Populists: A Bigger Threat than the Establishments

Standing up against Donald Trump is certainly not the popular thing to do these days (and frankly, I’m not even sure if it’s entirely safe). That said, those of us who have worked hard to promote civil, economic, and political liberty within a constitutional framework certainly have our work cut out for us if we’re to ever be successful. The rise of Donald Trump has undone just about every hard-fought victory we’ve earned over the last decade. The libertarian and constitutional wings of the Republican Party are smaller today, by about half, than they were this time last year. Such a brutal loss is hard to stomach and will be difficult to overcome, regardless the final result of this election.

Defeatism, thankfully, does not become us.

Therefore, it is with great optimism that we ought to move forward, continuing to define and defend our message of individual sovereignty and personal liberty. This frightening and dangerous rise of populism can certainly work to our advantage, considering that the centrist establishment now understands that there is something far worse than the liberty movement. Would they not accept a dozen Dave Brat’s and Rand Paul’s over one Donald Trump?

Governor John Kasich is as establishment as they come. While not a corporatist, he buys in to the Frank Capra and Aaron Sorkin vision of government as an instrument of good. Even Governor Kasich, however, understands that the federal government no longer functions within a Constitutional framework. Kasich has suggested that we ought to have a 10th Amendment revolution in this country, bringing back more authorities to the States (an odd position to take running for President as an establishment candidate), but he’s 100% right. Why should the federal government be in charge of jobs training and health care? Let the States run these programs. Keep it local. Keep it solvent. Create competition between the states to improve services and efficacy.

If the establishment would be willing to turn over unconstitutional authorities back to The States, we would have a much greater opportunity to influence domestic policies and obstruct excessive spending and hold State officials accountable for waste, fraud, and abuse. Furthermore, the Federal Government would no longer require a fraction of what we currently give them. After all, the federal government was designed to handle only a few specific areas of concern.

Furthermore, our United States Congress has given the executive branch complete control over all the laws in our country through a regulatory bureaucracy. Now, we have Congressmen like Rob Wittman (VA) and Senators like Rand Paul (KY) desperately fighting to finalize passage of the REINS ACT. The REINS ACT prevents the Executive Branch from issuing major regulation without Congressional approval. It is currently sitting in the Senate waiting on a Republican President to sign it into law.

If Congressman Wittman and Governor Kasich are already looking for a greater exercise of federalism, then the liberty movement should be fighting ardently beside them to encourage them to get it done.  The Establishment is not the only group of folks who realize that there is something worse than the Liberty Movement, the Liberty Movement is discovering that there is something worse than The Establishment. In that sense, Donald Trump is serving to make some particularly strange bedfellows.

While I despise the corporatism at the heart of our Republican Establishment, I do believe that there are some within that establishment who, in the face of populism, are willing to work with principled conservatives and libertarians to preserve and protect our Constitutional Republic.

Over the course of the last few months, I have been taught one incontrovertible fact: Populism is a clear and present danger and I may have even served to make it possible. We’ve been so hell bent on destroying the Republican Establishment that we haven’t paid enough attention to how we would replace it – and we’re discovering that many of our fellow antagonists did have a plan. They want to replace the establishment with themselves and they want to go full Hubert Hoover – full Teddy Roosevelt. We are witnessing the resurrection of Progressive Populism, high tariffs, and “conservative” Big Government.

The fact is, that the moderate establishment will survive Donald Trump and all the Trump supporters will one day be horribly disappointed. In the meantime, while we wait for their inevitable disappointment, we need to begin furiously distinguishing ourselves from the populists and petition our elected officials to begin placing greater restrictions on the executive branch, while turning over more Congressional power over to the Fifty States.

We may have a brief window where the liberty movement and the establishment can work together.


About Steven Brodie Tucker 184 Articles
Graduated From Virginia Tech with a Bachelors in Philosophy and a minor in Psychology. Studied Economics and History at George Mason University. Caroline County Resident and Activist.
  • The rise of populism might rattle loose the establishment just long enough to get everyone to their senses. The establishment cannot run without a base; the liberty movement cannot establish itself without resources; the conservative movement needs to redefine and rediscover the values behind the principles.

    …could be a golden moment. Problem is, neither Cruz nor Rubio truly embrace that new fusionism. It will take Rand Paul’s vision, Rubio’s telegenics, and Cruz’s backbone to make the difference (and the rest of us to quit looking at a someone we disagree with 10% of the time and see a 90% heretic).

    • I was discussing a similar observation with David Southall earlier today, essentially pointing out that there is a lot of room between where I stand and where, say, Brian S. stands, and it’s filled by a bunch of folks that people on my side constantly label “establishment”, because if you don’t agree with us 100% of the time, well then, of course you’re establishment. We’re just as to blame as the establishment for giving shelter and a voice to these populists now threatening to burn the whole damn thing to the ground.

      However, I believe this is a golden moment – and I think that if we can get more moderate conservatives (for the lack of a better description) to stop defending fiscal irresponsibility, to stop defending debt as no big deal (it really is a form of generational theft in practice), and to not look at us cross-eyed when we are looking to fight losing battles (you have to do that sometime).

      And we have to stop thinking of everything in terms of conservative or establishment. Rand Paul doesn’t exactly fit the definition of a conservative, but he’s got like a 95% conservative rating from Levin’s people on Conservative Review. Lots of room for conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to work together and find common ground, because I think we can all see that we can have no peace with the populists.

      • Furthermore, we don’t always have to behave like Don Quixote. There is a place for retreat and re-fortification and deception and nuance.