Republicans are now the party of the traditionalist, pious lower middle class. That is not the demographic group that built Reaganism. While the voter base remains uncomfortable with big government, it has rejected, bit by bit, the corollary of the cold war years, that the only alternative to big government is the unregulated free market. Something similar happened in the last decade, when the Iraq war revealed that Republicans were not the unanimous supporters of military action that their leaders assumed. Opening its ears to Mr Berry’s style of conservatism will not guarantee Republican victories. But it would be an advance on the odd and obsolete idea that the natural carriers of the conservative message are venture capitalists.
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