Well, Super Tuesday is over, and as Republicans survey the rubble left in its wake, we need to get an answer from our front runner to this question: “Mr. Trump, what will you build?” The answer to that question will not only decide the fate of our party, but also our country.
As I described in my last post, I came of age as Reagan set about designing and building a New Republican Party. His blueprint called for creating a new conservative party that restored the edifice of Madisonian government built on the foundation of the individual, the family, faith, private enterprise, and local and state responsibility, and to relight the beacon of America to guide the world away from the darkness of communism and toward a model of freedom. He called his vision “A Shining City on a Hill,” and he persuaded the GOP and the country to help him build it.
But almost as soon as he left office, all the old factions that he had tried to blend into this “new” party began to fight against each other to alter the blueprint to fit their own agendas. Soon, as we fought, the liberals and progressives reasserted themselves to continue their decades-long remodeling of our culture and politics away from the Madisonian model and towards a hyper-secular, European, democratic-socialist model of national, top-down governance. While we splintered, they remodeled; and, eventually, we and our elected leadership were reduced to simply forming picket lines of protest around the progressive worksite.
By 2009, many people had enough and wanted to break through the picket lines and tear down what the progressives were changing. By last summer, the anger of those wanting to stop the progressive work had reached a fever pitch, but our party leaders appeared incapable of doing anything but protest and picket.
Enter the great deal-maker and developer, Donald Trump. I, for one, do not believe that he was the best candidate to lead, restore, or unite our party going into the 2016 election; but, frankly that was never his intent. Instead, it is now clear that he planned to demolish both the Republican Party and the Washington “establishment” and start the construction work all over again. To those whose frustrations had boiled-over, Trump’s demolition of the remnants of the New Republican Party of Reagan was welcome, because they viewed it as the first step toward demolishing all that was wrong with what had been built over the last generation since Reagan went home to California. But the problem is, none of us really know what Mr. Trump plans to build after the rubble is cleared (other than a wall paid for by Mexico), and many of us fear that he really has no plan for rebuilding America after the demolition is finished.
But a good real-estate developer—and Trump has been a very successful developer—does not start demolition work without a plan for what he will build in its place; nor does he start a historical restoration of a landmark without a researched plan for the restoration work. So, it is time for The Donald to show us his blueprint to “Make America Great Again.”
This plan must not be just for one building, but must encompass rebuilding the entire “Shining City” that has been left in ruins by the work of modern progressives (and the neglect of post-Reagan conservatives). It must include clearing rubble and building new structures for a new century, as well as carefully designing restorations of great landmarks of our traditions and principles. It also must include a plan for relighting the beacon of freedom and stability to protect the world against the new threats we face in this century. If his design incorporates a strong foundation and infrastructure of the individual, family, faith, private enterprise, and local and state responsibility upon which a modern, Madisonian city will be built, I believe he eventually can persuade our party and our country to follow him to “Make America Great Again.”
But if his plan is just to demolish the ruins of the “Shining City” without more, then we conservatives must stop this project now before we lose the last remnants of what we worked so hard to build over two generations.
Mr. Trump, if you truly want to “Make America Great Again,” it is time to show us your plan.