He won't come right out and say it, of course. But in his column today he admitted several things:
1. The leading Republican candidates are terrible.
Well, Republicans, have your standards really fallen so low so fast? Are you really that desperate? Can you remember your 8 p.m. selves, and all the hope you had about entering a campaign with such a deep bench of talented candidates?
2. The GOP itself is out of solutions, because we're dealing with a crisis of capitalism.
Since Goldwater/Reagan, the G.O.P. has been governed by a free-market, anti-government philosophy. But over the ensuing decades new problems have emerged... First, the economy has gotten crueler. Technology is displacing workers and globalization is dampening wages... Orthodox Republicans, seeing no positive role for government, have had no affirmative agenda to help people deal with these new problems. Occasionally some conservative policy mavens have proposed such an agenda — anti-poverty programs, human capital policies, wage subsidies and the like — but the proposals were killed, usually in the House, by the anti-government crowd.
(I love how he calls them the "anti-government crowd," as if there were some other group of more sensible Republicans who actually wanted to make policy in Washington!)
3. Donald Trump's populism is not the solution.
He would replace the free-market orthodoxy with authoritarian nationalism. He offers to use government on behalf of the American working class, but in negative and defensive ways: to build walls, to close trade, to ban outside groups, to smash enemies. According to him, America’s problems aren’t caused by deep structural shifts. They’re caused by morons and parasites. The Great Leader will take them down.
4. We need a candidate who fights for economic equality.
It has to find a third alternative: limited but energetic use of government to expand mobility and widen openness and opportunity. That is what Kasich, Rubio, Paul Ryan and others are stumbling toward.
I have no idea how to use government in a "limited but energetic" way, Davey. But there is actually a candidate who has already made these issues his core message. And there is already a political party that does the kinds of things you're talking about. A party that rejects exploitation and bigotry absolutely exists in this country. It has flaws, sure. But it's not transforming itself into a Klan rally, and that's real plus.
Don't reinvent the wheel, Brookles. Vote Democrat this election. And maybe tell some of your friends to join you.
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