Nevertheless, Cass’s line of thinking is getting some traction on the political right. Freshman senator Josh Hawley has rejected Reagan, called for a greater role for government and advocated for policies that help people stay in their hometown. Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson wants ‘economic patriotism’ and fumed about New York hedge funds destroying small town America. Sen. Marco Rubio, still reeling from his failed presidential bid, has questioned shareholder primacy. He wants a Catholic social teaching inspired ‘common good capitalism’ based less on maximizing profits and more on greater cooperation between employers and workers. Cass’s American Compass advisory board includes Rubio’s chief of staff, Mike Needham.
But the libertarian right in America is not going anywhere. The intellectual right is largely not bending to Trump’s will. If anything, Trump has quietly bent to their will. Aside from Trump’s bombastic approach to trade, the meat of economic thinking and substantial reform at the state and federal level continues to be in the free market direction. Trump has embraced criminal justice reform, red tape cutting and tax reduction: much to America’s benefit. From the free market perspective, good and bad policy is not defined by changing electoral arithmetic (i.e. trying to win blue collar voters) but rather the historical experience of successful liberal market economies.
Haley is emerging as the early frontrunner to put the forward-looking, optimistic free market case on the right.