April 23rd, 2018
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite Mr. Trump’s considerable flaws as a presidential candidate, he effectively diagnosed the reasons the Republican Party is widely disliked, even by its own voters. It has become the party of the white working class — six out of 10 Republicans are now whites without a college degree — but it has done next to nothing to address the terrible problems that disproportionately affect that class.
These afflictions include economic stagnation, the opioid epidemic, family dissolution, high rates of work force nonparticipation and the “deaths of despair” that have driven down overall life expectancy in the United States for the past two years. The impact of these problems is greatest in the “left-behind” rural and nonurban areas that overwhelmingly vote Republican.
Mr. Trump also recognized that the principal reason for this disconnection is that the party’s penchant for tax-cutting has devolved from a policy preference into a sacred cult, unconnected to reality or anything resembling fiscal conservatism. Revenue-draining cuts inevitably starve the public services that the aging and economically insecure white working class increasingly depends on. Popular support for the teachers’ strikes in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia in recent weeks indicates that even solidly Republican states are turning against this kind of anti-government economic doctrine.
The example of Kansas shows that Republicans are capable of curbing the radicalism in their ranks. Gov. Sam Brownback’s “real live experiment” in reckless tax cuts led to economic stagnation; a collapse in state revenues; and hugely unpopular cutbacks in public services that damaged not just schools but also hospitals, highways, law enforcement agencies, programs for the disabled and children in foster care. In 2016, moderate Republicans replaced dozens of Mr. Brownback’s conservative allies in the Kansas Legislature and, a year later, voted to restore state revenues over his veto.