Saturday, December 09, 2017

Quote of the Day

The FT's Sebastian Payne in an excellent roundup of UK 2017 Election/ Brexit books --

The biggest strategic error was the clash between Crosby’s “strong and stable” message and Team May’s vision of radical social and economic reform. Selling this message of change in six weeks, during an election that was supposed to be about Brexit, was to prove impossible. The manifesto, which sought to define a new type of blue-collar Conservatism by tackling what Timothy saw as the five great injustices in British society, did not tap into a natural voting constituency ... Timothy’s dream of remoulding the Conservative party into a force that speaks more to the people of northern provinces was over. This Red Toryism, as some have termed it, remains an interesting theory that has yet to find a successful vehicle.

Red Toryism has an American analogue in the Reformicons, a group of conservative pundits and intellectuals selling a very similar claim, that there is a package of conservative-leaning economic and social policies that can appeal to lower middle and working class voters. Donald Trump may have gotten a little closer to finding that recipe -- as a candidate -- but it's clear that the cultural component of the appeal is more important than the economic one. Notice for example the signs at Trump's Pensacola rally last night: his most energized supporters really believe that the "establishment" is out to suppress Christmas. No tweaking of taxes and incentives is going to deal with that.

AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman

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