I know someone who is environmentally conscious, minority-empowering, and socially aware who also happens to be extremely conservative. Her “bleeding heart” has been tempered by reality. She knows there are problems that need to be addressed but she’s not so naive to believe the gut response for action is the right way to address most situations. I know all of these things because she married me a quarter century ago. I also know she’s not an anomaly.

My wife had been a lifelong Republican up until recently when she realized that the GOP is the slightly-less-big-government alternative to the Democratic Party. We both gave the Tea Party a shot and helped get as many conservatives elected as possible in recent years, but the Tea Party’s influence is waning with the Establishment solidifying its power over the party that once belonged to Coolidge and Reagan. That’s why we became Federalists.

For conservatism and/or classical liberalism to break through the stranglehold the Establishment’s Democratic-Republicans have over DC, we’ll need to embrace a more intellectual tone and understanding of several issues that are normally associated with liberals. We need more small-government-loving, freedom-defending conservatives in office and we need them there quickly, but conservatives can’t do it alone. It’s time to start recruiting people who are conservatives at heart but who believe their only option to promote the issues important to them is through the Democratic Party.

Here are three issues normally considered to be liberal beacons that conservatives can and should commandeer:

Save the environment… locally

There was some excitement among conservatives when new EPA chief Scott Pruitt started espousing Federalism in the government’s approach to the environment. In reality, he didn’t go quite far enough since he was promoting cooperative Federalism. What we really need is dual Federalism at the EPA where the state and local governments focus on their own areas while the EPA itself fades into nothingness; they should be cut to the point of only handling interstate challenges where the actions of one state have an impact on another. These cases are few and far between.

Those who believe that saving the environment is important almost always lean towards the Democratic Party. What these people don’t realize is that the environmental plans pushed forth by the Democratic Party are generally ineffective and invariably wasteful of time, money, and resources. The conservative/Federalist methodology to clean up the planet should focus on the local environment. Instead of spending billions on decrees from Paris, environmentalists should be mobilizing their local communities to promote recycling programs, clean-up initiatives of local water supplies, and energy awareness campaigns. Instead of laying down rules from DC, the states should be making decisions about what’s best for their own land, air, and bodies of water. After all, they know their own environment better than any Washington bureaucrat.

When environmentalists are shown the benefits  working within their own areas of influence rather than allowing the federal government to dictate, many of them will come to the conclusion they’re not wasteful Democrats. They’re small-government Federalists.

Empower minorities… with equality

Let’s face it. Affirmative Action is a broken notion. It may have been necessary at one point, but today the best way to empower minorities is to make sure they have equal footing. Every American citizen should be just that: an American citizen. Race should play no part in whether someone should be given government assistance for education, priority for employment mandated by DC, or special treatment through government programs.

Many in the Republican Party, in an effort to attract more minorities, are embracing ideas that support or resemble the tenets of Affirmative Action. When then-candidate Trump went after Justice Antonin Scalia for telling the truth about Affirmative Action’s effects on minorities, we saw the playbook that the future administration and his party would be using. They worry that if they don’t keep entitlements and programs that benefit minorities in place, they’ll lose elections.

As a minority, I know I’m not alone in not wanting a “helping hand” from the government because of my race. I don’t need it and to insinuate that I do is an insult. There’s a difference between fighting discrimination and elevating people based upon their race: one protects minorities while the other hampers them (even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time). Neither discrimination nor Affirmative Action have a place in this country anymore. Instead, we need to allow all races the equal footing they deserve to find success the American way.

The strategy the GOP is using to push left in regards to minorities is a losing play in the long term. Democrats will rebound with minorities in the coming elections because they’ll go even further to the left by giving primacy to minorities. The proper conservative message isn’t to say, “here’s more for you and your race.” It should be, “here’s equal footing, now go make it happen.” There will always be those who want any advantage they can get and chances are they’ll always be Democrats no matter how far left the GOP goes. What we’ve seen is that the message of true equality resonates much better with a good portion of minorities who would never be Republicans but who aren’t interested in what the Democrats are selling them.

