Is the Republican Party no longer the party of Reagan? One Trump adviser thinks so. Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, Stephen Moore, who was president of the Club for Growth and an advocate for free trade and supply side economics, bluntly told House Republicans that President-elect Donald J. Trump’s win signals a shift in the party. To Moore, the GOP is now a populist working class party, not a conservative one (via
Moore surprised some of the Republican lawmakers assembled at their closed-door whip meeting last Tuesday [November 22] when he told them they should no longer think of themselves as belonging to the conservative party of Ronald Reagan.
They now belong to Trump’s populist working-class party, he said.
A source briefed on the House GOP whip meeting — which Moore attended as a guest of Majority Whip Steve Scalise — said several lawmakers told him they were taken aback by the economist’s comments.
Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party,” Moore said in an interview Wednesday. “In some ways this will be good for conservatives and in other ways possibly frustrating.”
Moore has spent much of his career advocating for huge tax and spending cuts and free trade. He’s been as close to a purist ideological conservative as they come, but he says the experience of traveling around Rust Belt states to support Trump has altered his politics.
“It turned me more into a populist,” he said, expressing frustration with the way some in the Beltway media dismissed the economic concerns of voters in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Moore is excited about large parts of Trump’s agenda. He helped write Trump’s tax plan and thinks the cuts will accelerate economic growth and create new jobs. He’s also had a hand in Trump’s energy plan and looks forward to slashing regulations hindering American energy production.
On the issue of trade especially, the party base has moved to the left. There also could be an ideological fight over child care. His daughter Ivanka has been at the forefront in pushing this policy that’s often met with a cold reception from most Republicans. While Democrats may not support Trump’s plan, the principle that a better child care system was supported by two major presidential candidates was considered noteworthy. The working class takes work-family balance seriously, though, unlike Democrats, they don’t consider child care and minimum wage hikes as the be all and end all; child care isn’t the same as a replacement for a job. One selling point is that subsidizing maternity could reduce the number of abortions, as working class women now have a financial buffer to help them with raising a child, especially in inner-city neighborhoods. Spending money to save babies’ lives. That might be worth considering, though a lot of analysis, proposals, and more cost-benefit studies will have to be conducted before anything gets serious.
Millions of Obama supporters voted for Trump. A lot of people who have been eligible to vote for decades, but didn’t decided to cast their first ballots after the president-elect announced his candidacy in June of 2015. Most of these people were blue-collar workers, with no more than a high school education. The party has become more working class. We’ll see if the establishment on the Hill can compliment policy-wise with this new blood.