David Brooks dreams of a new third party:
There has to be a compassionate globalist party, one that embraces free trade while looking after those who suffer from trade; that embraces continued skilled immigration while listening to those hurt by immigration; that embraces widening ethnic diversity while understanding that diversity can weaken social trust.
There has to be a patriotic party that understands that the world benefits when America serves as the leading and energetic superpower.
It’s not obvious that there “has to be” such a party, but if there were one what would be its constituency? A Bush-era GOP in miniature would have a very narrow popular base, not least because it would be defined by three of the things that made the Bush-era GOP leadership so unpopular with the public. Put bluntly, what does this party offer voters that they haven’t already rejected or can’t get elsewhere? I have no problem if people want to create new parties to give voters more options, but I don’t see the point in going to the trouble of creating one just to offer voters reheated Bushism. Besides, a self-consciously anti-populist party would seem to be doomed from the outset in a country in which the public’s preferences have been and continue to be ignored on some of these very same issues. Brooks’ Goldilocks positions on trade, immigration, and foreign policy might sound like a slight improvement over what we have now, but in practice we can be reasonably certain that the “compassionate globalist party” would emphasize the parts of their agenda that benefit corporate interests and would neglect the rest. We saw what “compassionate globalism” meant in the 2000s, and it was neither especially compassionate nor was it good for the U.S. or the rest of the world.