GOP Fails to Find a Sober Populism in Pennsylvania

Republican voters in Pennsylvania on Tuesday faced a choice not between the pre- and post-Trump GOP or between competing ideological visions in an age of rapidly advancing political opportunity for those conservative. However, it is still an important option.

With Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush all easily winning the presidential primaries, there is no serious candidate for the US Senate’s proposal to bring the party back to the fronts. What now seems like the dissimilar consensus that the three candidates represent.

As in neighboring Ohio two weeks ago, Republican soldiers of Keystone State will step into the dust in a softer, more inclusive, but certainly less powerful model of archaic conservatism. , salted the earth, and marched the GOP army to the heights of MAGAdom’s command.

The three main candidates vying for the Pennsylvania nomination are all within the populist framework. But they still present a choice that has important implications for the broader Republican Party.

The question for the state’s primary voters is: How do you like your populism? Do you want it raw and real, instinctive and gut-derived, warts and all? Or do you want it to be meticulously produced, recently purchased, and worn like a fitted suit? Do you want authenticity in your next senator — and your party — but it can sometimes sound a bit off-putting? Or do you want a persuasive salesperson, a newborn with impeccable recall, who can recite on demand the entire vocabulary of Trump populism while registering just a tiny sign? on a lie detector?

The choice arose from the sudden emergence of conservative commentator and military veteran Kathy Barnette. Her rise in the polls is a reminder of how much some voters crave something authentic. Passed around 25-1 by her solid rivals – TV doctor Mehmet Oz and hedge fund manager and former Bush administration official David McCormick – she is close in the polls anyway.

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On the one hand: a pair of newly minted, super-educated MAGA men; on the other hand, a black woman with an amazing personal story and a consistent track record in speaking up for frustrated conservatives – but also a disturbing history of disturbing remarks movement (she once said that pedophilia is the “foundation” of Islam, among other things).

Mr. Oz, who enjoys the stamp of the former president, was until recently another talented member of the media elite. Most recently in 2020, he used his massive platform to deliver normally progressive views on “systemic racism” and other issues.

Mr. McCormick is equally talented. He served his country as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, and unlike Oz, he spent a lot of time controlling Republican sectors to good effect. But if he’s a genuine populist, I’m the patriarch of Constantinople.

When I edited the Journal’s pages a few years ago, I had many meetings with Mr. McCormick as the second-in-command of the world’s largest hedge fund manager. He has always been an enthusiastic and creative defender of his master, which has played an important role in helping communist China become the economic powerhouse it is today.

Both of them have come a long way; No wonder voters have begun looking elsewhere. Now, those voters must think: Would they risk a woman with a valid populist degree but whose speech history makes Donald Trump look like Calvin Coolidge? Or do they risk men who say all the right things but embrace conservative ideologies so recent that it still seems to switch to factory settings?

This is a broader problem for the GOP.

Next up in Ohio, Senate candidate J.D. Vance until 2016 – a meaningful year – a successful attorney with a great story (told that year in his book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”) and his record of fierce criticism of Mr. It could even be said that the biggest faker among them is Mr. Trump himself, a former ally of the Clintons and other unreliable causes.

At the root of it all, here is a larger truth about the party. As commentator John Ellis points out in her News Items Substack blog, Ms. Barnette is a reminder that Trumpism was around before Mr. Trump announced his presidential run in 2015. “Trump didn’t make it. ‘base’,” wrote Mr. Ellis. “The establishment created him.”

Republican primary voters in 2016, tired and angry at the unwarranted futility of their predecessors, who chose Mr. Trump.

It’s clear that for a while, if the GOP can find the true standard-bearer for this rising conservative populism, shortening the former president’s vulgar narcissism, extremism. With the madness of the QAnon crowd and the transparent absurdity of neonatal MAGAs, it will have a winning formula. If it can be found someone has not recently conveniently discovered the damage from globalization, the tragedies of a hyperactive foreign policy, the unfairness of soft border immigration and the erosion of Undermining the traditional values ​​of American life without seeming like an anti-constitutional conspiracy theorist, that candidate would be the sure — and genuine — winner.

Something tells me that after the Pennsylvania primaries, the search will continue.

Wonder Land: How did the United States become a nation on the brink of political or personal violence? Image: AP / Zuma Press Composite: Mark Kelly

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