In a speech at the Heritage Foundation last week, former House speaker Newt Gingrich portrayed President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration as a historic moment for conservatism. “This is the third great effort to break out of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt model” of government, he said, following the “Reagan revolution” of the 1980s and Gingrich’s Contract with America in the 1990s.
Such a bold proclamation may sound peculiar after Trump’s fellow Republicans spent much of 2016 attacking him as a heretic who threatened the party’s commitment to right-wing policy orthodoxies. On the campaign trail, Trump explicitly disavowed cuts to safety-net programs that have long been a hallmark of the GOP agenda. “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican, and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” he pledged.
But as his administration takes shape, Trump is sending signals to the right that he is prepared to fulfill their wildest fantasies. With his sham populism giving way to shameless plutocracy, it appears increasingly likely that Trump will attempt to reverse more than the progress achieved over the past eight years under President Obama. The tremendous advances and reforms of the 20th century—from the New Deal to the Great Society—may be on the chopping block.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.