Elections are about the future, and voters — particularly upwardly mobile, middle-class voters who reside in the suburbs — want to feel good…
Elections are about the future, and voters — particularly upwardly mobile, middle-class voters who reside in the suburbs — want to feel good about their future.
If this is an insight that animated the Republicanism of George H. W. Bush, it is also an approach to politics that created tension between that form of Republicanism and a more cynical wing of the GOP with deep roots in Texas.
Intellectual, aristocratic and internationalist, Bush drew his sense of American governance from a different philosophical root than the populist, isolationist, and anti-government conservatism that is touted by many of the leaders of today’s Texas GOP.
For generations this struggle has pulled at the GOP — with the path for Republicans like Bush becoming narrower in Texas and across the country even as the party has ceded ground, first in cities, now in suburbs and down the road, perhaps, in power altogether.
As the elder President Bush is laid to rest, Texas Republicans would do well to reflect on the sort of party he represented and why he represented it. They would do even better to understand how these two strains of the party have come into conflict in the state and what is lost when those in the mold of George H. W. Bush are pushed out.
The road of Bush’s conservatism and that of the current party forked generations ago, if it was ever one path to begin with. It’s interesting, though, to follow the road’s history through the history of Dallas itself — a sort of ground zero in the fight for modern conservatism.

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