I wonder 20-25 years ago when the New Democrats started emerging in the Democratic Party did someone from lets say The Nation on the Far-Left or National Review on the Center-Right write a piece with the title something to the effect, “Why New Democrats Should Join The Republican Party”. Maybe I’ll look that up later and of course the New Democrats were the Center-Left Democrats who saved the Democratic Party from frankly McGovernism. The Far-Left or New-Left that took over the Democratic Party in 1968 and ran that party up until 1988 or so. When New Democrat Governor Mike Dukakis won the Democratic nomination for president.
The New Democrats weren’t about and still aren’t about making the Democratic Party a centrist party with no hard left or right. But making the Democratic Party a center-left party with Liberals and Progressives as the main faces and leaders of the party. That still believes in using government to achieve great things. But that government can’t do everything for everybody all the time. And we can’t tax our way to prosperity and take so much money from people that they don’t have freedom over their own lives. And that government should be used to empower people. Not make people dependent on government.
The Reform Conservatives at least to me look like the New Democrats of the Republican Party. Conservatives who want to bring the GOP back from its hard-right if not far-right image and make it a party that can appeal to working class and minority Americans. So it’s not just a party of Southern a rural Anglo-Saxon Protestant men. And rich Anglo-Saxon Northeastern men. But a party that can compete and win in the Northeast and Midwest at the national level, win back Florida and even be competitive if not win California. The Republican Party did all of these things very well up until 1992 when again they lost to New Democrat Bill Clinton in the presidential election.
Welfare to Work is a Reform Conservative/New Democrat anti-poverty program that was passed in 1996. Reform conservatism is about using conservative policies to appeal to a broader base of American voters. Who like things like smarter and limited regulations, lower taxes, economic freedom. But don’t want government trying to run their personal lives for them including if they can join a union or not. And are people who aren’t just Anglo-Saxon as far as ethnicity and not just Protestant when it comes to their religion. Don’t just live in the Bible Belt and aren’t just men.
The Republican Party as a conservative has a history of appealing to a broad base of Americans. That was gone by 1996 or so when they became the party of the South and rural Midwest and West. And what Reform Conservatives are saying is that the Republican Party needs a conservative message and policies that appeals to more than just their traditional Bible Belt/country club base. They have to find ways to connect with working class voters. As well as Latinos and Asians and women of all races. And even Jewish and African-Americans if that is still possible for them at this point. To become governing party in the near-future.
Washington Examiner: Phillip Klein Discusses Reform Conservatism With Yuval Levin