The current state of conservatism is bleak. With Donald Trump dragging the GOP into an abyss bearing the lowest approval numbers (35 percent) a president has had in any first year, a series of racist attacks in the name of conservatism, and cable news going the way of MSNBC, there appears to be a political natural disaster ready to take a final blow at the Republicans; and it’s Typhoon Trump. Recovery will be hard, but if the intellectual right can re-establish itself and become the pragmatic party of Dwight D. Eisenhower under the leadership of a John Kasich, it will rebound and, hopefully, take back the GOP before all is lost.
One of the most fascinating differences in the Trump era is the fall of Fox News and the rise of MSNBC. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had the most-watched show on cable news in August, according to Nielsen Media Research. Maddow has been the queen of news opinion for two months in a row. Maddow was also first among adults 25-54, which advertisers crave immensely.
Meanwhile, Fox News Channel’s poster boy, Sean Hannity, was second. The remaining top five for August were Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell and Fox News’ The Five.
To think a few months ago, Fox News was destroying the competition and now can’t beat the two smuggest people on television says how much people have lost faith in conservative commentators. When Fox News got into bed with Trump, it set itself up as his puppet. Hannity should have seized this opportunity to become the next Bill O’Reilly, but instead he’s losing to a person who used to get viewership in the thousands and not millions. While Fox remains the top overall station, that title, based on these numbers, will be gone soon.
People understand that Trump has already taken advantage of his position too much. The random firings, the odd pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the silly rallies make him look like a crony capitalist in all areas of life. He takes care of his friends and rejects the others. No one wants to see that praised by Hannity or Fox News anymore.
Fox News’ answer to its recent fall is hiring a loudmouth millennial commentator by the name of Tomi Lahren. The regular contributor to Glenn Beck’s and Sean Hannity’s shows has proven she can stir up controversy, making her more like a young Ann Coulter than an intellectual.
With Obamacare still hovering, taxes still high, the border wall being shifted to U.S. taxpayers and the GOP not able to pass anything despite a Washington stronghold that most presidents never get, the GOP has hurt itself so much that the 2018 midterms could be a DNC dream night and 2020 could be worse.
Hopefully, someone is watching and creating a new strategy. If not, the conservative movement will be 100 percent associated with bombastic rhetoric, tiki-torch marches defending Confederate heroes and failed policy changes.
The intellectual right, made up of Arizona Sen. John McCain, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Nebraska Sen. Eric Sasse have to re-establish the old school, cut the fat and create simple programs that the country appreciated back in the 1970s. President Nixon was a paranoid crook, but he was a fiscally and globally wise paranoid crook.
McCain reached folk hero status by not taking people off health insurance before a better replacement was ready to go. The GOP has to ride that momentum and create a plan behind the backs of Paul Ryan and Trump. It needs to present an idea to the American people such as Newt Gingrich did with his Contract With America. Republicans need to reform corporate and social welfare, let banks feel free to loan money to new businesses to inspire job growth, and present a real solution to our border issues.
The fate of the country is in the hands of a few brave conservatives. The train is off the track, no doubt. Typhoon Trump is about to destroy all the goodwill the GOP tried to build in the lead-up to the 2015-2016 primaries. Unless there is a coup, the GOP will be done with. It’s time to right the wrong and make America great again.