At The Federalist, Brad Todd extols new Senators Rick Scott, of Florida, and Josh Hawley of Missouri. He explains that from the two is emerging a “fusion of populism and conservatism as a workable and ideological political movement.” He writes (abridged):
The heat and light given off by the nuclear grind between President Trump and his antagonists have blinded Washington’s chroniclers to something important happening right before their eyes. The fusion of populism and conservatism as a workable and ideological political movement is emerging in the actions of two newly elected senators: Josh Hawley and Rick Scott.
It took a political hijacker like Trump to elevate Republicans out of the losing rut in which our old, Goldwater-ish GOP had become mired. But from a policy perspective.
Trumpism has proven to be a formidable foe to the new left’s dominant ideology of cosmopolitan elitism—within the bounds of the daily news cycle. But if the realignment that Trump’s win validated is going to be a structural victory for Republicans, it needs more than daily combat. It needs policy pioneers and settlers, and longer-term battles that deliver material results for voters beyond merely thwarting harmful liberal impulses. That’s where first-termers Hawley and Scott enter.
Scott, a self-made health-care CEO who built the nation’s largest hospital corporation, has zeroed in on the crisis of drug pricing.
The novelty of Scott’s proposal is that it uses the profit motive to achieve an end Democrats have sought only through socialistic means.
Scott’s proposal has been quickly written off by conservative D.C. think tanks and organizations long pickled by the cocktails poured liberally at corporate fundraising receptions. But it will be an enduring home run among the Trumpist majority in today’s GOP—a group that is every bit as skeptical of corporate oligopoly and multi-national monopolists as it is of domestic government overreach.
Hawley, the youngest member of the Senate, is waging a similar battle against conservatives’ neglect of Big Tech.
Last week while the press corps was fixated on whether Trump or Speaker Nancy Pelosi initiated the latest round of name-calling, Hawley was penning a national column suggesting our largest tech giants are “parasites” and might need to be broken up.
In the same week Hawley ripped into Big Tech in his thoughtful op-ed, he also excoriated a nominee for a district judgeship, put up by Trump as a concession to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). A former religious liberty lawyer, Hawley has in a matter of months emerged as the only Republican willing to grill Republican nominees on the depth of their commitment to the First Amendment’s protections for people of faith.
Hawley is one of only two Republican senators to have started his political career after the defeat of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, a ticket that embodied the old-wool pin-stripe GOP. As a result, Hawley, like Trump, carries little baggage from his party’s legacy brand.
Hawley is asking the GOP to re-examine its cultural frame in much the way Scott seems interested in prompting increased scrutiny for globally-rigged economic elitism. That kind of tough self-reflection is necessary if Republicans are going to forge a thoughtful populism that can be more than a protest speed bump in the road to permanent minority status in a world too dominated by corporate and cultural globalists.
Professional Republicans have been wondering what our world will look like after Donald Trump. In Hawley and Scott, we can get a glimpse.
Read more here.