Strictly speaking, “conservatism” only plays for a tie.
In American conservatism, there’s a bit of revanchism, but only so much of a rollback is even possible: overturn Roe and the question reverts to the states as a matter of policy rather than constitutional right.
Of the New Deal and Great Society, the only question is how to save Social Security and Medicare, not abolish them. Of the record 46.7 million now on Food Stamps, how many will one day come off them, and how many who just got on them will simply stay on them, that’s hard to say.
Conservatism’s greatest enemy is “the ratcheting effect,” where bad ideas or temporary fixes tend to become a permanent way of life.
As for drugs, I just don’t see it in the polls. Like illegal immigration and prostitution, I’m more of the see-no-evil persuasion, neither formally endorsing them by legalizing them* nor in favor of draconian enforcement. Me, I can live with gray areas and the use of a little wisdom: These things are only a problem when they become a problem, and you need the tools to deal with them when they do become a problem.
As for fiscal conservatism, free markets, economic liberty, low taxes and a constitutionally limited state, that doesn’t even seem to be the topic here. I would say as a thought I read somewhere else, that we actually tend to vote for what we believe will be good for the other guy, not ourselves but the great suffering masses out there whom we conceive of in our mind’s eye.
Sort of the “fellow-feeling” of the 17th century British philosophers, that empathy is part of human nature. I rather agree with this, and it’s a way of viewing the conundrum without assigning base motives to either side: One can think “fairness” via politics is the best way, one could think that creating wealth and plenty via markets and competition is the best way to achieve the same desired end—a society optimized for “human flourishing.”
I think there are some people who vote for government handouts for themselves and some who vote for lower taxes for themselves. But I think most of us vote for what we think is best for the next guy, and for our nation as a whole. I don’t think there’s anything the matter with Kansas OR the Upper West Side.
* Yes, “legalizing” does carry a level of societal, even moral, endorsement or at least acceptance. That’s what drives a lot of the gay issue culture war—on both sides. As it’s sui generis, it’s often not very applicable to the rest of the picture. Indeed many of its advocates insist that it’s sui generis and NOT the top of a slippery slope that descends to polygamy, etc.!