Commentary: Conservatives Will Embrace Free Market Populism

It would be an understatement to say that former President Donald Trump changed the Republican Party. Whatever one’s view of Trump, most observers can agree that Trump forced a break-up between the GOP and big business. Within conservative circles, debate persists over whether this is a good thing. On one side, writers like Oren Cass urge conservatives to embrace an essentially anti-free market approach. Even some Republican politicians, like Senator Josh Hawley, have expressed support for this path. On the other side, publications like the Washington Times and The Federalist call for conservatives to continue to support the free market. Others view the GOP as only selectively anti-big business, or using the idea for rhetorical purposes only.

Populism, Conservatism, and Trump

It is important to reflect on what has fueled this “anti-business” view in some conservative circles. To sum it up in one word: populism. It’s no secret that Trump’s political identity is centered around populism – but does populism always mean being anti-free market? Trump’s conservatism has been about more than just pro-tariff and anti-immigration policies. Under Trump, both inside and outside his administration, conservatives have pursued further privatizing education. The Trump administration made it easier for big business to classify workers as independent contractors, and conservative blogs attacked California for passing a law that did the opposite. The Trump administration pursued several policies that sought to reign in the Affordable Care Act.

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Commentary: On Critical Race Theory, the Left’s Manipulations and Double Standards Are No Match for the Truth

"End Racism Now" sign and "Black Lives Matter" in a crowd

People old enough to remember the academic culture wars of the late 1980s and early ’90s have a special insight into this year’s controversy over critical race theory. I don’t mean insight into the identity politics of the old days and into the identity politics of 2021, though the basic features are the same whether we are talking about the English syllabus in college in 1989 or the equity lesson in elementary school this fall. I mean, instead, the particular way in which liberals have handled the backlash once the trends in the higher education seminar of yore and in the 6th grade classroom of today have been made public. 

Here’s what happened back then. In the 1970s and ’80s, a new political awareness crept into humanities teaching and research at elite universities, casting the old humanist ideals of beauty and genius and greatness as spurious myths, as socially constructed notions having a political purpose. We were told that they are not natural, neutral, or objective. No, they are Eurocentric, patriarchal, even theological (in that they presumed a transhistorical, universal character for select masterpieces). Shakespeare, Milton, Bernini, et al., were not on the syllabus because they were talents superior to all others. No, they were only there because  the people in control were institutionalizing their biases. This whole canon thing, the revisionists insisted, was a fake. As Edward Said put it in “Secular Criticism,” “The realities of power and authority . . .  are realities that make texts possible,” and any criticism that skirts the power and authority that put Shakespeare on the syllabus and not someone else is a dodge. 

They could diversify, then. That’s what the skepticism enabled them to do. They could drop requirements in Western civilization. They needn’t force every student through a “great books” sequence. The “classics” are just one possibility among many others. That was the policy outcome at one tier-one campus after another. 

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Commentary: The Supreme Court’s Ruling on Texas’ Abortion Law Is Another Sign That It May Overturn Roe

Couple kissing, holding up ultrasound in front of them

Just before midnight on Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued an order denying injunctive relief to the Texas abortion providers who had sought to halt Texas’ new abortion law which prohibits abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. 

The majority opinion said the Court would not intervene because the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate whether the defendants, including state judges, can or will seek to enforce the law against them. The five conservative justices in the majority, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett, noted that federal courts have the power to enjoin people tasked with enforcing laws, and not laws themselves. 

The Texas law gives citizens the power to sue abortion providers or anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion after six weeks gestation. This structure provided the legal technicality which allowed the near-ban on abortion to remain in effect. 

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PayPal Teams Up with Far-Left Anti-Defamation League to Target Right-Wing Users

PayPal outside shot of logo

On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a far-left hate group, announced a new initiative in conjunction with the online payment processor PayPal, aimed at targeting so-called “extremist and hate movements” on the platform, the Daily Caller reports.

The partnership is led by the ADL’s “Center on Extremism,” and will involve the ADL studying the use of PayPal’s services by alleged “extremists,” and sharing their findings with politicians and law enforcement, for the purpose of disrupting “the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements.” PayPal’s Chief Risk Officer Aaron Karczmer released a statement celebrating the new program as having the potential to make “an even greater impact than any of us could do on our own.”

