By John Hendrickson
President Trump’s economic policy, while seemingly foreign to today’s Republicans and conservatives, is rooted in a Republican and conservative tradition. President Trump, in an economic policy speech in Michigan arguing for the need to resurrect American manufacturing, called for a “new economic model — the American model.” President Trump in his many speeches often recalls the economic nationalism of past presidents such as Abraham Lincoln. As President Trump noted: “Our great Presidents, from Washington to Jefferson to Jackson to Lincoln, all understood that a great nation must protect its manufacturing, must protect itself from the outside….”
President Trump’s American model of economic policy is not necessarily new, but rather, a rediscovering of the older Republican tradition. Patrick J. Buchanan wrote that “in leading Republicans away from globalism to economic nationalism, Trump is not writing a new gospel. He is leading a lost party away from a modernist heresy—back to the Old-Time Religion.”
“The economic nationalism and protectionism of Hamilton, Madison, Jackson, and Henry Clay, and the Party of Lincoln, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Coolidge, of all four presidents on Mount Rushmore, made America the greatest and most self-sufficient republic in history,” noted Buchanan.
Republican presidential administrations, especially before World War II, followed an economic approach that was based on similar ideas that President Trump is advocating. Charles Kesler, a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute, wrote that “Mr. Trump’s policies suggest that what he calls his ‘common sense’ conservatism harks back to the principles and agenda of the old Republican Party, which reached its peak before the New Deal.”
Although President Trump may not fit easily into the Republican Party or conservatism some of his ideas reflect the pre-World War II Republicans. As Kesler explains:
Mr. Trump remains the kind of conservative president whom one expects to say, proudly and often, “the chief business of the American people is business.” Although Calvin Coolidge said it first, Mr. Trump shows increasing signs of thinking along broadly Coolidgean lines, and of redirecting Republican policies toward the pre-New Deal, pre-Cold War party of William McKinley and Coolidge, with its roots in the party of Abraham Lincoln.
Charles Kesler described some of the policies of the pre-World War II Republicans that are similar to President Trump’s policy preferences:
In those days the party stood for protective tariffs, immigration tied to assimilation (or what Theodore Roosevelt called Americanization), judges prepared to strike down state and sometimes federal laws encroaching on constitutional limitations, tax cuts, internal improvements (infrastructure spending, in today’s parlance) and a firm but restrained foreign policy tailored to the defense of the national interest. Are these not the main elements of Trump administration policies?
In describing the electoral victory of Donald Trump, Tom Piatak, wrote in Chronicles that “the America First GOP of McKinley and Coolidge may be on the way back.”
President Trump can look to past Republican presidents for guidance such as William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, among others as examples who followed an “American model” of economics.
Via:: American Conservative
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