Republicans Should Quarantine from Zombie Trumpism

by

Wednesday, July 6, 2022


Republicans are extremely lucky when it comes to their midterm prospects. After losing control of the Presidency, the Senate, and the House in a mere four years, Republicans are poised to win back both chambers of Congress this fall and hold a precarious upper-hand in a 2024 presidential matchup. 

Of course, these circumstances did not materialize out of raw luck, but rather out of sustained frustrations with our Democratic-controlled government. Many aptly assumed that the ineptitude of the federal government would not disappear with the arrival of the Biden administration. What came as an unpleasant surprise, however, was that the government’s ineptitudes became as routine as rush-hour traffic. 

Drastic miscalculations and gaffes have embarrassed the country on the international stage, not to mention the devastation for those who bore the brunt of those consequences. Inflation is increasing at the highest rate recorded in decades, with gas prices leading the charge. Supply-chain problems have persisted and a nationwide mass baby-formula shortage has left parents to go on long, Lord of the Rings-like quests to find sufficient formula. 

The Democrats’ messaging has been inconsistent, to say the least, with the Biden administration maintaining that the economy is still going strong while a Democratic congresswoman confessed she could not afford bacon because of inflation. 

All that to say, things aren’t going all that great under Democratic leadership. This sets up the Republicans for a strong midterm cycle this fall and lays the groundwork for them to reclaim the White House in 2024.

But one should never underestimate the Republican Party’s ability to screw things up. Influential Republicans and donors have already wasted valuable resources trying to evict staunch conservatives, like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Idaho Governor Brad Little, along with Representatives Liz Cheney, Nancy Mace, and Tom Rice. 

Republicans must be wary about falling into the same trap Democrats had previously done in 2020. On the heels of Biden winning the presidential election—in large part, because the almost-octogenarian was not Donald Trump—the Democrats attempted to enact their progressive wishlist, like a child who stumbles upon the fortune of their parents’ Amazon account, alienating moderate voters in the process.

The risk Republicans face is not embracing a cult of ideology, but a cult of personality. Republicans must concertedly embrace policies that will ease the effects of inflation, even if it’s counter to the wishes of the former president. 

Ending a wide array of tariffs, from steel to sugar to corn, and other protectionist measures—looking at you Jones Act—would lower costs for consumers. While the Trump administration was effective on many policy fronts, such as the 2017 GOP tax cuts, some Trump-favored policies are congruent with the Democratic agenda. 

CNBC analysis found that the Trump tariffs were equivalent to one of the largest tax increases in decades, and some may remember his support for distributing $2,000 checks to every American, which would have further fueled inflation. 

Republicans must instead demonstrate that they are the party of lower prices and disengage from the politics of industrial policy and central planning. Zombie Reaganism has proven ineffective, but the subsequent apocalypse of economic nationalism is neither a smart political strategy nor a sound economic policy. 

The best way to ensure the GOP’s success is to unite the conservative base, the alienated working class, and the politically-homeless suburbs by fighting inflation with authentic conservative, free-market policies.

Peter Gattuso is a rising junior at Connecticut College, majoring in Economics and Political Philosophy, with a pathway in Global Capitalism. He is the co-founder and Editor in chief of The Conntrarian and President of the Republicans and Conservatives Club. He is currently a tax & budget intern at the Cato Institute.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Peter Gattuso

Peter Gattuso is a rising junior at Connecticut College, majoring in Economics and Political Philosophy, with a pathway in Global Capitalism. He is the co-founder and Editor in chief of The Conntrarian and President of the Republicans and Conservatives Club. He is currently a tax & budget intern at the Cato Institute.


peter_gattuso on Instagram @peter_gattuso

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