09.29.2023 0

The New Right Cares About More than Taxes – and That Makes it More Powerful

By Rick Manning

New research is challenging assumptions about the Republican Party’s core values, showing the GOP of the 2020s is an entirely different animal from the GOP of the 2010s. The research captures an increasing shift toward populism and America First priorities that has been growing since Former President Trump’s election in 2016.

The study by American Compass divides Republicans into two camps, the Old Right and the New Right, based on their economic priorities and approach to cultural issues.

Old guard conservatives are a dwindling share of the Republican movement, with New Right populists significantly outnumbering them according to the American Compass survey. Just 29% of Republicans fall into the Old Right, 28% are “neutral”, and 42% of Republicans embrace the New Right’s focus on addressing issues like globalization, financial disempowerment, and worker’s rights. 

The Old Right is focused primarily on cutting taxes and reducing spending, while the New Right is focused on restoring power to American workers, bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., and actively combatting a Marxist cultural agenda.      

To understand modern conservative dissidents, understanding the Tea Paty movement of 2008 and it’s distinctly libertarian focus on fiscal issues with a laissez-faire, “don’t tread on me” approach to cultural issues is important.      

This research comes fifteen years after the Tea Party movement emerged as the primary challenger of the “traditional” GOP, calling out wasteful spending and government overreach on both sides of the aisle.

Americans for Limited Government recognized early on that America’s descent could not be stemmed by tax cuts and fewer regulations alone. This is why we led the fight to stop globalization of our economy by opposing the fast tracking of Barack Obama’s TransPacific Partnership. The hollowing out of our manufacturing base and dependency on China and others who view America as enemies posed and continues to pose an existential threat to our nation’s survival. Now, this position is mainstreamed with GOP voters.

On the immigration front, the open borders policy of the left (for votes) and corporate America (for cheap labor) is untenable and an attack on our national right to exist as a sovereign nation. 

This is why the New Right isn’t so much opposed to the principles of the Tea Party – tackling wasteful spending and cutting taxes – as it is less singularly fixated on those issues. Modern conservatives see their duty as much more all-encompassing and refuse to shy away from thorny cultural issues. The New Right also has a distinctly pro-worker approach to economic issues and believes the government should act on behalf of American workers.

A full 90% of Republicans say middle-class life has gotten harder in the past few years and wages have not kept up to support working class families. In a blow to big corporations, a full 85% of Republicans say companies complaining about labor shortages is a good thing, because it will incentivize them to raise wages for American workers. This is a much more populist view of labor, but perhaps a more rational one.   

And every GOP candidate for president should be thankful that President Trump focused upon increasing income for American workers while keeping inflation low. The result is that people from all ethnicities recognize that they were better off under Trump than Biden, as real income under the GOP president rose by more than $6000 in four years, while it has shrunk by $4000 under Biden.

This shift is hard for some old line GOP self-proclaimed ‘thought-leaders’ to take, as the research found that 77% of Republicans support tariffs to bolster manufacturing and 78% say the government should support U.S. made products in advanced technologies like semiconductors. These positions put America First, rather than encouraging dependence on foreign countries and lining the pockets of foreign companies.    

Eight years ago, even thinking about the idea that tariffs might be a useful tool in changing international dependencies and increasing the capacity of our domestic manufacturing sector was poison for a conservative group. Tackling the real life problem that American citizens who were busting their tails to make a living and take care of their families were being harmed by policies that actively encouraged the wholesale shifting of industries overseas was seen as a fool’s errand likely to end a conservative’s career.

But we didn’t care. Sometimes you just need to do what is right, regardless of fall-out.

The research shows that today, the most important economic issue to conservatives is addressing the harm of globalization, with 50% of Republicans citing globalization as a priority. Meanwhile, 28% and 18% prioritize addressing regulation and tax rates, top priorities of the Tea Party movement.

Americans for Limited Government is in the middle of the fight for lowering taxes, killing regulations that are outside of the law and kill our economic freedom, and unwinding the out of control globalism that has exported our wealth to countries who want to end our freedom.

Conservatives now demand that their leaders address the far-left’s attempt to force anti-science propaganda into the culture through the transgender movement is the number one priority for conservatives according to the research. Nearly 70% of Republicans cite transgender activism as the most important issue to be addressed. Other cultural issues like addressing woke corporations (62%) and Critical Race Theory (52%) are high on the list of priorities, as is addressing illegal immigration (60%).

The GOP presidential contenders would be wise to adapt to the fact that conservatives are now as vocal about removing the trans agenda from public schools, securing the border, and actively bolstering opportunities for the middle class as they are on cutting wasteful spending and lowering taxes.    

The Gadsen flag with its coiled snake baring the phrase, “don’t tread on me” become a symbol of the Tea Party dissidents in the 2010s, demanding smaller, less-invasive government. The problem is, we were tread on.  

Globalization rapidly accelerated and destroyed entire sectors of the U.S. economy, while lining the pockets of the uber-wealthy. Americans watched as millions of illegals flooded into the country, driving down wages for citizens and straining our social safety nets. A ubiquitous social agenda has reduced acknowledging basic biology to “hate speech”, and children are being indoctrinated to despise themselves and their country.  

The new rallying cry, “Make America Great Again”, is an unapologetic demand that those in power address the entirety of the American system, including globalism and cultural rot, or pay the price at the ballot box.      

And that is the point, the people are far ahead of those who ask to lead them on many of these issues, and if those leaders don’t catch up, they will have the relevance of Harold Stassen in future presidential contests.

The world has changed. Tired talking points no longer excite as they are less relevant to the everyday lives of conservative voters.

This is great news politically as the New Right is more empowered to address a wide spectrum of issues including the disastrous impact of globalization and radical ideas on gender. This new construct paves the way to a permanent realignment that leaves those who would throw America on the dustbin of history on the sidelines for at least a generation.

The New Right has a right to expect their elected officials will stand up and fight. And if they won’t, those who think they are leaders will find themselves discarded and confused by what went wrong. 

We have a country to save, and time has run out on those who offer tired platitudes which no longer are relevant to 21st century America. It is time for those who claim the mantle of leadership to lead or get out of the way.

As the modern left has moved farther and farther away from reality, unleashing a categorically unhinged agenda onto the rest of us, GOP political leaders can no longer ignore the problems caused by globalization and duck the culture war and expect to politically survive.

And those who argue otherwise, simply are not paying attention.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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