The reform conservative movement is perhaps best defined by its abiding faith that conditions are finally right for a revolution. That’s the message they took to Jackie Calmes of The New York Times: Donald Trump represents the winter of their discontent. But something odd happened over time as the Republican Party moved ever father from reformocon ideals, and then lurched in an unabashedly ethno-nationalist direction. The agenda, which was once distinct and most definitely not liberal, turned into this.
■ Reject additional tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year, but expand breaks for low- and middle-income workers through tax credits for children, the earned-income tax credit or a new wage subsidy that would provide a guaranteed minimum income.
■ Promote the benefits of global trade agreements, but help displaced workers.
■ Acknowledge that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay, but push for market-oriented changes.
■ Disavow mass deportations and promote the economic benefits of legalizing longtime workers who are in the country illegally, but reduce the legal entry of less-skilled immigrants.
For many reform conservatives, all of these objectives are subsidiary to their opposition to abortion, which will keep them out of the Democratic Party no matter how well the rest of their agenda lines up with standard-issue liberalism. But for the rest, it seems being politically homeless is more rewarding than taking yes for an answer.