Is the GOP Doomed?
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
— Simon and Garfunkel, “The Boxer”
The GOP and social justice warriors have something in common: They both have an identity crisis.
Is the GOP still the fiscal and social conservative party of small government?
Or is classical Republicanism dead in the dirt?
There's no doubt the GOP has changed. I don't think there's anyone who would really disagree. But most people would credit President Trump and his administration with the change, though this isn't really the case.
The truth is, the Republican Party has been changing for quite a long time... decades, in fact.
Neoconservatism actually dates back to the 1960s. And it began with liberals.
You read that correctly: Liberals started the neoconservative movement.
I know, that doesn't seem right. I had to verify that fact myself when I first heard it, too. But it's true.
You see, during the 1960s, some liberals became disenchanted with the increasingly pacifist foreign policies of the Democratic Party, as well as the hippie counterculture of the New Left. So they began to question their liberal beliefs. And from here the neocon movement has grown.
Since then, the neoconservative movement has peaked in influence today with the Bush, Jr. and Trump administrations.
Oh, and if that's not enough for you that it was the liberals who started neoconservatism, the movement has its intellectual roots in the Jewish monthly review magazine Commentary, published by the American Jewish Committee. They spoke out against the New Left and helped define the movement.
So, yeah, you can thank liberal Jews for neoconservatism.
For the GOP as a whole, neocons are a problem... at least in the short term.
The Treasury Department reported last month that government borrowing was at an all-time high during the first quarter of this year. Despite a rising deficit, the government borrowed $488 billion in the January–March quarter. This was the highest level since the Bush administration.
The Treasury Department also said federal government is on track to borrow nearly $1 trillion this year. These are not the fiscally conservative actions of classical Republicanism.
Meanwhile, the White House is roiled in scandal after scandal of moral failings, covering everything from sleeping with porn stars to claims of treason. The next time a Democrat has a moral failing, the GOP won't be able to call them out on it without the other side calling them hypocrites.
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On top of all that, the government is growing in size like never before. The number of government employees has grown some 10% since the beginning of the Bush, Jr. administration. And that number actually decreased during Obama's term.
So what does the GOP stand for?
Are they still the fiscal and social conservative party of small government?
Or is the GOP doomed to become the new “tax and spend” party?
In the short term, I think it probably is. But I don't think classical Republicanism is dead for good. Instead, it's just dormant.
Although it could take decades (perhaps not even in our lifetimes), I believe there will be a new movement born out of the frustration with neoconservatism, the same way neoconservatism itself was born.
I expect this new movement to be a “retroconservative” movement of sorts, where people will want to go back to the classic tenets of Republicanism.
Everything moves in cycles. So while the GOP might be going through some growing pains right now, I don't think the party is doomed.
Fact is, the GOP is one of those things right now that's too big to fail. Without the GOP, we end up with only one major political party. And no one wants that.
Again, you and I might not see the change in our lifetimes, which is unfortunate. But I think we can rest easy that our children and grandchildren will live in a political environment where the classic tenets of Republicanism prevail.
Until next time,
As an editor at Energy and Capital, Luke’s analysis and market research reach hundreds of thousands of investors every day. Luke is also a contributing editor of Angel Publishing’s Bubble and Bust Report newsletter. There, he helps investors in leveraging the future supply-demand imbalance that he believes could be key to a cyclical upswing in the hard asset markets. For more on Luke, go to his editor’s page.
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