by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The heat and light given off by the nuclear grind between President Trump and his antagonists have blinded Washington’s chroniclers to something important happening right before their eyes. The fusion of populism and conservatism as a workable and ideological political movement is emerging in the actions of two newly elected senators: Josh Hawley and Rick Scott.
It took a political hijacker like Trump to elevate Republicans out of the losing rut in which our old, Goldwater-ish GOP had become mired. But from a policy perspective, Trump has worked out to be more like a Viking conqueror than English colonizer.
Trumpism has proven to be a formidable foe to the new left’s dominant ideology of cosmopolitan elitism—within the bounds of the daily news cycle. But if the realignment that Trump’s win validated is going to be a structural victory for Republicans, it needs more than daily combat. It needs policy pioneers and settlers, and longer-term battles that deliver material results for voters beyond merely thwarting harmful liberal impulses. That’s where first-termers Hawley and Scott enter.
Scott, a self-made health-care CEO who built the nation’s largest hospital corporation, has zeroed in on the crisis of drug pricing. …
… Hawley, the youngest member of the Senate, is waging a similar battle against conservatives’ neglect of Big Tech. The generation of political Republicans already in office before the development of the smartphone still requires their grandchildren’s assistance to toggle between the satellite dish and the DVR, so it’s no wonder those old pachyderms have had no coherent policy approach to the rise of Silicon Valley’s abusive power.
Hawley, the only senator in his 30s, is wired differently and unafraid to confront the complexity of our societal addiction to technological masters.