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Rachel Marsden: Is it time for anti-woke populist non-interventionists to start their own U.S. party?

Tribune Content Agency logoTribune Content Agency 10/25/2022 Rachel Marsden, Tribune Content Agency
Liz Cheney, center, vice chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing by the committee in the Cannon House Office Building on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The bipartisan committee, in possibly its final hearing, has been gathering evidence for almost a year related to the Jan.... © (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS) Liz Cheney, center, vice chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing by the committee in the Cannon House Office Building on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The bipartisan committee, in possibly its final hearing, has been gathering evidence for almost a year related to the Jan....

VANCOUVER — One of the most puzzling aspects of American politics to foreigners living in western democracies is the two-party straitjacket that hinders renewal. Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) spoke of her interest in preventing former President Donald Trump from ever again running the country, and mentioned that Trump being the Republican nominee would "shatter" the party and give rise to a new “conservative” party.

Great idea, Liz!

Until now, the debate has long been about who should have control over the heart and institutional machinery of the Republican Party — either the Trump-like populists or the anti-Trump supporters of the establishment status quo. There are two sets of dividing lines along which the GOP is on the verge of fracturing: progressivism vs. conservatism, and populism vs. globalism. The need to address both of these debates has come to a critical stage due to two factors.

First, there’s the rise of extreme leftist social engineering which has succeeded in finding advocates and champions within the Democratic Party who have managed to translate their ideological fantasies into the law of the land. The only antidote to even further generalized leftist social radicalism is effective and articulate GOP leadership that mount effective rhetorical and legislative pushback.

Secondly, rampant foreign military interventionism has cost American taxpayers uncounted billions, despite poor return on investment for the average citizen. The 20-year war in Afghanistan is perhaps the most glaring example, but the multi-billion dollar series of “gifts” to Ukraine are increasingly raising eyebrows, if not ire.

Within the GOP, there are currently two warring factions. The first consists of mainly pro-war neoconservatives who dominated the GOP pre-Trump and who have spent so much time hobnobbing with neocon establishment Democrats that they’ve mostly aligned with them on all but the most outlandish cultural and social issues, as well. The second main GOP faction is comprised of those who reject both pricy and questionable foreign interventionism in favor of an “America First” domestic focus, and also want nothing to do with the Democrats’ increasingly radical social agenda. It’s the latter faction that ought to eject out of the party altogether to start something new and baggage-free.

Rachel Marsden wearing a dress shirt and tie © Provided by Tribune Content Agency Rachel Marsden

In Europe, it’s well-accepted to leave an established party to create a new one. And it’s incredibly common for these new parties to not only thrive but also end up in power. French President Emmanuel Macron is a prime example, having left the Socialist Party to start his own new political vehicle that propelled him to power — twice. And the French Socialist Party, which was once the political family of former President François Mitterrand, is now a non-entity, having been surpassed in popularity by the populist-left “France Insoumise”. Similarly, former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republican Party has lost favor to the populist-right National Rally party in this year’s presidential vote.

In Italy, establishment parties were bested in last month’s elections by a populist-right coalition led by Georgia Meloni’s “Brothers of Italy”, which won just 4.4 percent of votes in 2018.

What’s needed, however, is a strong leader whose agenda has a pre-existing supporter and voter base. For Macron, that base was simply people who were tired of the other two main parties who had recently dominated elections. For Meloni, it was those tired of the entire establishment, against which she was considered an outsider. Other start-up leaders have played on the notion of representing a better alternative to just a single large party whose voting base was ready for something new. And that’s where a new U.S. party with the right anti-establishment, anti-interventionist, and anti-woke leader could very well end up reducing the GOP base and its voters to a husk.

Is Donald Trump the right person for the job, though? Probably not — his time has come and gone and the U.S. desperately needs to move away from its current model of gerontocratic leadership, even though Trump’s considerable talents could play a valuable role in mobilization efforts. But in a country as big and populous as the U.S., surely there can’t be a shortage of talent that could fit the bill. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis springs immediately to mind.

America — and the West in general — is currently contending with a series of unprecedented crises exacerbated by the ruling establishment. Trump’s election in 2016 proved that even at that point voters were fed up and willing to take a chance on something new. The fact that the establishment GOP has taken back the reins doesn’t mean that all those people who voted for Trump’s anti-establishment populist policies have simply disappeared. They’re merely waiting for their next opportunity to take their country back. And if neither Democrats or Republicans will give it to them, then someone needs to create a new means of doing so.

(Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of independently produced talk shows in French and English. Her website can be found at http://www.rachelmarsden.com.)

©2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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