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Bruce Burleson – May 14, 2017 

 
Since Lyndon Johnson rolled out his “Great Society” or “war on poverty” programs, liberalism has remained the dominant paradigm in American politics.  Despite the fact that we’ve seen a number of Republican presidents, conservatives have failed to roll out our own agenda.  The reason?  Every time we assume control of the presidency or Congress, we fail to consolidate power.  Even in the days of Reagan, conservatism didn’t dominate the national narrative due to Democrat control of Congress.  Now we have a similar problem, not because Democrats control Congress, but Republicans who act like Democrats control Congress.

 

What is consolidation of power?  Governments throughout history that have succeeded in advancing their agenda by dominating the political scene—for better or for worse.  A “worse” example would be the Chavez-Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela, or Communist regimes during the Cold War.  Even today, socialist governments in Cuba and North Korea retain the levers of power, and that is how they keep their destructive policies in place.

 

Consolidation of power does not necessarily mean dictatorship, however.  In a Western democracy, it can take the form of conservative control of all three branches of government—without which a conservative agenda will gain very little ground.

 

Presently, Donald Trump, arguably a more conservative figure than Barack Obama, has gained power via the presidency.  But in Congress, establishment figures such as Paul Ryan continue to hold sway over the actual shaping of policy.  Case in point, efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have revolved around bills that do little more than “tweak” the existing policy.  And the spending bill that was just passed a few weeks ago more closely resembles a liberal Democrat bill than a conservative one.

 

Real conservative power in America lies in who controls the purse strings.  In order for conservatives to gain that ability, Paul Ryan needs to be replaced by someone like Mark Meadows.  And in the Senate, Republicans enjoy only a razor-thin majority making it problematic for conservative senators such as Rand Paul to advance any kind of meaningful agenda—unless the “nuclear option” is employed, as it was in the case of confirming Neil Gorsuch as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

The 2018 midterm election will be upon us before we know it.  This is an opportunity for conservatives to displace moderates via the nomination process, and also for conservatives such as Geoff Diehl to replace leftist figures such as Elizabeth Warren.

 

President Donald Trump ran on a fairly conservative platform—and has made many promises.  But if conservatives fail to consolidate power, particularly in Congress, it will be very difficult for the president to keep all of the promises he has made.

 

So, it’s ultimately up to us as citizens.  We the people are the ones who elect and unelect representatives and senators.  Every conservative reading this should be evaluating who their elected officials are, and whether they are able or willing to advance a conservative agenda.



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