What we are witnessing here is two sides of the conservative movement. And, as is often the case, it is instructive to look back to Ronald Reagan for guidance. When he ran in 1976, he essentially ran as a typical green eyeshade Republican. The underlying premise here is that we live in a static world of limited resources. The pie is only so big, and we are all fighting over a slice of it. This leads to tribalism and a scarcity mentality. If others get a bigger slice, then you and I get a smaller one. But between 1976 and 1980, Jack Kemp introduced Reagan to the Laffer curve, and this changed everything.
Suddenly, you could grow the pie. The world was dynamic, not static! This optimistic worldview even transcended economics, altering conservatism (which had been a decidedly pessimistic philosophy) on a variety of issues. Let’s take immigration as an example. The static view is that immigrants take our jobs. The dynamic view is that they increase both the supply of labor and the demand for it. In other words, more people equals more ideas, more opportunities, and even more consumers.
In the wake of Barack Obama’s presidency, there is great worry about the future, and a hunger a populist candidate who can tap into the anger and fear that has spawned from the culmination of numerous factors—an economy where many are still left behind, globalization, demographic shifts, a rejection of policies such as Obamacare, and concerns about America’s standing around the world. But there is also an opportunity for an optimistic candidate—could be Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, or someone else—who can articulate conservative ideas to 21st-century Americans who may not be white or rural.