Populist conservatives vs. big business

The left stereotypes conservatives as the tools of big business, but, as I keep saying on this blog, there are many different kinds of conservatives, and a good many of them–especially the populists associated with the Tea Party– oppose powerful corporations for some of the same reasons leftists do.  Thus, the Washington Post reports that big business is mourning the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and is dismayed at the rise of tea party favorite David Brat, a strong critic of “crony capitalism,” the partnerships between big business and big government.  (See this for Prof. Brat’s ideas about economics and Christianity.)

So is there the possibility of a left/right populist coalition?  The Republican elite and the Democratic elite mostly agree on the cultural issues, though possibly ordinary people in both parties–Catholic Democrats and evangelical Republicans– have more in common on these issues than they realize. [Read more...]

House Majority Leader beaten by Tea Party challenger

Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, lost his Virginia district’s Republican primary.  He was defeated by David Brat, a conservative college professor with hardly any money, who was supported by  Tea Party activists.   For other national primary results, go here. [Read more...]

Friend in the Senate

My friend Ben Sasse whom I’ve blogged about, won the Republican primary race for Senate in Nebraska.  Observers are saying he will be a shoo-in for election.  Pundits are calling this a “Tea Party” victory, but Ben is nothing like the angry-rabble of the stereotype.  He’s a scholar of public policy, the president of Midland University, and a former White House official.  (And, of interest to this blog, he is a Lutheran.)

Molly Ball, writing about Ben’s victory in the Atlantic, comments about the way the media keeps trying to make the elections fit the Procrustean bed of “Tea Party” vs. “Establishment.”  In reality, she points out, the best candidate tends to win against “rank incompetents” no matter who endorses them.  She calls Ben a “fusion” candidate that may be a herald of the future. [Read more...]

Funding weaker opponents

In some creative campaign finance shenanigans, some Democratic candidates have been giving financial and advertising support to Republicans whom they think would be easier to defeat than their primary opponents.  This includes funding attack ads casting doubt on whether the frontrunner is conservative enough, all in a ploy to get the more conservative and easier-to-beat candidate on the ticket. [Read more...]

The Four Republican Factions

Most analysts see the Republican presidential race in terms of a conflict between the “establishment” and “insurgents” of the Tea Party variety.  But the reality is far more complicated than that, according to  think tanker Henry Olsen, writing in the National Interest.

There are actually four factions, he says, whose electoral behavior in presidential primaries has been consistent over the past two decades.  Listed in order of their numbers, they are:  the “somewhat conservative,” “moderates or liberals,” very conservative evangelicals, very conservative secularists. [Read more...]

Congress stops default & ends shutdown

Cutting it close as usual, on the day before the government would run out of money, Congress agreed to raise the debt ceiling and end the 16-day partial government shutdown.  Basically, both sides dropped their demands and kicked the can down the road.  The government will be funded until January 15, and the debt limit will rise until February 7.  In the meantime, a commission will be appointed to try to resolve the controversies. [Read more...]


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