Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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David Brooks:

Yes, sure.

You know, when I started covering this world and was really in the world of conservative ideas, if you were a young Republican Hill staffer, you wore a certain sort of neck tie. And it might be an Adam Smith necktie, it may be a Madison neck tie, a Burke necktie, a Tocqueville necktie, but you had your intellectual heroes on your necktie, if you were a man.

And that was the self-conception the Republican Party had at that point, that it was an ideological movement, a conservative ideological movement.

That Reagan paradigm sort of faded away. It became no longer — obsolete. And you would think it would have been replaced by another paradigm. But it hasn’t. It’s been replaced by a party that is simply not ideological particularly anymore.

And Trump made it work by making the Republican Party a bit of an identity party, a bit of a culture party, a bit of a masculine party. And so it’s organized around a set of ideas that are no longer a political philosophy.

I don’t know if it can do that. But so — under Trump, and even now, it’s doing it adequately, I would say.

One of the — new data from the 2020 election keeps coming out, and the thing that really struck me, part of it, was that every nonwhite group went in the Republican direction. And Latinos, it was an amazing 16 percent. Somewhere, there’s a party there. But somebody still has to define it, either with an ideology, a new one, or with some set of ideas. Right now, it’s got a man and a lifestyle, but no ideas.

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