PayPal has frequently and exclusively targeted conservatives in recent years, while ignoring actual extremism from the Left. Following the peaceful protests at the United States Capitol on January 6th, PayPal suspended its services for several organizations and individuals that paid for travel expenses for people attending the march, which was in protest of the widespread voter fraud that took place in the 2020 election. PayPal also banned the anti-terrorism website Jihad Watch in August of 2017, after Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters attacked a peaceful right-wing protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, leading to the death of one left-wing protester.

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Commentary: Fifty Years of Deep State Propaganda

Richard Nixon

As the 50th anniversary of the 1972 election approaches, it is time to reconsider the Watergate controversy that preceded and ultimately partially undid it. I’ve just completed a review for the New Criterion of Michael Dobbs’ new book about Watergate, King Richard. The book repeats endlessly, without any attempt at substantiation, that the Nixon presidency came apart and was righteously legally assaulted because of the infamous “cover-up” consisting mainly in the “hush money” Nixon authorized to be paid to Watergate defendants in order to “keep them quiet.” Once again, and as always, not one whit of evidence was presented in support of the argument that Nixon authorized these payments for any such purpose. It has passed into the universal history of the modern world that he did, but he always denied it. So did some of the defendants, and an exhaustive examination of the very extensive tapes and documents permits a different interpretation.

To the end of his life, Nixon claimed that he authorized the payments in order to assist the defendants in paying their legal bills and taking care of their families. This was particularly urgent in the case of Howard Hunt, whose wife died in an airplane crash shortly after the Watergate affair began. Nixon foresaw the zeal of hostile prosecutors and he knew that any jury in the District of Columbia would be hostile to Republicans. Moreover, as an experienced lawyer, he certainly knew that any large payments to groups of defendants obviously in exchange for silence or false testimony would be an open-and-shut case of obstruction of justice, and would qualify as a high crime justifying his impeachment, removal as president, and subsequent criminal prosecution. Yet this allegation is the core both of the impeachment charge against Nixon in 1974 and of the popularly accepted and endlessly repeated Watergate saga.

It is certainly time that Richard Nixon received balanced historical treatment. He must, of course, take principal responsibility for the disgrace and embarrassment of Watergate; he permitted, and at times encouraged, a tawdry atmosphere within the White House in which legalities were often treated a bit casually and Nixon rather self-servingly applied the Truman-Eisenhower latitudinarian version of national interest and the president’s practically unlimited right to define it. These were terrible tactical errors and no one can deny that Nixon paid heavily for them. But against that, and despite the fact that he was the first president since Zachary Taylor in 1848 to take office with neither house of Congress in the hands of his own party, Nixon enjoyed one of the most successful single terms in the history of the U.S. presidency.

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Commentary: Conservatives Shouldn’t Accept the Idea of ‘Systemic Racism’

Black Lives Matter protest

The official “Conservative Case Against Banning Critical Race Theory” appeared in the New York Times last week. Penned by a progressive Yale professor, two non-progressives, and the allegedly conservative David French, the article claims state efforts to ban CRT undermine a good, free-thinking education. Others have dissected this silly claim in detail, so it’s not worth rehashing all of that here. What readers should take away from the Times op-ed is an increasing willingness among respectable conservatives to grant the idea of “systemic racism.” They believe there is nothing wrong with accepting this core tenet of modern liberalism and that it’s absolutely true. 

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Shrier: ‘Aw Shucks Conservatives’ Are Handing America Over to the Woke

Christopher Rufo

Both meek “aw shucks” conservatives and “chest thumpers” conservatives are handing America over to woke activists, author Abigail Shrier claimed in a Monday Substack.

The journalist and author highlighted the successful work of anti-Critical Race Theory writer Christopher Rufo, who Shrier praised for speaking not to elites, but to Americans, by “gathering evidence and pointing out the glaring harm in clear, unapologetic (but never crass or rude) language.”

“Rufo is out there identifying the problem, alerting the public, and sounding all available alarms,” Shrier wrote. “If he hasn’t yet slain the beast, he has at least awakened American parents from their coma, convinced them that they cannot trust the teachers and administrators and school boards who treat children, not as students, but as recruits for their revolution.”

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Clemson School Administrators Used COVID Caps and Fake RSVPs to Suppress Turnout at Conservative Event

Assortment of conservative buttons with a "Get Involved" Turning Point USA fillout

During the height of the pandemic, two college administrators from Clemson University used phony ticket reservations to suppress attendance at a conservative student event and bragged about it on Facebook.