Support social programs… through private organizations

When the topic of “social programs” is brought up, it’s common for people to divide along party lines. Democrats generally want more social programs while Republicans generally want fewer. To the Democrats, they’re essential. To the Republicans, they’re a waste. In a way, they’re both right. In another way, they’re both very wrong.

While there are some social programs that are absolutely not necessary, some are truly essential for the well-being of many Americans as the Democrats contend. On the other hand, they’re also a burden on taxpayers; many should be eliminated as the Republicans contend. The reality is that the vast majority of them should be transitioned to the public sector.

Republican politicians will argue that they’ve been saying that for some time and they’re correct. The problem is that they’ve done absolutely nothing to push this concept forward since the mid-1980s. Yes, they say it. No, they don’t do it. They don’t even try. It’s just part of their campaign spiel.

Fiscal and social conservative citizens and even a very small handful of lawmakers realize that privatizing most of these programs will have three effects: the burden will shift from taxpayers to fundraising (forced funding versus voluntary funding), community-based initiatives with centralized oversight and assistance (dual federalism in action in the private sector) will reduce corruption, and the overall effectiveness of the programs will generally improve. There will be some failures. There will be some corruption. Both will be reduced compared to what we’re seeing from DC-run social programs today.

There are more conservatives in America who don’t realize they’re conservative because they’ve fallen for the false narratives of both major parties. The Democrats keep saying “if you believe in this, you’re a liberal,” while the Republicans generally agree. If we expand upon the message that small-government Federalism is a better fit for addressing many issues associated with liberalism, we’ll find that more people realize they were conservatives all along.

President Ronald Reagan was an enigma. His goals and the results he produced were often achieved by contradicting the accepted paradigms. He was known for strength and military prowess, yet America participated in fewer battles under him than any President in modern history. He helped individuals and small businesses at the bottom rung by letting money “trickle down” from the top. He was strong on immigration, yet gave amnesty to many.

Historians and political scientists are still trying to unpack how he was able to produce desired results by addressing the problems from directions opposite of Presidents before and after him. One of the least discussed but most profound contradictions in Reagan’s arsenal was “new Federalism.” Like President Richard Nixon before him, Reagan believed that if you take the power-balancing ideas of the original Federalist Party and apply them to modern problems, you can fix the broken aspects of American government.

His first challenge was overcoming the stigma associated with the early Federalists. Both their name and the twisting of their goals would seem to oppose what he wanted done, but this is a misconception. They wanted a stronger federal government than their opponents who believed in the primacy of the states. Federalists wanted a balance between the states and the national government. The anti-federalists didn’t want the national government to have much influence at all – no substantial army, no navy at all, and no ability to sign binding treaties with other nations. In essence, the Democratic-Republicans of Thomas Jefferson wanted every state to be sovereign to the extreme. If France wanted to sign a trade pact or alliance treaty, they’d need to do so with each individual state rather than with one United States of America.

Reagan’s vision of modern Federalism is to achieve the same goals of the original Federalists but from the opposite end of the spectrum. He realized that the national government was quickly becoming too powerful. He embraced the Federalist approach of checks and balances between the states and Washington DC that empowers either to properly represent their citizens. If someone in Michigan was being oppressed by the federal government, they could go to the state to seek protections. If it was Michigan that was oppressing this person, they could call on DC for help. Only through balance of powers can this country be properly managed. Only through balance of powers can the people’s freedoms be properly protected.

The reason it’s not discussed much is because he didn’t come close to completing his mission. Despite his charisma and intellect, he soon realized that the government he ran was extremely reluctant to give up any of its powers. This, more than anything else, is why we’ve formed a new Federalist Party. Even someone as strong and well-liked as Reagan was not able to break through the DC cartel’s self-aggrandizing addictions. We need a party that truly believes in reining in DC overreach to start winning seats at local, state, and national levels of government. Reagan needed help and the GOP was unwilling to give it to him.

Today, we need Reagan’s concepts of Federalism even more than we did in the 80s. Things have gotten worse. DC is a swamp, and while President Donald Trump is trying to drain it as quickly as possible, he can’t get it all done. In fact, his focus on reducing bureaucracy is righteous but is only one small part of the overall formula. Reining in government overreach requires a three-pronged attack and draining the swamp will only go after one of those prongs. We need more. Just as GOP leadership didn’t support Reagan’s efforts, we cannot expect them to initiate the purging of their own powers any time in the future, either.

