There's an interesting phenomenon occurring right now in the Political Right all around the world. The conservative movement that traditionally was based on the Thatcher-Reagan optimistic embrace of free markets, hawkish foreign policy, robust defense spending, and tax cuts for "job creators" is splintering under the weight of nationalist populism. But at the same time, conservatism is getting louder, bolder, and even expanding, bringing under its fold many new voters who are disenfranchised by the leftward lurch of many liberal political parties and groups. While it's an interesting and sometimes entertaining spectacle to watch, it's also troubling for a number of reasons. 

Any healthy democracy will have at least two parties with opposing ideologies and different visions for the future. Leadership should change every few years based on the demands of the public. But now the Republican Party in the United States is, in some ways, turning into a joke. It's party officials made numerous mistakes that almost any smart person would've avoided. In the 2000s, the GOP continued to embrace the failed model of "Reaganomics". Instead of growing the economy, as Republicans believed, by cutting taxes for rich "job creators", it increased the national debt and caused the Great Recession. Cutting taxes on the rich placed a huge burden on middle class or poor citizens who aren't able to foot the bill themselves. Our military and infrastructure suffered as a result: the GOP that claims to be patriotic and "support our troops" seems to be fine with cutting benefits for those who serve. 

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Another big mistake the GOP made was contradicting itself: on one hand, Republicans opposed big government, or its intervention into the private lives of its citizens. But on the other, government under Republicans was to try to dictate women's reproductive rights, and stop gays from marrying. Even today, when polls show the vast majority of Americans are in favor of marriage equality, the GOP continues to advocate for discriminatory laws against the LGBT community, from preventing transgender people from using the bathrooms of the gender they identify as, to "religious liberty" laws that allow people to discriminate against gays. Continuing to defend or even nurture ideas that are deeply unpopular with the American people at large will only turn off Millennials--something that the GOP can't afford. After Mitt Romney's 2012 defeat at the hands of President Obama, the Republican establishment realized that it needed to be more welcoming to women, minorities, and younger people. So it seems hypocritical and disingenuous when establishment elites like Romney condemn Donald Trump for being a bigot, while they themselves holding bigoted views and believing that economic policies that have been proven to fail will strengthen America. 


The establishment all over the world of the Political Right has an even bigger problem. They offer no true vision for what the future should be. Just look at Europe: conservative parties throughout the continent claim to be worried about Islamic extremism, climate change, or anti-Israel sentiment. But their answer? To call for less environmental regulations in the EU, continue to condemn Israel for defending itself while also labeling Israeli products from behind the Green Line, and fail to do anything significant to curb the growth of domestic extremism. In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu labels himself "Mr. Security" and talks a big game, but failed to stop the nuclear deal with Iran from going through, didn't destroy Hamas in 2014, and still hasn't finished the security barrier in the West Bank. To this day, he proposes nothing more than maintaining the dangerous status quo in regards to the Palestinian Territories. And in the United States, the Republican Party (until the rise of Donald Trump) had no clear vision for America other than to oppose anything and everything President Obama and his Democratic Party propose. This stalemate is what has led to both the rise of uber-liberal politicians (such as Bernie Sanders) and a bigger shift to the left among young people and political parties, as well as the increase of populism. 

Unlike Ted Cruz, whose only vision is religious government and obstructionism, or Jeb!, who represents the old and failed way of doing things, The Donald has a new yet attractive vision for the future. It is one that listens to the demands of the GOP base, which had gone ignored for years by its party and finally figured out they'd been voting against their own interests for years. It calls for tightened border controls to eliminate illegal immigration, better trade deals, and increased funding for the military and repairing infrastructure. While Trump proposes eliminating threats to national security quickly and brutally, he is against the types of interventions we saw in the Bush years, or even in the Obama years, if one wants to consider support for the Arab Spring an intervention. Right-wing parties throughout Europe have proposed very similar plans, including border controls to prevent migrants from Muslim countries from entering. While Trump pledges to bring jobs back from China and other countries by increasing taxes on corporations that ship jobs abroad, right-wing Europeans call for an end to the EU, which calls for more open borders and recommends that poorer Europeans and others be allowed to travel to wealthier EU countries, breeding resentment among natives who feel their welfare and jobs are "being stolen". 

The Political Right is in something of a civil war currently. It is being torn between taking a new direction that may seem impractical or bigoted, and remaining behind the old order, which is also steeped in bigotry in other ways, as well as a failed economic model. It's true that it has some good ideas, like bringing back jobs and being hard on extremism instead of brushing it aside for the sake of political correctness. And the Right has started to become far more supportive of Israel, in contrast to its rival. But there's no way that it can reform and truly be made great or serious again if it can't unify and form coherent, reasonable, inclusive, and realistic plans to deal with the problems facing the world today. It will be harder for young people to get on board with a Political Right that is divided and divisive. Minorities and women will never get on board if extremist rhetoric becomes mainstream within the ideology of the Right. And Jewish voters will never embrace the Political Right en masse, no matter how supportive it may become of Israel, if backwards views on women, minorities, and the LGBT community continue to flourish. While the problem with the Right-Wing of old is that they had no vision, the problem with the current conservative movement is that it has too many visions, preventing it from being a political force strong enough to overtake the Left. 
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