households and, even more, the downwardly mobile working class.
We rarely run across part of a paragraph with as much to disagree with. To start with we really don’t like “conservative market fundamentalists” as a term to describe folks like us. Free marketers or capitalists will do but we like capitalistic orphans because we are capitalists but the conservative movement gives us lip service when we are particularly lucky. What is even stranger is that he has picked on a tiny portion of the conservative movement that is completely out of power. If we are going to stick to whole numbers then capitalistic orphans are either one or zero percent of the conservative movement.
Then he tells us, without a reference, that capitalistic orphans support the eradication of single-family neighborhoods. If the capitalistic orphans came out against single-family neighborhoods then we missed that meeting. We are market driven so Joel must think that the markets will eliminate such neighborhoods. We don’t know why.
Tariffs seem an odd topic for state and city governments because they are set by the federal government. Yes, us capitalistic orphans do recoil from trade policies that violate free-trade principles. Zero is the best tariff. We completely disagree with Joel suggestion that higher taxes like tariffs are good for middle-income or (and this is a really strange term) the downwardly mobile working classes. Tariffs fall mostly on those folks because they are a regressive tax. They benefit only a few. What Joel hopes, like most everyone else, is that the strategy of taking a little from lots of folks and giving a big benefit to a few will make the few happy and the many won’t notice it. We wish it were less successful.
We understand as almost every political platform has foolish economics in it. The Donald is going to win trade wars. The Frontrunner is going raise the minimum wage and tax the rich.
Sidebar: We should remind you to vote for The Donald as he, unlike The Frontrunner, has some economic policies that are not foolish. End Sidebar.
So we would pick something else other than tariffs for the GOP to sell to the electorate in big cities and other progressive enclaves. As a capitalistic orphan we would sell markets. Markets for schools would be an excellent place to start.
Joel is right that progressive policies have failed and the GOP should fight for the future of big cities. Progressives have fooled that electorate for decades. Conservatives and the GOP need to work at appealing to those folks. These cities need and deserve a competition of ideas.