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Will conservatism return this November?

The 1970s are remembered for many things: the end of the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon’s resignation from the presidency, American hostages held for 444 days by Iran and disco (ugh).

In 1978, Pope John Paul II became leader of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1979, Jimmy Carter accused Americans of suffering from a “malaise.” Margaret Thatcher was elected as Britain’s first female Prime Minister. With two conservatives in power the political trifecta was completed with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Those events make me hopeful that a second conservative return may be about to happen. Once again, large parts of Europe are leading the way.

Using the preferred language of the left, Politico reported on the EU elections, “Far Right Wins Big.” There were other news stories suggesting fascism may be about to return to the continent.

Here’s how Politico styled the results: “As polls predicted, far-right forces made major gains across the bloc. In France, the National Rally raked in nearly a third of the votes, consolidating itself as the leading ultra nationalist group in the next Parliament. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy similarly soared, with more than a quarter of voters backing the group.” Notice the word choices, including “ultra,” which they never define.

Shouldn’t Europeans be concerned in the same way as many Americans about open borders, high taxes, jobs taken by migrants, lawlessness, crime, inflation, centralized government in Brussels, Russia’s hunger for expansion, and a general feeling of despair about where their individual countries and continent are headed?

While the center-left remains in control of the 705 members of the EU Parliament (“due to rise to 720 after the June 2024 European elections”), conservatives won a major psychological and political victory. French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved parliament and called for new elections.

What amazes in Europe and the U.S. is why so many voters seem double- minded when it comes to policies that work and policies that don’t. I think it has something to do with voters who cast ballots based on feelings, rather than on an understanding of economics, the importance of borders, a strong (but not fanatical) sense of nationalism, a strong military to guard against terrorism and totalitarian adventurism, a shared moral value system that has proven itself over centuries, a love for their country instilled in primary school, and a herd mentality, including the vacuous “I’ve always voted this way.”

A debate and an election run strictly on issues and what has been proven to work in the past, and what hasn’t worked, is the way to build and sustain strong nations that contribute to their societies rather than a “take mentality” based on what you think you are entitled to.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is planning a major legislative agenda should Donald Trump win the election and Republicans take control of the Senate and keep their House majority, or expand it. Predictions of a “red wave” didn’t materialize in the 2020 election, so Republicans should be humble while working harder this time.

The one unknown is Donald Trump. He is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, but unlike Reagan in 1980, he has a considerable amount of baggage. So far he has promised to finish and continue the job he began four years ago, including finishing the border wall and deporting migrants who broke our laws to get here, keeping taxes low (he promised hotel workers in Nevada he would end taxes on tips), building up the military (as Reagan did) and other things our system of checks and balances may, or may not, allow him to do.

Four decades ago events in Europe were a foretaste of what was to come in the U.S. Many of the circumstances were the same then. We are about to find out if conservatism with its workable common sense policies will return in November.

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