USA Today is soliciting input on where the Republican Party should go in the future and, really, that is not my place to say.
What I can and do look at is the future of the entire political landscape over the next 20 to 50 years and when looking at that it does not look anything like our current political landscape much of anywhere on the planet. As the United States has been a leader in many things, the direction that the Nation is starting to move in is one that is beginning to reflect some of the basics of why I started this particular blog: getting back to basics and seeing that the greatest power for the force of good for all mankind is the unchained individual. To understand how this stuff works the back to basics part is necessary as I laid out in my very first post for this site.
The concept known as Federalism is embodied in the US Constitution and it depends on a moral people who will do the heavy lifting of creating society to do their job at the lowest, most accessible level to them. That is not the government of the Nation State which is far too gross and coarse a level to deal with local matters. There is nothing as important as moving away from the idea that a 'social contract' is embodied by any law at the Nation State level and that the 'social contract' is the agreeable form of government that the people have instituted amongst themselves as upheld in spare, even sparse, written form that delimits power to the Nation State and reserves powers to the State (the interior unit of the United States equivalent to provinces in other Nations) and the individual. Beyond that it is a Do It Yourself concept at play that revolves around republican form of government.
A republican form of government (as opposed to the Republican Party that seems to have forgotten what a republican form of government actually is) is one that divides power internally amongst branches of government and gives them each separate and sovereign domains of power (not rights) that serve the people and act as a check and balance amongst themselves so that no branch dares to over-reach its power domain to swallow up all of government.
Future political parties are wise to mirror this system of federalism with checks and balances internal to their party structure so that no single body ends up being the 'deciding' organization and that the organization, as a whole, is led by its membership, not by party officials.
That is a very stark direction to go that is distinctly different from anything on the political landscape much of anywhere on the planet today. Yet it is not a radical proposition, at all, as if you acknowledge that federalism is the best way to put power into mutual check with final over-ride by the people of a Nation, then it is a good direction to go for any political party of such a Nation to model itself on that objective, directly. This is known as 'Do as You Say' and is a part of the concept of Honor:
Do as You Say.
Say what You Mean.
Mean what You Do.
If you espouse 'conservative values' and uphold the Founding era documents and the Founders, then you must back federalism to the hilt and admit that individuals are the greatest moral actors in this life and that Nation States are a mere and shallow reflection of them. Any system for any form of human activity that vests unchecked power and authority into few hands without immediate and stiff checks and balances, with limitations, is an authoritarian one. Political parties that become authoritarian, that have governing organizations that create rules to reflect the impetus of those doing the governing is no longer trusting the members of the party for direction and living by an example that admits that power must be recognized first and foremost at the lowest levels of the organization. That is going Back To Basics and putting Honor into what you espouse.
I've given outline as to how this works in the modern era in Dawn of a New Era and this means that modern ideas must be incorporated into a party so that its membership can better organize at the lowest levels so as to tell the highest levels what to do based on local concerns. Most of that will be: Mind Your Own Business.
The drivers for the New Era are ones that address the capability of the individual to process information and network with each other so as to shift data to information to knowledge and personal wisdom at an increasing rate of speed over time. As individuals do this they will remove older power structures between themselves and higher levels, sharing information with their like minded fellows and from that process will emerge a new and slimmed down, less powerful party system.
An end result is one that I outlined within my first ten posts in what such a party will look like (called The Jacksonian Party as there is no other name I could actually put on it at the time). This is a party concept that doesn't follow President Jackson, but follows what those who put him into office had to deal with on a daily basis and how that social idea became something that spread and prospered in the United States. This is a cultural phenomena and it leads to end-states driven by multiple factors to reduce the size, scope and power of political parties over time. A result is a decentralized, disintermediated political structure in which a political party is a mere framework of ideas that helps individuals as candidates to run for office. A requirement is that the actual party structure, and those helping to govern it, are given very little money and no say in individual candidates at all.
Again, to repeat that: the governing organs of a party are given no say in individual candidates and no money to back 'preferred' ones at all.
Such a political party is run via the agreeable laws and by-laws that members agree to adhere to. Those are created at the most local level and use a federalist form of system to find across-the-board topics suitable to higher power levels of office that do not infringe on the rights and powers of individuals nor upon lower government structural levels. Inherently federalism recognizes the sovereign power of the people through its compacts to create government and when government is created at any level it is given a separate and sovereign domain within that sovereign power that may be checked and balanced, but cannot be repealed by, other parts of government or other governments at different power scales unless agreed-to by the people.
We call these social contracts Constitutions and within the United States each State has one. All States agree to the powers granted to the Nation State government as they are the signatories to the US Constitution, and that sign-off is backed by the people of that State as voiced not just via their government but by themselves in the majority. Similar is done at the State level although States may have different requirements for amending their constitutions so long as it is in a republican form of government.
Adhering to such structures is something that is done by individuals as part of their daily lives, and to that end the political parties they form will reflect that individuals are capable of leading their own lives with minimal outside government interference. When citizens are trapped by a web of laws, rules and regulations, the object of the rule of law is lost which is a self-ordered society that has citizens holding each other to account for their actions. Laws are a framework of accountability for actions, not a coercive means to force people into certain behaviors but as a system of punishments against behavior destructive to the social order.
This does not create the modern socialist/progressive concept of 'the personal is the political' but leads to an understanding that politics is driven by individuals and is reflective of them, and that such politics as are necessary are just that: necessary and not a force for good. Positive morality is created by individuals and political parties must respect that and must not seek to foster the use of negative powers to that end. Punishment is punishment, it is not the moral and social good in and of itself and only through the use of the positive powers of individuals is that positive moral life created. Removing negative actors from society for punishment is the necessary function of that organ of society we call government and it is not the brain, as organs go, but the more process oriented ones that remove unwanted or dangerous items from the body for the overall health of the body of society. The idea of making the personal into the political creates a cancer within the organs of government as it seeks to cater to each and every individual want, not address the needs of the body, and soon those organs are crowding out the functioning of the body of society and killing it.
As all of these things are based on self-evident truths, that all men are created equal and endowed with their Creator with certain unalienable rights and amongst these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Indeed all rights and powers start with the individual and none accrue to higher orders of government that are not already within individuals. There is no power or right that accrues to any government of any society and that society is, itself, created when individuals agree within themselves to forebear the use of negative powers and rights to save protect their families, their homes and their very selves. Society must reflect this self-governance, abide by it and recognize that self-government is the highest of all forms of government invented amongst men as it is the most powerful as it uses the power of restraint to create good amongst men.
In less than a century (indeed, perhaps less than two decades) it is this power, unleashed by the distributive forces of knowledge amongst men that will reshape the political and social structure not just of the United States but of the world and all mankind. As we step into an era where the power of the individual to self-govern becomes paramount, this puts the positive liberties of man to create a moral and just society with limited government as an end product of this recognition, not a goal or end-state by any means. Our politics will remain as divided as ever amongst Nations as all Nations have the sovereign right of their people to have a free and independent society that has, amongst the powers of the Earth, the ability to create government to suit them. These things that are representative of such differences we call Nations and they start not at the Nation State level but at the level of family, home and hearth.
Any political party seeking to create a power over all men that isn't God but mere government is seeking an Empire and tyranny.
And their day is drawing to a close as the Dawn of a New Era begins.
My advice to the Republican Party, indeed all political parties: get with the program or your days are numbered.