You Can Vote For Conservatism, But You Can’t Get It

I first made that observation–you can vote for conservatism, but you can’t get it–quite a few years ago. Sadly, it remains true, as exemplified by the $1.3 trillion spending monstrosity that President Trump signed today.

How bad is the bill? Rand Paul tweeted in real time as he read the bill–or as much of it as he could read through in the hours available. He produced a number of tweets, here are just a few of them:

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are gleeful, as they should be. They are in an enviable position: they don’t have to win elections in order to govern.

You can read the roll call vote here. It is interesting to see how Republican senators voted. But the Democrats who voted No are even more interesting. A few are random, like Ed Markey and Claire McCaskill, although leadership obviously made sure there were plenty of Yes votes to pass the bill. But the Senate Democrats who are seeking national office all voted No: Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the legislation includes no DACA change, or maybe they just don’t want to vote for any bill that Donald Trump signs. In any event, they are all staking out a position to the left of an outcome that has Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer popping champagne corks. That is where the Democratic Party is today.

But back to the original point: all Republicans, and some Democrats, run on a platform of smaller government, less spending and lower taxes. Voters, more often than not, elect such candidates. But the forces pressing for more and more spending, toward ends that are increasingly removed from the proper purposes of government, are inexorable. Barack Obama said that elections matter. He was only half right: you can vote for conservatism, but you can’t get it.

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