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  • Josh Lewis

Episode 47 - Wonkish Optimism with Andy Smarick

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

As Republicans look ahead to the end of the Trump presidency (whether that’s a year away or five years out) many are beginning to ask, “what does a post-Trump GOP look like?”

For conservatives who have spent the past three years as outcasts from a party increasingly given to populist nationalism, the prospects are both exciting and worrying. Will things ‘go back to normal’? Will the Republican party once again be the home of conservatism? Or has Trump permanently changed things? And, if so, how much has changed?

Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by Andy Smarick who holds an optimistic view of what the future has in store for conservatives. His recent article in The Bulwark entitled The Post-Trump GOP argues that few presidents have had a lasting impact on their party, and that Trump is even less likely leave his mark as “Trumpism has failed in terms of principles, people, and popularity.”

But it’s not enough to hope for the end of populist nationalism in the GOP. Conservatives must have something better to offer as an alternative. And to that end, Andy makes his case for why conservatism has a rich and deep heritage that will long outlast the Age of Trump.

About Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick is the Director, of Civil Society, Education and Work at R Street, a free-market think tank with a pragmatic approach to public policy challenges. We draw inspiration from such thinkers as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ronald H. Coase, James M. Buchanan and Arthur C. Pigou. Andy researches and writes about civil-society issues at R Street, including localism, governing institutions, education and social entrepreneurship.

Before joining R Street, Andy was a Morgridge Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and served as president of the Maryland State Board of Education. Prior to that, he worked at the White House as an aide in the Domestic Policy Counsel and was a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. He was also the deputy commissioner of education in New Jersey and a legislative assistant at the U.S. House of Representatives.

Andy has authored or edited four books The Urban School System of the Future: Applying the Principles and Lessons of Chartering (2012); Closing America’s High-achievement Gap: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Helping Our Most Talented Students Reach Their Full Potential (2013); Catholic School Renaissance: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Strengthening a National Asset (2015); and No Longer Forgotten: The Triumphs and Struggles of Rural Education in America (2018).

Andy earned his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude and with honors, in government and politics from the University of Maryland, and his master’s in public management from UMD’s School of Public Policy. He lives in Stevensville, Maryland with his wife and three kids.

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