Is Josh Hawley the Future of the GOP?

Sen. Josh Hawley
Sen. Josh Hawley

I’m your host, Tristan Fitzpatrick, and this is the latest edition of the Fitz File.

Is Josh Hawley the Future of the GOP? 

Today, I’m going to be blogging about how Sen. Josh Hawley’s ideas on liberal economics & social conservatism could be the future of the GOP.

In April, Hawley introduced a proposal for coronavirus relief that requiried the federal government to cover “eighty percent of employer payroll costs for firms of all sizes affected by this crisis” & taking aim at “crisis profiteering by Wall Street.”

This isn’t the first time Hawley has flirted with left of center politics. He’s previously been lauded by liberals like Matt Stoller for his work on anti-monopoly policy & corporate consolidation.

These virtue signals, however, do not mean that Hawley is the second coming of Nelson Rockefeller-esque liberal Republicanism. On social issues he’s bread & butter GOP: as Missouri’s Attorney General, he was instrumental in striking down the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate in 2014.  He doesn’t just want to strike down Roe v. Wade, he wants to go full on Handmaids Tale & criminalize abortion in all cases.

After this week’s historic ruling on anti-LGBTQ discrimination, Hawley also took to Twitter to whine about it, further proving his terrible bonafides on social issues.

As working-class white people have drifted further & further from the GOP, Hawley’s pitch of economic populism & social conservatism could make him the poster boy for a post-Trump GOP (& he’s already being talked about as a potential presidential candidate in 2024).

President Trump himself, in several ways, laid the groundwork for this vision of the GOP on the campaign trail in 2016, when he attacked Wall Street, CEO pay, hedge funds, & even wanted to re-instate the FDR-era Glass-Steagall legislation separating commercial & investment banking. At the same time, he hewed the party line on abortion & other social issues.

Upon taking office, however, Trump abandoned his previous ideas about the financial world & has governed more like a Jeb Bush on the subject, signing into law a tax bill that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans, as well as relaxing banking regulations.

So I’m willing to bet if Hawley would gain higher office, he would follow the same rulebook. Conservative folks love to rage about taking on the elites while taking their money when people’s attention is elsewhere.

This Week’s WTF Moment in Congress 

Screenshot of the the House Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health, 6/17/20

The House of Representatives is also adapting to working from home, as evidenced by this glitch-ridden livestream from the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health yesterday (errors like the above screenshot start at about 50 minutes into the broadcast). You would think these issues could be avoided since a former member of Congress supposedly invented the Internet.

Reading List

Former Log Cabin chief lands job in Trump White House (Washington Blade)

Apparently, you CAN put a price on self-hatred.

Trump asked China’s Xi to help him win reelection, according to Bolton book (Washington Post)

For why Bolton declined testifying for the House’s impeachment inquiry in favor of putting all of his revelations in a tell-all book, see above.

Top Voice of America officials resign after confirmation of Trump appointee (Axios)

The politicization of the federal government continues under Trump – with two officials quitting Voice of America in protest after a conservative filmmaker who has worked with Stephen Bannon was confirmed to become the head of its parent agency.

Rep. Denver Riggleman ousted in Virginia GOP convention (Politico)

Last Saturday, GOP activists in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District tossed sitting Congressman Denver Riggleman out of office for…officiating a gay wedding. Despite this week’s historic SCOTUS ruling, the culture wars are far from over in many places.

Biden fundraising surged in May (Politico)

In a potential sign small-dollar donors in the Democratic Party are coalescing around Biden, the former VP raised nearly $81 million last month & “counted 1.5 million new supporters.”

Supreme Court blocks Trump from ending DACA (CNN, breaking as of Thursday morning)

The tweet rants from Dear Leader are already beginning.

Before I sign off, a little levity…



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