Margaret Hoover has been a lifelong member of the Republican Party. She grew up a self-described “ditto head.” She worked in the White House for President George W. Bush. Today she is a political commentator for Fox News, where, as one of Bill O’Reilly’s Culture Warriors, she regularly champions the conservative cause. She also happens to be the great-granddaughter of the thirty-first president of the United States, Herbert Hoover. These impeccable conservative credentials underscore the gravity of her deep-seated concerns about the future of the Republican Party. Her party, she believes, has fallen dangerously out of step with the rising generation of young Americans.
In American Individualism, Margaret Hoover chal-lenges the up-and-coming millennial generation to take another look at the Republican Party. Although millennials rarely identify themselves as Republicans, Hoover contends that these young men and women who helped elect President Barack Obama are sympathetic to the fundamental principles of conservatism. She makes a compelling case for how the GOP can right itself and capture the allegiance of this group. She believes that her party is uniquely positioned to offer solutions for the most pressing problems facing America—skyrocketing debt and deficits, crises in education and immigration, a war against Islamist supremacy—but that it is held back by the outsize influence within the party of social and religious conservatives.
American Individualism is Hoover’s call to action for Republicans to embrace a conservatism that emphasizes individual freedom both in economic policy and in the realm of social issues in order to appeal to the new generation of voters. The Republican Party, Hoover asserts, can win the support of the millennials while at the same time remaining faithful to conservative principles. In a journey that is both political and personal, Hoover rediscovers these bedrock conservative values in the writings of her great-grandfather, President Herbert Hoover, who emphasized the vital importance of individual freedom to the American way of life and who sought to strike a delicate balance in identifying the limited yet essential role the federal government should play in the lives of Americans.
Margaret Hoover advocates a conservatism that is fully consistent with the original impulses of the American conservative movement. It evokes her great-grandfather’s emphasis on the values of civic responsibility and service to others—instincts instilled in the millennial generation. She argues that the Republican Party today must evolve in order to achieve greatness, and that it can do so without compromising its tried-and-true fundamental principles. On the contrary, those enduring principles, if consistently applied, will enable the party to attract a younger following.
An impassioned and persuasive political manifesto grounded in twentieth-century history and targeted at
the most perplexing problems of the twenty-first century, Margaret Hoover’s American Individualism offers provocative ideas not just for reinvigorating the Republican Party but also for strengthening America in the decades ahead.