Unfortunately for many young conservatives and reactionaries, and despite many political successes, the initial elation of our victory in 2016 has gradually given way to a general apathy towards affairs in Washington, or else has given in to temporary obsession with the kind of news stories that are recycled daily and never lead anywhere. The Republican establishment has evidently decided- incorrectly – that the easily duped older crowd, which has been lulled into a false sense of security by absurd Qanon conspiracy theories, can sustain their voting base. The more cynical younger generation is desperate for involvement, for something real, in a way that the checked-out 90s nihilists of Generation X never were. In the Republican adherence to the status quo there is a great missed opportunity to shift towards a politics that actually means something to people, not just to donors.
The energy of the right moving forward depends entirely on a generation of people who have been studiously ignored by these conservatives or, worse, clumsily appealed to by featherbrained Republican strategists who believe we only respond to marijuana decriminalization and “hip” libertarianism. That might be a good strategy to dupe starry-eyed volunteer staffers who have already bought in to a neo-Reaganite policy consensus, but it’s not so good for encouraging involvement from people who grew up with a justifiable cynicism towards the political establishment. Conservative groups like TPUSA make their brand around an appeal to “campus conservatives” – the type that love the word “snowflake” and think that posing with rifles and pickup trucks is a personality. They’re mostly for nerds and squares who don’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell of reinventing a dynamic rightist political culture. Normal people looking for a conservative sanctuary on campus are often sorely disappointed by this. The resurgence of the right depends on a reclamation of the right to intolerance – the ability to speak the truth, however loud our political opponents howl in protest. If the pseudo-libertarians who dominate the fake “young conservative” movement want to promote transsexualism, feminism, drug decriminalization, and rainbow-corporate oligopoly with a conservative veneer, they can and should be shown the door.
What we especially need are professionally qualified, college-educated people who will not shrink from an ideologically consistent rightist position – the critical failure of 2016 was that we elected a reactionary President who was then left holding the bag when it came to staffing his administration. The institutions of collegiate conservatism might be totally contrived and unpopular, but they nevertheless serve as a pipeline funneling graduates into work in the Republican party. It’s no surprise that our leadership has been so ineffective when it’s been fed a steady diet of free-market absolutism and cultural apathy for decades, but it can’t be allowed to continue. It needs to be replaced with a flow of effective people who have dispensed with yesteryear’s ideological missteps. As it stands, having Donald Trump in the White House has been a tremendous boon – not only would the alternative have been a complete disaster, he has succeeded in creating a space for an alternative consensus in the Republican party, one that we have capitalized on. The consequences of his election continue to be felt as the parties realign.
In 2019, we still have the opportunity and the initiative to beat back the wounded and angry establishment GOP. We need to lay the groundwork for continued and consistent success. The old school of finance-capital apologists need to be forced to choose between leaving the party or falling in line, not allowed to continue poisoning the well of conservatism. If we are diligent, dedicated, and forward-looking, we can continue to succeed. If fate is kind, perhaps we can put Tucker Carlson in office in 2024. When either he or another deep-thinking, patriotic, compassionate, and unflinchingly combative Republican enters office with the goal of fulfilling the promises of Trumpism, they will need a loyal and ready army of professional operators to ensure they are able to effectively deal with the deeply entrenched interests in Washington.