Thankfully, we’re not starting from scratch. There are those in DC such as Mike Lee, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz, Justin Amash, and Ben Sasse who have demonstrated an understanding of the need to rein in federal power in all three branches, including their own. They are a minority even in their own party. This is why Federalists must coalesce around a party that’s willing to support them and bring fresh blood into the halls of government at every level.

Reagan had a wonderful vision of small-government Federalism that remains unfulfilled to this day. It’s time to put people into office who will truly take up his mantle and act to reduce the power being accumulated in Washington DC. As Reagan once said, “Government does not solve problems. It subsidizes them.” The time to solve the problem is soon. The way to solve them is being built today.

As many Republicans finish basking in their victory over their Democratic relatives they only see at Christmastime, we’re looking at the final week of 2016. More importantly, we’re looking at the final four weeks of the Obama administration with new information that needs to be applied going further, particularly for conservatives.

For some of us, the future is about building on the successes of 2016 and applying our newfound DC dominance towards solving problems. For a number of stalwart conservatives who are still skeptical about what the future holds, there are lessons to learn and challenges to address in order to steer the Trump administration and GOP Congress in the right direction.

Some of the lessons from 2016 are obvious and won’t be covered here such as Obamacare (just repeal it), terrorism (do what it takes to stop it), gun rights (protect them), and mainstream media (don’t trust them). Other lessons need more focus if we’re going to have a productive 2017. Here are the top 7 lessons to heed.

Stick to our guns on abortion

The narrative of pro-life versus pro-choice has been shifted. We’re still addressing our movement with the same basic language, but the left is now pushing “reproductive rights” over “choice” because they simply couldn’t get around the idea that the baby must be considered in choices. In many ways, this leftward push towards politically correcting their narrative worked against them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll continue to lose.

Abortion is a cultural issue that has seeped into politics. It’s imperative for the pro-life movement to stay with the message of life beginning in the womb and not after birth. This stance will allow for more states to ban abortions at 20- or 24-weeks and will enable us to push those protections even closer to conception in the future. All we need to do is let science meld with emotion. This is political, but it must be fought on a cultural level if we’re going to continue to make up ground.

Democrats won’t be complacent again

The certainty the Democrats felt about winning the Presidency and the Senate left them absolutely shocked on election night. They didn’t lose so badly because they didn’t have enough supporters. They lost because in the key states there was enough complacency to prevent them from getting out the vote the way Obama did in 2008 and 2012.

It won’t happen again, at least not for a long time. They will come out hard in 2018. 2020 could be a bloodbath if Trump isn’t successful. They have the ammunition they need to get out the vote. They were overconfident; how many Democrats didn’t vote because they were so certain of victory? That will be the rallying cry going forward, so Republicans need to get their people out with as much fervor.

Free trade has enemies in every corner

It was once safe to assume that the Republican Party was the party of free trade. That simply isn’t so anymore as many party-line followers hear the message of fair trade and believe that it’s the new game plan. Fiscal conservatives who believe in the free market economy have to fight both the GOP and the Democrats to achieve the business growth and financial environment necessary for future prosperity.

Now more than ever, trade must flourish. It’s worrisome that so many in both major parties are fighting against this. It’s up to conservatives to hammer the message back in place before we start seeing the cost-expanding effects of “fair” trade.

Immigration is a winning issue

Remember that taboo of illegal immigration, walls, and deportations that allegedly helped doom Mitt Romney in 2012? Trump’s message was even harsher and it worked.

Illegal immigration is a major problem that most Americans can acknowledge. While more Americans lean in favor of some variation of amnesty, 2016 proved that it’s not important enough of an issue to prevent candidates from winning. Particularly when we tie it to the two biggest hot buttons – economy and terrorism – we’ll be able to continue to fight open borders, amnesty, and other liberal immigration principles without fear of losing elections.

Smaller-government needs further prioritization

Killing some regulations, pulling back on the reins in some departments, and eliminating most of Barack Obama’s executive orders is a good place to start, but doing so will only bring us back a decade when government overreach was still rampant. It will take a much more pronounced attack on big government to make a dent which is why I’m now a Federalist.

