Is the U.S. on the verge of a multi-party system?

On the one hand, the business faction is pro-free trade, opposed to regulation, eager to embrace globalization, disinterested in social issues, and religiously agnostic. They find common ground with both moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans because, as one might expect of businesspeople, they are pragmatic and instinctively centrist.

Social conservatives, on the other hand, are ideologically inflexible, being primarily animated by issues that businesspeople care very little about, such as gay marriage and abortion. Even worse, many social conservatives — particularly those who come from blue-collar backgrounds — are adamantly opposed to free trade and “Big Business” in general. They are reflexively protectionist and distrustful of Wall Street. In those ways, social conservatives have more in common with labor unions and Bernie Sanders than they do with fellow Republicans.

Cruz is a staunch social conservative. He rails against Big Business and crony capitalism. He was opposed to the bipartisan bank bailouts, even though they prevented the Great Recession from becoming the Second Great Depression. He is opposed to the “philosopher-kings” at the Federal Reserve who control monetary policy and bizarrely advocates a return to the gold standard. This latter belief betrays a revisionist view of American history and an underlying economic illiteracy that is at substantial odds with the business community.

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