If anything has been accomplished during this election cycle it has been the death of the Republican Party as American voters have come to know it. Donald Trump’s unprecedented rise to political dominance has thrown traditional pillars to the wayside, and the average voter is vastly disconnected from orthodox GOP policy.
However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for republicans.
With the party shaken to its core, it can finally tinker with its foundation — and hopefully abandon its “say nothing different, do nothing different” approach to modernization.
Beyond improved messaging, republican leaders should take 2016 as a call to profoundly adapt their policy prescriptions and to show conservatism in a new light as a human ideology.
Traditionally, conservatism aims to create an environment in which society can naturally prosper and progress, rather than to directly prescribe society’s function.
It champions an approach to public policy that reflects the decentralized nature of a pluralistic democracy. Conservative initiatives seek to create a bottom-up, incremental learning process that empowers those with a problem to discover and implement solutions. While government retains a crucial role, it is far less intrusive than the centralized and overtly managerial role championed by liberals.
However, the modern Republican Party has lost this vision, governing as though the solutions enacted a generation ago can apply to the current problems Americans face. This miscalculation reflects a colossal failure to recognize that conditions have dramatically changed and that conservatives have failed to keep up with these changes.
As a result, voters have branded the GOP as a party out of touch with the realities of modern life: disapproving of working women, minorities and young people. To fix the problem, a dogmatic adherence to conservatism of the past won’t be enough.
Policy proposals that use conservative principles are needed to create innovative solutions for modern problems.
These policies should stand up to big businesses to protect the entrepreneur and preserve market competition, recognize that implementations beyond tax cuts will be necessary to help families and understand that, before government can be reduced, society’s problems, like poverty, must be solved.
With fresh ideas, the Republican Party will convince the American people that it is on their side. Only then will people see the changes they have been so desperately craving.