Which should come first—nationalism or resisting the growth of the state? Is the existing social order sound, or is our moral decay so serious that more radical solutions are needed? Is the wealth accumulating in our big coastal cities a sign of entrepreneurial vitality or of corruption and cronyism? Donald Trump’s rise has put these cleavages into sharp relief, but they have been shaping the party since the Eisenhower era.
In the 1950s, Republicans faced a fateful choice. Would they reconcile themselves to the New Deal or seek to roll it back? Dwight Eisenhower, a man who owed nothing to the GOP, had little patience for small-government orthodoxy. He called for a “modern Republicanism” that would use government to build a vast network of highways and world-class research universities.
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