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What’s Next for the GOP?

The GOP civil war this election year has been brutal, but the bloodletting is likely to intensify in the (likely) event of a Trump defeat on November 8, with various factions insisting that the drama of 2016 proved the soundness of their own view of what America’s right-of-center party should stand for.

In a book review of “The Upside of Inequality,” a supply-side economics polemic, TAI staff writer Jason Willick wades into this debate by cautioning against the GOP’s impulse to jettison economic populism altogether and return to the cut-taxes-for-the-wealthy-at-all-costs economics favored by the donor class. A taste, from the just released-issue of National Review (paywalled):

In this new book, Edward Conard — Romney’s longtime friend, business associate, and high-dollar fundraiser — has produced an extended defense of the economic philosophy that drove the Romney-Ryan campaign. And while the thrust of his argument — that inequality is a necessary condition for and by-product of economic growth in the 21st century — is correct, the book also serves as an inadvertent reminder of the profound flaws in the donor-class economic ideology that was a more significant force in pre-Trump Republican politics than we nostalgists sometimes remember. […]

This book is useful for displaying what Conard, despite his obvious intelligence and business acumen, fails to grasp: that attention to middle-class priorities is not optional in politics, that the GOP’s supply-side shibboleths can easily veer into self-serving moralism, and that, as journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty has said, “the market was made for man, and not man for the market.” In other words, if and when the Republican party recovers from crude Trumpian populism, it must be careful not to succumb to the plutocratic temptation that afflicted the last GOP campaign.

Read the whole thing.

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