Trump Forced the GOP to Recognize Its Failures | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by R.R. Reno during a Newsweek podcast debate on the future of the Republican Party. You can listen to the podcast here:

We're in a season of reconsolidation and I think the Republican Party needs to lead the way in a free market-friendly approach to reconsolidating the economy—and also our culture more broadly, so that we re-regulate aspects of our culture so that ordinary people can do well in our society.

President Trump is hugely important, both electorally and politically, in terms of getting people to vote for him and against him. But I think there's a general realignment in the GOP, and Trump will go down in history as changing the perspective of our elite with respect to China. The Obama administration "pivoted" to China, but it didn't really happen. Trump has forced the issue, and we see the Biden administration hasn't really changed the more aggressive measures put in place with respect to China.

Between Trump's immigration plan/"build the wall," a lot of us knew we had a problem here, but we really didn't want to face it. I think Trump has succeeded in energizing voters in such a way that our political leadership has to actually address the question of illegal immigration.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves after a rally on July 3, 2021 in Sarasota, Florida. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.