How can a party that attacks American identity and symbols and alienates its populist patriots win in 2020? According to Bobby Jindal, the former governor of Louisiana and a 2016 candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, they can’t. He writes in a Wall Street Journal editorial (abridged):
Populist patriots reject the elites of both parties.
They believe President Trump defends their cultural beliefs from the left and their economic interests from the right. They see open borders, illegal immigration and multiculturalism threatening to redefine what it means to be an American, while unfair trade and a rigged tax code endanger their jobs.
The rejection runs both ways. Elite liberals too often talk about patriotism as if it’s a set of blinders preventing Americans from recognizing their country’s flaws. Likewise, conservative elites can be too concerned with boosting gross domestic product, dismissing patriotism as a trifle to be set aside when there are higher investment returns to chase or markets to open.
Populists have grown frustrated with liberal celebrities, journalists and politicians they see as insufficiently thankful for the opportunities America has provided them—one reason Mr. Trump’s defense of the American flag and condemnation of Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem have resonated with
America’s “forgotten men and women” see Mr. Trump fighting back against Chinese intellectual-property theft, currency manipulation and limits on foreign ownership.
He views trade wars the way conservative elites view entitlement reform—as a salutary exchange of short-term costs for greater long-term benefits.
And, it should be noted, so far he’s been more effective than more-doctrinaire economic conservatives in advocating long-term thinking. Witness the farmers who patiently affirm their trust in Mr. Trump even as they take a big financial hit from tariffs.
Democrats alienate populist patriots with their cultural liberalism and attacks on American identity and symbols.
Mr. Trump has won their allegiance by pioneering a populist message that melds cultural and economic components.
Mr. Jindal served as governor of Louisiana, 2008-16, and was a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
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