Tucker Carlson delivered an excellent monologue Wednesday night on Fox News laying out a third way forward for populist-nationalist politics which can bring the left and the right together to win elections.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Good evening and welcome to Tucker Carlson Tonight. Let’s begin tonight with a thought experiment: What if the Republican leadership here in Washington had bothered to learn the lessons of the 2016 election? What if they’d cared enough to do that. What if they’d understood, and embraced, the economic nationalism that was at the heart of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign? What would the world look like now, two and a half years later? For starters, Republicans in congress would regularly be saying things like this. Quote:
“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunities America has given me. But the giant ‘American’ corporations who control our economy don’t seem to feel the same way. They certainly don’t act like it. Sure, these companies wave the flag — but they have no loyalty or allegiance to America. Levi’s is an iconic American brand, but the company operates only 2% of its factories here. Dixon Ticonderoga — maker of the famous №2 pencil — has ‘moved almost all of its pencil production to Mexico and China.’ And General Electric recently shut down an industrial engine factory in Wisconsin and shipped the jobs to Canada. The list goes on and on. These ‘American’ companies show only one real loyalty: to the short-term interests of their shareholders, a third of whom are foreign investors. If they can close up an American factory and ship jobs overseas to save a nickel, that’s exactly what they will do — abandoning loyal American workers and hollowing out American cities along the way. Politicians love to say they care about American jobs. But for decades, those same politicians have cited ‘free market principles’ and refused to intervene in markets on behalf of American workers. And of course, they ignore those same supposed principles and intervene regularly to protect the interests of multinational corporations and international capital. The result? Millions of good jobs lost overseas and a generation of stagnant wages, growing inequality, and sluggish economic growth. If Washington wants to put a stop to this, it can. If we want faster growth, stronger American industry, and more good American jobs, then our government should do what other leading nations do and act aggressively to achieve those goals instead of catering to the financial interests of companies with no particular allegiance to America.... The truth is that Washington policies — not unstoppable market forces — are a key driver of the problems American workers face. From our trade agreements to our tax code, we have encouraged companies to invest abroad, ship jobs overseas, and keep wages low. All in the interest of serving multinational companies and international capital with no particular loyalty to the United States....It’s becoming easier and easier to shift capital and jobs from one country to another. That’s why our government has to care more about defending and creating American jobs than ever before — not less. We can navigate the changes ahead if we embrace economic patriotism and make American workers our highest priority, rather than continuing to cater to the interests of companies and people with no allegiance to America.”
End quote. Now let’s say you regularly vote Republican. Ask yourself: what part of that statement did you disagree with? Was there a single word that seemed wrong? Probably not. Here’s the depressing part: Nobody you voted for said that, or would ever say it. Republicans in congress can’t promise to protect American industries. They wouldn’t dare. It might violate some principle of Austrian economics. It might make the Koch brothers angry. It might alienate the libertarian ideologues who, to this day, fund most Republican campaigns. So, no, a Republican did not say that. Sadly.
Instead, the words you just heard are from, and brace yourself here, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Yesterday, Warren released what she’s calling her “plan for economic patriotism.” Amazingly, that’s pretty much exactly what it is: economic patriotism. There’s not a word about identity politics in the document. There are no hysterics about gun control or climate change. There’s no lecture about the plight of transgender illegal immigrants. It’s just pure old fashioned economics: how to preserve good-paying American jobs. Even more remarkable: Many of Warren’s policy prescriptions make obvious sense: she says the US government should buy American products when it can. Of course it should. She says we need more workplace apprenticeship programs, because four-year degrees aren’t right for everyone. That’s true. She says taxpayers ought to benefit from the research and development they fund. And yet, she writes, “we often see American companies take that researchand use it to manufacture products overseas, like Apple did with the iPhone. The companies get rich, and American taxpayers have subsidized the creation of low-wage foreign jobs.” And so on. She sounds like Donald Trump at his best. Who is this Elizabeth Warren, you ask? Not the race hustling, gun grabbing, abortion extremist you thought you knew. Unfortunately Elizabeth Warren is still all of those things too. And that is exactly the problem, not just with Warren, but with American politics. In Washington, almost nobody speaks for the majority of voters. You’re either a libertarian zealot controlled by the banks, yammering on about entrepreneurship and how we need to cut entitlements. That’s one side of the aisle. Or, worse, you’re some decadent trust fund socialist who wants to ban passenger cars and give Medicaid to illegal aliens. That’s the other side. There isn’t a caucus that represents where most Americans actually are: nationalist on economics, fairly traditional on the social issues. Imagine a politician who wanted to make your healthcare cheaper, but wasn’t ghoulishly excited about partial birth abortion. Imagine someone who genuinely respected the nuclear family, and sympathized with the culture of rural America, but at the same time was willing to take your side against rapacious credit card companies bleeding you dry at 35 percent interest. Would you vote for someone like that? My gosh. Of course. Who wouldn’t? That candidate would be elected in a landslide. Every single time. Yet that candidate is the opposite of pretty much everyone currently serving in congress. Our leadership class remains resolutely libertarian: committed to the rhetoric of markets when it serves them; utterly libertine on questions of culture. Republicans will lecture you about how payday loan scams are a critical part of a market economy. Then they’ll work to make it easier for your kids to smoke weed because, hey, freedom. Democrats will nod in total agreement. They’re on the same page.
Just last week, the Trump administration announced an innovative new way to protect American workers from the ever-cascading tidal wave of cheap third-world labor flooding this country. Until the Mexican government stops pushing illegal aliens north over our border, we will impose tariffs on all Mexican goods we import. That’s the kind of thing you’d do to protect your country if you cared about your people. The Democrats, of course, opposed it. They don’t even pretend to care about America anymore. Here’s what the Republicans said:
MITCH MCCONNELL: Look, I think it’s safe to say – you’ve talked to all of our members and we’re not fans of tariffs. We’re still hoping this can be avoided.
“We’re not fans of tariffs.” Imagine a more supercilious, out of touch, infuriating response. You can’t, because there isn’t one. In other words, says Mitch McConnell, the idea may work in practice. But we’re against it, because it doesn’t work in theory. That’s the Republican Party, 2019. No wonder they keep losing. They deserve it. Will they ever change?
Everything he's saying is backed up by the data and experience.
Trump won on this platform as did newly-elected Republican Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who in 2018 defeated Democrat incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill from out of nowhere in a landslide (51.5% vs 45.5%).
You can see in this chart from the Democracy Fund that somewhat liberal economics plus social conservationism is a solid middle ground.
Libertarianism, which is conservative economics and socially liberal (the bottom right quadrant), appeals to almost no one (3.8 percent), yet those are the values our ruling class claim to embrace.