by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Temperamental conservatism is little remarked upon these days and even less frequently engaged by politicians — a consequence, in part, of the extent to which Trump and Trumpism have come to dominate Republican thought. Who has time, when there’s a wall to be built, to plumb the psyche of those who say, with Edmund Burke, that “plausible schemes, with very pleasing commencements, have often shameful and lamentable conclusions”? What right-leaning office-seeker would dare, in the white heat of 2018, to champion the Burkean notion that we “must bear with infirmities until they fester into crimes”?
It is arguable, of course, that such is the nature of things: Trump is president, and he will naturally dominate the political realm and determine its tone. Yet Trump will one day pass from the scene — he will pass from it in just over two years, to be precise — and Republicans will do well in the post-Trump era to remember that millions of Americans like things pretty much the way they are and intuitively distrust sudden change in any ideological direction. …
… [I]t is very much the case that the GOP should begin making plans to appeal to that portion of the electorate that is conservative by inclination rather than ideology. To do so, the party will need to reacquaint itself with a certain kind of voter: the man or woman for whom stability is a moral good, change is an evil to be avoided if possible, and a politician raving on television is at best a distraction from all that is meaningful in life.