Josh Hawley versus the Aristocracy

Missouri’s junior senator takes on Big Tech, Big Media and their legacy of national division and societal decline.

There’s been a lull in Republican politics recently. The endless litigation of the 2016 election is entering its disappointing final stretch as Democrats decide what to do with the Mueller report. After the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the president’s first-term agenda is mostly exhausted. And the record he’ll take into the 2020 election is a decidedly mixed one. On the one hand, he has an economy that’s running in rude health: historically low unemployment. But Trump’s big promise of a wall and a normal immigration policy is not just forfeit, but something of a joke. The border crisis is worse than ever. What was a security concern and a question of law enforcement is rapidly trending toward a humanitarian disaster.

This political stagnation is leading to a stagnating debate about the future of the Republican party, and of conservatism. The old Republican guard either has retired or is waiting to see if the populist and nationalist challenge of Trumpism will fade away in 2020, if a Democrat bests him. The populists and nationalists are awaiting a Trump reelection, and perhaps a renewed congressional majority to put the motor back into MAGA. A few of us have longed for a synthesis between the conservatism that we inherited and the populist and nationalist character of the emerging Trump coalition, a synthesis that Trump hasn’t delivered himself.

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