The 2016 Republican campaign for president has certainly been surprising so far. We have seen candidates come out of the woodwork for their moment in the spotlight. We have seen a televised debate garner a record number of viewers. But we are also seeing a darker side. We are seeing what happens when a candidate shakes up the system. The political elites of the GOP aren’t concerned about advancing a conservative agenda. What they ARE concerned about is driving away grassroots conservatives from the Republican Party.
In an editorial in the Washington Post titled “Donald Trump is a counterfeit Republican,” Fox News contributor George Will goes off not only on Trump but on his supporters.
When, however, Trump decided that his next acquisition would be not another casino but the Republican presidential nomination, he tactically and quickly underwent many conversions of convenience (concerning abortion, health care, funding Democrats, etc.). His makeover demonstrates that he is a counterfeit Republican and no conservative.
He is an affront to anyone devoted to the project William F. Buckley began six decades ago with the founding in 1955 of the National Review — making conservatism intellectually respectable and politically palatable. Buckley’s legacy is being betrayed by invertebrate conservatives now saying that although Trump “goes too far,” he has “tapped into something,” and therefore…
Therefore what? This stance — if a semi-grovel can be dignified as a stance — is a recipe for deserved disaster. Remember, Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond “tapped into” things.
When Will writes about conservatism being “intellectually respectable and politically palatable,” you know exactly where he is coming from. He’s coming from that same place in Washington, DC where people like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner hang out — a place where conservatism is mentioned in speeches but where people “don’t take it too far.” It’s a place where one can profess to be a conservative just as long as everything remains the same and no real conservative agenda is actually advanced.
Trump has awakened people to the inaction of the governing GOP elite in Washington, and now we are learning which commentators and TV personalities serve as lackeys for the GOP establishment. From a debate filled with “gotcha” questions designed to trip up Trump to commentators blasting Trump’s supporters, we are getting a taste of what it’s like when so-called conservative leaders feel threatened.
Here’s another video from last week that not only gives us more of the establishment’s anti-Trump rhetoric but also gives us a taste of how the talking heads love to describe the “angry voters.” This personally goes straight up my spine because in their language, “angry” means stupid. These beltway insiders think we are stupid if we really want conservative action from our leaders. They think we are stupid to listen to someone who talks about immigration and trade and terrorism.
Trump supporters are being dismissed as “entertainment” voters or those who are not really engaged in the process. The other thing pundits are trying to do is to convince GOP voters that Trump isn’t really a conservative (as if they really are too). My response to that is SO WHAT? The fact that Trump has attracted attention to the political process is a good thing! Voters will determine whether or not Trump is their guy for the long term, but it’s only August right now. There is still a lot of time left.
So far, Sean Hannity, in his response to Glenn Beck’s questions about Trump, is the only person who has gotten it right. Yes, Trump has changed positions over time. Yes, he once identified more as a Democrat. Yes, he has (or had) some beliefs that are not conservative. So let the process play out! The GOP establishment that wants to ban Trump and kick out his supporters are the ones who are killing the Republican Party… NOT Donald Trump.
As Hannity notes, he has not made up his mind who he supports yet. I have not either. I am not a Trump supporter, nor am I a Trump basher. What I do like is that more people are paying attention. They are paying attention not only to what is happening now, but what HASN’T happened under Republican leadership!
Rather than getting rid of Trump, how about if we elect people who will ACTUALLY advance a conservative agenda. People in Kentucky… can you please stop reelecting Mitch McConnell? People in Ohio… can you please stop reelecting John Boehner? And to ALL the Republicans in the House and Senate… can you please stop electing the same kinds of establishment people to leadership positions? Americans have elected Republican majorities and have received NOTHING from it.
Trump is not the problem. The problem comes from people who talk about conservatism over lunches and teas and in speeches but do nothing in reality. Voters want results, and if voters are turning to a person like Donald Trump for leadership, it says more about the pathetic state of Republican leadership than it does about so-called “entertainment” voters.