For Republicans, the great political challenge is going to be that the entitlements that simply must be reformed are very popular with old white people, i.e., the Republican base. President Trump’s flat refusal to even consider entitlement reform only reconfirms the position of congressional Republicans going back to George W. Bush’s ill-fated and very lonely effort at achieving the mildest reform of Social Security. Republicans have no appetite for cutting the programs that actually represent the great majority of federal spending — popular middle-class entitlements and the military — and they remain fundamentally opposed to raising taxes, and, indeed, would if given the chance cut them still further in spite of the persistent deficit and the fiscal crisis it invites.
As the GOP loses the suburbs as surely as it has lost the cities, its slow transformation into the Nationalist Farmer-Labor Party will do wondrous things for talk radio but will also ensure that a whole generation of young people with professional and cultural aspirations that take them to Silicon Valley or New York or Los Angeles or Chicago or Austin will come to believe — not without reason — that the Republican Party is not for people like them. The promise of a tax cut is not going to change their minds.
Across the aisle, the Democrats remain steadfastly committed to a single policy: redistribution of wealth from political enemies to political constituents. Practically every Democratic policy proposal from taxes to health care to environmental regulation is organized in service of that single overriding principle.