The resurgent conservative movement, fueled primarily by the Tea Party, has dramatically changed the political map in America. Outside of major metropolitan areas, liberals and Democrats have retreated to the two coasts, while heartland America has seen historic growth among conservatives. It will continue under President Donald Trump.
Since 2009, Democrats have lost more than 1,000 seats in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress. Voters rejected the agenda and rhetoric of the Democratic Party, while finding inspiration in a Republican Party revitalized by the conservative movement.
Because Trump has had his own transition from a New York Democrat to a Make America Great Republican, many pundits falsely assumed that the modern conservative movement is doomed.
As we have watched nationalist movements ascend around the globe, many observers believe that conservatism under Trump will be marginalized by his nationalistic rhetoric. But if you look to the pillars of Ronald Reagan’s presidency as the lodestar for modern conservatism, Trump is a worthy successor in three areas.
Strong national defense: Between the missile attack on Syria, the Mother of All Bombs drop in Afghanistan and the aircraft carrier group being sent to the Korean Peninsula, does anyone have any lingering doubts that Trump is following Reagan’s prescription of peace through strength?
Strong economic growth: Growth will also define the role of conservatism under President Trump. Americans have suffered dramatically under an economy that has yet to recover. Instead of 5 percent and 6 percent growth after the recession, Barack Obama presided over an anemic 2 percent growth, hampering the ability of all Americans to get ahead.
President Trump’s campaign proposed bold tax reform that simplifies the tax code and flattens rates as the only way to provide the financial spark our economy needs. He has argued for the repeal of more than a trillion dollars of Affordable Care Act taxes to boot.
Unheralded in much of the media has been the dramatic elimination of regulations by the Obama administration, with Trump already signing a dozen rollbacks of intrusive government regulations. He knows the regulatory burden is almost worse than the tax burden in curtailing economic growth.
Instilling confidence in America: You don’t have to go any further than his campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again.” Polls show a boost in economic confidence, and his success in tax and regulatory reform will make his re-election campaign like Reagan’s “It’s morning in America again.”
Trump has never claimed to be a conservative ideologue in the mold of Barry Goldwater. He will never articulate the conservative intellectual arguments that Reagan often advanced, but the core of his policies fall squarely within conservative action.
Conservatism is alive and well under Trump’s administration, and the immediate goal of conservatives should be to extend the political pendulum swing. That’s why conservatives of every stripe should work with President Trump in advancing conservative policies and not get hung up on nuance and legislative minutia.
Then, as policy victories begin to mount, Tea Party Express and organizations like ours can continue recruiting and electing more conservatives who are willing and able to push the envelope even further.
Taylor Budowich is the executive director of Tea Party Express. He wrote this for The Dallas Morning News. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.