James Forsyth

The Republican dilemma

The Republican dilemma
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Parties of the right fall into a simplified, intellectual comfort zone when they have been in power too long. It happened to the Tories and it has happened to the Republicans. David Brooks sets out the problem in his New York Times column:

“Republicans are so much the party of individualism and freedom these days that they are no longer the party of community and order. This puts them out of touch with the young, who are exceptionally community-oriented. It gives them nothing to say to the lower middle class, who fear that capitalism has gone haywire. It gives them little to say to the upper middle class, who are interested in the environment and other common concerns.

The Republicans talk more about the market than about society, more about income than quality of life. They celebrate capitalism, which is a means, and are inarticulate about the good life, which is the end. They take things like tax cuts, which are tactics that are good in some circumstances, and elevate them to holy principle, to be pursued in all circumstances.”

As Brooks argues, this means that the Republicans are out of touch with people who live in densely populated areas. There is clearly something wrong when, as Mitch McConnell says, “You could walk from Canada to Mexico from Maine to Arizona and never set foot in a state that's governed by a Republican.” The Republicans need to become a national party once more.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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