The conservative group Turning Point USA’s local chapter hosted speakers Tomi Lahren, Brandon Tatum, and Graham Allen for an event on the South Carolina campus in April 2020.

The event was limited in capacity because of COVID-19, and people had to reserve tickets from a smaller pool in advance.

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Commentary: The Battle Against Big Tech Is an Existential Fight for Conservatives

Person holding phone up in Times Square.

For Big Tech billionaires, these are the best of times, and the worst of times.

Why the best? Because the long arm of social media and online commerce has never reached further and deeper into Americans’ culture, spending habits, lifestyles, and worldview. Likewise, the net worth of these billionaires has risen to undreamed-of heights. COVID was, for tech barons, a blessing in disguise: it trapped Americans indoors, where they could do little else but browse the web, consume digital entertainment, and spend their stimulus dollars on imported Chinese doohickeys. Even as the dreaded virus has retreated, Big Tech has successfully locked in its gains.

Why the worst of times, though? The very rise of Big Tech has portended greater scrutiny. The debasement of Big Tech’s competitors and natural enemies—from brick-and-mortar stores to Trump supporters—has ensured that the drumbeat of criticism of social media companies and online retailers has never been more stridently percussive. 

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Facebook Is Spamming Conservative Users With Messages About a Support Group for ‘Extremists’

Facebook users are expressing shock and dismay after being spammed with messages touting a support group for people concerned about “extremists.”

“Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?” the message begins. “We care about preventing extremism on Facebook. Others in your situation have received confidential support,” the message continues.

The Facebook message goes on to suggest that “you can help” by joining their support group. “Hear stories and get help from people who have escaped violent extremist groups,” the message concludes.

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Republicans Win Big in Texas Mayoral Races with Increased Latino Support

Jim Ross Javier Villalobos, and Mattie Parker

Republicans swept Texas’ mayoral elections over the weekend, relying on increased Hispanic support to win in large and mid-sized cities alike.

In Forth Worth, a city of just over 1 million, 37-year-old Republican Mattie Parker cruised to victory against Democrat Deborah Peoples, making her the youngest mayor in the city’s history, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. In McAllen, Texas, a border town of approximately 150,000 where 85% of residents are Hispanic, Republican Javier Villalobos became the first GOP mayor elected since 1997, Valley Central News reported.

Republicans were also victorious in Arlington, Texas, a suburb of 400,000 just outside Forth Worth. GOP candidate Jim Ross, a former police officer in the city, beat the Democratic candidate after campaigning on an anti-crime platform and earning endorsements from several police groups, according to the Star-Telegram.

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Commentary: Conservatives and Republicans Must Reclaim Memorial Day

Veteran cemetery with table set for lives lost who served America

In the face of the Far Left’s attempts to rewrite American history through the now-discredited 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory, Republicans and conservatives must reclaim the key dates and events in American history and there is no better place to start than Memorial Day 2021.

Memorial Day was created not as a “holiday” or an excuse for corporate merchants to advertise sales, but as a solemn commemoration of the dead of both sides in the American Civil War.

In that context Memorial Day commemorates a number of constitutional conservative values, not the least of which is the inviolability of the Constitution itself.

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Trump Antagonist Opposes Arizona Election Audit as Justice Department Official

Polling station sign

A foe of former President Donald Trump is leading the Biden Justice Department’s push to discredit or halt an election audit in Arizona’s largest county—an issue that is heating up this week. 

Pamela S. Karlan, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, warned the leader of the Arizona state Senate that the audit of Maricopa County’s election results in November could run afoul of federal law regarding security of voter information and voter intimidation. 

President Joe Biden, who appointed Karlan, narrowly defeated Trump in Arizona, where Maricopa County was a crucial battleground. 

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Battle Brews Between Conservative Authors and Mainstream Publishers in Era of Cancel Culture

Simon and Schuster

It’s a contentious time for conservatives in the publishing industry, and it’s a contentious time for publishing houses working with those in the conservative industry.

“As the cancel culture has revved up, the pressure has heated up on all of these big New York publishers,” says Marji Ross, the former president of conservative Regnery Publishing.

In recent months, New York publishing house Simon & Schuster has canceled Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book about Big Tech, decided not to distribute a book written by the Louisville police officer who was shot while executing a no-knock warrant at the home of Breonna Taylor, signed a $3-4 million deal with former Vice President Mike Pence, and received a letter from more than 215 members of its staff demanding that the company not publish any books written by members of the Trump administration.

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