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BILL CRAWFORD: Can Trumpism wean GOP from big money politics?

BILL CRAWFORD

BILL CRAWFORD

Anger and frustration drive the voters who will support Donald Trump come whatever.

 
What I hear:  It’s about time somebody was willing to stick it to those (bad word) in Washington. And to Wall Street too. Those (bad word) in China and Mexico who steal our jobs need a lesson they won’t forget. Those (bad word) in the Middle East better watch out too. We aren’t gonna take their (bad word) any more. And liberals be (bad word), people willing to work and fight for this country are gonna be better off. (Bad words), America is gonna be great again!
 
It’s a popular message. Lots of folk feel this discontent, Trump folk to a great extent. Certainly, the message is a simple take on an ever more complex world, but it’s howling across America. More of the same from the same old politicians is unacceptable.
 
Well, not exactly.
 
Most folk who are going to vote for Trump will also vote to return their current Senators and Representatives to Washington. A handful of Senate and House seats may change, but not many. Now, a handful of changes could shift the power in the Senate, but probably not the gridlock that paralyzes its functions.
 
No doubt that’s why many Republican officeholders who can’t stand Trump are supporting him. They count on the system, as is, being able to thwart his (bad words) schemes.
 
Another group of Republicans, however, seems to be looking at all this differently. A recent article in the New York Times labeled these reform minded conservatives “reformocons.” 
 
“These conservatives in think tanks, advocacy groups and the news media — and a few in political office — will be pressing for a new agenda: to update the Reagan-era playbook with an eye to working-class voters without a college education who form the Republican base,” said the Times article. “Ronald Reagan’s notions that policies that benefit the rich and big business lift all incomes now appear outmoded in an era of rising wealth inequality and stagnant wages.”
 
The article quoted conservative Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah as saying, “What we have going on right now, and Trump’s position in the Republican Party, makes this recalibration that much more important, that much more urgent.”
 
Hmmm.
 
“Some within the party,” Lee added, “have been all too willing to wear the label of the Republican Party as being the party of Wall Street, or the party of the top 1 percent.” 
 
The Times article suggests many conservative voters, particularly young ones, are fed up with party leadership “that pays them lip service while ignoring their concerns.”
 
The article notes that popular conservative voices, like Rush Limbaugh, will be reluctant to turn away from policies that favor big business and billionaires in favor of working class folk. But if Lee and the conservative National Review are really engaged, something may emerge.
 
This is a movement working class Mississippi should watch closely.
 
» Bill Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (crawfolk@gmail.com)

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