It is time for us to be honest with ourselves: The conservative movement has no direction. We are mired in culture wars, current events and being anti-Leftist. We need to reclaim our direction. Much of this lack of direction is because Donald Trump is not an ideological conservative. His policies have been good, but Trump himself is not motivated by conservative philosophy.
Donald Trump has been a bulwark against the radical Left. Millions of conservatives voted for Trump to be that bulwark, and they will vote for him again as Joe Biden represents the same agenda as Hillary Clinton – but perhaps even more radical as the Democrats have embraced even more big government and “woke” identity politics. But we need something more than a bulwark.
But it is not enough to be anti-Leftist: We must have a policy agenda. Being anti-Leftist is a defensive stance, not an offensive stance. If we are on defense, we are destined to lose. The Left understands this, but outside of the anti-abortion movement conservatives do not. Republicans who took state legislatures in the 2010 wave election have done pretty well over the last decade implementing a conservative policy agenda at the state level, but Republicans at the federal level have lost their way. What should that policy agenda be?
First, we need to reclaim conservative fiscal policy. We need to restrain and then slash federal spending. Conservatives abandoned this years ago under George W. Bush and have stopped even pretending to care about fiscal discipline under President Trump. Republicans only advocated for and actually pushed policy to shrink government when Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were in the White House. This has to stop and we need to demand a fiscally conservative nominee in 2024.
More importantly, we need to devolve power to the states and away from the federal leviathan. Much of the reason national elections are so vicious is that the federal government has way too much power. Policy is better handled at the state or local level, rather than from one city on the east coast. We need a Republican Party and a conservative movement that embraces the Tenth Amendment. We need a Republican Party that wants the federal government to do much less, and certainly not more.
We are losing ground culturally. We need to hold up the traditional family as good and we need to openly tout the good virtues such as hard work, loyalty, chastity and honesty. To do that effectively, we need leaders who will model good behavior. We must demand leaders of good character. We do not have that now, and while there is no realistic path to fixing that for 2020, that needs to change in 2024.