The conservative and libertarian wings of the Republican Party are becoming smaller and smaller.
The party that was once home to small government advocates like Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, and Ron Paul, has been supporting a growing government for decades. Now, the military interventionism and Drug War expansion of the Reagan-era looks like anarchy compared to the PATRIOT Act, Constitution-trampling, and deficit spending of the George W. Bush era.
The overbearing government continued to grow under Obama; but now even the Republican Party seems to be moving beyond their philosophy of only growing the government for alleged “national security concerns”. They are starting to embrace progressive economic and social policies as a result of the election of former Democrat, Donald Trump.
Republicans seem poised to take over the center-left that was once occupied by the the Democratic Party, meanwhile, the Democrats are moving towards full blown socialism.
Donald Trump has been known as a progressive, or, at least, as left of center, for most of his adult life.
Over the years, he’s made a number of his views known, and it seems unlikely that a (shall we say) “self-assured” person like Trump would see a major shift in his political worldview at the age of 70.
Over the years, Trump has donated to progressive Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, as well as his friends Bill and Hillary Clinton.
He once said that the economy “does better under Democrats”.
We don’t have to go back very far to hear him say that he wants a healthcare system where everyone is covered, where “the government pays for it”.
He’s recently announced support for a federal minimum wage increase, mandatory paid maternity leave, government assisted childcare, and a progressive student loan reform plan.
It’s hard to imagine a Republican campaigning on these policies, even four years ago when the “Tea Party” was in full force, demanding spending cuts and a balanced budget.
Those voices seem to be few and far between as Trump announces his intentions for the future.
Perhaps most perplexing is Trump’s recent unveiling of a plan for a trillion-dollar stimulus plan.
Republicans decried President Obama for his proposed trillion-dollar stimulus plan – and rightfully so – eventually getting the actual amount cut down to $700 billion.
Trump and his supporters insist that this spending bill will create jobs and renew America’s infrastructure, a promise also made by Obama. As we now know, the stimulus funds did not create the “shovel ready jobs” or infrastructure improvements promised; instead (as usual), the federal funds were mismanaged, ineffective, and wasteful. Yet, today is seems inevitable that the Republican controlled congress will pass at least some type of spending bill that promises to stimulate the economy; however, if history is any indication, it will not.
Trump’s acolytes contend that, contrary to his own statements, the President-Elect will undo the government expansion of the Bush and Obama eras. Their contentions however, seem to be unfounded, as Trump has never given any indication that he plans to curb government spending or power. Trump, in most areas, seems to suggest that he will push for even more government expansion, but that somehow these polices will work because they will be signed by his pen instead of a Democrat’s.
What is most troubling is that since Republicans control both houses of Congress and haven’t indicated that they will do much to inhibit Trump’s proposed big spending, it seems like the majority of Republican voters and politicians are willing – and even excited – to push for bigger government; believing that these failed progressive policies will work if we give it one more try.
Now is not the time to just let the next President do as he will because he’s a Republican.
The voices for liberty are more important now than they were during the Obama years, because there are fewer and fewer of them; as the Republican Party moves to the left and the Democratic Party moves off the deep end.
* Robert L. Calloway is a writer promoting libertarian principles. He lives in a small town with his cattle dog.