Through my membership in the Theodore Roosevelt Association, I have had the pleasure of corresponding with James Strock, one of the TR Association’s advisory board members. He hosts a blog on the Substack platform named “The Next Nationalism”, which also promotes TR’s philosophy in the present age. I can heartily recommend his well-written articles and thought-provoking podcast interviews.
One of his recent posts combines beautiful writing and a sharp perspective to deliver a biting assessment of the state of our current politics. However, it also points out that we have been here before as a nation and always overcame similar internal crises through deepening our commitment to our democratic values and our own national community. It is a long piece and, at the same time, the best summary of what is wrong with current American politics and why American nationalism is the cure.
As I’ve written before here and here, this division between the Trump’s populist right and the remaining wings of the Republican Party is part of a realignment in American politics that began in earnest with the 2016 election. Similar fissures exist in the Democratic Party between the Democratic socialists and the various wings of the party establishment, as shown in this recent poll. The frightening part of the current realignment process is that the two extremes embrace or tolerate violence to achieve their objectives and seem to be driving both parties at the local party level. Indeed, a recent poll showed a third of Americans believe violence to achieve political goals is acceptable.
It has been my experience that the internal party elite like the RNC are generally more extreme than their respective primary electorates. Whether this is now true of the two major parties will be determined in the upcoming primary elections. Will Trump loyalists succeed in ousting Georgia Governor Brian Kemp? Will firebrands like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green survive their primaries? What happens to Michigan Congressmen Peter Meijer and Fred Upton, who voted for the impeachment resolution after the January attack? And how successful will democratic socialist movements be in taking over local party organizations as happened in Nevada? If the authoritarian extreme prevails in those contests, true American nationalists will have to conclude, as TR did in 1912, that the parties are now … “empty husks…incapable of approaching the great problems of today” and form a third party to pick up and carry the American nationalist banner.
Like the Roman god after it was named, January is a time for looking back and looking forward. This site began because it believed that nationalism was the most important motive force in modern international relations. The best way for the United States to survive in such a world was to seek a realist foreign policy designed to preserve its own national security and, at the same time, strengthen the nation by addressing long-standing domestic problems. It would involve the kind of sacrifice and commitment by America that Theodore Roosevelt lived and advocated, which is why he is invoked on the banner of the site.
The failures of our government in the last two years result from our political elite to accept this reality. With a few exceptions, Trump only paid lip service to this reality while feeding a dangerous American ethnic nationalism that became traitorous in the end. Biden was always going to be a transitional figure, especially after the Democrats lost seats in the congressional elections. Instead of accepting a role as a non-partisan unifier, Biden pursued an agenda designed to preserve the old vision of liberal hegemony while trying to placate the warring wings of the Democratic Party. The mismanaged Afghan withdrawal, the immigration disaster at the border and inflationary pressures all stem from this misguided strategy. Biden was most successful when he pursued policies left over from the Trump Administration such as the COVID relief bill and the bi-partisan infrastructure bill.
Both parties currently suffer from deep divisions that hobble them from developing a clear and successful nationalist strategy for the nation. Those of us who believe in TR’s vision of a progressive (not democratic socialist) nationalism need to begin identifying the policies and then the candidates, regardless of party, to support in those elections. One of our goals for this year is to build on the American Nationalist Voting Index used for the 2020 presidential campaign to develop a similar index you can use to rate candidates in the congressional elections. Eventually, it will serve as the basis of a new nationalist platform for the 2024 presidential election. I also will expand the New Nationalism News feature to keep you up to date on issues ignored by the mainstream media. A new subscription service will also be offered so you can receive posts directly in your e-mail box.
I am honored and humbled by those of you who have followed and liked the site up to now. I hope to make it a more consistently helpful and inspiring source of information in the upcoming year.