As chronicled in Grand New Party, in the mid-2000s, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, two reform conservatives, appeared to many to be alarmists. The Republican Party was in a state of upswing, they appeared to be on the cusp of building a durable Republican majority for the foreseeable future, and trends such as the “baby gap,” in which conservatives produced more children than their progressive counterparts, seemed to consign progressivism, and the Democratic Party as a whole, to long term decline. Two short years after the Democrats’ defeat in 2004, the Republican Party suffered a historic defeat in 2006, and were seemingly decimated in 2008. Pundits across the political spectrum wrote obituaries for the Republican Party, declaring the death of “the party of ‘No.’” Two years later, the Democrats suffered an incredible “shellacking,” and the rest is history.
Today, those of us at The Hamiltonian Republican occupy the same role as alarmists. Last year’s election followed a trend since after 1988 in which every Republican candidate for President of the United States lost the popular vote to his opponent, with only the exception of 2004. The demographic the GOP’s current standard bearer depends on continues to shrink, and the demographics that led to Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory continues to grow. Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – states critical to Trump’s win – were won on extraordinarily thin margins. Unless there is course correction, the Republican Party risks colossal losses in 2020, 2024 at the latest.
The problems for the Republican Party are no less today than they were on the eve of election day, 2016. The advent of Donald Trump does provide some silver linings for the reform oriented. The party of Lincoln in dead, the party of Theodore Roosevelt is dead, the party of Nixon is dead, the party of Reagan is dead, and even the party of George W. Bush is dead. The party of Trump is the disgraceful reanimated carcass of what was once the great Republican Party, the party of freedom and human endeavor that unleashed millions from the bondage of slavery and was a responsible steward into the twentieth century. Today’s unholy monstrosity must be destroyed in 2020 to be rebuilt by reform conservatives, and Hamiltonian moderates must be prepared to battle for the soul of what will rise out of the ruins of the Grand Old Party.
Republicans in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists, be ready. History is made by those who have the temerity, the bold audacity, to rise against the tide, and stand athwart the masses illustrating a vision for better world. The future belongs to us.