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The Day After

Listen to the American people.

Nov 1, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 07 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Another thing to remember is that America has been here before. And history suggests that the way out is through bold and creative policy. Our colleague Jay Cost notes that in the early 1890s the electorate swung wildly between the parties before William McKinley’s Republicans married a pro-growth economic program to a strong nationalism that kept their party dominant for three decades. Similarly, starting in the 1960s, major public figures were assassinated, cities burned, a sitting president didn’t run for reelection, a vice president resigned for corruption, another president resigned before being impeached, a Democratic wave produced one of the most left-wing congresses in history, Saigon fell, stagflation reigned, and an unknown, one-term governor of Georgia became a particularly ineffective president. Then Ronald Reagan combined pro-growth tax policy, a strong dollar, and a robust defense of American exceptionalism into one of the most successful presidencies in history.

Republicans who want to build on their coming success at the polls might study McKinley and Reagan. Then they might resolve to be humble—and listen to the American people.

—Matthew Continetti

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