My forthcoming book, Too Dumb to Fail, is subtitled: “How the GOP Won Elections by Sacrificing Its Ideas (And How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots)” largely about how conservatives can adapt to the 21st century.
Regardless of hisethnicity, I think a young urbanite who manages his stock portfolio on his smart phone and then orders an Uber should be a conservative. And he might—if when he thinks of “conservative” he pictures someone like AEI president and author Arthur Brooks. Someone who is sophisticated, tolerant, and thoroughly modern. But he won’t if he associates that word with an image of, say, a fat, intolerant redneck. (This is not to suggest many Southerners fit this description. There are many things about the South I love. But this is a stereotype.)
The injection of Southerners into the Republican coalition—a coalition they ultimately came to dominate—couldn’t help but change the image of the GOP. There were racial, cultural, political, and even religious implications. Republicans captured the South, yes, but the South also captured the GOP. There were no doubt many salutary benefits to this arrangement—most obviously, an electoral boon that lasted for decades. But it also guaranteed we would eventually see a day of reckoning.