A Conservative Split?

Republicans appear to be divided and many calling themselves Republican are.  Are conservatives divided?  That is an entirely different matter.

It’s inescapable that the demographic that identifies as “Republican voters” has changed since 2015.

Trump attracted a lot of voters with his populist message.  A question conservatives should ask themselves is: “Is this sustainable?”

For me, populism and nationalism fall broadly in the category of “a little is a good thing, but too much is all bad.”  I wrote a series of pieces on “national conservatism” some time ago (and populism).

To oversimplify, populism is “what the people want” and nationalism is “love of country” and the idea that your country is exceptional, and more important to you than other countries.  Neither of those ideas is intrinsically bad – so long as they don’t go too far.

It seems to me that these populist and nationalist views from the right are relatively new (like since 2015 maybe?).  If you are a “Reagan Republican” (or worse – a “Goldwater Republican”) it is entirely likely that you don’t comport with the current “group”.

Maybe conservatives need to get their head screwed on straight.  Maybe they should focus on being conservative.  Maybe they should focus on less intrusive and smaller government, less debt, lower taxes, and more federalism.  Maybe those at the level of the federal government should admit that they really don’t have much to do, and act accordingly.  Maybe they should admit that most of what they put out on Twitter is complete BS and irrelevant.  Just maybe.

Our system is designed (very much on purpose) to deny the wishes of populists and nationalists.  Populist impulses are mitigated first by the House and then by the Senate, and finally by the President.  And if all of those fail, by the courts.  Populist impulses are, by design, tempered (as they should be).

But conservatives (as understood now in 2023) seem to be lost in the wilderness.  Do they believe in limited government?  Do they believe in limited reach?  Do they believe in lower taxes?  Do they believe in FEDERALISM????? 

Or do they believe in the populism and nationalism of the current slate of potential candidates?

The answer to that question matters.  Because if Trump politically implodes, where will all those populist and nationalist voters go?  Will they continue to vote Republican or will they vote Democrat?  Realistically, those are the only two choices (as much as I rail against binary arguments and choices, there you have it).

The Republican party, if it wants to stay in the game, needs an agenda – and a message.  I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again.  What we have now is not that.  Trump is not a conservative by any objective measure.  His populist/nationalist base will likely leave or stay home in the next election cycle.  What is the conservative plan then?

You decide, you are the voter.


Please check out my website Gadsden1.com.  Please check out “The Group” for RSS feeds to some of my favorite writers and podcasters.  Thank you for reading!  And – I’ve started a store on the website – mostly for friends but you may be interested – check out the Gadsden Store.  I have also added a PayPal option to my home page that allows you all to buy old Gads a beer – if you are so inclined.


      • He’s a competitive benchrest shooter in WA state. Near Tacoma I think. He has some good videos on Youtube and Patreon. He recently added a rail gun to his very nice BR rifles he uses. I am a target shooter only. I quit hunting a long time ago but enjoy my Howa 1500 in 6.5cm…I live in SW GA…

Leave a Reply