As Scott pointed out in today’s Battlefield, I had some thoughts on why Donald Trump is now all but certain to win the GOP nomination. Long story short, I laid the feet for the rise of Trump on the entire center-right. Here are my reasons why:
1) Conservative rhetoric has become increasingly based on identity politics and perpetual outrage. Doug Mataconis writes on Outside The Beltway today “Like it or not, Donald Trump represents the apotheosis of many of the forces that Republicans and conservatives have been tapping into for years now in order to invigorate the party and the movement. The populism, the nativism, the anti-immigrant xenophobia, the outright bias against Islam that makes someone think that a proposal to exclude them from entering the country is reasonable, and the anti-intellectual chest beating that epitomize the Trump supporter can all be traced to differing elements of the Tea Party and the GOP base that have been cultivated over the past twenty years or more by politicians eager to grab political power.” Doug’s partially right, but he’s missing a few things. Trump is also tapping into the anger generated by those victimized by the cultural aggressions of the SJW crowd. The Trump movement is at its core a revolt against political correctness in all of its forms. Here’s another thing, read most conservative media and all you’ll see is the daily outrage. Conservatives these days are more interested in being angry at something and someone than actually making positive change.
2) The GOP Establishment are lying, duplicitous scum. These guys have betrayed and sold out conservatives at every opportunity. They have proven time and time again that their sole interest is turning tricks for the donor class. That’s why they’re moving towards Trump over Cruz. These guys promise the sun, moon, and stars to conservative voters and then don’t deliver. They blame talk radio and conservative media, with some merit, for getting the base’s hopes too high. But leaders say “no” sometimes and manage expectations. These “leaders” think we’re stupid and the base has had enough of it.
3) The GOP Consultant class are largely crooks. These are the guys who send out the emails to “Stop Obamacare”, “Stop Amnesty”, “Elect Trey Gowdy Speaker”, etc. They fill up your email boxes, based on the daily outrage, and ask for “just $5” to save the Republic or something. The RINOs do it on a much larger scale, see Mike Murphy and the Right To Rise PAC for an example. Politics has become less about defeating the progressive left and its policies and ideas and more about making money for the consultant class. The worst thing that can happen to these unscrupulous consultants is for conservatism to win. It has become a racket.
4) The conservative movement is out of touch. Trump is winning because he’s telling people who have been neglected by both parties that he will fight for them. Many conservatives and Republicans are more interested in lowering the top income tax rate than actually helping to create jobs. There’s also a unhealthy dose of Reagan nostalgia still in the movement. I was born in 1984 and most Americans were not old enough to vote for Reagan. It’s time to let him rest in peace. Which leads to my last one.
5) We have failed to provide a positive vision for the country. Trump wants to “make America great again.” What exactly do we conservatives want to do? More importantly, how does what we want to do make the average American’s life better. We have utterly failed at messaging on both. By ceding the battlefield of ideas, we leave it open for demagogues like Trump to come along.