Ethics & Public Policy Center

Wanted: Republicans Willing To Betray The Ruling Class

Published in The Federalist on March 24, 2021


The counter-revolution is ready. It awaits class traitors to help lead it.

A recent poll found registered voters support “banning transgender athletes from competing on women’s sports teams.” It wasn’t close: 53 percent support to 32 percent opposition. It’s a winning issue for social conservatives. Yet the unpopularity of the transgender agenda is obscured by the radicalism of leftist leaders in education, the legacy media, entertainment, business, and tech, who are “all-in” on transgender ideology.

It’s no wonder they use their influence to ban books and silence dissenters — that’s the only way they can win. The imposition of transgender ideology is part of a class war, in which the upper class and its hangers-on are imposing a cultural revolution on a reluctant populace. Unfortunately, many Republicans are joining Democrats in this political and legal fight against the people.

The most prominent recent example was the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision, in which Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch invented special rights for sexual minorities. Predictably, lower courts have quickly expanded Bostock’s ruling that the statutory meaning of “sex” in Title VII encompasses sexual orientation and gender identity, taking it from the employment law context to school bathrooms, women’s sports teams, and anywhere else they can find.

A significant portion of the conservative movement never had its heart in this fight, so were happy to accept Gorsuch’s sloppy reasoning as an excuse to move on and focus on what truly matters to them: tax cuts and the continued vitality of Chevron deference in administrative law (an important legal issue, to be sure, but not why voters care about judges).

Sadly, it isn’t just conservative legal mandarins willing to betray their professed principles. For one example, after promising to protect female sports from male intruders, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem capitulated to the NCAA and the Chamber of Commerce, effectively vetoing the Save Women’s Sports bill, while acting out meaningless political theatre to distract the gullible. This treachery should end any national ambitions she had, but she is far from the first Republican leader to sell out her constituents — especially social conservatives — under pressure.

Still, pressure from Big Business and the legacy media is only part of the story. Another reason entrenched Republican leadership keeps betraying Republican voters is that class is thicker than campaign promises. Even when Republicans aren’t members of the professional and upper classes, they are still surrounded by them, including campaign consultants who loathe their voters and big-money donors who think they own the GOP because they paid for it.

People crave the approval of the social set they want to be part of. Thus, although the “Georgetown cocktail parties” populists love to complain about should no longer be taken literally — such shindigs are not what they once were — they should be taken seriously.

Many ostensible conservatives are obsessed with securing the good opinion of our decadent ruling class. Few people are willing to defy Big Business, Big Tech, and the legacy media; even fewer are willing to become class traitors in doing so.

Nonetheless, rewards are waiting for Republican politicians willing to take the plunge. GOP politicians who stand with their constituents will earn the loyalty of voters who are tired of being betrayed.

Furthermore, there are opportunities to fracture Democrats’ coalition. As polling on protecting female athletics shows, many voters — including minority voters — are repulsed by the cultural radicalism of the (mostly white) upper-class leftists who dominate the Democratic Party. The cultural divide will only increase, as yesterday’s slanderous hypothetical becomes today’s celebrated reality, evidenced by the case of a “gay throuple” ordering up a baby and fighting to get a birth certificate listing three fathers, but no mother.

Republican leaders should realize that the fight over transgenderism isn’t going away, in part because trans ideology creates legitimate victims. The erasure of women required to assert “trans women are women” will continue to rankle.

Creeps will continue to take advantage of the new rules to victimize women (putting male sexual predators in women’s prisons is among the more egregious examples). Heartbreaking tales of young women pushed into transitioning, only to regret it, will multiply. And Americans will resent being told to parrot and live by lies.

To win, conservatives will need more than just popular support, which we already have. We also need leaders willing to wield that support to get results and punish betrayal. Thus, we need class traitors.

Denouncing elites has been a pastime of both Republican and Democrat populists, albeit with somewhat different emphasis. Class in America is complicated these days; it is not reducible to money, education, or race, although all of these can be implicated in it. Class is also about culture, access, and influence, and as always, there are degrees (no one ever guards his class status as jealousy as those on the verge of losing it) and hangers-on.

Nonetheless, when a popular cause is being suppressed by all the Bigs (business, media, tech, and entertainment) it’s fitting to speak of a ruling class, which is imposing its unpopular agenda on the people. Thus, winning these fights requires people who understand our enemies, who know their weaknesses and pressure points, and who can deploy power against them. We need people who put a Harvard or Yale diploma in a cheap frame in the basement and then go stick it to their former classmates.

We also need to learn to use the essential political tool of payback. Letting betrayal pass without consequences only encourages more of the same.

Although some figures, such as Supreme Court justices, are unaccountable this way, politicians like  Noem stand for reelection — or run for new and higher office — and should suffer political consequences. Coalition partners such as the Chamber of Commerce, which has been openly sabotaging popular conservative initiatives, should have their priorities scuttled.

If the oligarchic wing of the GOP is determined to put a man in every girl’s locker room, why should we help them achieve their goals? Until the Chamber of Commerce changes its tune, all we owe them and their flunkies is retribution.

Nathanael Blake is a senior contributor to The Federalist and a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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