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In an unruly and bewildering presidential campaign, Reihan Salam sees some clear lessons and takeaways for the Republican Party.
The conservative author and executive editor of National Review joins Scott Lewis this week to give a quick preview of the Politifest keynote talk he’s delivering at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.
Salam talks about the past and future of conservatism and why he thinks Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has garnered such wide appeal and proven that its time for the Grand Old Party to rethink itself.
Trump has veered from the traditional wisdom and conservative talking points of Republican party leaders – leaders Salam says have lost touch with the majority of voters anyway.
“The truth is that most people vote on the basis of their identity,” he said. “What is the the group that I belong to? What kind of person am I? And so which party is basically going to defend the interest of my kind of person….?”
Salam says the Republican Party needs to connect with more people, particularly the immigrants Trump has been alienating, if it wants to stay relevant.
“There are a few different paths Republicans can take,” he said. “One of which is to try to become a whites-only party that represents affluent as well as working-class whites. Another path is for it to be the part of the middle, including the Hispanic middle and some component of the black middle as well. … Then there’s another view that we can stick with the Neo-Reaganite, quasi -Libertarian Party and hope for the best. I believe that that middle-oriented Republican Party is the way of the future but there’s going to be a lot of resistance to that over the next 10 years.”
Also on the podcast, hosts Lewis and Andrew Keatts discuss the U-T’s story about the new developments in the long-running lawsuit over the city’s 2012 City Council-approved hike of the hotel-room tax to help fund the future expansion of the Convention Center and the possibility of a future consumer fraud class action lawsuit connected to the hike that was levied without a citywide vote.
Lewis also gets into why he’s been feeling so somber about the state of journalism lately, but cheers up a bit when he mentions all the big names who’ll be participating in the big stadium debate at Politifest.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer still hasn’t taken a position on whether he thinks a hotel-room tax increase to help pay for a new East Village stadium for the Chargers is a good or bad idea. Lewis lays out a slow and steady case for why he thinks the mayor isn’t saying anything. The paralysis over the issue, Lewis says, might be related in part to the Faulconer Doctrine, which Lewis and Keatts have described as the mayor’s tendency to wait in the wings before going with the side that seems to have the most political force. That approach seems to have failed Faulconer on this issue.
Hero of the Week
The PangeaSeed Foundation, a nonprofit that uses art to promote environmental awareness, rounded up local and international artists to paint 16 new outdoor murals across the San Diego region.
Goat of the Week
This week’s goat goes once again to the San Diego Unified School District. The district closed three child development centers relied on by parents who work or attend school, plus one preschool serving families that meet strict low-income requirements. The closures come on the heels of the district’s Preschool for All initiative, which is being pitched as an expansion but appears to be mostly a publicity stunt.