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An Agenda to Court Trump Supporters

February 23, 2016

By Henry Olsen and James C. Capretta

South Carolina has further cemented Donald Trump as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. It should be obvious by now that he won’t be stopped with wishful thinking. His opponents need to continue to take the fight to him aggressively — on his many reckless and false statements, his faux conservatism, and his appalling nativism and vulgarity.

But the other candidates must also offer a realistic economic plan that would be attractive to Trump’s supporters.

This is not a new problem. Since President Reagan left office, the GOP has been struggling to connect with Americans who are culturally conservative but inclined by their working-class environment to be suspicious of Republican economic philosophy. Without strong support from these voters, the GOP has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.

At the same time, it would be foolish for the GOP to abandon its traditional adherence to limited government, fiscal discipline, low taxes, and free markets. Those are the pillars of a dynamic and growing economy, and abandoning them would cost more votes than would be gained.

But belief in a free market is not inconsistent with concern for those who struggle when firms and entire industries come under pressure from global competition. The GOP must acknowledge the economic dislocation that has occurred and offer an agenda to help families who have seen their prospects dim over the past two decades. Here’s a start.

Read the full article at RealClearPolicy.com: An Agenda to Court Trump Supporters