A titanic shift in American politics is coming because it’s only ten-years-time before the oldest Boomers reach their approximate statistical life expectancy. Contrary to expectations, the New York Times reported that Boomers and Millennials both vote at nearly the same rate of around 50%. The youngest generation of voters, however, energized by events like the Women’s Marches, Marches for Our Lives, and Black Lives Matter, may exceed that number substantially.
What this means for the politics of Trump-McConnell-Ryan is a creeping extinction. Even conservative justices on the bench won’t be able to arrest the leftward movement of society because courts are required to follow laws duly enacted by legislative bodies. We are in the end of times, the last hurrah for a conservative system of governance that is more Ayn Rand than the Kennedy brothers. This doesn’t mean, however, that the new Democratic wave should tack as far left as the Republicans have done in moving, shamelessly, to the right. Exactly the opposite is called for.
Jerry Brown, four-term governor of California, describes good government in the March 26, 2018 issue of the New Yorker, as paddling the canoe a little right, then a little left, to achieve progress. Though considered an icon of the left, Brown has been described as the Republican’s best friend in Sacramento, the state capitol. The governor’s moderation isn’t always popular with his own party which has a 2/3+ margin in the legislature and holds every statewide elected post. The state has prospered from Brown’s moderation. It maintains a budget surplus, and leads the world in many initiatives, including technology and the environment. California, if a nation, would rank 6th among world economies.
Donald Trump, the unlikeliest of candidates, won the presidency because of the congenital weakness of his opponent, a raucous showmanship honed on reality television, and the Russians. After the boring button-down probity of Barack Obama, people were ready for the noise and sheer entertainment Trump provided. It enabled him to narrowly prevail by winning critical states, despite a deficit of 2 million popular votes.
Now that he has the White House and a majority in both houses, Trump hasn’t savored his win by adopting the temperance found in most presidents. Instead, he has exacerbated divisions in the country that have only served to harden opposition to him. Coupled with a seeming unwillingness to learn the job, and to understand America’s place in the world, Trump isn’t just a threat to world stability; he’s a clear and present danger to the party he claims as his own.
If traditional conservatism is to survive, Republicans need to take Trump in hand. If he refuses to accept guidance, his party must show him the plank before he sinks the ship. The time for choosing is nigh.