With Rise of Trump, Lee Sees Opening to Reform GOP

Sen. Mike Lee and other “reformicons” say Donald Trump’s appeal among white working-class voters offers an opportunity to reinvent the Republican Party so that it more effectively addresses the concerns of poorer workers.

Reports The New York Times:

By riding his appeal among working-class whites to the top of the Republican Party, Donald J. Trump has emboldened conservative thinkers to press their party of business and the privileged to reshape its economic canon to more directly benefit poorer workers it has often taken for granted.

The policy prescriptions of these so-called reform conservatives, or “reformocons,” would not only break with some longtime Republican orthodoxy — disavowing tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the rich, for example — they would also counter more recent stances by Mr. Trump on trade and immigration.

And because of a lack of policy specifics in Mr. Trump’s personality-centered campaign, reform conservatives see an opening through which to push their prescriptions.

“What it means to be a conservative is up for grabs,” said Reihan Salam, the executive editor of the conservative National Review.

Whether Mr. Trump prevails or the party is left to rebuild from defeat, these conservatives in think tanks, advocacy groups and the news media — and a few in political office — will be pressing for a new agenda: to update the Reagan-era playbook with an eye to working-class voters without a college education who form the Republican base.