Thinking about the present day, if conservatives are right and what Walter Russell Mead has called the “blue state model” is indeed collapsing, then the GOP might not be that far away from another moment. At the least, the fact that it did not come in 2012 does not mean it is not coming.
And conservatives should be ready for it. For starters, they should ignore the triumphalists on the left espousing a permanent shift leftward. Nonsense! Yes, conservatives must do a better job of reaching out to Hispanics, but some perspective is necessary. The incumbent president is set to take in millions of fewer votes than he won in 2008. He limped across the finish line by dint of vicious demagoguery, which lowered turnout among white voters who have voted Republican in the past. Put simply, the GOP is still very much in this ballgame.
Instead, conservative should make a serious study of the leaders who made full uses of the moments when they were handed to them. On the right, these men were Bob Taft, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. On the left, they were Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Barack Obama. Conservatives should ask themselves: what qualities did these leaders have in common? That will help them find the best standard bearer to guide the GOP and the conservative movement when the next moment comes.
I don’t know when that will be, but I do know that the left is wrong: The trajectory of American history is not an inevitable leftward drift. So buck up, conservatives!