Opinion | What a More Responsible Republican Party Would Look Like

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If you watched this past weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, you heard a lot of debunked election conspiracies, dire warnings about “cancel culture” and unwavering fealty to Donald Trump. What you didn’t hear was much in the way of policy ideas to raise wages, improve health care or support families. This is the modern G.O.P.: a post-policy party obsessed with symbolic fights and curiously uninterested in the actual work of governing. But does it have to be that way?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor at National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a Republican wonk who is pushing his party in a more responsible, policy-centric direction. On this episode of my podcast,“The Ezra Klein Show,” we discuss:

  • Why Republicans have lost interest in policy.

  • Whether Trump would have won the presidency if Senate Republicans had passed a big stimulus bill before the 2020 election.

  • Why Ponnuru thinks the Republican Party’s 2024 hopefuls have learned the wrong lesson from Trump’s 2016 victory.

  • The conservative case for a universal child allowance.

  • Why so few Republican politicians have openly endorsed the Romney child allowance plan — and what that says about the tensions within the party’s coalition.

  • What it would take for Republicans to move away from being a “business owners’” party and toward being a “parents’” party.

  • Why Ponnuru thinks Republicans should support limiting, or outright banning, just-in-time scheduling practices.

  • Whether there was ever a mass constituency for Paul Ryan’s version of conservatism.

  • Who are the most important emerging voices on the political right today.

And much more.

To listen to the full conversation, subscribe to “The Ezra Klein Show” wherever you get your podcasts, or click the player below.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday Tuesday.)

“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

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