Steve Teles suggests that the Republicans look back to the traditions of their predecessors, the Whigs, as they seek a way out of the political wilderness. Â I can see the ideological attractiveness of such a party.
What I can’t see is its social basis. Â Steve suggests that the Republicans ought to stand firmly by opposition to redistribution, corruption, and the capture of government by provider interests.
But that doesn’t sound to me like a fighting faith. Â I doubt such a party could hold the racist/ nativist/gun-nut/homophobe/creationist/Muslim-basher constituency that now makes up a large chunk of the Republican base.
Let’s not forget that the historical Whigs had something very specific to deliver to their constituency: Â not just “internal improvements” (infrastructure such as canals and railroads), but the tariffs to pay for them, which protected American manufacturing from European competition. Â I don’t see the comparable feature of Steve’s imagined ne0-Whiggery.