In a New York Times op-ed, Ross Douthat suggest that it’s possible that political arguments may look quite different in the near future. “[P]erhaps we should speak no more of left and right, liberals and conservatives. From now on the great political battles will be fought between nationalists and internationalists, nativists and globalists.” He explains how elites from New York to Washington and London to Brussels cannot see that to the average person they look “like something familiar from eras past: A powerful caste’s self-serving explanation for why it alone deserves to rule the world.”
If the days of liberals versus conservatives really are over, what are conservatives to do? Where are the people who support free trade, but oppose multinational paper-pushing institutions like the European Union to go? What are people who believe Mexico is a corrupt, accomplice in our country’s illegal immigration problem, but support NAFTA and oppose trade wars to do?
One of the greatest straw-man arguments of the Brexit Campaign was that, if you wanted to leave, you were somehow opposed to European unity. But “unity” in the EU sense was more synonymous to conformity — the desire to create a European superstate despite obvious language and cultural differences between member states. Just because the European Union appears to be a failed experiment does not mean free trade is the problem. Europe does not need an institution to promote free trade. The notion that Europe would return to its pre-1914 or pre-1939 conditions without the European Union insults basic intelligence.
If the political battles of the future are between nationalists and internationalists or between nativists and globalists, then our elections will be more of what we have now: elections where conservatism is not present on the ballot and conservatives are left politically homeless.