Although there is plenty in your article I agree with (particularly the part which I refer to as “well, if you’re not going to listen to me, I may as well become what you believe me to be”) I think there’s a rather large disservice by attributing the “divide” to primarily identity politics (although they are indeed divisive and should be repudiated) and not economic considerations.
Although it’s true that there are some conservatives (generally grouped within the neocons; they used to be called the “country-club republicans”, back in the days of Nelson Rockefeller) who view social spending as “yea, whatever you people want to do, that’s fine, just keep it within reason”) this group is shrinking rapidly, replaced by the small government conservatives, who are disgusted by the size and scope of the spending programs.
Like the other examples you list, the “Overton Wall” here is the same. When a person accuses of another person who wants to IMPROVE the health care system as “somebody who wants poor people to die in the streets”, there’s an immediate breakdown of communications, for no other reason than the latter person has clearly lost his or her mind.
So, this ascendant group, imperfectly represented by the Freedom Caucus, wants a couple of things. The first is for the government to force them into fewer decisions by means of laws, regulations, and taxes. The second is more economic self-determination, which is a subset of the previous, but an important one. But the big one is a divestiture of federal power, with many functions disseminated to the states.
If liberals really thought about this, they’d realize it’s a good idea. Suppose all the federal government did vis a vis health care was to say to the states “ok, you have to make sure everyone can buy a policy that at a minimum fits these minimums, and if they can’t afford it, you have to make sure they can. Now run along and solve the problem the way you want. Oh, and by the way, we’re going to tax you less so you can tax your people more so you can afford it. “
10th Amendment solution.
Well, California would try a single payer system, and Texas would try premium support. The states that are net TAKERS of federal dollars would have to raise taxes more than those that are net CONTRIBUTORS of federal dollars, something that liberals have been bitching about for nearly two decades now.
And we’d quit sniping at each other.
At some point, there will be a negotiated settlement for either stronger federalism or a series of national divorces.