Episode Summary

There’s been a lot of commentary about how Donald Trump is changing the Republican Party. There’s even a cottage industry of former Republicans who often write about how Trump has ruined the GOP they once knew and loved.

But according to Bruce Bartlett, a former senior White House economic adviser to President Bush 41, most of what today’s Trump skeptics point to as something new in the party was there long ago. Bartlett had a falling out with the GOP in the early 2000s when he realized that its leaders were not interested in the fiscal conservatism that they promised on the campaign trail.

That took him on a long road, one which led to him becoming a progressive. In this episode, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield talks with Bartlett about his ideological journey and also his thoughts on today’s political situation.

According to the former libertarian economist, Democrats don’t take politics seriously enough to invest in the political infrastructure that conservatives spent decades building up. The net effect is that American politics continues drifting rightward, even though most Americans do not actually support cutting the government.