What’s worse is that many of the proposals coming from our future leaders in DC are pushing for bigger government. From a trillion dollar infrastructure plan to expansion of certain very expensive programs and initiatives, we have our work cut out for us. Reducing the size of government hasn’t been a priority since the last Federalist President, Ronald Reagan. We need to bring it back to the forefront quickly or continue to suffer through a two-party system where both sides increase budgets, bureaucracy, and power in DC.

Subsidies aren’t necessary for buying votes

One of the most important lessons that was forgotten by many is that subsidies don’t win elections the way they once did. Ted Cruz demonstrated that in the Iowa caucus by winning while being the only candidate against ethanol subsidies while Marco Rubio lost his home state of Florida while defending his sugar subsidies.

Now that we see this truth, it’s time to strike before everyone completely forgets. Subsidies are created to buy votes in local areas and they persist out of fear for losing votes. 2016 debunked the second part of the myth. That means we need to cut now.

The alt-right is a growing problem

Did the alt-right help Trump win? Absolutely. He brought out a slew of new voters in both the primaries and the general election, many of whom probably aren’t even aware that they embrace alt-right concepts.

Here’s the thing, and I say this knowing that it will be an unpopular statement to some who read this. The alt-right helped Trump, but they are not a positive influence on the GOP or American politics. The surface-level appeal that keeps them going makes their ranks easily manipulated away from conservative principles. The term “alt-right” is unfortunate because in many ways they have far-left views intermingled with the views that are considered far-right. This makes for a dangerous combination for any party that wants to address issues beyond the emotional surface.

2016 was a good year for Republicans and a potentially good year for conservatives. There’s hope, but let’s make certain that hope doesn’t turn into the same complacency that doomed the Democrats. If we don’t, we could be looking at quick reversals in 2018 and 2020.

Reagan statue, Dixon, IL
Reagan statue, Dixon, IL

By John Ruberry

“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing, 1964.

While the Republicans lost the 1964 presidential election, resoundingly, sixteen years later Reagan turned the tables on big government Democrats.

Today President Obama is at best blurring the lines between the federal government and the fifty states.  Healthcare is being fundamentally transformed by ObamaCare. The curriculum at public schools–remember, local schools are usually the most local of government bodies–is being altered by Common Core initiatives. Even what students eat at those schools is being dictated by the Obama administration.

Government in the United States is becoming more and more top-down, being run, in Reagan’s words, by a “little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol.”

Just like Europe. And oh do the liberals yearn for a government more like a European country.

But increasingly, Europeans are turning away from top-down government. Last week Scottish voters nearly voted for secession from the United Kingdom. Promises of more local control for Scots by London politicians may have swayed the outcome.

This time.USA-UK flags

There are movements all over the European Union that are demanding independence or more local control, including those in the Basque region, Catalonia, Corsica, South Tyrol, Wales, Brittany, and the Faeroe Islands. Belgium could split in two.

Two days ago Anne Appelbaum in the Washington Post took a look at how people across Europe view of their top-down governments.

The ideals of European unity that inspired a previous generation don’t move younger people who have no memory of what came before. At the same time, it is increasingly and notably strange that the wealthiest group of nations on Earth cannot create a policy to cope with the chaos rising on its southern and eastern borders — chaos that is, of course, the source of massive new immigration as well as economic instability. Instead, distant European Union institutions appear to fill their time making petty regulations. No wonder voters want to bring the decision-making “home.”

True, some of these local European movements are hyper-nationalist and yes, even racist. But like Reagan decades ago, Europeans are disdaining the so-called wisdom of those  experts who live far away and claim only they know what’s best for them.

As for Obama, he’s on the wrong side of history.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

************************

Olimometer 2.52

We remain 5 grand away from making our expenses for the year and a sold $1000 away from making them this month.

If you think the coverage and commentary we provide here is worth your support please consider hitting DaTipJar below to meet our annual expenses.

Consider the lineup you get In addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit)  on Sunday Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly Fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

Beanie : $2.00USD – weekly
Cap : $10.00USD – monthly
Hat : $20.00USD – monthly